This week ZAPPCON made the official announcement that Lao American artist and author Nor Sanavongsay and I will be joining them as special guests this year. Other featured guests are voice actress Andrea Libman, the musical duo of the Doubleclicks, artists Ron Randall, Lukas Ketner, Paige Halsey Warren, Cat Farris, Drew Green, Eben Burgoon, Terry Blas, and RK Post, author Starla Huchton, and Cosplayer professional Christine Sprankle. They're also highlighting the local film Tribal Black Ops.
This looks like it will be a very fun lineup!
Nor and I will have an artists table all weekend and we will present on many subjects including Southeast Asian superheroics and the Cthulhu mythos in Laos. We plan to have several exciting books and prints for folks who visit our table for both long-time readers and new ones.
I always enjoy presenting with Nor, who works closely with me to expand our community's visual vocabulary of how we understand the heros, myths, legends and monsters of Lao tradition. We want to look at the lesser-known parts of our heritage, and where we might take them in ways that would be distinctly Lao for today's audiences and tomorrow's.
One of my favorite projects with him was for my poem "Full Metal Hanuman," and current efforts to expand our understanding of the Kinnaly. He's also been doing great work to help the Diversicon convention in Minnesota. He's currently hard at work on the followup to his debut book A Sticky Mess inspired by the classic Lao trickster folktale.
This convention excites us because it's the first gaming and comic book convenion we've done in Fresno and the Cenral Valley, with over 6,300 Lao in the surrounding area. We're excited to encourage our community to come and participate!
ZAPPCON is "a hybrid of gaming and comic book conventions- a weekend of entertainment and all things nerdtacular: special guests, comics, gaming, artists, vendors, cosplay, kids zone, and more." It aims to be the Central Valley's biggest convention for geeks, by geeks. It will be held at the Fresno Convention Center's Valdez Hall at 702 M Street in Fresno, California. This is their second year presenting. In their inaugural year they had over 1,400 attending and 90 exhibitors.
ZAPPCON is named in honor of Zapp's Theme Park in Fresno, which was founded in 1904 and created amazing memories for the community until it shut down in 1917. It's an interesting story well worth reading, and I hope it inspires others to consider building attractions like these for their community in the future.
We look forward to seeing everyone in Fresno, and throughout the weeks ahead I'll be sharing more connected to our presentations. A big thanks to everyone who's made this event possible! Be sure to follow ZAPPCON on twitter and facebook!