November 19th, 2007 5:33 pm | by Claire Evans News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

OryCon 29: Defending the Captain

2047128363_da3fbfb318_mOryCon 29—Sunday, Nov. 18

Addressing a rapt audience, a woman fully clad in black slams down a folio of papers and announces, "Alright, what can we hang him for? Hideous fashion sense?" The audience titters quietly. "How about stilted delivery of dialogue? His horrendous toupee?" A roar of approval rocks the room.

This is no ordinary trial. We're not even in a courtroom; rather, this scene is taking place in packed, but poorly-lit basement room in the Waterfront Marriott hotel. It's one of the last scheduled events of OryCon 29, a whirlwind three-day science fiction and fantasy conference that draws fans and artists alike from across the state to participate in panels with names like "Klingon for the Galactic Traveler" and "Philip K. Dick is God," hawk model dragons and Trekkie patches, and swap Battlestar Galactica gossip.

It makes sense, then, that the defendant being accused of these unforgivable crimes is none other than James T. Kirk, captain of the Starship Enterprise. The allegations, beyond his bad hairstyle and ceaseless philandering with space hoochies? Crimes against the Federation.

As the name suggests, OryCon has been a staple event of the Oregon science fiction scene for 29 years, growing from a small, one-day symposium on the Portland State campus cobbled together by the then-nascent Portland Science Fiction Society (PorSFiS) in November of 1978, into an elaborate, highly-costumed affair with attendance numbering in the thousands.

Every year, OryCon plays host to a cadre of high-profile writers and SF personalities, and this his year was no exception: the grand dame of Oregon fantasy literature, Ursula K. Le Guin, held court, along with legendary animator Will Vinton and award-winning author Robert Charles Wilson. The big names weren't the only appeal, though: a “gaming room” was well-stocked with men in Utilikilts rolling dice, while the program ran late every night with pagan ceremonies and hearty rounds of Filking (trust me, you're gonna want to Google that.)

John Lorentz, secretary of Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc (OSFCI), the fan-run nonprofit that handles the dirty work of convention organizing, observed, "OryCon really has become the nexus of science fiction in Oregon. There are writer groups...gamers, costumers, artists and readers all over the state and many of them come to OryCon each fall. I've been amazed at how many people will hop in their car, and drive hundreds of miles to attend."

Oh, and Captain Kirk? Not guilty.

Check out this Flickr group of OryCon29 shots:

Here's another amazing Flickr stream:

The great photo up top comes courtesy of Theresa Gallup. Thanks!

Bonus: OryCon29 logo artwork provided by "Vincent Vaughn."
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