View a real moon rock during the Tribute to Neil Armstrong NASA Exhibit at Starbase Indy, a Midwest science fiction convention, during Thanksgiving weekend, Friday through Sunday, in the Indianapolis Marriott East, 7202 E. 21st St. Hear from Hoosier native and astronaut David Wolf. Also on tap will be a chance for a Klingon makeover by a makeup professional, as well as guest stars from the television shows “Star Trek” and “Stargate SG-1.”
Besides the NASA exhibit and guest stars, the weekend festivities at Starbase Indy will include Star Trek-based musical groups, arcade games, robot battles, a masquerade, sessions on science and science fiction, and a free showing of Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” (2012) at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Starbase Indy’s Tribute to Neil Armstrong came about when Starbase Indy wanted to honor Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon. He passed away this year, but his life encouraged many young people to reach for the stars. A Hoosier native and NASA astronaut, Wolf will be on hand to talk about Armstrong and his own experiences in space during Starbase Indy. For the Armstrong tribute, Starbase Indy contacted NASA to arrange a special exhibit of memorabilia from America’s space program; among the items will be an Apollo helmet and space shuttle glove, a moon globe, Apollo 11 displays, and 22 NASA photos of the historic mission.
Turning from science to science fiction, one Starbase Indy attendee will win a full Klingon makeup treatment from professional makeup artist John Paladin. Paladin will also create Klingons out of actors Robert O’Reilly and JG Hertzler for their in-character appearance on stage and for photo ops Saturday; both portrayed Klingons on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Other guest stars are Nicole DeBoer, who played series regular Ezri Dax on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine;” Alexis Cruz from “Stargate SG-1;” and Hoosier native Deborah Downey from the original “Star Trek.” Larry Nemecek, a prominent Star Trek author, archivist and consultant, will share his insights.
Besides seeing guest stars, convention-goers can don otherworldly garb to wander the halls of the Marriott and to strut their stuff on stage in the Masquerade contest, where the convention stage is built like the bridge of the starship Enterprise. A large-scale Klingon ship built by Iowa fans will be on display. Other convention activities include a robotics room to build and battle robots, and a 1980s video arcade room with games set on free play. Of course, the dealers’ room offers out-of-this-world items for science fiction fans who seek to beat the Black Friday crowds. Dinner with the Stars is back again this year, giving fans a chance to mingle with the stars and see them perform.
Star Trek fans can rock on with the second annual Battle of the Bands between Five Year Mission, a musical group that composes songs based on episodes of the original Star Trek, and il Troubadore, a Klingon band; both are Indianapolis bands. More music is in store during a Five Year Mission concert and a music room where other bands will play.
Starbase Indy is a nonprofit organization and supports charities in the tradition of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who believed humans could create a better future. This year Starbase Indy’s charities are Cats Haven, a no-kill shelter; LUNGevity, which funds research and treatment of lung cancer; and the Jason Foundation, an educational organization dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide.
Cost to register for the entire three-day weekend is $45 at the door. Single day prices are $25 for Friday; $35 for Saturday; and $30 for Sunday. Children age 12 and under are free. This is the 17th year for Starbase Indy, a convention run by local fans, for fans. For more information or to register, go to www.starbaseindy.com or call (317) 513-8651.