All-Con Dallas: Diversity Propels Fandom Culture Convention to New Heights

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Celebrities, Science Fiction, Costumes, Roller Derby, Steampunk, Anime, and Live Music barely scratch the surface of this three day celebration by popular fan communities.

All-Con has been developed as an "inclusive" event, bringing all of the communities together and offering the best of what each of them has been founded upon.

Conceived as an umbrella event to house several specialty 'mini-cons', the convention coordinators have found an ideal mix of fresh content each year to keep the community coming back, and asking for more.

True to its name "All-Con" is the multimedia event that unites fans from diverse interest communities under one roof, for three exhausting days that are just plain fun. Fans of science fiction, art, costuming/cosplay, literature, collectibles, Asian ball jointed dolls, roller derby, maid culture, anime, short films, Otaku, burlesque, games, celebrity guests, contests, pageants, discussion panels, workshops, and performances will have their whole weekend filled at the single event.

"Comic book and literary conventions cater to an 'exclusive' audience. Toy and Collectible shows are for an 'exclusive' audience. Pretty much all conventions are 'exclusive' to their core audience. All-Con has been developed as an 'inclusive' event, bringing all of the communities together and offering the best of what each of them is founded upon," according to Todd Carlton who manages the scheduling of content for All-Con.

The standard convention staples are all place. All-Con offers an art show (open to the public – no badge or ticket required), gaming, short film screenings, a 50 booth vendor room, artists, and club tables. Then there's the not so usual mix such as women's flat track roller derby, Japanese mania culture, and steampunk.

Celebrity media guests in attendance include Richard Hatch (Capt. Apollo from Battlestar Galactica and Tom Zarek from the new Battlestar Galactica); Orli Shoshan (Jedi Master Shaak Ti from Star Wars); Anne Lockhart (Lt. Sheba from Battle Star Galactica); Neil Kaplan (voice actor, best known for the Transformers leader, Optimus Prime); and James O'Barr (artist, and creator of "The Crow"). Anison Unison guests from Japan feature MIQ (anime theme songstress, formerly known as MIO), Kazushi Hinoki (Manga artist), and Keisaku Kimura (author and film maker). Costuming and cosplay guests Ginny McQueen,
Ana Aesthetic, and Rocheriu will be busily presenting content and workshops for their fans. Children's guest Purr Kayla, known for her audition for Who Wants To Be A Super Hero season 2, will be face painting and entertaining kids.

With over 120 different events to choose from at All-Con, several of the feature events should be highlighted. Friday offers attendees a free concert by MIQ, a convention dance presented by Ultimate Mixes, and a traditional shadow cast performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight, by Los Bastardos – a thirteen year established performance troupe from the Dallas area. Saturday is the start of the 24-Hour Endurance 1,000 Anime Song Medley Festival, along with a musical comedy performance by the Damsels of Dorkington, a live concert by URIZEN, the 10pm burlesque performance by Lady Divina and Company, the featured Steampunk Ball starring the Marquis of Vaudeville, and finishing the night with Amber Does Dallas' shadow cast of Repo! The Genetic Opera at midnight. On Sunday the Circus Epsilon will impress convention goers with their amazing sideshow acts.

For people wanting to be more involved, there are contests, pageants, and competitions all three days. Day one offers a Six-Decade Samurai Anime Karaoke Contest, the Cosplay Competition, and costumed characters from Star Wars clubs competing as Imperial Gladiators. The second day, Saturday, heats up with the Maid Competition, 7th annual Ms. Star Wars pageant, and the All-Con Costume Contest. Sunday the convention theme changes focus with the conventions signature Super Hero Sunday pageant. More than 15 game shows will be hosted throughout the weekend.

Discussion panels and workshops offer insights from making leather masks, to Hollywood creature make-up, to writing Horror literature, to styles of Renaissance combat. New content starts every hour on the hour in each of the two performance halls, projection theater, and five breakout rooms.

The All-Con 2011 theme is "steampunk", allowing not only that community but also it's influences to be interwoven throughout the other attending genres adding a bit of (optional) creative spark to attendees and exhibitors alike.

Sponsorships, the vendor room, and hallway exhibit tables are all sold out. All-Con is still accepting publicity prize donations for the volunteer and game show tracks through March 14, 2011.

The cost to get into this amazing convention is forty dollars which covers every event (first-come seating), all three days and parking at the hotel is free. (Some guests charge fees for autographs.) Content starts at 9am each day and runs past 2am, with the exception of Sunday when the event ends at 6pm.

The Crowne Plaza hotel in Addison Texas is the home of the seventh annual All-Con convention. For people who want to stay at the hotel and not miss a minute of the convention, the Crowne Plaza Addison offers a discounted rate for convention attendees who use the booking code: LVN.

Advance registration is available from the All-Con website online, or from Titan Comics in Dallas, Texas. Badges are available to be purchased at the door until weekend capacity is reached.

To find out more about the content coming from Japan this year, please visit: http://www.AnisonUnison.com.

For the most up-to-date information and to view the 3-day event schedule, please visit the main All-Con website: http://www.All-Con.net

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GEOFFREY CARLTON

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Ardith Carlton
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