Sunday, January 31, 2010

OSFest 3’s Artist’s Alley Revisited

I’m sorry if there was some confusion in the way OSFest 3 planned to administer their new Artist’s Alley. We had thought it would be more convenient for the artists if we split the table fee and membership fee into different segments. To us this made sense from both a business deduction POV and splitting the table fee if two artists wanted to share a table.

The original pricing structure was $30 for a table and $30 for a membership, which is our current pricing for dealer’s tables. But we have rolled those back together so that a table plus one membership will be $60. The guidelines have been rewritten to reflect this new policy and are up on our website ready for download.

So if you are interested in selling your artwork directly to the public, doing commission work at the convention, or just wanting a place to hang for the convention, get your application in for OSFest 3’s Artist’s Alley. You can find the forms here. Remember the deadline to reserve a table is May 1, 2010.

There is still tiem for everyone to get a pre-registration membership for OSFest 3 via online registration. Just go here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Make A Righteous Noise!

Last time I talked about a 3-tiered success structure for local events. The first and third tiers are pretty straight forward in recognizing their achievement. Either the event happened or it didn’t; tier 1. Either you took in enough money to pay all your bills or you didn’t (and had to dig into you pocket to get everyone paid); tier 3.

Tier 2 is a little less cut and dry. But I say not that hard to determine. Did people have a good time? Just how many people have to have a good time for this tier to be successful? One. If you manage to affect just one person’s life in a positive manner you have made a difference in this world.

The problem I see in the Omaha area is that there are a lot of people, very vocal people, who only state what they don’t like about events. This is not a new phenomena, it’s been going on ever since events have been organized in the area. What is new is the internet, it allows any opinion to go far and last a long, long time. So let’s use that medium to help the SF/Anime/Gaming community in the Metro area. When you find you like certain activities stand up and say what you like about them. Not only will this bring balance to the (internet) force but it will allow organizers of events to know what people actually like, rather than just what they don’t like.

So here is my call to arms. If you like something that happened in the community, tell the world about it. Write it on someone’s wall on Facebook, join a forum (like and sing its praises, comment on blogs following these events, or send bulletins out on MySpace. There are many avenues to get the word back to event organizers but you have to take that first step.

The Omaha Science Fiction Education Society (OSFES) wants to build the SF/Anime/Gaming community in the Metro area. OSFES wants to see all fannish activity succeed, not just OSFest. There are several active fan groups interested in various facets of what can be called "fandom," and all are equally important. We all need your help.

So make a righteous noise and let your voices be heard.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Support Your Local Con!

The first thing I would like to do today is make a correction to an earlier blog. The Suncoast Anime Day will be Saturday, January 30, 2010 not as I reported earlier last Saturday, January 23, 2010.

There has been a lot of talk about a “failed” event last weekend. I want to address that concept. As I see it there are three tiers of success an event can climb, each tier making the event more successful. But if any of the thresholds are met, that event has been a success.

The first tier is: Did the event happen? Was the person(s) in charge able to hold the promised activity? There are a lot of variables that go into throwing an event, any one of which has the potential to derail the whole activity. So having all those variables come together and work makes for a successful event.

The second tier is: Did the attendees have the intended experience? Usually that means; did they have fun? This is a much harder tier to meet than its predecessor since a lot of intangibles and affect this outcome. I maintain that this is the most important goal for any organizer and the most intangible.

My final tier is: Did the event pay for itself? Note this is not; did it make money but rather does its success allow the organizer(s) to continue this type of activity? Annual events often run in the red for their first few years but if they never pay for themselves eventually they will be cancelled.

Justin Richardson’s Ani-Rave meets the above mentioned first tier. Therefore the Ani-Rave is a success! Kudos go out to Justin and his staff for braving the dead of winter to organize a fan activity.

Most conventions that startup in the Midwest have trouble meeting all of the above tiers and have to settle for the first and second ones. Committees spend considerable time raising money in between them to make up for short falls and to keep them going. We are all one community. We need to look out for the activities that we love. We need to support those brave enough to bring them to us. And yes, there are two tiers to that support: buying a membership and volunteering to help with the event.

So get involved and support the Omaha Sci-Fi/Anime/Gaming community. You'll have fun doing it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More About Upcoming Activities in Omaha

There is a modeling club in Omaha, yes I have written about them before, that meet monthly at Krypton Comics to work and trade techniques. They are the Gundam Modellers’ Workshop and they meet the second Saturday of each month at Krypton Comics 2819 S 125th Ave # 261 Omaha, NE 68144. The problem has always been; where can you find a Gundam or other anime related model to work on. Well Ground Zero Hobby in Bellevue , 794 Fort Crook Road South to be exact, orders in a shipment of specialty models every month. The store manager, Dave, says they fly out the door as soon as they arrive. But never fear, he is willing to let you peruse the catalog he orders from to see if there is a specific model that strikes your fancy. So give him a call at: 402-292-3750, get a model kit and hang out with a bunch of great guys at the Gundam Modeller’s Workshop.

Star Wars fans unite! There is a Meet and Greet for the Omaha Star Wars Club on February 6th at the Dave and Busters (2502 South 133rd Plaza Omaha, NE 68144) from 1-4 PM. Beau Caddell has reserved the Blue Board Room so we can get together and meet fellow fans. He also runs a Facebook page for the club, so head on over there and sign up for future activities and general SW conversation.

If your group is planning an activity in the Omaha area of fannish interest and would like me to publicize it to others drop me a line at with the details. And don’t forget: Robert Sawyer, Mitchell Bentley, and Jan Scott-Frazier are coming to OSFest 3 this summer.

2010 looks to be a great year!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010: An Omaha Odyssey

New events and changes are happening in the Omaha area this year. Not only will we have the regular conventions that we have come accustomed to having but we will be adding one in Lincoln this year: ConStellation. Add to that a lot of new smaller, one-day events happening this coming year, like CosParade and OtakuOmaha’s AniRave.

To keep things fresh in the regular conventions, changes need to be made occasionally. This year the Board of Directors for the Omaha Science Fiction Education Society saw some turnover. John Schlosser and Rodney Ruff stepped down to pursue business and personal interests, though I am hoping they will still be a part of OSFES going forward. To fill those seats and the one we have had vacant for the last year; April Lindloff, who had already been serving as our Treasurer, Caleb Combs and Mai Tran agreed to step in.

OSFest (The Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival) has also seen some personnel changes. Except for our first year when Norm Pavlov was Guest Liaison for Denise Crosby, we have not had a person dedicated to taking care of our Guests of Honor. This year Nick Schneider has agreed to fill that role for us. Remember to feed them Nick. Dylan Nigh has agreed to work on Programming, between the two of us I hope to take the best of SF/F and Anime convention programming and create a hybrid that has something for everyone. Tony Schneider will be bringing in his crew to provide security this year. Moose Mendolia has offered to organize the table top gaming activities this year. If any of you saw the Star Wars minis games he ran last year you know this will be exciting. Also watch for one of Fredd Gorham’s Artist’s Jam to be integrated into our program schedule, separate from the Artists’ Alley we have already announced.

And with these many changes a lot of people will be returning to bring the same great convention that OSFest has been in the past. So mark July, 2010 on your calendars, book your room, get your membership early (while their cheap), and hang on. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh-Edo Rocket
by John Schlosser

It is the mid-1800’s and the city of Edo is suffering under the rulership of a harsh magistrate. A series of bans on all luxuries is making the people miserable and angry. Naturally such ostentatious displays as fireworks are number one on the list of banned items, but that isn’t stopping Seikichi Tamaya. Determined to defy the ban (and the magistrate), Tamaya is still carrying out test runs of his latest fireworks. Then, just as his latest and most spectacular display really lands him in hot water with the official, a ditzy girl (literally with stars in her eyes) show up on his doorstep, wanting him to build a firework that will reach the moon.

This tour-de-force period piece from Studio Madhouse is one of the funniest things to come down the pike in a while. The fourth wall takes a merciless beating and slapstick antics and ludicrous anachronisms are the order of the day.

At the same time, there is a dark side. The story of the magistrate (who has his own mysterious visitor) is dark, twisted, and tragic.

Of course, the majority of the plot concerns the building of the rocket. Since this is a historical piece (sort of) we are treated to a slapstick history of rocketry.

The series has its odd parts, most notably the musical episode where the entire cast has been inexplicably turned into cats. One of the secondary characters is lost about halfway through the series (there was a scheduling conflict with the original voice actor) and his character becomes a bird.

In short, if you like historical pieces like Inu-yasha or Ruroni Kenshin; or if you’re just into big rockets (Wings of Honneamise) and slapstick comedy, then this is the anime for you.

By the way, the theme song: Oh Edo Nagareboshi IV is one of the funniest things in years.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Activities This January!

I would like to cover a couple of anime related events that are happening in Omaha later this month.

A couple of weeks ago I got a Facebook invitation to an Ani-Rave. Not being an aficionado of the music scene, I had to look up exactly what a Rave is. Their poster gave away that it must be music related. Anyway a Rave is term originating in the 1980’s and 90’s for a dance party, usually associated with fast-paced electronic music and a light show. So the people who bring you OtakuOmaha are putting on an anime related dance party to help get us out of the mid-winter blues. And boy do we need it.

Saturday January 16th they have contracted the main ballroom of the Comfort Inn & Suites at 72nd & Grover for the night. Official events start at 6PM with Karaoke followed by the dance from 8PM until 1AM. Admission is $8 but since this is also a food-raiser for the Omaha Food Bank, a donation of 6 canned food items will get your admission reduced to $6. Food, drinks and assorted goodies will be available for your enjoyment. It’s time to overcome your cabin-fever by getting out and kicking up your heels at the OtakuOmaha Ani-Rave.

Saturday January 23rd, Suncoast Video in the Westroads Mall is having an anime day in their store. In addition to discounts on anime items (buy one and get the second item at half price), they will be having a cosplay contest and possibly a trivia event (depending on turnout.

So put those shovels down, sally forth and meet kindred spirits at these two wonderfully timed events as this frigid month finally thaws.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Movie Nights with The Usual Suspects

Movies let us escape the world we have to live in and enter a universe where we would like to live. But all too soon that experience ends unless we see those movies in the company of your fellow fans. One such group is The Usual Suspects, who meet at the Great Escape Theatre each Saturday for the last matinee showing (usually around 5PM). Come join us on our outings.

Here is the suggested lineup of movies available for the next couple of months. Remember, release dates can change at the last minute, but if you join the Omaha_Sci_Fi_Fantasy_Discussions Yahoo group, you’ll get reminders and notices of schedule changes.

January 9th; DAYBREAKERS: In the future, a plague transforms most of humanity into vampires. With a very limited blood supply, the vampire nation turns the remaining humans into blood farms. Meanwhile, a researcher is working with a covert band of vampires on a way to save humankind.

January 16th; THE BOOK OF ELI: A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man (Denzel Washington) travels across America, fighting to protect a sacred book holding the secrets to saving humanity.

January 23rd; THE LOVELY BONES: A murdered young girl watches over her family and her killer from heaven. Based on the best selling novel by Alice Sebold, from heaven this 14-year-old girl tells her story showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed while attempting to find her lost body.

January 30th; LEGION: Directed by Scott Stewart and scripted by Peter Schink, LEGION concerns a group of strangers in an out-of-the-way eatery where the mother of the unborn savior of Earth currently works as a waitress. They find themselves the first line of defense when God, believing the human race is no longer worthy of Him, decides to end humanity’s existence. Their only spiritual ally when the angels attack is the archangel Michael, played by Paul Bettany. Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Charles S. Dutton, and Lucas Black co-star.

February 6th; FROM PARIS WITH LOVE: In Paris, a young employee in the office of the U.S. ambassador hooks up with an American spy looking to stop a terrorist attack in the city.

February 13th; THE WOLFMAN: Universal Studios resurrects the classic 1941 lycanthrope tale which starred Lon Chaney Jr. Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his family estate to investigate the disappearance of his brother. What he discovers upon reuniting with his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins) is a destiny far darker than his worst nightmares. Something monstrous has been stalking the residents of Blackmoor from the nighttime shadows. Not even recently arrived Scotland Yard inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) can dream up a rational explanation. Talbot must venture forth to confront this evil to save the woman he loves; only to uncover the primal side of himself he never knew existed.

February 20th; SHUTTER ISLAND: It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.

So come and join us for a film, then conversation afterwards.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

OSFest adds an Artists' Alley

The Omaha Science Fiction Education Society is always looking for ways to improve the convention experience it offers Omaha area fans. This year, we’re adding a successful element we’ve found at other conventions: an Artist’s’ Alley.

For those unfamiliar with this piece of SF/F/Anime/Media Conventions, an Artists’ Alley is an area where artists hang out and fans can talk with them, learn new techniques from them, and buy art directly from them or commission works from them. Just imagine a dealers’ room full of highly creative people doing what they do best with chairs on both sides of the table. It offers everyone a chance to peek into their inspired worlds.

Never fear, we are not eliminating the traditional Art Show. An Art Show highlights the works of the artists represented; an Artists’ Alley highlights the artists themselves. Both activities let you step into new and wonderful worlds, and come away with a piece of those worlds should you need their inspiration in your daily life. (I know I do; my wife keeps telling me we need a bigger house.) An artists’ alley, however, lets you tell the artist directly how those worlds have inspired you and lets the artist tell you the processes that spawned them.

If you are an artist and would like to participate in this new endeavor, simply download the OSFest 3 Artists’ Alley Submission Guidelines, fill out the reservation form and let us prepare your gateway to your fans. And keep watching this blog, as we will be launching more new activities in the months leading up to OSFest 3.