Dallas Convention Driven by Diversity

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Dallas spring break marks a spectacular convention. All-Con 2006 delivers. Celebrity seeker, comic book, tabletop and roleplay gaming, costuming, science fiction, fantasy, independent film, and art communitites unite for three days.

All-Con, a convention which caters directly to fan communities, is a three day event held annually at the Sterling Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The convention opens at 9:00 a.m. on Friday March 17th and runs all day and night through 5:00 p.m. on Sunday March 19th.

The convention’s diversity is built upon cross-community fandom and cultures. For fans seeking autographs and opportunities to interact with celebrities from televisions and movies, All-Con offers guests representing: Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, Enterprise, Babylon 5, Alias, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, LOST, Highlander, Roughnecks: the Starship Trooper Chronicles, and the comic book ''The Crow''.

Celebrity and media guests are present all three days to host discussion panels, mingle with fans, and participate in convention featured events. Specific times are scheduled for guests to sign autographs, draw sketches, perform on stage, and meet fans. The following celebrities have been confirmed for March:

Jay Laga'aia played Captain Typho, Queen Amidala’s personal protector and the head of Naboo Security Forces in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Without Jedi to protect Padme during the Clone Wars, Mr. Laga'aia’s character had a cameo in the animated Clones Wars volume 2, and he appeared on the big screen in his role again in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. With the exception of hosting Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis last April, Jay has been unavailable to the convention circuit as he has been starring in Disney's smash hit musical, The Lion King, in which he played Mufasa the king, in Sydney, Australia.

Fans of the Star Wars prequel saga know Nalini Krishan as the lightsaber wielding Jedi apprentice, ''Barriss Offee'', a character who was reprised in the animated Clone Wars cartoon series. Having survived the arena on Geonosis in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Nalini has plenty of tales straight from a Star Wars actress insider.

Bill Blair is best known for his roles on: Alien Nation, Babylon 5 (all five seasons, plus two TV movies for TNT), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (seasons 4-7), Sliders (1998 season premiere, and throughout the season), Ally McBeal, Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise, The X-Files, The Invisible Man, Drew Carey, Family Law, The District, Crossing Jordan, Providence, King of Queens, Will and Grace, ''Yes, Dear'', Friends, HBO's ''Carnivale'', and The Division. Known as being an alien actor, Bill is prepared to discuss the industry from make-up sessions, to stories of casts and on-set adventures.

James Horan had a featured role as Confederate Colonel Arthur Cummings in the Warner Brothers Civil War epic Gods and Generals, the prequel to Gettysburg. He has also starred or co-starred in The Haunting of Sea Cliff Inn, Scannercop, Countermeasures, and Vampire Resurrection, (recently released by Shadow Entertainment). A partial list of his appearances on prime-time TV includes Lost, Charmed, Skin, Homeland Security, The Commish, Highlander, Baywatch, The New Zorro, Walker, Texas Ranger, and V.I.P. In the Star Trek universe, he has guest-starred on The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and recurred as a mysterious alien from the future on the last Trek series, Enterprise. James is a sought-after guest in the Star Trek convention circuit, having created five different characters on the four series.

Ken Feinberg is no stranger to television fans. Especially well known to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the Chaos Demon, Ken has also made a name for himself appearing on Charmed, The District, Enterprise, and reoccurring as Mr. Sark’s Driver on Alias.

James O'Barr is the author and artist behind The Crow - a gothic tale of romantic beauty and eternal love that must cross the boundaries of adversarial evil. Mr. O'Barr's fans are familiar with the tale of Eric Draven and his girlfriend, cut down in their prime on the eve of their Halloween wedding night only to see Eric return one year later, brought back by the keeper of spirits, the Crow. Eric's job is to set things right again and to remove those dead souls who would continue to actualize evil upon the mortal earth.

Ben Dunn's Manga-style art can be seen in Antarctic Press' Ninja High School title, and the Marvel Mangaverse series. While visiting with Ben at All-Con, ask him about his animation work for Warner Brothers' new feature ''A Scanner Darkly'', coming to theaters in 2006.

Guests, fan groups, organizations, local professionals, and entertainers organize discussion panels. Panels begin every hour on the hour. Depending on the time of day and special event scheduling, All-Con can operate up to eight discussion panels simultaneously. Prizes from donors and sponsors will be randomly awarded at the beginning of each discussion panel.

Organizations and clubs will have scheduled demonstrations and performances to entertain and educate convention attendees, running concurrently with the discussion panel schedule. Confirmed organizations include Southwest Festivals, Inc. (Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival / Screams, ''The World's Largest Halloween Theme Park''), Keith and Margo's Murder Mystery Weekend, The Whip Enthusiasts, Alias Connection, and Pulp Enthusiasts of North Texas. A preliminary roster of clubs attending all three days lists: Fandom at Random DFW (general fan), FenCon III (convention), D/FW FanForce (Star Wars fandom), Star Garrison of The Fighting 501st (Star Wars Imperial costuming), Kessel Base of Rebel Legion (Star Wars costuming), Mercenary Assault Vessel VeStargh (Star Trek Klingon costuming), USS Joshua (Star Trek) and Cobra Cares (G.I. Joe costuming).

Gamers will have to choose their events all weekend as All-Con offers the full gambit of play. Warmachine gamers will be treated to open play on Friday with a full prize pack tournament on Saturday. (750 point armies, using ''Steamroller'' rules.) Gamewyze, the content partner putting on the Warmachine events also is supplying a room for LAN and WAN gaming at all hours of the day and night. Battlefield 4, Warcraft 3, Quake 4, and Age of Empires 3 are only a few of the many titles what will loaded to the network connected, internet attached machines.)

Madness Games and Comics, another tabletop and card gaming coorindator, has booked a hall of their own for the 3-day weekend, giving those with a desire to play more options to compete. Their schedule is soon to be announced.

The Fan Feature Room, also known as the Video Room, will be screening independent films and short films throughout the convention. Friday evening will include a special event, ''Popcorn and a Movie'', during which free popcorn will be given to people who are watching the feature length film.

Saturday the Feature Room will suspend video operation to accommodate a convention staple... a VLARP (Vampire Live Action Role Playing). Presented by the same story masters that coordinate the VLARP at A*Kon in Dallas, this event is guaranteed to be the finest ever provided to the attendees of All-Con.

Drawing from a wide ranging audience of attendees, All-Con attracts an equally unique blend of dealers and artisans eager to show off their goods and wares. The dealer's room hours are extended for this convention, opening at 9:00 each morning and closing at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Much like a full day at a theme park, All-Con recognizes the need for fans to occasionally take a break to be entertained and to recharge. Professional entertainers present live music, cabaret, magic, and burlesque all in separate performances throughout the weekend.

Keith and Margo's Murder Mystery Texas presents two different murder mystery dinners; one Friday evening and one Saturday evening. Diners will have to sleuth out which of their fellow dinner companions is the murderer, the motives, and the methods used to kill. This is not a dinner play; it's an interactive experience. Participants are welcome to follow the clues while dining quietly, or actively interrogate others to determine who in the room is ''in on it'' and who is not. Keith and Margo's have been featured on Entertainment Tonight and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and now All-Con is proud to have them present these 3-course meals with dessert, coffee, and prizes.

James Horan, one of All-Con’s celebrity guests, takes to the stage Friday night with his cabaret, ''From Elvis to Springsteen''. It will be standing room only as the popular voice actor demonstrates his abilities while singing everything from show tunes to pop music.

AliasConnection.com is hosting their annual charity event at All-Con. All of the proceeds raised by the Alias episode viewing marathon will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), St. Jude's Hospital, and the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Fund.

No convention is complete without a costume competition. DallasCostumeContest.com will host the annual competition on Saturday night at 8:00. Awards and prizes will be presented in eight categories with cash prizes for the top competition winners. New categories have been added for this celebrity-judged feature event, allowing professional, fan, and amateur costumers to all compete.

Costumes are not required to compete in the Ms. Star Wars contest. This is the ultimate fangirl competition all about a certain Saga from a galaxy far, far away. A little bit of skill, a little bit of knowledge, and maybe a bit of the old Jedi mind trick will lead to one 'hopeful' being crowned Ms. Star Wars for the upcoming year. (This nationally recognized event is organized by the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of FanForce.)

For model builders from around and outside of the state, All-Con is proud to introduce a new event in our annual line-up. The model builder’s competition will feature entries registered at the convention through Sunday morning at 10:00am. Judging will be Sunday at noon and trophies presented for category winners and best of show. Convention attendees may enter up to four models or dioramas without any registration fee.

Shadowcasting: Rocky Horror Picture Show and Moulin! Rouge. Whether it's just a jump to the left, or you're looking for truth, beauty, freedom and love, two nights of live shadowcasting (movie, cast, and props) will keep you in the mind set necessary to endure All-Con, a very full and rewarding three-day convention.

The Sterling Hotel provides conveniences including free parking in the covered parking garage, a full service restaurant, in-lobby coffee bar, full service sports lounge with an after hours grill menu, reduced room rates for convention attendees, and $5.95 all-you-can-eat buffet lunches every convention day.

The latest information and details on all of the celebrities, events, competitions, performances, games, tournaments, dinners, clubs, dealers, and discussion panels can only be found at the official website: http://www.All-Con.org. Advance tickets and Murder Mystery dinner RSVPs are recommended.

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Geoffrey Carlton
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