SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE - PortConMaine, Maine's largest convention for geek culture, is pleased to present its first round of guests. Appearing at the convention as guests of honor will be anime anthropologist Charles Dunbar, science fiction authors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, creator of Billy vs Snakeman, Luke "McMasters" Morgan, the Vice President of the New England Chapter of the International Costumers' Guild, Elizabeth O'Malley, cosplayer and prop maker Robert "Sketch" Scholz, and the web series production crew The Entertainment Experiment, creators of Ragged Isle.
Charles Dunbar (also known by his internet handle "Anime Anthropologist") is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he received his BA in Anthropology and Religion in 2004, and an MA in Sociocultural Anthropology in 2010. His fieldwork of the past 2 years has revolved around anime convention participation, including perceptions, misconceptions, stereotyping, spending habits and convention culture. He's also addicted to the works of Hayao Miyazaki and has an obsession with mythology and folklore, especially where gods and ghost stories are concerned. He currently rambles about these things on his website, www.studyofanime.com.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are Maine-based co-authors of the best-selling Liaden Universe series and have been writing together since the early 1980s. They started the first Liaden novel in 1984 and have published thirteen novels and several dozen short works in that series alone. Their most recent Liaden novels are Fledgling, Saltation and Mouse and Dragon, which all hit the Locus bestseller list. Baen has been reprinting the original ten Liaden novels in four omnibus editions, with the Korval's Game out in June and Crystal Variation out in September. The next new Liaden book, Ghost Ship, is due out in August 2011.
Professionally, Steve was Founding Curator of Science Fiction for the University of Maryland's SF Research Collection as well as Vice Chair of the Baltimore in 80 WorldCon bid, while Sharon has been Executive Director, Vice President, and President of the Science Fiction Writers of America; together they were BPLAN Virtuals, an ebook publisher in the late 1980s. The combination of these experiences has created a unique voice in science fiction.
Luke "McMasters" Morgan is the creator of Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN, a popular anime parody web based online game. He is also the author of one and-a-half online comics ("Dub This!" and "Stand Tall"), the owner of Hammergirl Anime (an anime store in Rochester, NY), and has three cats (who are far smarter than he). Billy Vs. SNAKEMAN can be enjoyed at http://www.animecubed.com/billy/
Elizabeth O'Malley attended her first convention at Otakon in 2004, but did not get seriously into cosplaying until 2007. Since then she has made over fifty costumes, attended over thirty conventions, and won several awards. A member of the Northern Lights (New England) Chapter of the International Costumers Guild since 2008, she became Vice President of the chapter in summer 2010. She is also the Costume Track Director for Arisia, a sci-fi/fantasy convention in Boston, and Assistant Director of the Future Fashion Folio and Single Pattern Contests for Costume Con 29 in New Jersey. Online you can find her by the cosplay name Stardust or Stardust462 and see her costumes at www.stardustcosplay.com.
In addition to cosplaying, Elizabeth is part of the AnimeCons and AnimeCons TV staff, joining in January of 2009. She reports on several conventions every year and produces segments from topics to travel, cosplay, and how not to be "that guy." She also is the creator and maintainer of Anime Cheep, a website with information on how to get anime and manga cheap and free, legally.
After his cosplay debut at Anime Boston 2004 as the now legendary "Leathery Vash" cosplayer, Sketch has continued to push the boundaries of the New England cosplay scene with elaborate cosplay after cosplay. Even if it took him three years to still not be done. He followed up with Lynx from the PS1 game Chrono Cross in 2005. He's tormented Ed Elrics over countless cons as his Hohenheim of Light and delighted us with his Pervy Sage Jiraiya in the dating games coming up to his reveal of the TV headed robot, Canti (FLCL) in 2008. In 2009, he began hosting AnimeCons and AnimeCons TV.
Sketch's classic training is in illustration, getting his BFA in 2004, has been found off and on in artist alleys showing off his art. But, being a constant student of life he sought out other forms of art in sculpture, sewing, electronics, and basket weaving... wait what? He's known by his convention colleagues as someone who can figure out how to make anything.
The Entertainment Experiment is a multi-media production company owned by Karen L. Dodd, Barry Dodd, and Ed Porter and is based in Southern Maine. In a nutshell they make music and movies.
For music side they have released critically acclaimed CDs by local favorites Confusatron, Covered In Bees, Pigboat, and Spawn Of Man (to name a few). On the video side, they keep busy shooting local events, plays, and dance productions. They created a video for a contest on Disney-owned cable network Soapnet called Criehaven which made it all the way to the top five in the nation and came close to winning an opportunity to create a series for their website. Not giving up their dream, the people behind The Entertainment Experiment have poured all their efforts into their own web series, the supernatural drama Ragged Isle. Ragged Isle can be viewed online at http://www.raggedisle.com/.
First held in 2002 and celebrating its tenth convention this year, PortConMaine is New England's largest and longest running geek culture convention covering anime, gaming, science fiction, costuming, fantasy, comics, video gaming, boffer combat, steampunk, and more. Over 2000 fans attended the convention in 2010 and the convention is expected to be even more popular in 2011. PortConMaine 2011 will be held at the Wyndham Portland Airport Hotel in South Portland, Maine from June 23rd through 26th, 2011. More information about PortConMaine can be found at its official web site, www.portconmaine.com.