2023 Fandom Fest Panels and Special Events

Photos by Amy Klemme and Joseph Fazioli

18+ ONLY. The Cosplay Dating Game is similar to the traditional “Dating Game” of yesteryear TV. Three bachelors or bachelorettes sit on one side of a curtain. On the other side is the ‘prize,’ an elusive bachelor or bachelorette for one of the three contestants to ‘win.’ The twist is that participants are in costume and are the character!

Cosplay does not always need to be about accuracy. Join us as we discuss how you can add your own twist to an existing character or create your own from an existing series!

Do you have an idea for a comic book and have no idea where to start? Or do you just want to be a part of the comic book world? Join us with some comic professionals who can answer your questions and walk you through the comic book process.

“Navigating the Path from Writing Fanfiction to Publishing Original Work”
Fans show their love of their fandoms in many ways, and one of the most common is by writing fanfiction! Among fanauthors, it’s common to dream of a future in publication. How can fanauthors make that dream a reality? That’s the topic of this panel! Hi, we’re Duck Prints Press, an indie press based right here in Schenectady, and we’re fans who work with other fans to publish their original work. Panelists: Claire Houck (Owner, Duck Prints Press), Shea Sullivan (Author), Catherine E. Green (Author), Tris Lawrence (Author), Willa Blythe (Author), and Robert Heverly (Law Professor, Albany Law School)

Saturday night at Fandom Fest, play to the beat of your own drum (I mean… headphones). After walking the con, join us in the GE Theater at Proctors for an evening of tunes and dancing at our Silent Disco, hosted by a local DJ. Dance with your friends to one of three music channels or take off your headphones for authentic “shoes on a theater floor” ASMR. Each music channel has been chosen to accommodate a number of musical tastes.

Fandom Story Hour is a chance for you and your little ones to hear their favorite stories read by the characters themselves! This year’s Fandom Fest will feature 3 one-hour sessions over the weekend: two on Saturday and one Sunday. Coloring sheets & art supplies will be provided during the reading, and we offer time for photos with the characters. All ages are welcome to hear a story!
*Both of Saturday’s Fandom Story Hours will feature Drag Artist, Izabell Lee as Cinderella.

Renowned Paranormal Investigator, Jack Kenna, from shows like Travel Channel/Discovery+ “Haunted Case Files,” “Haunted Hospitals” and “Paranormal Survivor,” will lead a discussion on his many spooky findings throughout the almost 100-year-old Proctors building.

Fandom Fest’s Cosplay Contest is where cosplayers can show off their performance and craftsmanship skills in one exciting show! Performers will be judged for their ability to captivate and entertain a crowd, bringing their favorite series and shows to life through dance, song, or even comedy. While tailors and seamstresses show off their work by bringing beloved characters onto the MainStage at Proctors!

Conventions and events have a way of sneaking up on us. Here we’ll discuss methods to prevent the dreaded con crunch. And tips to survive it if you do it anyway.
We will discuss planning methods, goal setting, quick material sourcing, and general well-being support for those last-minute cos-plans.

Cosplay is for everyone! Join guest cosplayers Magical Lee, 8armedspidey, & Ashleyisalot for their Q&A discussion on diversity in the cosplay community. These panelists will share their perspectives as trans, POC, & disabled cosplayers to spread awareness of challenges marginalized cosplayers face, to celebrate triumphs, & to empower others. All nerds are welcome to attend.

Cosplay Court Case is an improv event where cosplayers of all anime and gaming series are invited to participate as the judges, lawyers, witnesses, bailiffs and defendants as we put characters on trial!

Delaney King is a sculptor and special effects artist located in Los Angeles with a passion for creature and makeup design. After dedicating her work to the haunt scene for over six years, she studied and graduated from Cinema Makeup School to pursue special effects full-time. Some of her notable creations include vampires, goblins, sentient fungi and beasts of all varieties. Recently, Delaney has been working alongside talented artists, bringing anything into reality from cut-up corpses to beloved children’s characters for film and TV. With a fervor for inducing fear and creating wonder, she hopes her next design will be something you can’t forget. 

Join our hosts, Claim to Fame Entertainment, for e-sport and gaming tournaments at Fandom Fest!

Super Smash Bros. Tournament*
When: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, August 26
Where: Addy Theatre (third floor)
How much: $5 Entry Price

Exhibition Day
When: All day – Sunday, August 27
Where: Addy Theatre (third floor)
How much: free – first come, first served

Does it ever feel like nerdom is a male-dominated space? Listen to other female-identifying nerds with the same feelings and discuss with them how they handle it and what it means for all female-identifying people fighting for their voice in this space.

Unleash your inner artistic ability with fandom-themed paint and sip. You don’t have to be an artist to be able to create art. Participate in this step-by-step instructional class ad end up with something nerdy that you’d be proud to hang on your wall!

Starring Artists: Rick Arthur, Doug Arthur and Doug Hill

Watch as some of your favorite comic artists compete in our Sketch Off! Using suggestions from the audience, these professional illustrators will have 15 minutes to create original artwork, while host Michael McCord peppers them with questions. Vote for your favorite sketch by donating to the charities chosen by the artists!”

Do you “want to be the very best, like no one ever was?” Test out your nerdy knowledge at Fandom Trivia! Hosted by John and Amanda Wilsey.

Discover what supernatural spirits might be wandering beyond the vale by taking a ghostly stroll through Proctors with Paranormal Investigator, Jack Kenna. What mysteries could be uncovered? Bring your own investigative tools and find out yourself or help Jack discover more secrets of this structure from the 1920s. Limit of 25 people per session. Sign-ups at the Info Desk during Fandom Fest.

Trekkies unite! Join Jim Yager as you take “Star Trek” trip through time. Are you a fan of “The Next Generation?” Or was “Discovery” your thing? Do you go as far back as “The Original Series?” Or have you recently gained your Trekkie status with “Picard?”

Jennifer Shinefeld, Cory Williamsen of Mobius Worlds Publishing
Tabletop role-playing games are an amazing way for people of all backgrounds to come together for a common purpose — to tell a story. It’s one of mankind’s oldest forms of community building. It can be used for any number of outlets, mental and emotional. With such broad potential for motivation, it is critical to have a session before the first gaming session — a conversation to set expectations for everyone involved. Come discuss with us why this meeting — known as Session Zero — is absolutely crucial for every game table.

TwoPenny Nerdlesque is the region’s flirtiest, dirtiest, and nerdiest burlesque company. Since 2017, they’ve transported audiences to Hoth, Hogwarts and beyond with their themed performances, and they are thrilled to be making their triumphant post-pandemic return with FandomFest 2023 at Proctors. TwoPenny Nerdlesque was founded by two LGBTQ+ theatre geeks who strive to pay homage to the vaudeville roots of burlesque by incorporating comedy, drag, and other variety acts in their performances. So if you like your sauciness with a side of sci-fi, TwoPenny Nerdlesque is the company for you.

Furry Fandom Meet-Up
Catch up with local furry friends, or find out what this fandom has to offer you. If you’ve been on the fence and not sure where to begin, or just think furries are cool, you’re welcome to join in and have some fun with your friendly neighborhood fuzzies! Goodie bags will be provided for all who attend in fursuit! Hosted by Liquid Sunshine Designs.