There’s nothing strange about Captain Kirk belting out a round of karaoke in a crowded bar on a Saturday night.
“This is where I can be myself,” says Evan Hillel, an IT tech from Plainview who’s dressed as the “Star Trek” icon for a night out with other colorfully dressed characters at the Lizard Lounge in Bohemia.
No longer content to don their superfan costumes just a couple times a year at pop culture conventions, Long Island’s cosplayers are carving out their own social circuit. They’re meeting once or twice a month for self-organized theme nights at bars and bowling alleys. They don’t blend in with the rest of the crowd.
“When we get together, we get crazy and cut loose,” says Hillel, 27. “Trust me, we will close the place. We’re here until they kick us out.”
Indeed, at 2 a.m. the cosplayer contingent is still going strong — singing, dancing and hanging among the other patrons at the karaoke bar this night.
Dressing up as a favorite character from comic books, video games, TV shows and movies has long been a popular aspect of going to conventions such as Manhattan’s Comic Con.
Jacqie Rutzler of Hauppauge, who manages an event company, has been working to expand the options on Long Island where like-minded people can sport their outfits.
“People like us, we’d meet at the cons, and sometimes find events in the city where we could where we could do this,” says Rutzler, 28. “But there’s a nerd community on Long Island, and we wanted to bring cosplay events out here.”
For her part, Rutzler is dressed as the wolf deity “Holo” from the animé series “Spice & Wolf,” most notable for its furry ears.
“I like to wear the ears in public at times, and yes, people will occasionally look at me sideways, or say, ‘It’s not Halloween,’ ” she says. “But this is why we need cosplay parties, so people like me can go out and just do what we want together.”
OUTINGS IN COSTUME
The cosplayers have gone apple-picking on the North Fork and bowling. An ice skating outing is in the works.
“They make for amazing photos,” says Kaitlyn Mrozik, 23, of Deer Park, who dabbles in photography.
And then there’s the reactions from onlookers.
“During one of the last parties, I came here as Red Hood [from DC Comics],” says Tyler Belz, 23, of Ronkonkoma. “And this girl is like, ‘Are you Deadpool?’ ” After some explaining, Belz says, they had a good conversation.
Spider-Girl Lynn Wilson of Holbrook says part of the appeal is meeting people who are as passionate as she is about pop culture. She also dresses as DC Comics character Harley Quinn — and Cinderella.
“That’s what I like, making friends with people who like the same things I like, who love having fun and cosplay,” says Wilson, 28. “Nerds like me.”
UPCOMING COSPLAY THEME NIGHTS
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Farmingdale Lanes, Farmingdale. $20 for three hours of bowling, pizza and soda.
WHEN | WHERE 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 9 at the Lizard Lounge, 4589 Sunrise Hwy., Bohemia