DuluCon looks to help gamers, readers and cosplayers join forces this October

The DuluCon logo. Courtesy of DuluCon

The DuluCon logo. Courtesy of DuluCon

DuluCon aims to become Duluth’s own entry into the list of cosplay, comics, and gaming conventions. It will join Twin Cities-based conventions like 2D Con and Galaxy Con Minneapolis in representing a wide range of interests and creating opportunities for readers, gamers, creators and cosplayers to meet and interact in Minnesota. 

DuluCon will be organized by a council of volunteers from the Duluth community, who will also provide a substantial amount of the convention’s funding.

One of DuluCon’s major attractions will be a cosplay gala, which begins with a red carpet procession.

The Encounter , one of DuluCon’s Hosting Sites. Courtesy of The Encounter

The Encounter, one of DuluCon’s Hosting Sites. Courtesy of The Encounter

Cosplay, a shortening of the term costume play, is a form of performance art in which a person dresses like a character from a form of media. This can include video games, movies and books. Some cosplayers will add a twist to their work, changing the time period of the character or “genderbending,” meaning to dress as a character as if they were a different gender than the original interpretation.

The red carpet event will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18th. Attendees will be able to vote via social media to help decide whose costume is the best. Further information on the event’s schedule can be found on their website.

“We love how many creative people with skills ranging from amateur to pro level support, encourage and equip one another,” Amy Roper, a member of the council organizing DuluCon, explained. “We hope to offer people a wonderful time of showing off what they've accomplished and enjoy other's creations… We will have some MN chapter groups from the likes of The 501st and Ghostbusters North to add to the fun on Saturday as well so people can cosplay then as well.”

The 501st and Ghostbusters North are both organizations that lead large cosplaying communities, with Ghostbusters North representing the 1984 classic and the 501st maintaining a worldwide network of Star Wars cosplayers.

In addition to gaming sessions and escape rooms, one of DuluCon’s other notable features will be a series of panels hosted by various creative minds from the writing, podcasting, and business worlds. Panels will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19th.

These panelists include author and producer T. Aaron Cisco, the podcasting network Nerd Sloth, Sam and Laura Dean, and Serenity Schonoover.

Roper explained that DuluCon is very excited for its local but well-accomplished panelists.

“As a council and people that have grown up in this area, we love how so many of the panels speak to the spirit of Minnesota,” Roper continued. “We love the diy, how to start your own, entrepreneurial go getters. We wanted to help equip people and connect people with other locals who have gone through some of the do's and don'ts of these areas.”

T. Aaron Cisco looks forward to being part of the first iteration of DuluCon and feels the new experience will be more of a continuation of his favorite activities. 

Author and Producer T. Aaron Cisco. Courtesy of T. Aaron Cisco

Author and Producer T. Aaron Cisco. Courtesy of T. Aaron Cisco

“The con scene is my scene,” Cisco explained. “I've been doing panels, readings, signings, and cosplaying at cons for many years… DuluCon especially stands out because I consider Duluth to be a second home.”

Cisco’s work often revolves around Afrofuturism, an ever-growing genre that combines science fiction with themes of African storytelling, mythology, and history. 

“I have five books available now, all of which fall under the Afrofuturism umbrella, all of which feature POC protagonists and antagonists, portrayed in ways that aren't stereotypical of the majority of other media, both in and outside of Afrofuturism,” Cisco continued. “One of my favorite sayings is that the future is yesterday. Speculative fiction sculpts the future by peering through the lens of the past.”

Further information on Cisco’s work can be found on his website.

Another unique aspect of DuluCon will be the ability for attendees to become sponsors. There are three levels of sponsorship, charging $75, $125 and $350 to $500 respectively, with the third level coming with a variety of options that adjust the price. Further information can be found on the convention’s website.

This system will pair with a number of sponsors and help from the community and local businesses to make DuluCon kick-off well. DuluCon is funded through the council which organizes it. In addition to this, several local shops and businesses have invested in the convention.

Roper explained that “In the best way possible, building the con through these avenues has given it a real sense among many that we truly are building this together and not just some people out to make a ton of cash off of attendees.”

CultureDominic Bisogno