Go West! (You’ll be glad you did)

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Since Blind Eye Books are so popular on Weightless, we asked Nicole Kimberling, Blind Eye Books’s publisher, to give us an update on her fall convention schedule:

Champion of the Scarlet Wolf Book OneThis year Blind Eye Books’ fall convention schedule took us to three of the west coast’s most interesting alternative conventions: Yaoi-Con, GeekGirlCon, and Bent-Con. In addition to being interesting from the LGBT speculative fiction angle, each of these three events has it’s own particular focus.

Yaoi-Con is a Bay Area (NorCal) anime and manga event that has drawn around 1000 people annually for more than a decade. It focuses on Boy’s Love manga, anime and games. Strictly an 18+ event, Yaoi-Con is not for folks who strongly value propriety but neither is it sleazy. Because many of the con-goers are just barely 18, liquor is often gladly bypassed for vat-sized mochaccinos and darkside skittles. Attended mainly by younger women, Yaoi-Con has the feel of a three-day slumber party and sugar-fueled giggle-fest. In particular the con’s signature event, The Bishounen Auction where buyers (which can be single or groups of up to four) bid for the right to take cosplaying hot guys out on a Saturday night dance date, brings back fond memories of being an 18 year old fantasy-prone dork. And though I am, myself, a lesbian I can’t help but be charmed every year by the sheer boy-craziness of the entire event.

IrregularsBoy-craziness was also a hot topic at GeekGirlCon as evidenced by the well-attended panel called, “Zombies, Butts, and Teen Female Sexual Agency,” which highlighted the Bob’s Burger’s character, Tina Belcher.

(If you’re not familiar with Tina Belcher, AJ Dent writes an excellent description of her on the GeekGirlCon blog here.)

GeekGirlCon (see photo 1 below) could be described as WisCon’s westside little sister: the strong feminist vibe is still there but there are more cute t-shirts for sale and one entire floor devoted to gaming of all kinds. This year attendance was capped at 5000 and all badges sold out on the first day. This is one con where I was struck by the presence of whole cosplaying geek families from tiny little two-foot tall daleks to wise-women dispensing engineering knowledge in the DIY Science Zone.

Taking place in the Washington State Convention center in Seattle, GeekGirlCon is definitely an event where a large percentage of the population goes back to the hotel and takes naps (though I’m sure there were some wild room parties that I didn’t locate on account of napping.)

Highfell GrimoiresLast on this year’s list is Bent-Con (see photos 2&3 below). As with Yaoi-Con, sleeping is low on the list of priorities for attendees of Bent-Con. Like The Price is Right, Bent-Con takes place in sunny Burbank, California. Originally convened to showcase queer comics, the event has expanded to include spec fic books, games and films focusing on QUILTBAG characters. While not as naughty as Yaoi-Con, Bent-Con is the place to go to see and meet real (probably gay and mostly over 21) men and women in skimpy costumes. Attended by a couple thousand people, and growing every year, Bent-Con has a wonderfully inclusive social scene featuring a Saturday night mermaid party (with mermen too!) as well as film screenings. While GeekGirlCon begins at 10 am, Bent-Con takes a more leisurely approach to mornings, starting at noon, but stretches on into the night, with official programming ending at the witching hour. It’s a hotel con with a good bar scene where you can expect to spot amazing costumes, make new friends and pick up great merchandise.

Blind Eye Books will be returning to all three cons next year and we hope to see you there!

Geek Girl Con

Bent Con 1 Bent Con 2

Photos by Nicole Kimberling.

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