The Twin Suns, in association with the Tulare Library Foundation, will present Tulare Sci-Fi Con at the International AgriCenter, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare, from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, March 29. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Tulare Library Children’s Section.
The science fiction convention is believed to be the first of its kind in Tulare County.
“It’s the first one here that I’m aware of,” said Derek Mazer, exhibits director for the event. “There used to be something like this at the Visalia Mall, but this is the first actual convention.”
What is the difference between a science fiction convention and a comic book convention?
“They’re the same,” Mazer explained. “Basically, we didn’t want to use the same term – comic-con. We just came up with a name that was wasn’t being used.”
Mazer has attended all the big science fiction and/or comic book conventions in California and incorporated that experience into the Tulare Sci-Fi Con. “I looked at all the big conventions and took all their policies, rules and the way they run things, and tried to remodel that for my own use,” he said.
The convention will feature a main stage with performances by the Saber Guild, a Star Wars choreography group based in Los Angeles, as well as a costume contest. Exhibitors are expected to include those involved in SteamPunk, which is defined by Wikipedia as “a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.” Anime, horror, books, baseball cards and antiques should also be represented. Authors and artists will be in attendance to sell their work.
Scheduled guests at the Tulare Sci-Fi Con include:
- Phillip Cable, the playwright and founder of “Sunshine Theatre.” He is a columnist, the author of a top selling filmmaking book, The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to Writing a Business Plan for Investors. He wrote science fiction kid shows for CMC Productions and has given lectures to groups, including the Screen Actors Guild, Women in Film, stunt classes and conventions, including Comic-Con International. He is currently the president of AAA American Entertainment. He was the director, producer and screenwriter of “Vampiress: Lady of the Night,” “Lisa Todd’s Hollywood,” “Battle Beast,” “Comic Book Kid” and “Fear Factory.”
- Belinda Cable is a movie producer, a movie distributor, an actress, a voice-over artist and a professional clown. She produced “Vampiress: Lady of the Night,” “The Race Against Hunger” and “The Action Agency,” and acted in “Z-Survive” and “Demon Star.”
- Ethan Dettenmaier is host of Combat Radio, which spotlights high profile guests from the worlds of film, music and ultimate fighting. He has written for Steven Seagal, Dark Horse Comics and the producers of “The Blade” franchise. In 2008, he founded Arsenal Productions and Management.
- Erin Fitzgerald is a voice-over artist best known for 10 years of work on “Ed, Edd and Eddy,” Cartoon Network’s longest-running original animated series, as Nazz and May Kanker. She also voiced Abbey Bominable, Spectra Vondergeist, Rochelle Goyle, Scarah Scream, Wydowna Spider, Claire and C.A. Cupid on “Monster High.”
- George McArthur, a.k.a. “George the Giant,” stands an impressive 7’ 3”. He has appeared in Bizarre, The Enquirer, The Globe, Us and Vogue magazines, and in movies such as “Firecracker,” “Big Fish” and “Tough Luck.” His television appearances include “Highway to Heaven,” “Touched by an Angel,” “The Guardian,” “According to Jim” and “America’s Got Talent.” (Sharon Osborne told him, “You are the most disgusting person I have ever seen.”)
- C. Andrew Nelson is an actor, visual effects artist, animator and lecturer. He spent six years at LucasArts Entertainment Company where he was a VFX supervisor and senior artist. He played the role of Darth Vader in Lucasfilm games since 1994, with appearances as Vader in “Star Wars: Dark Forces,” “Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire” and the “Special Edition of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.”
- Kaci Hansen, a.k.a. “The Homicidal Homemaker,” is the Central Valley’s own horror hostess, running a blog and horror-themed food service. Her cookbook and cooking show are due later this year. Featured in Rue Morgue Magazine, Horror Hosts & Creature Features and The Huffington Post, she describes her homemaking ventures as “where home economics meets horror.” Based in Visalia, she has several reasons to look forward to the convention.
“I’ll be hosting the costume contest at the event, and am very excited to see some creative costumes,” said Hansen. “I will also be available at my table to talk to fans about my website, ‘The Homicidal Homemaker,’ my upcoming cookbook and cooking show, as well as Central Valley Horror Club’s upcoming events. I also will have prints from my comic available for purchase. Some members of Central Valley Horror Club will also be doing makeup tutorials.
“Usually, local fans of the sci-fi genre have to travel outside of the Central Valley just to participate in something like this,” she added. “Because of the long drive, along with travel expenses or schedules, it makes it really difficult for many to attend, and most of the time, they have to miss out altogether.
“I think it’s very good for the youth in our community, because it gives them something fun, different and affordable to be involved with,” Hansen said. “Hopefully, it will give them the opportunity to get to meet the people involved with the comics and films that they’ve grown to love, and inspire them to create art, comics or costumes of their own.”
The event seems to have a lot to offer, even though it got off to a late start.
“It should take nine months to a year,” said Mazer, who noted that planning started in October. “It was originally supposed to be an indoor carnival, but that didn’t work out. The vendors’ costs were too big.” The event evolved into a science fiction convention because, “we wanted to do something that would self-decorate.”
Tickets are $6, with children 6 and younger, as well as military with ID, admitted free. Those in costume and seniors (55+) are admitted for $3. For more information, visit www.tularescifi.com.org.
“If this does decently, my goal is to do it every year,” said Mazer, adding that people at the International AgriCenter are “real excited” about having the event there.
Early indications are promising. There were more than 20 booths planned as of March 10, including those hosted by special guests and artists.
“We’ve been getting a lot of likes on Facebook,” added Mazer.
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Not the first for Tulare County. In the early 80’s, there was a Science Fiction / Comic Book convention held at the Visalia Convention Center. George Takei, Star Trek’s Sulu, was one of the guests. I met him briefly as he autographed my copy of his book, “Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe”.