The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

May 12, 2012

Sci-fi convention | 3-day event begins Friday in Ebensburg

EBENSBURG — From artistic comics to zombies, this science-fiction convention has it all.

The first Sci-Fi in the Valley Convention will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 19 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 20 at North Central Recreation Center, 186 Schoolhouse Road, Ebensburg.

Organizer Casey Bassett of South Fork said he started working on the idea of a science-fiction convention in the Johnstown area last August.

“After going to the comicon in Pittsburgh for years, I thought, ‘Why not have one in the Johnstown area,’ ” Bassett said.

“I called around asking about venues. It was originally going to be at the War Memorial, then it got moved to Ebensburg. I met with friends who had been going to conventions for 20 or 30 years, and they gave me ideas on what to feature.”

Bassett made a website, www.scifiinthevalley.com, where he has listed artists and special guests.

The website has received more than 10,000 views, and Bassett has been receiving questions by email.

A Sci-Fi in the Valley Con Facebook page has 450 members and an events page has 600-700 people attending the convention, but Bassett said these listings are not always accurate.

“I’d like to see from 1,000 to 2,000 over the three days,” he said. “Next year, I see it even bigger.”

Bassett said dealers and artists are coming from New York, West Virginia and Canada, and volunteers are coming from Johnstown, Ebensburg, Philadelphia and all around Pennsylvania.

The three-day event is a speculative fiction-themed convention covering science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion and virtual arts.

Featured guests will be actors Mark Tierno of “Day of the Dead” and “The Mercury Men” and Jeremy Ambler of “The Walking Dead.”

Guest artists are Tod Allen Smith, Chiara Fattorusso, Jeremy McHugh, Joshua Emerick, Garrett Free and April A. Taylor.

A costume competition will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. May 19, with registration at 11 a.m.

Self-proclaimed geek piano rocker Matthew Ebel will perform at 6 p.m. May 19.

Live sci-fi and horror-themed pro wrestling will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. May 19 and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 20.

Several panel discussions will be held, including a group of independent filmmakers who will explain how to make a low-budget films.

An after party for those who attended the convention will be held from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. May 19 at the Castle Pub in Ebensburg.

Tickets can be preordered on the website and paid for in cash on the day of attendance.

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