RVACON kicks off this weekend

Like comics, video games, anime, technology, and cosplay? Then this weekend is for you!

Richmond’s newest convention, RVACON, has been two years in the making. In 2011, co-founders Jimmy Budd and Alex Gentile got to talking, with Gentile mentioning that video game tournaments were a rare find in Richmond. Budd, an anime fan, remarked how there hadn’t been an anime convention in recent years, and wouldn’t it be cool if both events would soon happen.

But the pair soon questioned why the events had to be separate. Why not combine them? Furthermore, why not combine them with other interests too?

“Our idea was to fuse a bunch of elements together under one roof,” Budd said: video games, anime, comics,1 technology, music, cosplay. They thought someone should make that kind of convention happen. Why not them?

Unfortunately, they realized they weren’t authorities in those other interests, making them ill-fitted to organize a convention around them. “I realized we needed to have an expert for every field to make this a credible convention and make this worth while.” So the pair slowly recruited directors to coordinate and steer each interest into a single convention. “We tried to really connect them all together,” Budd said.

The public can see the result this Friday through Sunday when RVACON takes place at The Canal Club.2 Budd said while conventions like San Diego Comic Con can attract tens of thousands of people, the scope of RVA Con will be smaller and more intimate, which he believes will suit both novice and expert fans alike. “We’re trying to allow people to learn as much as they can” about all interests, he said.

Among the many artists in attendance to meet fans, sign autographs, and sell items will be local illustrator Chris Visions. Marvel and Disney illustrator Eric Wolfe Hanson will be the honoree guest speaker.

For video game fans, organizers will install a large cube where gamers will compete in an ongoing round robin tournament during the convention. Elsewhere, RVA Game Jams will lead video game building and production workshops.

DJ Chipocrite will host a music production workshop during which he’ll compose music using soundtracks from Nintendo Game Boy games. There will also be a silent disco, wherein people will dance to music piped in only though headphones.

One of the main tech talks will come from the City’s civic innovator, Andreas Addison, who will discuss “Google Glass and How it Will Affect You.”

In addition to the convention hours, The Canal Club will also host two after parties on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 9:00 PM.

RVACON’s organizers hope the inaugural event grows gradually.

“The goal for the first year is to hit around 1,500 people during the three days,” Budd said. While he anticipates a largely local crowd this weekend, he hopes RVACON one day brings people from across the country.

RVACON takes placed Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29th at The Canal Club, located at 1545 E. Cary Street. Tickets and schedule are available here.

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  1. The Virginia Comicon, which starts its 28th year this November, has been held in Richmond since its debut. 
  2. It was originally scheduled for Plant Zero, but organizers moved the event due to ticket demand. 
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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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