Arisia 2011

Larry Dunne

Arisia 2011 was held January 14th thru the 17th over the Matin Luther King. Arisia is a science fiction convention hosting panels, movies, a masquerade, an art show, parties, a dealers' room and a dealer's row (a block of hotel rooms on a specified floor). This year's guests of honor included: Kelly Armstrong &endash; Writer Guest of Honor, Josh Simpson &endash; Artist Guest of Honor, Sheenon Garrity - Webcomic Guest of Honor, Rene Walling &endash; Fan Guest of Honor, and Special Guest, Seanan McGuire. Along with these guests were many other professionals on hand for panels, signings, and interacting with the conventioneers.

Arisia's masquerade always draws a huge audience as well as lots of customers. This year was no different with hundreds of contestants participating in the masquerade. This year's overall Best of Show went to Clara Kim for her costume of Blood Queen Lana'thel, a character from World of Warcraft. For a complete list of masquerade winners and to see more photos of the contestants check out the list on Arisia's website:

One panel was on building paper models, moderated by Guillermo Zeballos. At this panel participants actually built paper airplanes, but not just any paper airplane. These ones were scale spaceship models. So at this event you actually left with a completed paper spaceship model that you built yourself! If you were at Arisia and couldn't attend or if you couldn't make it to the convention at all, then fear not, you can still partake in this panel by following along on the web at:

I'm a big comic book fan, so I attended a couple of the panels on comics. The first one I went to was entitled: Comic Book Creation From Creator's Perspectives. At this panel the panelists &endash; Bettina Kurkoski (m), David Marshall, Shaenon Garrity, Steve Kanaras, Rick Silva, discussed self-publishing comics. Web publishing became the primary topic since that is the most inexpensive method to self-publish. ComicPress was mentioned as a great vehicle to accomplish this. Even for the tech challenged, ComicPress, , can help you publish comics on the web. Ka-Blam was another resource mentioned for getting yourself published. Ka-Blam, allows creators to do small print runs of their projects. To self produce or work with others on creative projects Garrity said that you need to have two out of these three qualities: talent, punctuality, and not be an asshole. Panelists all agreed with her.

The next day I attended a panel on the History of Comics. This panel was headlined with David Marshall (moderator), Andrew Farago, Shaenon Garrity, Jerome C. Conner, and Ken Gale. The panel really didn't have that much time to discuss the rich history of comics which is now over 100 years old. Professionals and fans alike agree that comic's history kicked off with the Yellow Kid back in 1892. Mentioned was the fact that comics got their start as collected newspaper strips before becoming the stand alone comics we know and love today. The very first comic movie was based on the Mutt and Jeff, a comic by Bud Fisher. Other topics touched upon in the hour chat on comics included how many Jewish creators such as Siegle and Schuster worked under pen names in the beginning of their careers since they were immigrants to America. The panelists touched briefly on Dime Novels, Fanzines, Pulp Distributors, and the fact that the original comic scene included a plethora of topics &endash; Romance, Detective, Horror, Science Fiction, and not just the super-hero genre we see dominating the market today.

Besides panels you can catch many shows at Arisia. One show I took in was the live radio broadcast of Doctor Who, the Starship of Madness; this was voiced by the Post-Meridian Radio Players. Basically, they would do the voices for the audience for the play for the audience. They didn't really act it out but they did wear costumes to add to the atmosphere while they read the play to us. Basically, Doctor Who had to stop Cthulu. To learn more about the Post-Meridian Radio Players check them out on their website at

One group was pulling double and triple duty at Arisia was the Teseracte Players, They performed for Arisia attendants for over 5 hours. First they did the Rocky Horror Show Friday night; then Saturday night they performed the Buffy Musical, Doctor Horrible Sing Along Blog, Dr. Horrible Commentary, and after those three shows; they did an adult version of Buffy the Musical.

Arisia had another successful convention. Next year the announced guests are going to be Phil and Kaja Foglio with Rising Star Artist, Gareth Hinds. For more information for next year's convention, check in periodically at their website for updates at


Arisia 2011 Masquerade Awards

Young Fan


Arthur D2, Arthur and Julia Kautz &endash; Honored for Construction

Duct Tape Princess, Delenn Brumberger &endash; Honored for Design

Firefly Fairy, Rowan Sloan &endash; Honored for Lighting Effects

Dragon Maiden, Tabitha Bohrnbach &endash; Honored for Sewing Construction

Don't Wake the Mad Scientist, Isabel Kadel-Garcia &endash; Honored for Best Use of Scissors

Young Codex, Amber Hammond &endash; Honored for Creative use of Lampshade


Arthur D2, Arthur and Julia Kautz &endash; Best Fan Made

Duct Tape Princess, Delenn Brumberger &endash; Most Original

Firefly Fairy, Rowan Sloan &endash; Most Illuminating

Arisia 2011 Student Art Show winners

We're happy to announce the following student art show contest winners:

1st place: Jordan Walker, "Children" ($250)

(tie) 2nd place: Catalina Ouyang, "Our Modern Romance" ($150)

(tie) 2nd place: Rachel Chasteen, "Kevin" ($150)

3rd place: Alex Winkler, "001_Thunder" ($100)

Honorable Mention: Amanda Heffernan, "Armadillo" ($50)

Honorable Mention: Maxx Newman, "Self Portrait" ($50)

Honorable Mention: Linda Wong, "Cavities" ($50)



Panels ------------Dr. Horrible -------Hall Costumes -- Dr. Who Radio -- Rocky Horror

Click on image to see more pictures on the topic.


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