A new convention for fans of popular culture, PopConLA, debuted in Los Angeles, July 5-8. The new event describes itself as the “Popular Culture Convention, about ‘All Things Pop Culture’, including Art, Design, Fashion, Music, Xtreme Sports, and of course, Movies & TV.” The new fandom conclave ran concurrently with the International Television Festival, which bills itself as “the premiere festival in the world for independently produced TV pilots, web content and live-action and animated digital features.”
So, how did this mix work? It brought together entertainment and media education in a manner which deserves much bigger crowds in the future. It is a bargain, and next year’s show should be a “must attend” for both fans and filmmakers.
If you’re a fan, you could have met sci-fi and fantasy stars such as Billy Dee Williams, Sybil Danning, James Hong, and Margot Kidder. There were also plenty of storm troopers, R2D2s, and CosPlay sirens to mingle with. Like cars? Knight Rider’s Kitt was there, as were cars from Back to the Future, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers.
If you’re a filmmaker or mega-film-fan you would have enjoyed professional panels covering subjects such as how to break into screenwriting and how to use music in your productions. These alone were worth many times the price of admission and included panels from the Writers Guild and the Producers Guild. The film festival included over 90 screenings, many followed by question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers.
PopConLA also featured a pop-culture art show and a theater busy all day long with stand-up comedians, bands, and fashion shows. The closing night ceremonies honored veteran actors Richard Hatch and James Hong for their lifelong achievements.
Hatch is known best for his role as Apollo on the original television series Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) and in the re-launched series as Tom Zarek (2004 – 2009). Hong lent his voice to some memorable animated films, such as Mulan and Kung Fu Panda. He is also remembered for his roles in Blade Runner and Big Trouble in Little China.
I’m looking forward to next year’s PopConLA. I’m sure it will have bigger crowds, but it should not suffer from the stuffed-phone-booth feeling you get at ComicCon. To find out about next year’s PopConLA, follow it on Facebook or Twitter.