It’s always a treat to take out-of-town visitors to a minor league baseball game and explain the Toastman. He’s Rod Blackstone, a superfan and, oh yeah… the mayor’s spokesman. When opposing players strike out, Rod yells “You. Are. Toast.” And he hurls a piece of toast into the crowd.
Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
This weekend, it’s not Mountaineer football fans who will be descending upon Morgantown — it’s pop culture fans.
Is that term too broad? Well, it’s tough to classify the West Virginia Popular Culture Convention (WVPOP), a brand-new event for the state that’s slated for Oct. 6 and 7. The Associated Press reports that promoter Jon Hayes expects collectors and fans from across the country to gather, celebrating their fondness for comic books, comic strips, manga, anime, gaming and toys.
New York Times best-selling writer Kyle Higgins, artist Ron Frenz and writer/artist Billy Tucci highlight the guest list.
Also slated to appear are artists Jerry Gaylord, Bo Hampton, Mark Wheatley, Neil Vokes and Josh Medors, and writers Robert Tinnell and J.C. Vaughn.
Vaughn is bringing the first West Virginia Pop comic book, “Zombie-Proof: Zombie Zoo,” among others.
There also will be entertainment guests. Among them: Charleston filmmaker Daniel Boyd, an assistant professor at West Virginia State University and creator of such films as 1987′s “Chillers.” That movie, which won the Silver Scroll Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film, features several strangers sharing nightmarish stories while waiting for a bus.(Charleston native and SyFy “Face Off” contender RJ Haddy, a special effects makeup artist unfortunately had to cancel)
And with it being October — mere weeks before Halloween — expect some ghoulish fun, too. Morgantown’s Rocky Horror Shadow Cast will be there, and photographer Sarah Sigler can help you make some Morbid Memories of your trip.
The event will take place at the Mylan Park Expo Center, just off I-79.
So, Charlestonians, who’s making plans to attend?
Ever notice how short football season is? It’s because football players take time to heal up from their injuries. Comic convention season lasts nearly all year because, when you’re a geek, you just put a Band-Aid on your blisters and play through the pain.
Saturday, while waiting in line to meet Anthony Daniels, the gold standard in droids, I looked at my watch and noted to Duane, “Well, it’s 11 o’clock, Comic Con tickets are officially on sale. I bet they’ll be gone in an hour!” Duane had no reaction, having already declared his feet and knees couldn’t take another West Coast convention.
It didn’t incite panic as in previous years. We had declared this would not be the year to resume our travel to the prettiest city in the United States, San Diego. Though it is unrivaled in both size, exclusive merchandise and celebrities attending, the San Diego con is just too darn big. It’s really a venture that requires a vacation to recover from your vacation.
Instead, this year we’ve already attended two smaller conventions that are easier on our wallets, feet and noses (other attendees often forgo hygiene during convention time.)
Our first trip in the middle of February brought us to the city otherwise home to the world’s most famous mouse — Orlando. We went to Mega-Con for the first time last year and enjoyed both the scale and pace. There was enough to see and do for a couple of days, but we didn’t look like we could be extras on the Walking Dead when the convention ended.
This year, the show featured Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series), David Prowse (the “body” most often occupying Darth Vader’s suit, and Tia Carrere (Wayne’s rock goddess from “Wayne’s World.”) They were all professional and friendly, which is always a relief.
The highlights of this year’s show, however, were the two panels we added. The first was a retrospective on DC’s Teen Titans with former artists and creators. They stressed the importance of not becoming too attached to certain story lines or specific versions of characters since the comics must evolve to remain relevant to ever-changing world of comic readers. The Titans of the 1970s and 1980s will not appeal in the same way to new comic fans. More than once, the panelists had to remind some of the attendees that the Teen Titans are just characters in a book. This concept didn’t make sense to some of the smellier among us.
The second panel involved experienced cosplayers who shared information on how to cut costs without sacrificing the look and authenticity of your costume. We learned better techniques to making metallic surfaces on a budget as well as plenty of ideas for future projects. The panelists regularly attend conventions and other events and never break the bank doing so. This was a panel we could have enjoyed for hours because of the amount of information and ideas. It was over far too soon.
A side trip to Orlando and Google research took us to Rock n’ Roll Heaven, a great record shop in downtown Orlando. The condition of the albums were so pristine that I was convinced they were reissues. They had almost everything a collector could hope for in virtually every genre. We picked up Nilsson Schmilson, a Big Brother and the Holding Company album, Van Morrison Live and Queen II.
One of the owners looked as though Jim Morrison had resurfaced and decided to inhabit a record shop. It was really uncanny. We discussed our collection and music and he gave us some suggestions for music documentaries. He told us Davy Jones frequented the shop since he lived close by. He said Davy always put on a great show for the Flower Power events at Epcot. We were especially sad to hear of Davy’s passing just a short time after our return from Orlando.
Once we came home, we headed to our second convention of the year — Steel-City Con in Monroeville, Pa. We’ve gone to this show five times now and each time keeps getting better. They’ve started adding bigger media guests and more vendors are seeing potential on the modest retail floor, especially when they see Duane coming with wads of cash and no filter for what he’s willing to buy.
The deciding factor for the show was the announcement of the Sid and Marty Krofft reunion tour featuring Kathleen Colemen and Wesley Eure (Holly and Will from “Land of the Lost”) Johnny Whitaker (“Sigmund and the Sea Monster” and “Family Affair”) and Butch Patrick (“The Munsters” and “Lidsville.”) The previously mentioned C-3PO, Billy Dee Williams and his son, one of the cast members from Beverly Hills 90210, a wrestler from IMPACT Wrestling, and Susan Olsen and Christopher Knight (Cindy and Bobby Brady) rounded out the lineup.
We had a lengthy conversation with Ms. Coleman who told us how her and Wesley’s scene for “Land of the Lost” movie ended up on the cutting room floor. She also wanted our advice on other conventions to attend, which we were all too willing to give. She may be the sweetest celebrity we’ve ever met. I mean, come on! She’s Holly from Land of the Lost! She rocks!
I also couldn’t resist asking Mr. Daniels what it was like wearing the C-3PO suit. He recounted cutting his foot during the first take and said the entire costume was dreadful although he did add that it got better with each film. Seeing some of the people in line behind us, I believe his nightmare was only beginning. Smells were already wafting forward from what appeared to be an unwashed Pokemon costume two sizes too small.
Convention season is in full swing now. It’s exciting to see events across the country taking shape and knowing friends that we’ve met from standing in line are representing geek-dom well by reporting back on their encounters. Live long and prosper, fellow fanboys and fangirls.
San Diego Comic-Con (http://www.comic-con.org/cci) will not be a destination for Ashlee and I again this year. We missed last year and, sadly, will miss again this year. It’s almost a full-time job to swing tickets with the near “Power Ball” chances of being chosen, and between airfare, hotel, and car rental, it costs more than some full-time jobs pay. Considering that we do not go ‘small’ for our trips to California, we felt it would be best to avoid pretending to be Mitt Romney with our monetary capabilities, if you catch my drift.
We are heading to a couple of familiar geek-friendly spots, though.
Mega-Con (http://www.megaconvention.com) is an Orlando, Florida convention, held on February 17th-19th, with a variety of fan entertainment. There is a major focus on anime, which is highlighted by a slew of slothful sycophants wearing garb from their favorite Pokemon. I become annoyed by their constant hugging and interaction with random strangers who share their interests in squealing upon meeting – and hugging.
Apart from the deluge of woven hat wearing, pubescent squealers, Mega-Con offers fan interaction with panels of comic book artists and writers, Star Wars, and various other topics, as well as autograph lines for celebrities like Stan Lee, cast members from Start Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other favorites.
Lego fans are always abuzz over the diorama displays of dynamic dimensions. Lots of vendors are available for screen printed shirts to display your love of Dr. Who or the Green Lantern, the Green Hornet, the Green Arrow, or possibly even the Green Giant.
Further north, Steel-City Con (http://www.steelcitycon.com) is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania convention, held on March 2nd-4th. It’s a smaller scale version of Mega-Con by far, but still has great media guests.
The focus for Steel-City Con is different. It has a majority of its space taken up by vendors of classic toys and collectables. There are no panels.
Media guests in the past have included Adam West and Henry Winkler. This time, there is an incredible lineup of 70s stars and Star Wars actors. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and his son, Corey Dee Williams (Klaatu – a minor character from Star Wars) will join Anthony Daniels (C3PO) for autograph signings and photo opportunities.
Stars of the classic television series, The Brady Bunch, will be in attendance as well. Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) and Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) will be there. Wesley Eure and Kathleen Coleman (Will and Holly – Land of the Lost), Butch Patrick (The Munsters and Lidsville) and Johnny Whitaker (Sigmund and the Sea Monster and Family Affair) will all be representing a mini-reunion of Sid and Marty Krofft Superstars. That will bring back Saturday Morning memories for me!
Lidsville <–Theme Song/Intro
Stepping forward two decades, Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210) will be appearing and Ian Petrella, who played Randy on ‘A Christmas Story’. That should cover most famous people named Ian. There are plenty of other media guests and artists attending to fill up a full weekend, so this should be a fun excursion without the high cost of airline travel cross-country…although, there is not a more pleasant city on earth than San Diego, California.
Say what you will about the commercialization of the holiday season, but I am all for it. I love Christmas commercials, Christmas advertisements, Christmas movies, Christmas bottling and packaging. The greatest part of the commercialized Christmas is the Christmas television episodes.
Now, I’m not saying that the commercialization of Christmas should take away from the true meaning, but I do think it can add a great deal to the Christmas season. There’s room for both. I hear people say that they can’t get into the Christmas spirit, perhaps these episodes of television classics can help. This is my list of the top 10 television Christmas episodes of all. I didn’t include the obvious Christmas specials, like Peanuts and It’s A Wonderful Life because those weren’t regular series.
10. Ozzie and Harriet (1957) “The Christmas Tree Lot”
Ricky and David Nelson come across problems after deciding to sell Christmas trees to buy a gift for their father, Ozzie. I include this episode because it’s one of the first Christmas episodes of any television series. The dry humor of the family may be lost on people who aren’t aware of the series, but for fans, this is one of the coolest old episodes of any series. Ricky and David are older in this one and Ricky was on his way to becoming a great early rock star and teen phenom.
9. The Wonder Years (1988) “Christmas”
Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) is in love with Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar). Every boy in 1988 was. The difference is, Kevin Arnold had to buy her a Christmas gift…for six bucks. The Arnold family also comes to grips with the onset of color television on Christmas of 1968. Wayne Arnold was a butt-head about the whole thing…as usual.
8. Growing Pains (1986) “The Kid”
Ben Seaver (Jeremy Miller) brings a homeless girl home on Christmas Eve and the family’s plans change as they end up trying to help the girl escape from a life on the street. Mr. Seaver (Alan Thicke) uses his fatherly skills to bring peace on Christmas morning.
7. Silver Spoons (1982) “The Best Christmas Ever”
Rick Schroder (Ricky Stratton) and Joel Higgins (Edward Stratton III) are a rich and happy father and son. While preparing for their Christmas at the coolest house in sitcom history, a young homeless family seeks shelter in a nearby cave. (Not realistic, but heart wrenching nonetheless.)
Joey Lawrence (Joey Thompson) plays the cute kid who sneaks into the Stratton home to sneak some food to feed his family for Christmas. Ricky finds Joey and insists on playing Santa for the family. Edward joins in and the Stratton family ends up giving their own Christmas gifts to the Thompson family, along with hiring on the Joey’s father to the Stratton Toy Company.
6. Happy Days (1974) “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas”
Henry Winkler (Fonzie) is highlighted in this episode while he tells Al how the Cunningham family and he spent Christmas together. Fonzie doesn’t have a family to spend his Christmas with. The episode ends with Fonzie being asked to say the blessing over the Cunningham Christmas dinner, truly showing he was now a part of the family.
5. Seinfeld (1997) “The Strike”
This episode should’ve been called “Festivus” instead. George’s father sets aside December 23rd as the anti-holiday of holidays. I hesitated to include this episode because it really doesn’t do much to put me in a Christmas mood, but I can’t deny that I think of Festivus every year around this time.
The Feats of Strength, the Airing of Grievances, and wrestling seems to be what most families are thinking around December 26th, right after spending the holidays with their families.
4. Touched by an Angel (1994) “Fear Not”
While Monica (Roma Downey) and Tess (Della Reese) are on their mission to help a small church put on a Christmas pageant, they find out what horrible church music is all about. They befriend a handicapped boy, Joey, who fears the dark after his parents die in a car wreck at night. Wayne (Randy Travis) is a cold man who is tired of Joey always screwing things up. When Joey’s friend Selena dies, Monica has to convince Wayne to accept Joey and love him. The finale’ of this episode is one of the biggest tearjerkers of all time.
3. M*A*S*H* (1980) “Death Takes a Holiday”
Father Mulcahy prepares for a Christmas party for the children locally and Winchester has unsuspectedly been saving up his favorite chocolates for the kids. The cast is always great, but there’s an incredibly well-done heartfelt storyline with a soldier who is mortally wounded and dying on Christmas day. The doctors are doing everything in their power to keep him alive through the night so his family doesn’t have to be told their soldier died on Christmas Day.
2. Little House on the Prairie (1974) “Christmas at Plum Creek”
Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls) and Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) are experiencing the problem people have had for years, providing the perfect gift for their family without having the money. Laura ends up giving her very best to give her mother the perfect gift. The entire family learns the true meaning of Christmas, and little Carrie gives her Christmas penny to buy a present for the Baby Jesus.
- Highway To Heaven (1986) “Basinger’s New York”
Michael Landon (Jonathan Smith) and Victor French (Mark) are on a mission from God…literally. Their assignment is a newspaper columnist named Jeb, played by the great television actor Richard Mulligan (Empty Nest). Jeb, a recent divorcee’, can’t seem to get in the Christmas spirit and has become cynical toward mankind in general.
Jonathan and Mark take Jeb with them as they help a modern day Joseph and Mary (who are expecting a child) to find shelter since they are homeless, hungry, and in need of a hospital. On their way, they help a cab driver find his missing son, a senator and his wife find love, and a group of homeless men find purpose in life.
Jeb gets his Christmas story, miracle after miracle, and Jonathan and Mark show that an angel and a bunch of wise men can really make a difference. This is number one on my list because it includes every aspect of what a great Christmas episode should include, the manger scene, Mary and Joseph, being thankful, angels on a mission, giving, a bad guy who doesn’t have room in the inn, learning a lesson of selflessness, a miracle or two, reuniting a family, and the poor being rescued from despair.
For more great links to some show that will put you in the Christmas spirit, check out http://www.fanpop.com/spots/christmas/articles/64/title/watch-101-classic-christmas-videos-online
Today is Thanksgiving. Well, it is while I’m writing this anyway. My wife had to work today so it was going to be me and the dog at home alone munching on Nutrisystem instead of the traditional feast most American families are accustomed to.
Every year I become a little more sentimental around the holidays. My senses always take me back, whether it be the smell of turkey, the taste of dressing, or the sight of Christmas tree lights. This year, we got up before she left for work and started watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This should have been a holiday classic but, after hearing a Brittney Spears song-or-two along with the absolute mess of non-tradition that this fiasco has become, we put in a DVD recording of the 1987 Macy’s Parade instead.
It’s no wonder most people fail to get in a real holiday mood anymore. There is nothing drawing them to the senses that remind them of what was special about them. The corny behavior of Willard Scott or the McDonald’s commercials with holiday themes may seem far fetched and odd, but they sure put me in a better Christmasy spirit than commercials for Viagra and Lipitor.
Our DVD collection isn’t what you would consider normal. We have an array of movies and TV series, but our favorites are recordings pulled from television in the 1970s and 1980s with their original commercials intact. The 1987 parade was much more festive and joyous than anything you will see today. Willard Scott interviewed 2 grandmothers from Russia, one who was 102 and the other was 87. Neither could hear a single thing he said to them. Realizing that they couldn’t, he began trying to simplify his questions. That didn’t work either. It was (unintentionally) comedic gold.
The Snuggle Fabric Softener Bear made his helium-filled debut in a Christmas stocking. He joined Garfield, Snoopy, Spider-Man, and other great oversized balloons floating down the street.
There were some bad parts that reminded you that everything wasn’t perfect in the 1980s. For instance, there was a really bad musical number dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt and Mary Hartman singing to some kids who appeared to be afraid of her gigantic shoulder pads. The worst part of it was something called ‘The Starlight Express’. I can only describe them as dancing and singing robotic Mad Max type characters on rollerblades with New Wave era makeup who looked very proud of what they were doing.
The commercials were so much better then. Snoopy, ALF, the Cosby Show, Mickey Mouse, and other familiar faces. Clowns and marching bands with big hair added a soundtrack to the show that is absent with today’s version. I’m not saying today’s marching bands aren’t excellent and very talented, but traditional music around the holidays soothes my mind after a year of working too hard and dealing with the cynical nature society has adopted.
Overall, it was a great decision to go back in time rather than accept the cheap knock-off that today’s parade has become with its boy bands, stars I don’t know, and commercials for prescription drugs. Perhaps I’m just being stubborn and old fashioned. Perhaps I’m just looking for an excuse to escape what I believe is a horrible decade for music and entertainment. This may make me sound like an Andy Rooney type nerd, but I don’t see the problem with commercializing the holidays, as long as it’s good commercialization.
In commemoration of Andy Rooney’s passing, I’d like to write about something that really bugs me: Christmas.
Truth be told, I have no problem with holidays. I have no issue with buying people presents, sending out Christmas cards, going shopping in crowded malls and I don’t mind being around my extended family (as long as they limit their visits to once or twice a year).
It’s fair to say I love Christmastime. I just hate how people are making the Christmas season last for three months.
Fellow nerd blogger Jared Hunt spotted Christmas merchandise at the Ripley Wal-Mart around Oct. 1. Apparently, stores start stocking artificial trees and ornaments as soon as the back-to-school merchandise hits the clearance aisle.
My wife spotted her first Christmas commercial around Oct. 17. I still haven’t seen the Hershey’s Kisses “Carol of the Bells” commercial (which I loathe) but I have a feeling it will be premiering soon.
Just this morning, we received a press release from Huntington “lite rock” station Magic 97.9. They switched to an all-Christmas music format this morning. Here’s a quote from the station’s program director Chris Reynolds:
“I’ve been getting asked since August, what day we were making the switch. It’s great for businesses that want to share the holiday spirit with their customers and employees. One of the reasons Christmas music is so popular is because it reminds people of family and tradition. No matter how tough the economy gets or what’s going on in your life, Christmas music helps cheer you up.”
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but Christmas music in November does not cheer me up. It makes me seethe.
And take my Facebook friends. Please. Just one week into November, my Facebook friends are posting pictures of their Christmas trees. I’ve seen half a dozen people post about listening to Christmas music. IT’S THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER. THANKSGIVING WON’T BE HERE FOR OVER TWO WEEKS.
Which brings me to my point. In all this hubbub about Christmas, we have completely forgotten about Thanksgiving.
You know, the holiday where we celebrate the Pilgrims’ friendship with Native Americans by gorging ourselves at the dinner table and passing out on the couch. The holiday where everyone buys a newspaper (but no one reads the stories).
When I was a kid, I knew exactly when the Christmas season began. It happened when Santa appeared on the Macy’s Day Parade. That was the starting gun.
It’s not too late to save Christmas. I’m begging you, please don’t put up a single decoration until Nov. 24. Don’t buy a single gift until Black Friday. Enjoy Thanksgiving.
If we hold off on Christmastime this year, maybe we won’t be so glad to see it leave come Dec. 26.
I’m too pooped to tea party. And I’m too busy to occupy Wall Street, Sesame Street, your street or my street.
But I do have some complaints. So I decided to have my own occupation.
I worked my occupation into the regular course of a day, so I wouldn’t have to take any breaks – except to construct the signs I carried defiantly. Oh, sure, my signs resulted in some staring and comments – but isn’t that the point? How can you change the world if no one notices?
I used white computer paper, Scotch tape and the handle of a toy Styrofoam hammer to create my first protest sign: “I get too much e-mail!” Then I held my sign aloft with one hand while I clicked delete 612 times through my daily dose of ink jet cartridge offers and Nairobi scam emails.
My next protest was at lunchtime. I’ve been reading about the changes to the school lunch program. Apparently the school system has cut down on yummy stuff like salt and sugar and replaced the ingredients with healthy substitutes.
This has resulted in breakfasts like “sunbutter banana muffin,” lunches like “baked Cajun fish” and side items like “carrot raisin salad and kale greens.”
Apparently it has also resulted in hungry chicken-nugget loving kids, cranky school cooks, frustrated parents and lots of food in the trash.
My next protest sign, which I carried as I occupied the office microwave, told the world, “School food tastes better than my stinky frozen lunches.”
Bean soup and corn bread?
Chicken potato smasher?
OK, I don’t know what that last one is.
But bring it on! I’m having semi-warm SmartOnes meals every day. I would love to smash a chicken and potato and eat it up.
After eating my less-than-satisfying lunch, I was satisfied for a while. I didn’t occupy anything again until after dinner. Then I occupied the kitchen sink as I washed the dishes. This was a particular challenge because I needed both hands to wash.
A few weeks ago, when West Virginia University was playing its biggest game of the season against Louisiana State, I was at my mother- and –father-in-law’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration. To my mind, Mountaineer football Coach Dana Holgorsen should have taken a few minutes to write them a congratulations card.
The week after that, as the home field crowd sagged on a rainy Saturday against Bowling Green, I was visiting my own parents.
As the Mountaineers prepared to take on Connecticut the week after that, Dana scolded me and everybody else. He wanted to see us all at the ceremonial Mantrip march into the stadium.
“We have a conference game coming up this week at noon, but I can give you some excuses now. ‘We’re playing a team that’s 2-3.’ Well, they should be 5-0. ‘We’re playing at noon.’ Well, who cares? Get up. ‘The Mantrip’ is at 9:45.’ Are we going to have a good crowd or is nobody going to be there?
“Is the weather going to be 85 and sunny or 25 and snowing. It really doesn’t matter because the coaches, players, trainers and everybody else is going to be there. That’s what our job is, so what is the support people’s job?”
Mantrip, meet guilt trip.
I did not occupy a seat at the stadium that day. Instead I mowed and trimmed the lawn and painted our living room and dining room. Honestly, I could have used some help around the house from Dana and the players. There was a lot I didn’t get done.
I hope the coach can find it in his heart to forgive me. But if he can’t, then he’s welcome to take a page out of my playbook and construct his own occupation sign. It can say, “Brad’s priorities are misguided.”
At the end of my occupation, I discovered the world had not changed. I still get too much email, my lunches remain substandard and I doubt I make it to anybody’s football game this year.
That’s OK. Occupation, like charity, begins at home.
It is, in fact, an excellent weekend for geekery in the Kanawha Valley.
Starting Saturday is the West Virginia Book Festival at the Charleston Civic Center. Highlights include West Virginia University legend Jerry West, who just came out with the memoir “West by West,” and Lee Child , author of the popular Jack Reacher novels.
There’s also a lot of
cool geeky off-beat stuff.
The Daily Mail’s Zack Harold has a story about an antique book appraiser, Jim Presgraves.
Presgraves has sold books since he was 12 years old, so he can spot a loser pretty quickly.
He opened “Bookworm and Silverfish,” his Wytheville, Va. bookshop, in 1967. He entered the antique book business a year later.
Zack also wrote about the popular used book sale.
Better get in line now if you’re shopping for a deal. (Unless you’re reading this when it’s already over. In that case, hop in line now for next year.)
Every year, a line of bibliophiles snakes through the Civic Center as they wait to get into the Kanawha Public Library’s annual used book sale.
“Some of them probably get there at 7 or earlier to get in line,” sale coordinator Sandy Frercks said.
The annual used book sale, opening at 9 a.m. this Saturday, is one of the library’s biggest fundraisers. It generated $42,000 last year alone.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail’s Paul Fallon writes about CharCon, a convention for gamers headquartered at Charleston’s Ramada Inn.
CharCon, which starts today (Friday) at noon and ends late Sunday, will have events like a board game tournament, a board game library and various speakers.
Paul talks to the managers of two local stores that sell role-playing game merchandise as well as card games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.
David Whelan, owner of Lost Legion Games and Comics, says tabletop role-playing and card and board games have become more than just a niche market.
Whelan owns three stores under his Lost Legion flagship: The Rifleman on Charleston’s West Side, The Castle in Beckley and The Keep in Princeton.
“Role-playing games are all pretty strong right now,” he said. “Old gamers are bringing in new players.”
West Virginia’s premiere games convention returns Oct. 21-23, 2011, offering more games and activities for players of all ages and interests.
Now in its sixth year, CharCon is dedicated to bringing gamers and non-gamers alike together to have fun, learn new games and experience all the hobby has to offer.
The event runs from noon to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
CharCon’s costume contest will return again this year with categories for both adults and children. With the close proximity to Halloween, this is a great chance to break out your favorite costume. This year’s theme is Wild West/Steampunk, but feel free to come in any costume that you like.
As always, there are still plenty of games for all ages and tastes, and as always CharCon is a wonderful event for families and children.
“One of our ongoing goals with CharCon is to get more children involved in playing tabletop games and we believe strongly in the positive impact of doing this as a family,” said Travis Reynolds, chief executive director of CharCon.
“This year we have dedicated part of Sunday as Family Day (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). We will have activities and games for children and their families to play together. It is our hope they will have a great time and find some new ways to spend quality time together playing games.”
Gamers also will have the chance to register for other games and tournaments through the CharCon website or at the door, as well as participate in some of the hundreds of pick-up games occurring throughout the two-day event. A listing of the gaming events that will be available can be downloaded from the CharCon website.
Returning as a part of CharCon in 2011 is Hack3rcon. Hack3rcon is a seminar based event about security in the digital world. Hack3rcon enjoyed a great inaugural year in 2010 and is anticipating a stellar show for 2011.We also welcome the return of The LANding Zone. Video game competition at its finest! Including these events broadens CharCon’s appeal outside of our traditional non-electronic audience.
This year’s convention also features several noteworthy guests, including nationally renowned fantasy/science fiction artist Jeff Carlisle, comic writer and game designer Jolly Blackburn, horror artist Billy Tackett, and author Winfield H. Strock III.
Jolly R. Blackburn is known best known for his amusing comic detailing the day to day adventures of a group of stalwart gamers known as The Knights of the Dinner Table. He is also the designer of the popular role playing games Hackmaster and Aces and Eights.
For more information on CharCon and the various events, guests and special opportunities featured throughout the weekend, visit www.charcon.org. You also can register for the site’s forums and join in on discussions of games and the hobby and meet other gamers from in and around West Virginia.
CharCon is estimating attendance of more than 750, after having 360 attendees in 2006, 460 in 2007, 470 in 2008, 510 in 2009, and 693 in 2010.