Ever-growing science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention Gaylaxicon comes to Minneapolis on October 9-11, with expectations that attendance will continue to grow, and draw more diverse attendees. Beginning in 1988 on the East Coast, the annual event slowly has crept west.
Terrance Griep, one of this year’s guests of honor, says, “This area is what makes it distinct. People get to see what Minneapolis—and gay Minneapolis—are all about.”
Anyone and everyone can find something appealing in the convention, according to Griep: “Nongeeky friends can have fun, too. It’s really not just about science fiction.”
In addition to writing for several publications (including Lavender) and wrestling professionally, Griep pens stories for DC Comics, working on such titles such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and—most frequently—Scooby-Doo.
Griep comments humbly about being selected as a guest of honor, “It’s a surprise to me, honestly.”
While participating in several panels, Griep will be seated alongside four other guests of honor.
• Andy Mangels, the first person to come out in the industry, has become a jack-of-all-trades. He has written more than a dozen novels, including Star Trek, Roswell, and Star Wars books. He has established himself as an influential DVD feature producer. Former editor of Gay Comics, he regularly writes columns for The Advocate, Star Trek Monthly, Just Out, and Back Issue.
Greip shares, “I consider him something of a mentor.”
• Margaret Weis, a Wisconsin native, is coauthor of the original Dragonlance stories. She owns Margaret Weis Productions, LTD. Her other series include The Deathgate Cycle, Rose of the Prophet, and Star of the Guardians. She currently is working on a new six-book series in collaboration with Tracy Hickman.
• Marc DeBauch began to paint turbulent landscapes and fantasy art that made use of homoerotic subjects almost 30 years ago. In 1995, he won first place in the Tom of Finland Emerging Erotic Artists Contest. His work has been recognized and exhibited internationally. He resides in Minneapolis.
• Lawrence Schimel has written and edited fiction, poetry, and comics, as well as books on gender studies. He was a founding member of the Publishing Triangle.
Schimel explains, “My identity strongly colors all of my work, even if the work itself is not overtly about that identity. I started writing overtly gay material after attending my first Gaylaxicon in 1994. I was out as a gay man, but at the time, I had only published 40 or so nonqueer science fiction and fantasy stories in anthologies and magazines.”
Schimel’s career has grown beyond writing. In his work as an editor and publisher, he has noticed trends in how both straight and queer writers are drawn to his projects.
As Schimel relates, “Often, straight writers will submit a queer story, knowing that as an editor, I’ll be receptive to that, and on the contrary, sometimes, the queer writers contributing to a general science fiction project will write stories featuring heterosexual characters, since they’re otherwise always asked to be the token queer when invited by other editors.”
Schimel looks forward to the main draws of the convention, which, for him, are the chance to dialogue about issues relating to identity, inside and outside of science fiction, and to discover new material he would interested in reading. But Minneapolis itself is also a huge perk.
As Schimel remarks, “I’ve always been impressed by how active and lively the arts/cultural scene in Minneapolis is. But there is also a sense of community that is so evident—and enviable—to those of us from elsewhere. Minneapolis considers the arts and culture important, and as a result, devotes attention and resources to it—all laudable!”
For more information, visit www.gaylaxicon2009.org.