Concentrate: This Week in Con News (April 16)

Welcome back to our weekly news feature where we boil down the week’s news from the convention circuit plus share our calendar of the weekend’s upcoming conventions.

nermachinelogoThis week, we turn our attention to the ever-expanding reach of the convention world: the latest geek event to branch out into TV is The Nerd Machine, organizers of the Nerd HQ event that has been held concurrently with San Diego Comic-Con for the last several years. Headed up by Zachary Levi (of Chuck fame) and his business partner David Coleman, The Nerd Machine is set to partner with Conde Nast Entertainment’s relatively young production arm to bring the Geeks Who Drink trivia game to SyFy.

Geeks Who Drink is the national brand of pub trivia events; the show of the same name will be a modified trivia game with topics ranging from “pop culture to science fiction.” (The actual pub trivia events are more like your typical pub trivia nights, in that they are not exclusively focused on pop culture – although the brand does occasionally put on special one-night-only trivia contests that focus on a single subject, like Breaking Bad or Community.)

Levi will host and executive produce, along with his upcoming gig on Heroes Reborn; Coleman will also EP, along with a long list of others. With Comic-Con and Wizard World moving into the SVOD world this year, it’s no surprise to see another geek event branch out and widen their brand. The Nerd Machine is a unique entity, strongly relying on Levi’s face as the host of the Nerd HQ events; his circle of celebrity friends and acquaintances are the regular guests at the event. But Nerd HQ/The Nerd Machine is still a brand, and in the current market, it’s a race to see who can exploit their brand as widely as possible and find a new corner to dominate.

No word yet on what this means, if anything, for the future of Nerd HQ; as we reported last week, they’ve had their own uphill battle with the event, considering both the financial struggle of hosting such a major festival and the new restrictions placed upon them by Comic-Con.

  • It’s Star Wars Celebration weekend! The convention kicked off today with the big reveal of the new trailer for The Force Awakens and continues through Sunday. 4-day and Saturday adult tickets are sold out but all other ticket types are remain available. Check out our preview post and watch for our continuing coverage throughout the weekend.
  • Costume College registration opens tomorrow, April 17; the event is hosted by Costumer’s Guild West and will teach you everything from “how to build a suit of armor” to “how to turn on your sewing machine,” as rep Obi-Shawn likes to remind us when he hands out their scholarships to winning entrants at Masquerades all across Southern California.
  • Have you ever wondered how the NRA convention stacks up against SDCC? No? Well, an editorial cartoonist compared the two anyway, and it’s actually rather interesting.
  • Popular gaming convention MAGFest is planning to expand westward, and they’re looking for new staff & volunteers. They’ll have a two-day mini-con for potential MAGWest volunteers in Santa Clara on May 9 10.
  • This week in “random expo being compared to a comic con:” PrepperCon, a Utah-based show for survivalists and emergency preparedness that’s billing itself so: “With all of the excitement and energy of a Comic Con, we have hands-on classes, celebrity speakers, panels, disaster simulations, fashion shows, and contests.” Sure.
  • Last weekend’s East Coast Comic Con ruffled a few feathers when bloggers interested in covering the event were greeted by a somewhat rude message on the event’s media page. For the record, we have no problem being rejected for a press pass or paying for our own badges (very few of the shows we cover provide us with complimentary passes anyway), but there’s no need to insult the people who were willing to give up their time to provide exposure for your event.
  • MondoCon has a teaser up for their next Austin event, slated for October 3-4.
  • The first wave of BlizzCon tickets went on sale last night and were gone in less than an hour; the second batch goes up to the public this Saturday, April 18, at 7pm Pacific. Passes for the 2-day November show are $199 each.
  • You might recall that actor Nicholas Brendon got into some hot water earlier this year at Shock Pop Comicon after trashing a hotel room and refusing to pay the bill. Well, call it a pattern, because now Shock Pop is accused of failing to pay many of its invited guests. John Waters is being particularly vocal, having been denied half of his appearance fee while his talent manager is out the expenses he fronted for his clients, expecting reimbursement from the con. For their part, Shock Pop has claimed (through lawyers) that the company has folded. At the very least, don’t expect to see this cursed Florida con back on the calendar next season.

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What’s Happening This Week (Wednesday, April 15 – Tuesday, April 21)

Organizers: hosting a con soon? Fans: want to help get the word out about your favorite event? Contact us to have it added to the calendar.

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