HavenCon 2016 dates set, fundraising effort launched

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An attendee at HavenCon 2015

Organizers of  “Texas’ only LGBTQ-A sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention” have announced dates for the second annual HavenCon, and launched a campaign to raise funds for the 2016 event.

HavenCon 2016 will be held April 22-24 at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Austin. The newly-launched fundraising campaign will help pay for equipment, event and production costs. Rewards for contributing include artwork, t-shirts, stickers, buttons, discounted HavenCon passes and more.

A campaign referral contest is also underway with a prize pack that includes a 2016 pass upgrade, a hotel room at the convention center, VIP access and more. To donate visit the HavenCon fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Organizers said that due to “overwhelming vendor interest and higher-than-anticipated attendance” this year, the 2016 con will expand to three days. They said vendor space is expected to sell out quickly so those interested in getting space should act quickly.

Anyone interested in being a vendor, panelist or sponsor can visit the HavenCon site or email Shane@HavenConTx.com.

The first HavenCon was held last month in Austin and “vastly exceeded expectations,” organizers said. The con drew more than 1,000 attendees over two days and included gaming tournaments, a cosplay contest, dozens of vendors and artists and panelists from the local and national levels of the industry, such as Janet Varney and P.J. Byrnes, stars of the animated TV series The Legend of Korra.

HavenCon Founder Shane Brown said he was “staggered by the amount of support and pure joy from attendees. Although Texas is no stranger to comic book and gaming conventions, this was the first time the state has ever hosted a convention of this type targeted specifically to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and allied audience.”

He added, “Every vendor, attendee and panelist that I spoke with was amazed by the inviting, positive atmosphere. It was a celebration of what made our diverse crowd both different and united. And everyone seems excited to come back for more next year.”

—  Tammye Nash

First Texas LGBT gaming convention to be held in Austin in April 2015

Haven Con, the first LGBT geek and gaming convention of Texas, announced it will hold its inaugural convention Saturday, April 4-Sunday, April 5, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.31.23 PMMidtown in Austin.

According to a statement, this is the first LGBT geek and gaming convention held in Texas.

Shane Brown, founder of Haven Con, has been working to bring sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming enthusiasts of the LGBTQA community together since 2012 when he started the social networking group Gay Austin Geeks. Brown said, “Even within the gay community, we often exist within our smaller segmented groups. But comic and gaming conventions are all about the melding of geeks, gamers and nerds of every size, race, age and gender identity.”

Brown continued, “With Haven Con, we’re creating a safe, entertaining and diversity-welcoming environment for people that enjoy comic books, video games, science fiction and more. We’ll have a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, industry panelists, local artists and writers—all of it while celebrating what makes us both different and special.”

Current sponsors and vendors include Nakatomi Incorporated, Finji Games, Weird Girls, Austin Books & Comics, Monkeys Need Love Too, Kitchen Overload, Outrageous Outfits, Sew Geek Austin, and Gamers Beard. For information on becoming a sponsor, panelist or vendor, visit HavenConTx.com or email Shane(at)HavenConTx(dot)com.

Haven Con is currently running a fundraiser to assist with equipment, event and production costs. For more information or to donate, visit the Haven Con fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Proceeds of Haven Con will go to OutYouth, which is a non-profit organization providing services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 12 to 19 in Austin and central Texas.

Voice contributing writer Chaka Cumberbatch has written about LGBT geeks and gamers extensively, most recently for our Sept. 19 issue.

—  James Russell

Dallas Comic Con this weekend

Professor X in the flesh

What is likely the Super Bowl for comic and sci-fi fans in Dallas, this year’s Dallas Comic Con looks to impress big time. With guests like Patrick Stewart, pictured, from X-Men films  and Marvel godfather Stan Lee in the lineup, the two-day event is like Nirvana. And we’re kinda hoping to see a bunch of hotties in tight superhero costumes as well.

DEETS: Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd. Through Sunday. $20–$25.  DallasComicCon.com.

—  Rich Lopez

A-Kon and the LGBT community

One of the largest, most popular anime conventions in the U.S.: A-kon, is celebrating its 22nd year today through Sunday at the Sheraton Dallas. Every year the convention is packed with thousands of con-goers who eagerly await the opportunity to meet their favorite voice actors, spend their life savings in the dealer’s room, and take tons of pictures (or have them taken of you, if you’re in costume).

There is so much packed into one weekend at an anime convention that it’s hard to schedule yourself. Every day they hold panels and discussions in the ballrooms, along with autograph sessions, workshops and opportunities to meet famous Asian bands. Every night is a party, whether it’s a rave, the masquerade, a ball, or a concert. They also have the more adult-oriented anime screenings held at night, which are always 18-plus. Don’t try flashing your Sailor Moon Fan Club Membership card, though; these guys require real ID.

Anime conventions attract a diverse group of people, including many who are LGBT. That’s because an anime convention is one of the few places that you can truly be open and express yourself without fear of judgment, no matter what your self-expression may be. There, no one really cares what you do. They’ve got people running around with cat-ear headbands and fur bikinis — who are they to judge?

One popular craze in cosplay — the act of dressing up as a character from a particular anime, video game, movie, whatever — is something called “fan service,” where two willing cosplayers engage in a pretend romance for the amusement of their fans. They pose for pictures holding hands, cuddling, and whatever else the cosplayers may be comfortable with. In fact, it’s become popular within the cosplay community for characters to be paired up with other characters of the same sex, which is called “slash.” So if you were totally thinking that Edward should have hooked up with Jacob, just find two willing cosplayers to pose for you and your dream can come true.

Within the cosplay community, it’s not only accepted but also encouraged for people to take part in public homosexual activity. Two guys kissing sends fangirls into a frenzy but causes the general public to sneer. Honestly, general public, at least we’re not running around in fur bikinis on a regular basis.

Is it the open atmosphere? Is it the fans demanding a good show? Whatever it is, anime conventions are sure to attract the LGBT crowd for a weekend of costumed, Japanese merriment. I will be among them at A-kon, getting my nerd on and wasting all my money. Until then, good ‘morrow.

—  admin