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Monday, July 31, 2017

GEEK´D CON 2017 kicks off in August

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Geek’d Con is coming to Shreveport’s Convention Center Aug. 18-20.

It’s billed as the area’s largest pop culture gathering and is promising the geek population numerous chances to see and do the things they do, and boasting celebrity guests from television, music, movies and comic books.

In case you wondered, there are probably as many definitions of geeks as there are geeks. A geek can be someone excessively enamored of a specialized subject or activity. (Think about French food aficionados.) They can be digital technology enthusiasts. Some people called eccentric or nonmainstream may end up with a geek handle. The sometimes profane Urban Dictionary settles for labelling a geek as “[t]he people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult.”

Greg Allen and Dakota Lawrence have been working on the 2017 iteration of the convention, the third in the series, literally since they closed the 2016 doors, according to Lawrence. “Geek’d Con is like a Mardi Gras. We don’t take a day off; we never stop working on this event,” he said.

Allen added another layer to the geek definition search. “If you were a geek way back in the day because you liked 'The Incredible Hulk' on TV and you heard that Lou Ferrigno is coming and it got you excited, guess what? You’re a geek, and it’s time to come meet him,” Allen asserted.

Shreveport is a good place to anchor the show since the ArkLaTex is home to a lot of shops specializing in geek merchandise. “There’s a huge geek population here, but nobody pays attention to it,” Allen explained. “It’s either because they don’t want to call a geek a geek, or they don’t realize they’re a geek. So we wanted to create an outlet for all of those people to come to one place and embrace how geeky they are.”

The stated purpose of the event is to celebrate geek culture with discussion panels, vendors, game tournaments, co- splay contests and other entertainment. If any of those terms are unfamiliar to you, you can get clarification by ing out the convention Web site at http:// check- geekdcon.com/ or searching their Face- book page at https://www.facebook. com/geekdcon/. The geek concept has been tried in other markets, like Tyler, Texas, and Rockford, Ill., none as successfully as Allen.

Attendees this year are scheduled to see people like Lou Ferrigno, Joey Fatone, in Shreveport, according to Kelly Hu, Sam J. Jones and Louisiana native Roland Parish, who returns for his sec- ond consecutive visit. Parish’s credits include "Spider-Girl," "Amazing Spider-Man," "X-Men" and "Ms. Marvel." Also appearing will be Billy West, a voice actor who has been heard on "Ren and Stimpy" and "Futurama"; professional wrestler Jim “Hacksaw” Duggin; Gil Gerrard, TV’s “Buck Rog- ers”; Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger, Catherine Sutherland; voice actors Kel- len Goff and Andy Field, who worked on “Five Nights at Freddy’s” video games; and “Deadpool’s” John Lucas.

The guest list comes from attend ees, according to Allen. “We do an exit survey and go through the analytics of what people liked and didn’t like and what they want to see next year.”

Allen said from the first research they did, it was clear the local crowd wanted to see Lou Ferrigno. Attempts were made to get him here last year, but circumstances prevented it. Undaunted, the duo continued to work and finally show. Billy West was another celebrity got Ferrigno booked for this year’s the public wanted from the beginning, he said. “When the people who filled out one of our surveys, or said something to us, start to see these guest lists and they have the people that they’ve been asking about, that really shows them that this is as much their show as it is anyone else’s,” Allen said.

Lawrence agreed. “I al- have an event like this. Have that event run professionally to where I could have a dad come into this show that truly ways said Shreveport could loved Lou Ferrigno and his wife was a Joey Fatone fan and their kid plays 'Five Nights at Freddy’s' and gets to meet two of the voice- over actors. That’s the one thing that I really strive for: This is an event that’s fun, interesting, and the entire family can enjoy. That’s what makes it worth it, seeing a grown man walk away from Elvira’s table totally fan-boyed out because he just met Elvira. And then seeing a little kid that looks up to her. It’s a year’s worth of hard work – that when I see that moment – and I’ve been so fortunate to see it every year – it makes it all worth it.”

Ticket and time information is available on line at the Web sites listed. 

Header photo by Marcus Mebes.

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