Category Archives: Convention News

In depth reporting on issues and news within the North American Convention Scene.

Midwest Media Expo 2017 Cancelled Days Before Event (Updated)

The fourth Midwest Media Expo was scheduled to take place in just a few days in Dearborn, MI, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. Morgan Kollin, Chairman of of the convention’s organizational committee has now posted an official message to the convention’s Facebook page, explaining that the event has been cancelled.

Kollin doesn’t elaborate on the reasons for the cancellation in the post, but sources we spoke to in the organization have led us to believe that it has to do with an irreconcilable issue with the venue’s current management. In our own research, we found that the Edward Village Michigan Hotel’s history is a little shaky. The hotel has gone through five names in the last ten years, and when the current owners took over in April of 2016 they laid off the entirety of the hotel’s management.

So yeah, it doesn’t sound like a super stable place to work with.

It should also be noted that while Midwest Media Expo and Detroit based anime convention Youmacon share many of the same organizers and present themselves as sister events, they are run as separate entities. As they also do not share venues, the cancellation of Midwest Media Expo is highly unlikely to affect the older, longer running Youmacon.

In comments on the official Facebook announcement, Midwest Media Expo organizers have promised to refund vendors, artists and attendees. Vendors and Artists were also contacted prior to the announcement of the event’s cancellation via email. It’s an unfortunate situation which I’m sure organizers had wanted to avoid, and hopefully the organization will find a way to bounce back from this and resume the convention’s run in 2018.

I’m crossing my fingers at least.

Update (4/27 9:50am): Midwest Media Expo has announced that they will be planning a Fan Appreciation event this weekend in MMX’s stead. They made the announcement on Facebook last night:

The event is being held at the Radisson Detroit-Farmington Hills, and Voice Actors David Eddings and Jon St John will both appear at what’s being termed “NotCon.” Admission to the daytime portions of this is free (including Eddings and St John’s panels), but any dances or concerts at night will require admission to cover equipment costs.

You can find more information on the official Facebook event for Midwest Media Expo’s “NotCon.”

Unrelated to the convention organizers, Fantasticon is also offering free admission to people who registered for Midwest Media Expo for their Lansing, MI show which is also taking place this weekend (details here).

Update (4/27 2:45pm): There are a few updates for the “NotCon” replacement event coming out. First off, starting on Saturday there will be an open tabletop gaming event starting at 1pm. It’s also been announced that a small vendor room will be open as well.

Finally, organizers have launched a twitter account for the event.

Update (4/27 7:40pm): More stuff has been added to the “NotCon” lineup, with two concerts added to the schedule. The big one is, of course, an mc chris concert Friday night at 8:00pm. Admission to the concert is free to people who preregistered for Midwest Media Expo, and $20 for everyone else.

On Saturday night they’ve scheduled an 8:00pm Fox & Pepper concert. Like the mc chris concert, admission for those preregistered for MMX is free, and for everyone else the ticket price is $10.

After both of these concerts are dances, which have a $5 ticket (though, again, those who had preregistered don’t have to pay). The reason these particular parts have to be paid for is, as mentioned in a previous update, they have to cover equipment costs. Frankly it’s kind of amazing any of this is happening at all.

Canadian Artist Gisele Lagace Prevented From Entering the United States on Her Way to C2E2

Canadian comic artist Gisele Lagace (best known for her work on Jem and the Holograms) was originally scheduled to appear at C2E2 in Chicago this last weekend, but sadly that didn’t happen. When she arrived at the US/Canadian border last week, Lagace was refused entry into the country.

In a post on Facebook, Lagace detailed her experience. When she arrived at the border, agents wouldn’t believe that she wasn’t there to work. She did admit that she had some commissions with her she was still in progress on (valuing about $700), but wasn’t planning on completing any transactions in the US. This was apparently enough to keep her out of the states, and the experience that followed sounds incredibly humiliating:

My car was searched and is a mess. And to top it off, I was body searched and finger printed too (they do that when you get refused entry apparently.) It was an awful experience.

Things then went worse when they searched me throughout and found 2 white pills in my wallet. There was no identification on them and I wasn’t sure what they were. Once I calmed down after being touched all over, I remembered they were generic acetaminophen from the dollar store that I carry around in case Marc gets a headache as it sometimes happen. I forgot they were even in there.

Anyway, I wasn’t turned around for the 2 acetaminophen, as they found those after I was refused entry for the comics in my car and the unfinished sketches but they kept us longer there until they were convinced they weren’t narcotics. I never took drugs in my life!

Lagace also has now stated that until she can be guaranteed that this sort of thing won’t happen again, she won’t be attending any conventions in the United States.

Honestly, this sounds exactly like the sort of thing that Australian-based comic writer Tom Taylor was afraid of when he detailed why he won’t do American cons anymore. The fact that this is our current reality is infuriating.

Fans Are Angry That Creation’s ‘Star Trek: Las Vegas’ Will Charge Extra for Next Generation Reunion Panel

Creation Entertainment’s events aren’t your typical conventions, but those who attend them are usually guaranteed a very specific experience. This is especially true for people who shell out for the con’s $849 “Captain’s Chair” or $929 “Gold” packages, which get access to exclusive events, food, and in the case of the Gold members, autographs.

Gold and Captain’s Chair tickets sold out quickly, and these attendees were led to believe that the tickets included admission to all of the con’s programming. Needless to say then, when a 30th anniversary Star Trek: The Next Generation reunion was put on the schedule, it was expected that at least those attendees would be able to attend as part of their package.

Except not so much. Continue reading Fans Are Angry That Creation’s ‘Star Trek: Las Vegas’ Will Charge Extra for Next Generation Reunion Panel

Protip: Don’t Wear Your Cosplay In Public if it Looks Like You’re Armed

Look, we all know cosplay is fun, and that dressing like your favorite characters from various media is a great way to express your love for something at conventions and geek events. But here’s the thing — maybe you should consider restricting yourself to those geek events. In those environments, cosplay seems normal. People know that the spray painted silver Pringles cans are just a prop, and not a bomb.

Because that’s not what happens if you wear that same cosplay out into the world.

Last week, in the Canadian city of Grand Prairie, Alberta, a cosplayer found this out the hard way, when he wore his Fallout cosplay out into the world. He was headed to a tailor to get his costume altered, but when you’re wearing a gas mask and carrying something that looks like a bomb, you can guess what happened when he was spotted by people walking down the street. Heck, I spend a lot of time at conventions, and I know I would have called the police.

Needless to say, he was shocked when the RCMP showed up, weapons drawn.

Thankfully this situation ended peacefully, but things could have turned out very differently. Police have to assume that fake weapons and bombs are real until they can confirm otherwise. This isn’t remotely the first time this has happened, and many of us who have been working conventions long enough can recount similar stories. Heck, years ago at a con I was working, almost an identical situation happened in the con’s parking garage. The hotel that hosted the convention shared its parking garage with other local businesses, and some of our attendees had decided to run around with airsoft rifles. When some people who had been out to dinner spotted them (having no idea a convention was taking place) they called the cops.

That situation resolved with no one getting hurt, but again — everyone got lucky.

So please cosplayers of the world, I beg of you – don’t wear your cosplay out in public if it looks like you’re armed. Police are people too, and some of them have good judgment while others don’t. Every encounter like this is a roll of the dice, and it doesn’t always work out with a happy ending.


So We’re Pretty Sure Anime Fan Fest Baltimore Has Been Cancelled

Last month it was announced that New Jersey’s Anime Fan Fest was cancelled, and we wondered what that would mean for the upcoming Baltimore show the company was planning to put on. Well, while there hasn’t been any official announcement from the company, all signs seem to point to it being cancelled too.

Earlier this week, the convention’s official website was replaced with a blank page, and tickets were removed from sale on Eventbrite. There have also been multiple reports of attendees getting emails saying the event was cancelled and their preregistration being refunded, though we haven’t seen a copy of these emails ourselves.

MAD Event Management, which was running the con, does not currently list the event on their official website either, though it appears on the drop downs on some of their other cons’ sites (although so does the definitely cancelled New Jersey Anime Fan Fest). Honestly though, with two shows down in two months, I’d be hesitant to commit to any of these shows.

h/t to Jefferson Eng

The Bizarre Fall of Rocky Mountain Fur Con

When most conventions end their run, it’s usually for pretty simple reasons. Either the con has run out of money, the organizers’ personal lives have gotten in the way, there isn’t enough staff to keep going, or they have unsolvable venue issues. For good or bad, it’s usually straightforward.

Well, this time it’s not.

Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain Fur Con (originally scheduled for this August) was officially cancelled. The con ended its decade long run in a bizarre set of circumstances involving a faction of Nazi Furries, the Sovereign Citizen movement, and a staff member on the sex offender registry.

Strap in. It’s going to be quite the ride. Continue reading The Bizarre Fall of Rocky Mountain Fur Con

Guest of Honor Monica Valentinelli Withdraws From Odyssey Con as ‘Known Harasser’ Is on Event’s Staff

Author and tabletop game developer Monica Valentinelli was originally scheduled to be a guest of honor at Odyssey Con in Madison, WI later this month, but that is no longer the case. Earlier today, she announced in a blog post that she was no longer appearing at the con due to a “known harasser” being on the event’s staff. She had been under the impression that this person had left the event, but this was apparently not the case:

Yesterday, I found out that I was scheduled to be on programming with him and he was still part of the concom. I also learned that peers and friends were uncomfortable with his role at the show, and they had decided to avoid the convention altogether. His involvement with the con meant that I would have to interact with him, especially as a guest of honor, and I do not feel safe around him nor would I want to put any of my friends, peers, or fans in that situation either.

While Valentinelli doesn’t name this individual, though looking at the Odyssey Con “Concom” listing, it’s pretty clear who she’s referring to. When Valentinelli took her concerns to the staff though, she didn’t exactly get the reception she’d hoped for: Continue reading Guest of Honor Monica Valentinelli Withdraws From Odyssey Con as ‘Known Harasser’ Is on Event’s Staff

Reminder: Convention Photographer ‘Sci-Fi Photo Guys’ Is Operated By Convicted Sex Offender Daniel Silverman

Sci-Fi Photo Guys” is a company that does green screen photography and photo manipulation for cosplayers and photo ops at a variety of conventions. This year, they’ve already provided services or exhibited at GnomeCon, Lexington Comic & Toy Con, and CT Gamer Con. Sci-Fi Photo Guys provides a high quality service, with really only a few competitors that can match the quality.

And they’re owned and operated by a convicted sex offender.

In 2009, the owner of Sci-Fi Photo Guys Daniel Louis Silverman (who also goes by D. Siverman, Dee Silverman, and D.L. Silverman) plead no contest to charges of aggravated sexual battery for sexually abusing a twelve year old girl. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison with five years of probation, though we do not know how much of that sentence was served. He was also required to register as a sex offender in Virginia, and you can find that registration here.

Silverman has gone to extensive efforts to scrub his name publicly from the company. You won’t find his name listed anywhere on the official website, and recently he’s deleted his old Facebook page and started a new one. But when you pull up the state corporate registry, you’ll find his name — with an address that matches what was on the state sex offender registry up until last February. This is his company, and purchasing its services puts money in his pockets.

Having him at your con puts him in proximity of your attendees.

Most of us in the con scene are trying as hard as we can to make conventions safer places, and having a convicted sex offender present doesn’t really do that. It especially doesn’t help if no one is aware of it.

What the Heck is Even Happening With AnachroCon Right Now?

The Atlanta, GA based convention AnachroCon might be more aptly named “AnarchoCon” these days. Earlier this week the convention’s Chair and legal counsel Sarah Avraham stepped down in what sounds like an extremely complicated situation.

In a public Facebook post Avraham detailed the reasons for her departure, and while you should really read that post in its entirety, I’ll do my best to summarize it. It starts when Avraham was approached by William and Cindy MacLeod in the spring of 2016 to take over the event in an attempt to rehabilitate the convention’s image and get it back on track financially.

Because man, this con needed help. Continue reading What the Heck is Even Happening With AnachroCon Right Now?

One Month After Cancellation, Multiple Parties Still Waiting For Refunds From Lebanon MEGA Con

This last weekend would have been the second annual Lebanon MEGA Con, if the Missouri based convention hadn’t announced its cancellation just one month before. While organizer Will Peden did say that everyone owed money would be paid, some parties are waiting for those promises to be fulfilled.

To organizer Will Peden’s credit, it does appear that attendees were refunded their money. Additionally some vendors were able to receive refunds through Paypal, but only those who made their payments in the last 180 days (due to the time limit on filing disputes).

The ones who paid earlier have had a tougher go of it. Continue reading One Month After Cancellation, Multiple Parties Still Waiting For Refunds From Lebanon MEGA Con