Spring forward into convention season

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A photo of a Dungeons and Dragons game in progress. Dungeons and Dragons is a popular tabletop role-playing game that is prevalent at conventions.  Photo by    Clint Bustrillos    on    Unsplash

A photo of a Dungeons and Dragons game in progress. Dungeons and Dragons is a popular tabletop role-playing game that is prevalent at conventions. Photo by Clint Bustrillos on Unsplash

Just because daylight savings makes you lose an hour of sleep doesn’t mean you need to lose out on some prime conventions this upcoming spring and summer. Here is a short list of recommended cons to check out this break, regardless of whether you like to chill out watching the newest anime or get heated playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with your fellow guild members.  

ConnCon 

ConnCon is a tabletop gaming convention that takes place in the heart of Stamford, CT, not far from the University of Connecticut Stamford campus. Now in its 31st year, ConnCon is held every March and features board games, miniatures and role-playing games (RPGs) galore.   It will be held March 20, 21 and 22 at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel. The weekend ticket rate is $50, while Friday-only registration is $30, Saturday’s rate is $35 and Sunday is $25. 

Bring your own games that you want to play or select from over 200 titles available in the ConnCon Self-Serve Board Game Library. There are no time limits; all you need is your ConnCon Badge.  

Along with board games, ConnCon also offers role-playing games like D&D Adventurers League, Pathfinder and Starfinder, to name a few. 

The D&D Adventurers League is a program to play and organize D&D games in a unified seasonal storyline. Play is supported through the published D&D adventures as well as the individual D&D Adventurers League modules. Players that have created a character and have recorded their rewards on a log-sheet can take that character anywhere in the world that D&D Adventurers League games are being played and join in the action. All characters must be created at the first level. Higher level adventures are restricted to characters who have advanced through Adventurers League play. 

Can’t make it to ConnCon this spring? FalCon, ConnCon’s companion convention, is held every fall, also at the Sheraton Stamford. 

If you find yourself looking to make some new friends, play with your current friend group or try some new games altogether, your ticket to adventure is just off campus this month.  


Gunslinger is a board game where the players find themselves in the wild west. All sorts of different board games can be found at conventions.  Photo by    Ryan Wallace    on    Unsplash

Gunslinger is a board game where the players find themselves in the wild west. All sorts of different board games can be found at conventions. Photo by Ryan Wallace on Unsplash

Genericon  

Genericon is a weekend-long, general convention run by the students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. It has been running for over 30 years featuring events such as anime and science-fiction showings, guest speakers, role-playing games, board games, an open video gaming room and more.  

Genericon XXXIII has been confirmed for March 21-22 and pre-registered tickets are $15 for the weekend while it’s $25 at the door.  

The convention features a wide variety of attractions that run the gamut of geeky hobbies, including science fiction, gaming of all forms and anime. Typical events include panels by guest speakers, video gaming tournaments, role-playing games of both the pen-and-paper and live-action variety and showings of both science fiction classics and modern anime, fresh from Japan. 

Genericon’s Artist Alley is a proud tradition that has been going on since Genericon XX in 2007. Currently housing around 40 different groups, Artist Alley is the perfect place to browse and buy prints, buttons, charms, plushies, stickers and more of your favorite characters from your favorite artists. 

For the entire duration of the convention, they dedicate one of their rooms solely to the enjoyment of gaming. A large number of games, consoles and TVs are available for use, free of charge for all attendees. In addition, feel free to bring your own computer or other devices and play for the weekend. Genericon also hosts several video game tournaments, which are held in a separate room from the 24-hour video gaming room.  

Want to experience what it’s like to have fellow college students run their own convention on campus? Then take the drive up to RPI and experience Genericon for yourself (and who knows, maybe get inspired to start something at UConn as well).  


A photo of a woman cosplaying at a convention. The Anime Boston convention has a very dedicated cosplay community.  Photo by     meijii     from     Pexels

A photo of a woman cosplaying at a convention. The Anime Boston convention has a very dedicated cosplay community. Photo by meijii from Pexels

Anime Boston 

Anime Boston is a three-day convention held annually under the supervision of the New England Anime Society with the main focus on Japanese animation and comics. 

It will be held Friday, April 10 through Sunday, April 12 at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, with weekend badges starting at $75 if bought from now until April 5, after which it’ll be $80 at the door.  

As in past years, Anime Boston 2020 will be presenting popular events including a masquerade, an anime music video contest, video programming rooms, an artists’ alley and art show, karaoke, game shows, video games, manga library, dances and more.  

This year’s guests of honor include Studio TRIGGER’s Hiroyuki Imaishi, Hiromi Wakabayashi and Shigeto Koyama — all three had a hand in the recent breakout Japanese animated fantasy/science-fiction movie, “Promare.”  

Imaishi, the acclaimed animation director and co-founder of Studio TRIGGER, began his career at the historic Studio GAINAX (FLCL, Gurren Lagann), making his industry debut on the critically acclaimed anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” In 2011, Imaishi left GAINAX to establish Studio TRIGGER, and directed TRIGGER’s debut series, the critically acclaimed “Kill la Kill.” Continuing in his dynamic high-octane animation style, Imaishi, along with his core creative team, went on to direct the first feature film from Studio TRIGGER, “Promare” —  a spiritual successor to his work on former titles. 

Formerly staff at the prolific Studio GAINAX, Wakabayashi has been involved in many Studio TRIGGER works, including the hit series “Little Witch Academia” and “Inferno Cop.” Most recently, he has served as the Creative Director for Studio TRIGGER’s latest works, “Space Patrol Luluco” and “Promare.” 

Designer Koyama began his career working on the series “Diebuster” with Studio GAINAX, and went on to take part as a designer in a variety of projects under the direction of Imaishi. Some of these titles include “Gurren Lagann,” “Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt,” “Kill la Kill” and “Space Patrol Luluco.” Recently Koyama worked on “Promare” doing both character and mechanical design. 

Despite its size, Anime Boston still has a lot of heart, with a seriously dedicated artist alley and cosplay community. I can’t begin to recommend this convention highly enough.  


A photo of Asuka Langley from the anime Evangelion. ConnectiCon is the most diverse convention in New England in terms of multi-genre pop culture. Photo by  Ryan Yao  on  Unsplash

A photo of Asuka Langley from the anime Evangelion. ConnectiCon is the most diverse convention in New England in terms of multi-genre pop culture. Photo by Ryan Yao on Unsplash

ConnectiCon 

ConnectiCon is New England’s only massive, multi-genre pop culture convention. The convention’s focus is on all things pop culture, from anime to science fiction, comic books and card games — attracting over 30,000 people to the city of Hartford every year over the course of the event weekend. 

The first ConnectiCon was held in July of 2003 at the University of Hartford campus. It hosted just over 800 members in its first year. As the convention grew, it eventually moved to the Connecticut Convention Center — where it now resides to this day. 

ConnectiCon XVIII is on July 9-12 this year. All weekend tickets have been raised to $85, while Friday-only is $40, Saturday-only $50 and Sunday-only $30. 

This convention has always been home to some big names in the nerdy entertainment world and this year is no exception. For 2020, ConnectiCon not only has the talented Billy West as a guest of honor, but if you are a big Trekkie, they also have John de Lancie and Jonathan Frakes.  

West is an American voice actor, singer, musician and songwriter. He is known for his voice-work in commercials, films, television series and video games. His roles include the titular characters on “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” Douglas Yancey “Doug” Funnie from “Doug” and Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan and others on “Futurama.” In commercials, he is the current voice of the Red M&M and voiced Buzz from Honey Nut Cheerios until 2004.  

Cultivating a career as an acclaimed stage, screen and film actor as well as an accomplished voice-over artist, de Lancie is perhaps best known to “Star Trek” fans as the mysterious and godlike Q, having appeared in episodes across the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” 

Actor, author and accomplished director, Frakes is a man of many hats. Perhaps best known to “Star Trek” fans as Commander William T. Riker in seven seasons and three motion pictures in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” franchise, Frakes carved out a distinctive niche for himself as a versatile talent in Hollywood. 

If you find yourself getting hungry at the convention and don’t want to spend $12 on a mediocre convention center hot dog,  the Riverfront Food Truck Festival is the same weekend right across from the Hartford Convention Center. So grab a slushy, get your cosplay on and don’t forget to stay cool, kids (because we already know how cool you are).  


An advertisement for Flame Con. Flame Con’s biggest guests this year are Dr. Chuck Tingle and Anthony Oliveira.  @instaflamecon

An advertisement for Flame Con. Flame Con’s biggest guests this year are Dr. Chuck Tingle and Anthony Oliveira. @instaflamecon

Flame Con 

Rounding out the end of the summer con season, Flame Con is an annual two-day multi-genre entertainment and comic convention focused on fans and creators of pop culture who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Launched in 2015, it is the first LGBTQ comic convention in New York City and the largest LGBTQ comic convention in the world. It features thoughtful discussions, exclusive performances, screenings, cosplay and more. Currently drawing in over 7,000 attendees, Flame Con continues to be New York City’s largest queer comic con.  

Flame Con is back for 2020 and is returning to the New York Sheraton Times Square for its sixth year. Taking place on Aug. 15-16, ticket prices for the full weekend are $50 while day passes are $30. Flame Con will also bring back its Youth Day on Sunday, Aug. 16, allowing free entry for anyone under 21.  

Two of the biggest guests for this year’s Flame Con are author Dr. Chuck Tingle and writer Anthony Oliveira. 

Tingle, two-time Hugo Award finalist, is an erotic author and Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost black belt) from Billings, Montana. After receiving his PhD at DeVry University in holistic massage, Chuck found himself fascinated by all things sensual, leading to his creation of “Tingler.” Titles include “Pounded In The Butt By My Own Butt” and “Space Raptor Butt Invasion.” 

Tingle’s work has been featured in The New York Times, VICE, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The LA Times and many others. Chuck has two podcasts: One with Nightvale Presents titled “Pounded In The Butt By My Own Podcast” and a conversational podcast called “My Friend Chuck.” 

Oliveira is a writer, film programmer and pop culture critic living in Toronto. His graphic novel work includes “The Queer Guide to Comic Con for Dark Horse’s Pros and Cons” anthology; “Sunlight” for the Shout Out Anthology of Queer YA anthology; “When the Light Breaks,” the story of Steven’s first Pride Parade for Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and “My Drag Brunch with Loki” featuring Wiccan and Hulkling for Marvel Comics. He can be found on Twitter at @meakoopa, where he tweets about the arts, politics and LGBT culture, or on his podcast, “The Devil’s Party,” as he reads through Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and its demonic twists and turns. 

Geeks OUT, the non-profit organization that runs Flame Con, also hosts several other queer-themed events year-round, so just because the convention ends doesn’t mean the fun has to. 


Anna Marini is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.marini@uconn.edu

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