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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    I-CON a Success Despite Financial Strains

    Still reeling from unexpected fees imposed by the Stony Brook University administration,event organizers said that although last weekend’#146;s I-CON 21 was a success,the program could be held off campus next year.

    More than 6,000 people attended the annual science fiction and fantasy conventionbilled as the largest in the Northeast for the past five years. Billy Boyd,who played Pippin in the movie blockbuster ‘The Lord of the Rings’,led the list of notables speaking this year. Other guests included author PeterDavid, actor Jason Carter, and musician Julie Caitlin Brown.

    ‘More people showed up this year than last,’ said Activities CoordinatorNick Kild. The administration waved the fee completely this year, but we willhave to pay in full next time.’

    I-CON has always paid for the use of the Sports Complex, which totals to $20,000,but said they never had to pay for the use of student buildings. An officialletter issued March 11 from the Department of the Student Union and Activitiesstated that the convention’#146;s ‘extensive use of campus services’and ‘large public media involvement’ are reasons for implementingnew fees totaling $9,550.

    ‘It will still end up hurting the people because we will have to chargemore for the entry fee,’ Kild said. ‘Frankly, if the fee stays asit is we might consider holding the convention off campus. There are less expensivevenues in the area.’

    The organization consists of two entities – the campus chapter, which is studentrun and the incorporated chapter, which is run by alumni, faculty and staff.Dean of Students Carmen Vasquez explained this separation as one of the reasonsfor the extra charges.

    ‘In 1998, polity decided to no longer fund the convention because of I-CON’#146;slarge deficit,’ Vazquez said in a previous Statesman interview. ‘I-CONbecame I-CON, Inc. I-CON students are not the sole sponsors of the event. Theconvention is an extraordinary event, which is determined by the level of sponsorship,scope and use of campus facilities.’

    Event coordinators argue that the administration’#146;s policy is baselessdue to the fact that the event has remained the same in scope and function formore than seven years.

    A three-day festival, I-CON is a forum for science fiction and its relatedgenres. Programming at I-CON spans a wide range of topics and interests, includingfantasy, horror, comic books, Japanese animation (otherwise known as Anime),medieval reenactment, science and technology.

    Guest speakers are invited from around the world to share their experiences,information about any new or upcoming projects and their insights into the genrewith their fans. Over the course of the convention, guests typically will participatein panel discussions, give workshops and demonstrations, sign autographs, andinteract with their fans on a one on one basis.

    An art show, a dealer’#146;s room, and a media panel topped the list of highlightsthis year. Attendees frequented the I-CON Print Shop for posters and lithographsof comic book heroes, anime stars, and fantasy renderings. The dealer room,located in the Sports Complex, housed vendors selling everything from booksand videos to statues and toys to swords and costumes.

    Billy Boyd and Peter David occupied most of the attention on the media panel.Boyd spoke of why he chose acting as a profession, what it was like on the setof ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and how it feels to suddenly be a culticon.

    David accepted the first ever John Pilkington Memorial Award, in honor of beinga longtime guest. He explained how his desire to create science fiction propelledhim to write a slew of comic books, novels, and screenplays.

    A few up-and-coming artists were on hand as well. David Montoya, a graphicartist, set up displays of two fantasy projects he hopes to publish in comingmonths. Both focus on elves, trolls, and magic set on modern day Earth. He soldnearly a dozen originals posters during the weekend.

    ‘At my level, I only want people to see my work and remember my name,’Montoya said. ‘This isn’#146;t about making a profit. This is about spreadingthe word.’

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