Home News Local News The eighth annual Galacticon

The eighth annual Galacticon

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Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim on the TV series “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995), in which he appeared regularly for seven years. Wang will be the special guest at the Galacticon & Sci-Fi Film Fest and UFO Festival this year. (Submitted Photo)

A surprise awaits visitors to the eighth annual Galacticon. Organizer Elaine Mayfield got a call from Garrett Wang last week, asking if he could attend the Galacticon — he had an opening in his calendar. Wang is known to fans of the Star Trek universe as Ensign Harry S. L. Kim. Wang (pronounced Wong), who appeared in each of the seven seasons of the American television series “Star Trek: Voyager.” Portrayed by Wang, he is the operations officer aboard the Starfleet starship USS Voyager.

“Of course, I said yes — he is such a nice man and really enjoyed being here as special guest in 2014,” Mayfield said. “In the morning and early afternoon, he will be at the UFO Festival enjoying the events and meeting fans at the information tent on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn and in the afternoon when it is getting hot, he’ll be at his booth at Galacticon.”

Entertainment at Galacticon:

There has been a change in location for the Cosplay Karaoke event on Thursday evening. The new location is Los Cerritos Mexican Kitchen, 2103 N. Main Street, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

This year, international game master and local game inventor Matt Bromley is hosting and overseeing games at the Roswell Mall during Galacticon, at the center court and by the exit to the Galaxy 8 movie theater. Bromley was recently special guest at the El Paso Border Con.

“The exit to the hallway will have open gaming for anybody who wants to come and play board games,” Bromley said. Bromley’s board game — “RoswAliens & the Mothership” — premiered last year at Galacticon. At any time, Bromley is creating more games. His recent game “Taco Party!” is in production.

“There will also be people there showing their own games,” Bromley said. One of them is Kenneth Kidder, a game developer out of Louisiana.

Once the audience purchases a ticket to Galacticon, all games and tournaments are free to participate in. Gaming takes place Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

Steampunk Belly Dance workshop:

Local theater choreographer and dance instructor Mary Alice Balderama is holding her Steampunk Belly Dance workshop on Saturday. The workshop is free to attend.

Balderama has a bachelor of fine arts in theater and dance from Portales. Asked why she studied theater and dance, Balderama said, “I was just always interested in theater and growing up I did theater classes in middle school and high school. I wanted to go get a degree in theater, and my parents were supportive of that, but they said, ‘Maybe you should also get an education degree.’ I got my theater degree and as it turns out, I went back and got my education degree and I am teaching with the school district.”

Balderama works with the Arts Connects Programs of the Roswell Independent School District and is an elementary arts teacher for first-graders.

Balderama was inspired by one of her teachers in college who did belly dancing. At Galacticon, she combines her dance style with steampunk.

The steampunk band Marquis of Vaudeville is a favorite. The band performs during the Steampunk Ball at Peppers Grill & Bar on Saturday evening. Tickets are available at the information desk of Galacticon in the Roswell Mall, July 6 to 7. (Submitted Photo / Marquis of Vaudeville)

“Steampunk belly dance is not a genre. Steampunk is more a setting than the actual style,” Balderama said. “When I choreograph (she was recently choreographer for Roswell Community Little Theatre’s performance of the musical “Hello, Dolly!”) I like to tell a story. I like to express feelings and emotions and have a little bit of theater.”

She encountered the steampunk genre only a few years ago. “I found out about the Steampunk Festival in Madrid (New Mexico) and I had some friends going and performing. I found that interesting and decided to go and perform, too. Everything was steampunk,” she said and laughed. “That opened my eyes and I said, ‘Wow, we can do so many things with this.’”

Knowledgable of the history of belly dance — or as it was known in Victorian era U.S., “the hoochie coochie,” when dancer Little Egypt performed at the Chicago World Fair of 1893 — Balderama’s belly dance is a mix of many styles. She dances at events with her group Tre Bella. For those who live in the Roswell area, Balderama is teaching belly dance fusion at ENMU-R this fall.

Steampunk and live action role play at Galacticon:

One of the organizers of the steampunk aspect of Galacticon is Christine Powell. Lady Epitaph is her steampunk character. Together with her husband, Peter Powell (Lord Epitaph), and other members of the local steampunk group Pecos Valley Steam Society, Christine Powell is in charge of the steampunk panels and events at Galacticon.

New this year is Dystopia Rising, a live-action role-playing game. “We are doing just a small module and we are letting five people at a time work it,” Christine Powell said. “They will be participating in it and that way we get multiple groups, but it is not too overwhelming. Quite a few of our local players will be there to help. We’ll have people playing the zombies or the raiders — we don’t want to give away what the mod actually is. There will be other people to help out as well.

“We have two game directors: Cara Arnold handles all our operations and Trey Collins actually is our story director. He was here last year, he had a booth at Galacticon. He does all of our storylines. He is the one who helps people. Once they created their character, if they want some personal plot within the storyline, he can help develop that as well.”

A larger version of the game is being played throughout the year in Santa Fe.

“The New Mexico game just opened this last December. It is one of the newest ones. It incorporates a lot of the local animals, a lot of the local storylines. We do have something that is similar to chupacabra,” Christine Powell said and laughed. “We have something we call ratrunners, which are basically giant roadrunner animals.”

“This model we are doing (at Galacticon) is giving the people a taste — we want to draw people in, get them interested and explain the rules because this is a lightest touch LARP (Live Action Role-Playing), so any of the fighting is done lightest touch and we will be showing people how to do that. It helps to avoid injury.

“We also avoid hurting people’s feelings, and all the weaponry is checked out to make sure it doesn’t have any sharp edges — any parts to it that might hurt somebody. All that gets inspected beforehand.”

Weapons are made out of foam.

“Jessica Meyers is going to run a zombie-makeup tutorial and workshop on Friday and then on Saturday morning. She will zombie-up the folks who want to participate,” Christine Powell said.

“Jessi (Arntz) is doing a workshop, too. She has two panels and one workshop, which is a leather bracelet stamping workshop. Kids, adults — they come and can stamp out what they want and can take it with them.”

A highlight for the steampunk participants will be the Steampunk Ball at Peppers Grill & Bar on Saturday night. Everybody is welcome — goths, cosplayers and visitors.

Live music is provided by the steampunk band Marquis of Vaudeville. The band has been traveling to film festivals for their new video, “We’re All Mad Here,” which won several awards. They returned recently from England to participate at Galacticon. Their video is also in the running for best short at Roswell’s Sci-Fi Filmfest.

“I hope they win,” Christine Powell said. “It has been nominated for best music video. Some of their music is in the TV series ‘Dexter’ on Netflix and in the new remake of ‘Charmed.’ I am so happy. We love them all. They are wonderful.”

For more information and other workshops, visit rdrnews.com/vision-magazine or roswellfilmcon.com.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.