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Bent-Con, A Convention for LGBTQ Fans, Comes to L.A. This Weekend

While bigger geek related conventions like New York Comic-Con have been getting all the mass-media exposure lately, there is one convention that has slowly been growing into something unique and special over the last couple of years. I speak now of Bent-Con, a special gathering of LGBTQ fanboys and fangirls (as well as their straight allies) in the Los Angeles area, where we all get together and talk about our mutual nerdy obsessions and how we relate to them as our own unique subculture. While there have always been LGBT panels at San Diego Comic Con and other conventions for years now, the truth is nothing quite beats having your own con.

Bent-Con was launched in 2010 by President and founder Sean Z. Maker, and in the years since has gone on from drawing about 500 attendees that first year to an expected 4000 this year, not exactly what I’d call a small increase in size, covering just about every aspect of geek culture, from sci-fi, fantasy, horror, gaming, comics, to you-name-it – and hosting a larger and larger group each year of LGBTQ and ally special guests. Included in this year’s line up of panelists are such geek luminaries as Jane Espenson (Husbands, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy) Christopher Rice (The Heavens Rise, A Density of Souls) Phil Jimenez (New X-Men, Wonder Woman, Wolverine), Tom Kenny (Spongebob), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), Marc Andreyko (Batwoman, Manhunter), Drew Z. Greenberg (writer and producer, Warehouse 13, Arrow, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) illustrator Joe Phillips, and many, many more.

Bent-Con begins Friday, November 8th and continues through Sunday the 10th, and will be held at the Los Angeles Burbank Marriott Convention Center, across from the airport at 2500 North Hollywood Way in Burbank. More information, as well as the official schedule, can be found here.

In the words of Bent-Con Vice President and co-founder Jody Wheeler, “Bent-Con is an awesome intersection of the geek and the gay culture. Often overlooked by both groups, the convention provides a fantastic space for those into the fantastical to celebrate their passions, reminding every culture  just how wide and wonderful these communities truly are.”

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Here are some of the panel highlights from this weekend’s con:

Friday:

Spock my Interest
Spock my Interest: Have you been looking for love in Alderaan places? Are you looking to find love like Spiderman and MJ? Lois and Clark? April and Raphael? Find romance quickly in this epic speed-dating event.
Moderator: Anastasia Washington. Panelist: Nathan Lichtman, Jeff Langston.

The Light and the Dark – Fantasy and Horror in Queer Erotica 
Queer Romance and Erotica covers as many genres as a writer can imagine. This panel explores the light and dark worlds in which these tales are told. Moderator: David Holly. Panelist: Deborah Warner, Barbara Ann Wright

Saturday:

We’re Here, We’re Queer, Now What?  Pushing New Boundaries in LGBTQ Comics”

From the high flying world of spandex-clad superheroes to the slice-of-life world of autobiography, LGBTQ characters and stories have become much more visible in comics and graphic novels today. Where do queer and queer-friendly comics creators go from here? How do we push the boundaries of the medium where LGBTQ characters have become mainstream? Join Prism Comics, moderator Roger Klorese and panelistsTara Madison Avery (Dirtheads) and guests (TBA) as they discuss new directions in LGBTQ comics. Moderator: Roger Klorese. Panelist: Tara Madison Avery

UnGays in Comics: Not-LGBT Creators on their work

This panel examines those non-queer, non-LGBT people working in the industry today. What’s it like to not be gay and working in the industry? What special challenges do not-LGBT people experience on the job? Are they not-not-out? How does not being LGBT affect their creative endeavors? What advice do they have for both un-gays and gays alike, seeking to work in this wide and diverse creative field? Come join us for a spirited — and very tongue in-cheek — discussion.
Panelist: Chris Gore, Clare Grant (Team Unicorn, Husbands, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Guild), Milynn Sarley (Team Unicorn, The Guild), Rileah Vanderbilt (Team Unicorn, Hatchet trilogy, Saber), Heather Kenealy (comic book author/writer, POW! Entertainment and MTV Geek’s Stan Lee presents The Seekers contest writing winner)

Sunday:

I Got This: A Women’s Panel

A spirited discussion of the roles that women are asked to play onscreen and within the entertainment industry in general, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.
Moderator: Audrey Kearns (Creator, Geek Girl Authority)
Panelist: Guinevere Turner (American Psycho, Creeps the Movie, Go Fish), Magda Apanowicz (Caprica, Continuum, Kyle XY), Alison Haislip (Attack of the Show! It’s Not Porn, It’s HBO, The Voice) , Brad Bell (Husbands), Tess Bodley (Ellen, Aaah! Zombies!!)

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