PopCon gave you everything Pop Culture for its 1st Annual PopConLA at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
By Gusutavus Betts
Photography by Zac Wade Images
There’s a new kid on the pop culture block. The First Annual PopConLA, the Popular Culture Convention, was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in conjunction with the 7th Annual International Television Festival (ITVfest) – as a celebration of ‘All Things Pop Culture.’ The event was created by Frank Zanca, executive director and owner of the ITVfest, to bring added visibility to content creators and screening selections for the consumer audience, and to showcase not only film and television, but to also include: TV pilots, web content, digital features in both live-action and animated mediums, comic books, novels, live music, fashion, celebrity panels/signings, comedy, visual art, and social media. The attendees responded with wild enthusiasm for the festivities geared toward the forefront in technology and entertainment trends.
Live musical concerts featured such acts as solo pop artist, iamDavidVO, acoustic artist Tatiana Moraz, and Wendy Starland, whose songs “Stolen Love” is featured in the film Living the Lie starring Cameron Diaz, John Bon Jovi, and Kathleen Turner, and “Garden of Temptation,” is featured in promos for the NBC series Las Vegas, added a little star power to the evening. The latest in fashion trends were also revealed in “The Making of Fashion,” T.S.O.F. – The Science of Fashion,” “All About Face,” “Red Light Green Light,” “Lights, Camera, Flashion,”and “Beach Bash Bikini Show,” runway shows featuring some of the hottest designs by BritBoy Fashions, Han Couture, Parris Harris, Uneek, House of Arabia, X-cessories, Xavier Fox, and Cosplay on the Main Stage Catwalk.
Celebrity signing with Billie Dee Williams (Star Wars), Bruce Boxleiter and Cindy Morgan (Tron), Stephanie Erb (True Blood), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Bai Ling (The Crow), Don Stark (That 70s Show), and Doug Jones (Hellboy).
Comedian Brian Moote from MTV’s prank show Money From Strangers, kept the audience in stiches, as well as fellow comedians Jake Wiesman, producer of podcasts The Morning After and Woman, Beth Stelling, named by The Huffington Post as a standout performer at the SXSW Music and Festival in Austin, Texas, and Hampton Yount, a writer for MTV’s Fantasy Factory and Ridiculousness, as well as Adult Swim’s Loiter Squad.
The Artist Gallery featured original paintings by Andre Mirripolsky, Max Neutra, Yarek Godfrey, Daniel Monteraro, Alicia Hollinger, Mear One, Della Marie Parilli, Sandi Schimmel-Gold, Victor Wilde, Jacek Lazuka, Dave Lefner, Bruce Gay, Zox, Donna Letteresse, Tony Gulick, Abu and Jahmal, among other talented artists.
A screening of Superman II followed by a Q&A with actors Margot Kidder, Jack O’Halloran, and Valerie Perrine reunited the casts after 30 years, as well as a screening of Blade Runner with a Q&A afterwards that featured actors James Hong and Joanna Cassidy.
A panel discussion on “The Next Generation of News Media,” by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) with panelists: Drew Baldwin, founder of Tubefiller, Jeanette DePatric, producer/writer and PGA council board member, Tim Street, writer/producer/director and creator/executive producer of the viral video series French Maid TV, and partners/executive producers James A. Fino and Joe Russo at Starburn Industries. “The 2012 ITVfest Producers Panel,” with Catlin Foito, Director of Drama Development of FOX Broadcasting Company, Cindi Rice, partner/producer at Epic Level Entertainment, and independent directors Ed Scharlach, Nick Abdo, and producer/director Tim Roddy. A “Star Trek Panel,” with a Q&A with Tim Russ (Tuvok from Voyager), Garret Wang (Ensign Kim from Voyager), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar from The Next Generation), and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi from The Next Generation) were among the many panels available to the PopConLA audience.
Ushering in the closing ceremonies that included “The 2012 ITVfest Awards,” hosted by Corey Feldman, and presented James Hang, Richard Hatch, and Marina Sirtis with the Career and Lifetime Achievement Awards for their outstanding work in television and film. Other winners included: Best Comedy - 00:24 Best Comedy Actor - Ben Begley for 00:24, Best Drama - Star Trek: Of Gods andMen, Best Short Film - Descent, Best Actress in a Short Film - Katharine McEwan for Pluto, Best Actor in a Drama - Walter Koenig for Star Trek, Best Actress in a Drama - Tessa Thompson for Blue Belle, Best Actor in a Short Film - Jared Ward for Cover, Best Writer went to Jay Holben and Christopher Probst for Descent , and Best Director went to Perry Lang for Blue Belle.
By all accounts, the night seemed to be a success. Tamara Wentworth, publicist and PR for PopConLA adds, “My favorite moments were the panels with the Star Trek cast members and meeting James Hang. I feel that the event was a success. It was such a huge undertaking for such a new convention, and to get the caliber of celebrity, film, and fashion designers together was a major milestone. I wish there were more people in attendance, but that is what next year will be all about.”