SoonerCon is a nonprofit pop culture, science fiction, fantasy and educational convention that’s been happening in Oklahoma since 1983. Put on by The Future Society of Central Oklahoma, SoonerCon is a collaborative, volunteer-organized effort that brings together fans, creative and academic professionals, artists, authors, musicians, small and large businesses and community members each June in the Oklahoma City metro. The convention draws more than 2,000 attendees and participants. Additionally, charitable giving is a central focus of the convention’s community outreach endeavors, with these contributions from members growing year after year.
Oklahoma’s Oldest and Longest Running Fan-Run Extravaganza, SoonerCon, happens June 22 through the 24th this year at the Reed Conference Center at 5800 Will Rogers Road in Midwest City. In the three days, there’s a wonderful selection of activities and panels to check out.
I’ve highlighted 25 activities (including some bonus mentions of related things) of things that happened at last year’s con in 2017.
Dress to impress in SoonerCon’s annual costume contest! There are first place awards for each category, such as Youth, Constructed in the Past, What The…, and Original/Fantasy, and an award for Best of Show.
Don’t want to compete? They have a non-competitive exhibition too.
Interview with Literary Guest of Honor Timothy Zahn, with audience Q&A. Timothy will also being doing panels on The Death Star Is Stupid Physics, Strong Women Are Star Wars, How to Create a Universe: World-Building Techniques, and more.
SoonerCon’s new Miniatures Painting Competition, which started last year, can be enjoyed both artists and fans. There are prizes for Best Single Figure, Best Large Figure, and Best in Show. As for rules, all participants must have a SoonerCon membership and have their pieces registered and on display in the Art Show.
Learn about developing content, generating listeners, and the dos and don’ts for successful broadcasting. Join various SF podcasters as they talk all things geek podcasting. The panel includes Courtney Oliphant, Michael Ashleigh, Finn Caleb, Nick Johnson, DL Nelson, and Haileigh Todd.
Bring your favorite foam dart blaster and join the fun. Visit the game room for full rules. Didn’t bring your blaster? Don’t worry! A wide selection of blasters (with darts) will be available in the game room in exchange for donations to NAMI, this year’s charity.
Oklahoma’s own Starship Valiant will be presenting their next complete episode, filmed right here in Oklahoma, entitled “Crosses to Bear.” This dramatic story tackles the hardships of childhood illness and the identities of those affected by a terminal disease. They will also be showing for the first time a completely finished edit of “Act One,” of their episode “The Ties that Bind.” After that, there will be a panel discussion with actors and make-up artists.
Bonus Mention: If you want to pretend you’re on a spaceship, check out the Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator on Friday from 7 pm to 11 pm and Saturday from 7 pm to 11 pm.
Four hungry, hungry hippos (2 person teams) face off in an attempt to shove all the balls into their mouths (laundry baskets). One teammate will ride a cart and be propelled by the other teammate. Once they have collected balls in their laundry basket, the other teammate will pull them back to the starting area. After all the balls have been collected (or at the end of the time limit) the team with the most balls wins.
They Act Human is an Art Sunday music project based on horror and sci-fi movies, 80s video game music, sad robot stories, and sometimes math metal. Built by hand, note by note, beat by beat (one-man band), They Act Human is also part of a fanzine. This music is most loved by robots and sea monsters. All songs are written and performed by Art Sunday.
Muggle Quidditch is a sport based on Quidditch, the fictional sport developed by British author J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series of children’s novels, as governed by the Quidditch Association. Each match begins with the seven starting players along the starting line within their keeper zone with brooms on the ground and their eyes closed (so as to not watch where the snitch goes) and the four balls lined in the center of the pitch. The head referee, when they see the snitch fall out of sight, then calls “Brooms Up!” to which players pick up their brooms and run to gain possession of the balls. After brooms up is called, the seekers must not interfere with other positions and wait near the pitch until the end of the seeker floor, usually 10 minutes. The seekers are then released and may run off to search for the snitch. Once a point is scored, the Quaffle must be given to the other team’s keeper and almost immediately return to the offensive with the chasers returning to their keeper zone; beaters are not bound to return to their side of the pitch nor exit the opposing team’s keeper zone at any point. Games generally last 20 to 50 minutes. The game is won only after the snitch has been caught cleanly, and the team that caught the snitch is awarded 50 points. The winner is determined by the total number of points, NOT the team who caught the snitch.
Join SoonerCon for their cheesy B-movie panel. Stick up for your guilty pleasures and make fun of everybody else’s. Recite long stretches of painful dialogue and make everyone cringe. Why does fandom love to love these films?
Lightsaber skills practice for kids, guided by master Jedis.
Bonus Mention: SoonerCon will also offer a Make Your Own Lightsaber craft class session.
Watch or join the Medieval Song and Dance by the Arthurian Order of Avalon.
LA-based Todd Haberkorn has worked in a variety of media in the entertainment industry. The actor is also a director for companies like Netflix and Funimation Entertainment, as well as a producer for production groups like Geek & Sundry.
In the animated world, he voiced roles in Ben 10; Ever After High; Sofia the First; Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood; Pokemon; and many others. He even got the infamous “and I would have gotten away with too…” villain line in an episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
In video games go, you’d recognize him in the Call of Duty series, Persona series, World of Warcraft, Street Fighter IV, and Ghostbusters, to name a handful. He won is the 2016 SOVAS award for Best Narrator of a classic novel.
On camera, see him in the internationally recognized and award-winning Star Trek Continues, as Spock. Todd’s show, Otak-ing Heads, is a weekly look inside the world of anime with top industry guests and fun games—catch it on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube channel.
If you like producing 2D or 3D art, and people say you’re pretty good, this panel discusses the next steps for an artist who wants to begin both exhibiting and selling their work. Panelists include Angela Lowry, David Lee Anderson, Lee Billings, Tim Chessmore, Allen Grimes, and Johnnie Johnson.
SoonerCon will host a screening of the 1932 Tod Browning film Freaks, with a discussion and live podcast recording by OKC-based podcast group, Classic Cinema Podcast. Freaks is an American Pre-Code horror film in which the eponymous characters were played by people who worked as carnival sideshow performers and had real deformities. Directed and produced by Tod Browning, whose career never recovered from it, Freaks has been described as standing alone in a subgenre of one.
SoonerCon will hosting board games all the time. Play a favorite or discover something new.
Bonus Mention: There will be video games too!
Award-winning SF artists host a viewing of the region’s largest SF art show. Light desserts provided.
Girls, is your nerd cred constantly questioned? Are you too pretty to be a geek? Gamergate. Just, Gamergate. Why don’t the “normal” girls ever want to talk much about your tech project? Panelists discuss being a woman in nerd culture, overcoming sexism, and bridging the gap between fandom and conventional interest groups. Speakers include Jan S. Gephardt, Lee Billings, Shai Fenwick, Travis Nance, Courtney Oliphant, and Joey Rodman.
Bonus Mention: There will also be a panel on “Gatekeeping Stops with You” to make fandom more inclusive.
This panel discussion will discuss long-term apocalypse survival strategies, applied to day-to-day life. Can the team-building of dodging zombies help you in your Office Space? Features Curtiss Mays, Rhonda Eudaly, Tim Frayser, Vickey Malone Kennedy, Julia S. Mandala, and Selina Rosen.
What layers are hidden beneath a Victorian lady’s dress? Why so many? How can you use the knowledge to make a historical or Steampunk costume of your own? This will include a demo and discussion with Jennene Stanley, Honor Lychee, Kathleen M. O’Brien, Anne Shelby, and Brian Swearingin.
Victoria Price is a speaker on inspirational topics ranging from the daily practice of joy, how finding your magic word can change your life, living your legacy of yes, stepping into this one brave life, wild flowering your way back whole, making peace with our past stories to expand our creative futures, the role of the arts in society, as well as the life of her famous father, Vincent Price, and a range of topics on interior and industrial design.
As the Creative Consultant of Atomic Fly Studios, Mitchell Bentley produces cover art, marketing materials, and websites. At the same time, he continues to produce quality 2-D artwork marketed through the AFS website and at science-fiction conventions across the United States.
Bentley has lectured at universities, worked in film, edited publications and served as Artist Guest of Honor at more than a dozen science fiction conventions. He has also earned 35 awards, is a lifetime member of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists and is currently serving as its Central Director.
He will be part of the panels for Book Cover Design for Authors, Anatomy for Artists, The Story Behind the Image, and more.
Makers discuss the principles, ideas, and design elements of three- dimensional printing. Today’s hobby is quickly becoming tomorrow’s ease-of-replacement.
What’s a fan convention without cosplay?
Above all: have fun! There will be watch parties, panels, shopping, contests, scavanger hunts, games, and more. SoonerCon has an Anti-Harassment Policy to ensure people are safe. SoonerCon staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference.
SoonerCon is a three-day event with many offerings – some of which you can’t find locally. This list was only a small selection to highlight some of the variety. Anime Pajama Party, anyone? For the full schedule to find what interests you, go to soonercon.com
Regular prices at the door are as follows:
Daily Membership: $30
Weekend Memberships: $55