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2015Panels 950x550 - RoberCon 2015 Panels, Presentations and Signings

Saturday

11 a.m.

The Five-ish Doctors: A Decade of Modern Doctor Who
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Presenters: Chris Kocher (moderator), Heather Kriesel, Madison McDonald, Adrienne Wise, Matt Gaska
When Doctor Who returned to BBC television in March 2005, few people – even hardcore fans of the original series – could have foreseen the global phenomenon it has become. (Heck, it even took a full year for the first episodes to be shown in America.) Now, 10 years later, fans have enjoyed four main Doctors, a “bonus” War Doctor and even the return of the eighth Doctor (albeit briefly). What have been the high and low points of the past decade? What would you like to see more of? And what’s ahead for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor?

Shire Chic: Fantasy Fashion on the Big and Small Screens
Carousel Theater (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Andrea Melione (moderator), Laura Johnsen, Melissa Perez, Maryse Quinn.
If you love costuming you won’t want to miss this! Panelists present fantasy fashion from the past 50 years and share some of their favorite (and not so favorite) fashion from fantasy in film and TV. We’ll look at fan favorites such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and forgotten favorites like TV’s Faerie Tale Theater will also be covered. Audience participants will have a chance to show off their mad skills at the end with a newspaper costume challenge! The winning team will be awarded fantasy art bookmarks illustrated by local artist Andrea Melione.

Saving People, Hunting Things: The Family Business of Supernatural
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Sarah Hower (moderator), Adam Ruff, Lisa Stuckey, Jeff Jensen, Marci Jansen
Get your holy water and salt ready, because we are going hunting! There have been 10 seasons of the Winchester brothers and friends saving our world from monsters we pretend aren’t real. Sam and Dean have looked in the faces of every evil creature you can imagine, and some creatures that maybe you haven’t. They have saved the world from the apocalypse, fought side by side during a war of angels and demons, and so much more! What are our favorite episodes of the show so far? Do we love or hate Cass and Crowley? What could be next? And what makes this show so popular?

Writing Strong Women: It’s Not That Difficult (Or Is it?)
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Crystal Sarakas (moderator), Tamora Pierce, Carrie Cuinn, Nancy Holzner, Deborah Blake
Science fiction and fantasy authors have written about women for decades, but not always very well. Too often, the women in stories are there as the love interest or the damsel in need of rescue. But women are a strong and powerful force to be reckoned with, and we need to see more of that in both books and film and television. So what pitfalls should writers be aware of when writing about women? Who are some of the best examples of strong women in stories today? And can we all just agree that Imperator Furiosa is one of the most amazing characters ever?

12 p.m.

Star Wars Reborn: When ‘The Force Awakens,’ Will Fans Be Happy?
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Presenters: Tom Henderson (moderator), Anthony Borrelli, Matt Gaska, Allen Archie
The Disney marketing machine has gone into hyperdrive now that a new trilogy of films begins on Dec. 18 with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Director J.J. Abrams – a geek’s geek if there ever was one – is at the helm, and the original trio of Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are back after three decades. More standalone films are on the way, too. Will it live up to fans’ dreams for the Star Wars universe? What pitfalls do you think could lie ahead? (Please, no Jar Jar Binks cameo!)

Local Filmmaking: The Minds Behind I Am Horror Productions
Carousel Theater (first floor of museum)
Presenters: D.A. Bush, Ted Nappi
Have you ever been interested in filmmaking? Have those interesting story ideas just itched at the back of your mind? Talk to local directors and producers from I Am Horror Productions about how they turned that itch into successful, award-winning films. Learn the ups and downs and the in and outs of the exciting art of independent filmmaking. Also, learn more about their upcoming film The House on Ghost Hill Road.

Battle of the Captains: Which Star Trek Leader Was Best?
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Lisa Stuckey (moderator), Marci Jansen, Will Devine, Thea Whirlwindhorse
Over the past 50 years, five captains have served at the helm of Star Trek TV series, and their names are engraved in fans’ hearts: James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, Kathryn Janeway and Jonathan Archer. Each of them had a very different style of leadership, though. Who was the best at negotiation and diplomacy? Who was the best in battle? Which of them was the best scientist and explorer? And if you were in Starfleet, which captain would you like to serve?

Size Doesn’t Matter: The Art of the Short Story
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Crystal Sarakas (moderator), Carrie Cuinn, Kevin Lucia, Joshua Palmatier
The explosion of indie publishing, small press publishers and online magazines has helped usher in a new golden age of the short story in the science fiction and fantasy genre. Whether you’re writing a 1,000-word flash fiction piece or a novella, what is different about writing short fiction as opposed to novel-length stories? Join our panel of top-notch short story writers and editors to find out how to make your short fiction the best it can be.

1 p.m.

Doing the Zombie Shuffle: What’s Next for The Walking Dead?
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Presenters: Crystal Sarakas (moderator), Lisa Stuckey, Paul D. Smith, Eithne-Nicole Cole
The phenomena that is The Walking Dead isn’t slowing down. We’re getting ready to head back to Alexandria to find out what’s up with Rick and the gang. Will we learn what happened to Morgan? Is Carol the scariest of them all? And we’ll talk about the spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead. WARNING: We’re going to be talking about the latest seasons and episodes, so spoilers will abound if you aren’t caught up! Walkers beware!

In The Zone: “The Masks”
Carousel Theater (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Lawrence Kassan (moderator), Andrew Polak, David “Doc” Rasey, Kevin Lucia
See the classic Twilight Zone episode in which a dying man gathers his family at Mardi Gras to mete out final revenge, and then discuss it with a panel of Rod Serling experts. (Episode showing is courtesy of CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

The Boy Who Lives: Harry Potter Heads Into the Future
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Suzy Cohen (moderator), Amy Hogan, Adrienne Wise, Daniel Kerrigan, Alyssa Caserta
Just when everyone thought that J.K. Rowling was finished telling Harry Potter tales, the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film franchise and The Cursed Child stage play offer something new in the Potter-verse. This panel will talk about the future of Harry Potter – how these new projects will contribute to the lore and how they could change what we think we know.

Superhero Tales: How Much is Too Much?
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Paul D. Smith (moderator), Anthony Borrelli, Allen Archie, Tom Henderson, Matt Gaska, Danielle Snyder
It’s hard to remember now, but apart from Tim Burton’s Batman films, superhero flicks never used to be that good. In the early and mid-2000s, X-Men and Spider-Man broke new ground, as did Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight version of the Batman mythos – followed by Iron Man, The Avengers and the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Today, superhero stories have taken over not just the multiplex but also our TV screens – Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Supergirl, Daredevil, Gotham, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and on and on. What’s behind our fascination with these comic book tales? Are there too many? And will the superhero “bubble” burst anytime soon?

2 p.m.

Guest of Honor: A Conversation with Tamora Pierce
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Interviewed by Deborah Blake
Tamora Pierce is the author of more than 25 books, including the famed The Song of the Lioness quartet. Join us for a conversation about her life and her career, and you’re invited to join in with your questions. Following the conversation, you’ll be able to meet her in person and have your books autographed at our group signing.

Living the Dream: Roleplaying in Your Favorite Fandom
Carousel Theatre (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Joe Bardales (moderator), Jack Shear
From Game of Thrones to Gotham City to a galaxy far, far away, tabletop gamers have long enjoyed roleplaying in our favorite media properties. RPGs have been commercially produced over the years for Star Trek, the Marvel and DC universes, Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, The Lord of the Rings and more. Some of these games are still around, while others are long out of print. In some cases, licenses have changed hands, and there are even published settings that emulate the feel of these properties without a license by filing off the serial numbers. In this panel, we will discuss the pros and cons of using published campaign settings of licensed properties as well as some thoughts on creating your own setting based on your favorite fandom, especially if no such published game exists.

SCORPION: Season Two Episode Screening
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
WBNG sponsors a screening of the season two premiere of SCORPION. SCORPION follows an eccentric genius and his network of nerdy prodigies who operate as a think tank.

3 p.m.

Group Author Signing
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Join all of our featured authors and Guest of Honor Tamora Pierce for a group signing in the ballroom. Limit to three items to be signed per encounter. (You are welcome to get back in line to have additional items signed.)

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again: 40 Years of Rocky Horror
Planetarium (second floor of the museum)
Presenters: Angela Schwartz (moderator), Julia Adams, Greg Baker, Tony Georges, JamieLyn Stulir
Discuss the history and significance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as an homage to science fiction and rock ‘n’ roll, and its pioneering role in the world of cosplay. Members of the Vestal Violators, a local Rocky Horror group, will discuss the 1975 film’s roots in classic B-movies, the evolution of its prescient costumes, and the current state of this thrilling, chilling, fulfilling fandom.

The X-Files Returns: Is the Truth Still Out There?
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Chris Kocher (moderator), Lisa Stuckey, Adrienne Wise
After 14 years, Chris Carter’s TV classic is returning to our airwaves in January for a limited six-episode run. So much has changed since The X-Files went off the air – and in the era of NSA surveillance and Edward Snowdon, its themes of government paranoia may be more relevant now than ever. (But remember the alien invasion that was supposed to happen on Dec. 21, 2012? How’d that work out?) This panel will discuss what fans expect and what we hope to see when Mulder and Scully are back on the paranormal beat.

4 p.m.

Bear Challenge 2: The Right To Bear Arms
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Presenters: Daniel Schwartz (moderator), Anna Chen, Gregory Musselman, Angela Schwartz, Jacob Thompson
The surprise hit at last year’s RoberCon is back! In this interactive game, members of the audience (as well as other convention-goers via social media) are invited to submit one or more “facts” about a bear (such as “bear has a machete,” “bear knows crav maga,” “bear is haunted by memories of his lost love” and so on) written and placed in a jar. Eight facts will be selected randomly, one for each bear in the first round. Bears will be compared two at a time. The bear deduced to be victor will advance. Each remaining bear gets a new fact assigned randomly, and the process is repeated until only one bear remains. Who will rise? Who will fall? The answer either way is “A Bear.”

Hail To The King, Baby!: The Life and Times of Godzilla
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Atley Arends (moderator), David “Doc” Rasey, Kirk Madsen, Thea Whirlwindhorse.
Oh no, they said he’s got to go – but he never did. Godzilla, kaiju supreme and king of the monsters, always returned. Why does this Cold War monster still capture imaginations not only in Japan but all over the world? This panel will be a look at the many faces, roars, body types and battles of the most beloved kaiju of them all.

Sunday

10:15 a.m.

Survey Says!: MuggleNet’s “Family Feud” for Harry Potter Fans
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Hosted by Keith Hawk
MuggleNet’s “Family Feud” unites fans and audience in a Harry Potter game show featuring two teams such as Death Eaters vs. Order of the mugglenet e1442339852453 - RoberCon 2015 Panels, Presentations and SigningsPhoenix, Dumbledore’s Army vs. The Professors, Weasley Family vs. Malfoy Family and so on. The family-friendly format of the game is identical to the game show on television. Host Keith Hawk from MuggleNet has accumulated a series of survey questions that 100 people answered to bring you the top answers on a Harry Potter subject. (Note: Teams for this game are based on signups before the convention. The game runs until 11:45 a.m.)

11 a.m.

Nerd Spawn: How to Survive and Thrive in a Geeky Home
Carousel Theatre (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Leigh Allen-Chen (moderator), Mike Timonin, Mary Donnelly, Mary-Ann Grate, George Stewart-Walkling, Campbell Chaplin, Anna Chen
Parents, have you ever asked yourself: What’s a podcast? Why are my kids playing board games instead of video games on a Saturday night? What the heck is a fan ship and why do my kids get so upset when someone crushes theirs? Kids, were you disturbed the first time you came out of your room and saw your parents watching cartoon on television? Did you have to hide your face when your parents made you join them at another Lord of the Rings movie marathon? At this panel, learn about modern geek culture from both kids and adults. Find out our recommendations for the best starter movies, games and books. Battle Youth vs. Experience in a game of geeky trivia for prizes. Add your name to our Bucket of Awesome for a chance to win some of our favorite things a door prizes.

Cosplay on a Dime: Be All That You Can Be (Cheaply)
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Matt Gaska, Jana Kucera
Want to show your appreciation for your favorite character by dressing like them? Exactly like them? Where do you look? How much will it cost? Do I need to sew? This panel discusses how to achieve screen-accurate clothing you can wear every day, and also alternative options for those wishing to achieve a similar look without spending a lot of money. We’ll direct you where you need to go to begin your search, whether your budget is very small or very large. With some displays of screen-accurate outfits, special focus will be placed on Doctor Who cosplay, but we will also discuss other fandoms like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Batman (the Dark Knight films).

Old Ideas, New Spins: How Myths and Folklore Inspire Your Writing
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Crystal Sarakas, (moderator), Deborah Blake, Nancy Holzner, Kevin Lucia
A big part of writing is taking old ideas and giving them new life. It sounds easy enough, but how do you take those bits of folklore, myths or ghost stories and turn it into something new and exciting to read? How do avoid common tropes and pitfalls? What is fun about taking some of these old ideas out for new spins?

12 p.m.

Meet Guest of Honor Tamora Pierce
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Moderated by Deborah Blake
Guest of Honor Tamora Pierce will answer your questions and will sign books after her chat.

In The Zone: “A Stop at Willoughby”
Carousel Theater (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Lawrence Kassan (moderator), Andrew Polak, David “Doc” Rasey, Kevin Lucia, Charles Kramer
See the classic Twilight Zone episode in which a man tries to find an escape from his hectic modern life through a portal into the past, and then discuss the episode with a panel of Serling experts. (Episode showing is courtesy of CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

1 p.m.

‘What Is It, Doctor?’: The Evolving Role of Doctor Who Companions
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Presenters: Chris Kocher (moderator), Paul D. Smith, John Riebow, Jana Kucera, Matt Gaska
With a few exceptions, the original series of Doctor Who (1963-1989) was notorious for having its companions (mostly young females) act merely as foils for the Doctor, needing rescue from the villains’ clutches and asking him to explain what exactly was going on. Since the series returned in 2005, though, the companion has taken on a more prominent role, often equally important to the Doctor himself. How has the companion role changed over the past 52 years of Doctor Who? Has it helped to bring new fans to the show? And has the companion become too much of a focus?

Hermione and Her Sisters: The Women of Harry Potter
Carousel Theatre (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Patrick McCauley (moderator), Amy Hogan, Keith Hawk, Stephanie Bailey
Patrick McCauley, a professor of philosophy and religious studies at Chestnut Hill College and
author of the upcoming release “Into The Pensieve,” will discuss women and the roles they play in the “Harry Potter” series. This roundtable discussion will focus on particular aspects within the series, such as violence against women and the male/female relationships in Rowling’s work.
McCauley will be joined by staff members from MuggleNet.com, the No. 1 Harry Potter fan site online.

SCORPION: Season Two Episode Screening
Planetarium (second floor of museum)
WBNG sponsors a screening of the season two premiere of SCORPION. SCORPION follows an eccentric genius and his network of nerdy prodigies who operate as a think tank.

America’s Next Top Monster: Who Should Scare Next?
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: John Koloski (moderator), Kevin Lucia, Eric Lusk, Elizabeth Tucker
From vampires and zombies to psychos and slashers, monsters evolve. Ghostbusters and E.T. tickle, but Paranormal Activity and Alien terrify. Why? Hear what horror creature trends reveal about you and your culture. Learn about monster history and evolution. Speculate on what future terrors will look like and face your fears. Who will be America’s Next Top Monster?

2 p.m.

Costume Contest: Heroes & Monsters Return to RoberCon
Mansion Ballroom (top floor of mansion)
Hosted by David “Doc” Rasey
Costume contest runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Those who have registered will show off their efforts for judges and fellow convention attendees. Aliens, heroes, villains and creatures will make their way to RoberCon this year! (For more information about the costume contest, see full rules and instructions elsewhere in the program booklet.)

Pluto Mystery Tour: At the Edge of the Solar System
Carousel Theater (first floor of museum)
Presenters: Tish Bresee, Robert (“Banjo Boris”) Siegers
Bresee, a New York NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador, will chill you with unbelievable new images of the cold, dark dwarf Pluto obtained by The New Horizons Spacecraft and streamed home by tiny broadband. She is accompanied by Siegers, Roberson’s former planetarium guy recently traded to Kopernik Observatory, who is a frozen planetoid expert and may share with us his newest composition, “Pluto’s Identity Crisis Blues.”

Something Vague About Magic: Creating Magical Systems
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Crystal Sarakas (moderator), Deborah Blake, Tamora Pierce, Joshua Palmatier
Just because you’re writing about magic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know exactly how it works – or can you get away with a fair amount of “handwavium” instead of details? We’ll chat about ways to think about magical systems in your writing, and we’ll talk with our authors about how they’ve tackled writing about magic in their own works.

3 p.m.

Where’s My Hoverboard?: 30 Years of Back to the Future
(Planetarium, second floor of museum)
Presenters: Chris Kocher (moderator), John Brhel, Allen Archie, Danielle Stilloe
Back in the heady days of 1985, the year 2015 seemed like a long way away – a place where cars and hoverboards would fly, Jaws would be on its 18th sequel and Mr. Fusion would convert garbage into all the fuel we’d need. But with BTTF Day approaching on Oct. 21, the “future” has become the present. What did the films get right about 2015? What did they get wrong? And what continues to make the Back to the Future trilogy beloved by geeks and non-geeks alike?

Humor in Genre Fiction: Funny! Future! Fantasy!
Activity Lab (second floor of museum)
Presenters: Andrew Haggerty (moderator), Suzanne Shepard, Amanda Truin, Jim Ulrich
From Scrabble boards to a world on a turtle, sci-fi and fantasy have long outperformed boring reality. Humor, satire, and just plain lunacy have always been present in tales of bang-bang robots, or else tales of sword-barbarians with oddly hairless pectorals. Why? This panel tells you why: COMEDY! Pratchett, Adams, Spiro Agnew — all the SF comedy greats, examined. There will be no jokes or Rick & Morty references.

Support provided by the general operations support grants from the United Cultural Fund, a program of the Broome County Arts Council; the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreational, and Historical Preservation; and the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.