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Steel City Con brings the joys of fandom to old, young

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
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WESTWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 09: Actor Louis Gossett Jr. arrives at a special screening of the Weinstein Companies 'NINE' At the Mann Village Theater on December 9, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Louis Gossett Jr.

Do you remember the sheer joy you experienced as a kid, when, on Christmas morning, you tore open the wrapping paper to find that “Star Wars” figure/Matchbox car racetrack/Barbie doll that you really wanted more than anything in the world? Can that feeling ever be recaptured?

Of course not. You're old now. Deal with it.

Then again, there is a way to bring back the glory days of die-cast metal cars and action figures with six fully articulated joints. For those wandering souls still seeking their own Land of Misfit Toys, the Steel City Con is this weekend — Pittsburgh's own “Toy, Comic & Pop Culture Convention.”

The Steel City Con, like the many other Cons (conventions) for comics, toys and pop culture out there, is kind of having its own pop culture moment right now. As geek culture and mainstream pop culture are increasingly becoming one and the same, the only difference is really in the intensity of one's fandom. Sure, we all love “Star Wars.” But do you love it enough to want to meet Peter Mayhew, the guy who played the hairy, hulking hero Chewbacca?

Well, you can at the Steel City Con. The usually well-shaven (yet still giant) Mayhew will be there, as will other iconic geek-friendly actors like Cassandra Petersen (“Elvira: Mistress of the Dark”) and Richard Hatch (Apollo from the original “Battlestar Galactica”), and lots of photo-ready “Star Wars” Stormtroopers.

There's a distinct “A-Team” vibe this year, with Dirk Benedict (“Faceman”) and Dwight Shultz (“Murdock”) making an appearance.

The big draw this year is probably Louis Gossett Jr., who won an Academy Award for his role in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982). Still, he's probably better known for roles in geek-friendly fare like “Enemy Mine” (as the alien), “The Dead Zone” (1983), “Iron Eagle” (1986), “Stargate SG-1” (1997), and more recently, jokey cameos on “Family Guy.”

Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7901 or mmachosky@tribweb.com

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