On this episode of Nerd & Tie, Trae and Nick fly it alone without Pher (who was busy elsewhere — possibly arm wrestling with the Governor of Minnesota). We talk about the new Power Rangers trailer, how Wonder Woman is (finally) canonically queer, Iron Fist getting a release date, Ben Affleck’s Batman movie maybe (but probably not) having a title, the second Wine Country Comic Con, and how well the Nerd & Tie Expo went.
So over the lastyearwe’vewrittenquitea lot about Uriel Brena’s Wine Country Comic Con. I mean, if you don’t feel like following the links to get the whole story, the short version is this is a con that created a bunch of fake Facebook accounts to promote their first event effectively through catfishing, claimed to support a charity they had no involvement in (before finally convincing someone to work with them), and treated those contracted to appear as guests so sketchily that seventeen of them cancelled.
It was a mess.
So, when we found out a second one was happening September 24th (on the same day as rival show Santa Rosa Toy & Comic Con), we were both rolling our eyes and curious as to how it would turn out. Of course, Nerd & Tie is based out of the Midwest (and that was the same weekend as our own convention) we couldn’t check it out.
But AnimeCons.com/AnimeCons.TV‘s Patrick Delahanty did, and he brought a camera. Honestly, I could add comment, but you should just watch the video yourself and see just how badly this whole thing turned out.
Oh, and as mentioned in the video, Brena is apparently already planning a third “convention” to be held December 11th. I put convention in quotes though, because it’s apparently taking place in a baseball card shop for some reason.
I mean, this thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Following the path of Santa Rosa, CA’s Wine Country Comic Con has been one of the strangest stories I’ve written about in my time covering the con scene here at Nerd & Tie.
Surrounded by controversy, the convention did take place April 23 and 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, albeit moved from the large Grace Pavilion to the much smaller Finley Hall. With about three dozen tables and a fairly light attendance, no one would exactly describe it as a hit, but it is a thing that happened. Since then, many of us have been genuinely wondering if they would attempt to run a second convention.
Well, we’ve gotten our answer sooner than later.
While there haven’t been any formal announcements, we have confirmed that organizer Uriel Brena has started reaching out to guests inviting them to the next Wine Country Comic Con. The dates we were shown are is September 24th and 25th, 2016, less than five months away.
The latest chapter in this bizarre saga takes us down a slightly darker road. One of the agents for several of the cancelled guests reached out to us this evening, saying Wine Country Comic Con organizer Uriel Brena directly threatened their safety.
They claim that Brena called them earlier today, angry about the cancellations. After a brief exchange, the Agent claims that Uriel Brena said that “it would be a really bad idea if they or their family came to wine country as it could be ‘hazardous’ to them.”
Now obviously it’s a hard thing to prove, and we only have the agent’s word on this. But with the pattern of unprofessional and underhanded tactics surrounding Wine Country Comic Con, it’s hard to ignore. While I doubt Brena really meant the threat (assuming what the Agent says is true), anyone who thinks that it’s even remotely a good idea to talk to another human being that way has pretty questionable judgement.
Wine Country Comic Con is scheduled for this weekend, but at this point you really have to ask yourself — is it worth still attending it?
Recorded before a live audience at the lovely Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells, on this live episode of Nerd & Tie we discuss the first Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer, let Nick fanboy about the Godzilla Resurgence trailer, continue to look closely at the ever living clusterf**k that is Wine Country Comic Con, roll our eyes at YourMiniCon’s mounting issues, and contemplate Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s title.
Oh, and we talk directly to some of you while you’re in the room — and try to start a rumor that Sean Corse of Famicom Dojo got mauled by a gazelle.
Live shows are fun like that. No Brand Con shows especially.
We talked about Wine Country Comic Con back in February and again in March because of their sketchy promotional tactics (which used fake Facebook accounts) and the loose relationship organizer Uriel Brena seems to have with Intellectual Property (and in my opinion just the truth in general). This isn’t even mentioning the confusing story about Brena’s involvement with the Roseland Lions Club (the answer is “They’re currently involved but Brena weirdly lied about being a Vice President”) or purposely using a similar name to the Early Learning Institute.
Since then, the story has just continued to get weirder.
On this episode of Nerd & Tie we talk about the new Ghostbusters trailer, Pacific Rim 2 has a new director, the Iron Fist has been cast, Nicholas Meyer has joined the writing staff of the new Star Trek show, Wine Country Comic Con is insane, YourMiniCon has cancelled more events, and Nick went to Plattcon.
Last week we published a piece on Wine Country Comic Con. A first year convention currently scheduled for April 23-24 in Santa Rosa, CA, we were alarmed to find they were using a fake Facebook account to spam groups and talk with potential attendees.
But the more we looked into this event, the more we discovered that this story went further than just the fictional “Frida Avila.” Wine Country Comic Con organizer Uriel Brena has constructed a complex charade of lies, fake staffers, and a whole bunch of weirdness.
So this last week I posted an article about how Wine Country Comic Con was spamming Facebook using a fake account with stolen pictures. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this, but it’s still really weird to me. In this installment of The Off Week I ponder why the heck some cons do this in the first place.
“The Off Week” is a series of videos produced by Nerd & Tie in the weeks where we aren’t producing a full length podcast. The goal is to raise questions and make you think about things that you’ve maybe taken for granted.
Like many other first year conventions, Wine Country Comic Con (April 23-24, Santa Rosa, CA) is trying to promote as hard as they can. Some people have complained about the convention spamming various Facebook groups (including the tip email that pointed us to this), but it’s not really surprising that a new con might get a bit overzealous when it comes to getting the word out.
What is surprising though is the person doing this promotion. The bulk of these posts come from the account of one “Frida Avila.” This is only notable because of one very important thing…
…there is no Frida Avila.
“Frida Avila” is a fiction. A construct created to spam various accounts. While clearly a lot of effort has been put into crafting this fake persona (more than most people would bother with at least) it still immediately falls apart when one takes a closer look.