Welcome to Treklanta, Georgia

It’s April, and that means it is once again time for Atlanta, GA to transform…into Treklanta! Hosted by the USS Republic NCC-1371, Treklanta is an annual science fiction convention dedicated to space opera in general and Star Trek in particular. This convention places special emphasis on fan-based events, activities, programming and productions. Treklanta is the home of the Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant and the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards.

Special Events at Treklanta

You read that right. Not only is there a Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant, but this is the 18th year of the contest. Contestants are judged on three categories. First is beauty – the combination of quality and professionalism of their costumes, make-up and “modeling.” They can choose an existing Klingon from canon, or create their own. They will be asked to strut the runway in costume and character. The second category is talent. Contestants get 5 minutes to sing, dance, act or display another talent. Violence is generally frowned upon, so no flaming bat’leth twirling. The third category is personality. Contestants will be asked a question and must answer a panel of judges who just happen to be the guests of Treklanta.

Guests at Treklanta

Fans will recognize Treklanta guests from their work both on and off screen. David Gerrold is a classic sci-fi writer who will go down in history as having created some of the most popular stories in the genre. He is the author of over 50 books and the famous “Trouble with Tribbles” episode of Star Trek. John Garman “J. G.” Hertzler, from Savannah, Georgia, has portrayed many different roles on several Star Trek series. He is one of only five actors to play seven or more different characters in the Star Trek franchise. James Horan has played various characters in four different Star Trek series. Scott L. Schwartz is an actor and stunt performer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is best known as Bruiser in the Ocean’s 11 franchise. The full list of guests can be found HERE.

Events at Treklanta

Treklanta is home to the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards. This award show was started in 2015 and continues to celebrate the Trek fandom. Alien designs will be the topic of the “But I Don’t Want to be a Klingon” panel. There will be plenty of discussion around the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery show. One session will discuss the similarities between the Borg and The Walking Dead. The Trek Toys and Mego meet-up will focus on 50 years of Klingons. Fans can meet the Klingon Assault Group. Saturday even celebrates a Trek-themed wedding between two fans. Late night festivities include Dirty Harry’s Karaoke Cantina. Astrophysicist Dr. Larry Krumenaker will take fans outside to display Trek-themed astronomy. Fans who are early risers can even do some morning Mokbara (tai chi).

Where is Treklanta?

Treklanta takes place from April 28 – 30, 2017. It will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Atlanta Northlake Hotel.  The Doubletree is located at 4156 Lavista Road at I-285 in the Atlanta suburb of Tucker.

For official information, visit the official Treklanta web site.

The Convention Survival Pack

Convention season is in full swing. We here at the Nerd Out Blog are interested in making your convention experience a positive one. To that end, we polled members of the Nerd Out Squad with a simple idea. Everyone should have the essentials at a con or festival. If you were building your Convention Survival Pack, what would be in yours? Why? We were impressed with the answers and bet you will be, too.

Convention Survival Pack Basics

If all of the Nerd Out Squad thought about it, we would each own stock in Purell. Almost everyone polled with this question answered hand sanitizer and bottled water. Geekscape.net writer Matthew Kelly puts it simply. “Hand Sanitizer and Emergency Vitamin C packages are the only thing that keeps me alive.” Battery and phone chargers were also highly recommended. Many folks included cash as a must-have. Breath mints, tylenol and extra deodorant also made the list. Also, don’t lose your photo ID or your phone. Extra clothes and shoes are also important.

Food & Drink

Dumbbells & Dragons founder Kenny Rotter recommends carrots and bananas to stay fueled up at conventions. Jerky is also a popular selection. Themed desserts also make the list. Nintendo-themed cupcakes are all the rage at Super Smash Con. Cosplayers and costumers often find creative ways to work food themes into their overall design. Packing protein bars is another way to make sure you have options.

Podcasting

Many conventions have designated areas available to podcasters. Having the proper equipment is still up to you. Podcasting for Dummies author Tee Morris says, “I recommend having amps and speaker so people can gather round and passers-by know something is going on here…but that you have to coordinate with the con staff. Recording panels can be tricky, unless you can assure guests that they are all miced. otherwise you are doing open air recording of panels and those can be hell when playing back.”

Nobilis Reed of the Nobilis Erotica podcast offers this advice. “Don’t worry too much about audio quality. Live events sound like live events. You’re not The Grateful Dead.”

Cosplay

Costumer Robyn McIntosh raises some additional concerns for cosplayers and costumers. “Nail glue. It’s like super glue but way less toxic and does not reach to heat. Also, a lighter is key to taking care of loose threads, etc.” How bout somewhere that serves for pockets? Sara Logan Hofstein offers some cosplay workarounds. “If I’m wearing something where my feet are relatively hidden (like a dress) I’ll usually wear really tall boots, like thigh highs, because I can stick my phone, makeup, small wallet, etc, in my shoes.”

Miscellaneous

SFX artist Zombianca suggested poster tubes. “I hate finding awesome art then having to lug it around to get damaged…it’s the worst!” Make sure you have a schedule ahead of time. Many conventions now have apps dedicated to the schedule of events. Plan around the popularity of the guests so you can set your priorities.

Downtime

The key to convention survival (and sanity) may also be downtime. Author Pip Ballantine says downtime is important and sometimes overlooked. “I love people, but after a few hours I need a place to decompress and prepare myself for more.” Holistic Health Dr. Stacia Kelly agrees. “Being an introvert, large crowds and massive amounts of time with people drains me. During a day long or weekend long event, I have to manage to sneak in some downtime so that I can continue to chat, be nice, and not suffer from exhaustion for several days after an event.”

So, there you have it. From tables to panels to cosplay, your many tips to packing for convention survival. Anything we missed? Please let us know!

Featured image cosplayer is Andrew Elkins

The Largest VR Expo Heads to Los Angeles

VRLA is heading for Los Angeles! This mind-blowing virtual and augmented reality conference will be taking place April 14 and 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center! Hear from the greatest minds in immersive tech. Check out hundreds of VR and AR experiences. As well as installations for gaming and media enthusiasts.

VRLA 2017 Discount!

Don’t miss the keynote address by Unity CEO John Riccitiello on Friday and Rick & Morty Co-Creator Justin Roiland on Saturday. Make sure to register for the Pro Pass (for those who are business-focused) at $299 or a Saturday Pass priced at $40. It’s a steal at $40! With so much going on it’s a ridiculously low price for what you’re getting! But we have done you one better! 

Get 15% off at registration with discount code: VRLA_nerdout

VRLA

“This is the third year of VRLA, and with each event we’ve grown in size and scope. It’s so exciting to serve both the industry and developers who make this whole thing go, as well as the VR-curious who want to see what it’s all about. That we can put Justin Roiland on the same stage as Unity CEO John Riccitiello and many of the industry’s greatest technical thinkers is a treat and a testament to the support the community has shown us,” said Cosmo Scharf, co-founder of VRLA.

Aside from the VR experiences, there are workshops and panels with industry-leading hardware and software developers, content creators, and cutting-edge prototype technology that can only be seen at the event. VRLA has also partnered with IEEE VR to bring you the latest scientific research in virtual reality! With special session topics ranging from virtual humans and avatars, to locomotion and navigation in virtual environments.

For more information about VRLA, visit www.virtualrealityla.com.

Get 15% off at registration with discount code: VRLA_nerdout

The Force is Strong at Star Wars Celebration

Springtime in Orlando, Florida brings several things each year. Tourists flock to Disney and Universal Studios. The flowers bloom. Star Wars fans from all over the planet flock to Star Wars Celebration.

Star Wars Celebration

The event boasts celebrities and media guests, fan groups like the 501st, and more. Fan-led panels and tables fill the schedule. The exhibitors will be selling Star Wars themed items, apparel and games. There is speed dating, droid building, and even a tattoo area.

Guests

Media guests will be in appearance from Star Wars properties old and new. Familiar faces like Ian McDiarmid (Emporer Palpatine) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) will attend. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar) are scheduled. Newcomers from Rogue One will also be on hand. Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) are among the new crew. Off-screen guests are also among the highlights. Star Wars:The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will speak to the crowd. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will be on hand to talk about the direction of the franchise. The full guest list is available here.

Cosplay

Individual and group cosplay is always welcome at Star Wars Celebration. Contest entries must register in advance due to the massive number of submissions. The #SWCO team reviews the submissions and informs those who have made the cut. Fans can also build props and sets for display. Outside of the contests, there are plenty attendees in costume.

Gaming & Other Activities

Fans on the floor will have access to Electronic Arts’ range of Star Wars titles. Included are Star Wars pinball, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and more. An off-site Star Wars: The Old Republic cantina event will cover upcoming programming. Over 30 artists will have works on display as part of the art show. Artists include Cryssy Cheung, Josh Smith, Jason Palmer and others.

Nerd Night Speed Dating will take place at the event. This event has produced plenty of couples and marriages over the years. This year, the speed dating will have six hetero sessions and one for LGBT. Details for speed dating can be found here.

Pin trading sessions get a new twist in 2017. Character pins spanning all 40 years of the franchise will be available for sale and trade. This year introduces unique artwork by Derek Laufman. The R2 builders club will be on hand to teach droid building. This year will debut the droid smash derby as well. Marc Draven and Shane Turgeon are among the world class tattoo artists on hand. Fans who want to get some fresh ink can schedule some time in the chair. Details can be found here.

Star Wars: Galactic Nights

This year features a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On April 14th, Disney Hollywood Studios is going to open several themed exhibitions. Star Wars: Galactic Nights is a family-friendly event at Disney’s amusement park. Existing rides like Star Tours will be joined by new themed events. Costumes for adults and kids are highly encouraged. Tickets are available on the official site.

For more information, schedule and tickets, check out the Official Site.

San Francisco Welcomes the Return of Comic Con

The city of San Francisco has not seen a major comic con in five years and this past weekend proved that we were ready for a return. San Francisco welcomes the return of San Francisco Comic Con, which was held at the Marriott Marquis in downtown San Francisco taking over four floors of the hotel. Thousands of people attended the 3-day event that welcomed a handful of celebrities available for photos and autographs and close to 200 tables of exhibitors and artists. There were also plenty of cosplayers ranging in characters from popular anime, movies and TV shows. It reminded me of comic cons from the past where the main the focus were on artists, comics and animation.
San Francisco Comic Con

Cartoon Art Museum

On our way to retrieve my passes, I walked by a room where a full model of Red Skull caught the corner of my eye. So after I picked up what I needed I headed into the room. There I found Jonathan Lemon, artist and creator of the “Bigshot” comic strip and current winner of the Harvey Award. He was also there to help promote the Cartoon Art Museum, a gallery in between places, that has featured Lemon’s work. Another notable artist in attendance was the legendary Allen Bellman, who as a teenager worked with Stan Lee at Timely Comics, known today as Marvel Comics. He had plenty of stories to tell about the Golden Age of comic books while drawing and sketching at his table.​

San Francisco Comic Con
Jonathan Lemon

 

San Francisco Comic Con
Allen Bellman

Artists and Writers

Of course newer artists and writers were there too promoting their latest comic books and graphic novels. A couple that caught my attention were Asylum by Wrought Comics, a story about a woman named Evie that takes place between our world and parallel universe and Black Jack Ketchum by Image Comics which is described as a supernatural western.

Other artist displays included Doug Rhodes who’s art was literally eye-catching with his mix of painting and photography will stop anyone walking by as well as anime artist Thao To selling her works of anime in both prints and charms.

San Francisco Comic Con
Doug Rhodes

San Francisco Comic Con

And if that’s wasn’t enough, voice over actors Grey DeLisle (Mandy from “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), Chris Sabat (various voices including characters from Dragon Ball Z, YuYu Hakusho and Samurai 7) and Janet Varney (Korra from “The Legend of Korra”) were there as well as Star Wars actor Ian McDiarmid, BBC America’s Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman and CW’s Arrow Manu Bennett. All were available for a nice chat, photos and autographs.

San Francisco Comic Con

The weekend was an overall success from what I could tell. Although, I don’t have any solid numbers on how many people were actually there. I can tell you by observation that it was a lot! San Francisco has been waiting for this and I hope this is the start of an annual tradition.

Make sure to check out the Nerd Out calendar for the latest events!

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Cosplay Meetups at San Diego Comic Con

Have you checked out the cosplay meetups at San Diego Comic Con yet? Prep for San Diego Comic Con is in full swing! Now is the time to lock down what you’ll be cosplaying as! I, myself have made my choices and used the list of meet ups on Nerd Out to help me figure out which day to wear which of my outfits! I won’t tell you just yet what my outfits are, but one is Disney and the other is Game of Thrones.

With that in mind it was easy to decided to wear the Game of Thrones outfit on Saturday as that’s when the GoT meet up and photoshoot is. And of course, Friday for the Disney outfit as that’s when the Disney event is. (The Disney event is in a ticketed area, so I may not be able to attend the actual meet up, however do say hi if you see me!) Nerd Out is super simple to use! If you haven’t already check out our How To video!

Nerd Out App Calendar

To see the SDCC meet ups go to Calendar > California > San Diego. Then you can hit the drop down at the top and selection Conventions. From there you can view all the events happening during San Diego Comic Con! Trust me, there’s so much on there that you couldn’t possibly do it all! But that’s the great part, you have plenty of options! Below is just some of the Cosplay meet ups listed on Nerd Out!

Make sure to check out the Nerd Out calendar for the latest events!

cosplay meetups

Download to Donate for DubSmashWars

Last month we took part in celebrating 50 years of Shield! The Marvel Report and Nerd Out helped to bring awareness to the #DubSmashWars. The DubSmashWars started between the cast of Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD. With an effort to have the best DubSmash. Using the challenge to raise money for charity. SHIELD supporting St Jude Children’s Hospital, and Carter supporting Stomp Out Bullying.

Nerd Out Supports #DubSmashWars

We at Nerd Out decided to do a ‘download to donate’. Those that attended Long Beach Comic Con and visited The Marvel Report booth could show us that they downloaded the app, and would have a $1 per download donated to the charity of their choice. In total the event raised $250 for charity, raffled off 33 prizes, hosted a celebrity guest (Ann Foley, costume designer of Agents of SHIELD, photo below)

DubSmashWars

Teaming Up with The Marvel Report for DubSmashWars

This past weekend I was honored to be asked to be a part of The Marvel Report at Long Beach Comic Con. The Marvel Report is a new fan based group that provides the latest on Marvel movies and TV news! Lauren Gallaway, who is a dear friend of ours, is a big part of The Marvel Report. She’s also part of the Flash Podcast and the Peggy Carter Podcast (both of which you should check out). The Marvel Report is currently helping to bring awareness to the DubSmashWars.

#DubSmashWars

For those of you who don’t know, the DubSmashWars started between the cast of Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD. The goal, to have the best DubSmash. Using the challenge to raise money for charity, SHIELD is St Jude Children’s Hospital, and Carter supporting Stomp Out Bullying. As most of you know, I launched Nerd Out just over a month ago. So to do my part, I decided to do a ‘download to donate’. Those that attended LBCC and visited The Marvel Report booth could show us that they downloaded the app, and would have a $1 per download donated to the charity of their choice. SHIELD won!

For Charity

The Marvel Report also hosted a raffle with amazing giveaways! My particular favorite was the Patrick Ballestero piece called ‘Get Carter‘ (see below). In total the event raised $250 for charity, raffled off 33 prizes, hosted a celebrity guest (Ann Foley, costume designer of Agents of SHIELD), and took part in celebrating 50 years of Shield!