There’s very few instances in your lifetime where you might actually meet some of the most recognizable people in the entertainment industry as well.
But this weekend at RealmsCon, you can.
RealmsCon was created eight years ago by Daniel Velasquez, aka Po (as in “Po” from “Kung Fu Panda”), who had a small business called Gaming Computers in Corpus Christi.
“I ran into a lot of kids, and they were all telling me to do a convention, but I was so wrapped up in the business, there was no way I could actually have done one,” Velasquez said.
After a year of running the store, Velasquez shut its doors for good.
“After a few years, I was missing everybody.
“So, I decided to go ahead and do a convention. That’s how it got started.”
Since its founding in 2005, Velasquez has run it every year – with help from his loyal staff – and nurtured it, watching as it grows bigger and bigger every year.
So, with all the hubbub going around Corpus Christi and outlying cities about the ever-expanding convention, does he ever see a profit?
“It pays for itself. There’s a lot of money being exchanged for your guests, the flights and the hotel the convention center itself.”
So what drives an average Joe like Velasquez to power through sickness and stress every year for just one weekend among his peers?
“I do it mainly for everybody.
“What pays me in return is watching everybody have a great time, knowing that this is a memory that will stick with them.
“It’s a safe environment. Very family friendly, which is what I love about the convention.
“You get to see everyone in costume, and it’s very colorful.
“There’s entertainment everywhere. There’s music; there’s movies, and it’s a learning experience as well.”
And one of the more rewarding experiences comes from his adoring female fan base, who have met many of their first loves at the convention, or just loved ones in general, and have gone on to get married and start families of their own, likely to bring their little ones to future convention and keep the tradition going strong.
Throughout the convention, there are special FX makeup and craft workshops from some of the best artists in the United States.
Crispin Freeman, who has voiced numerous anime shows such as “Ghost in the Shell” and “The Big O,” as well as and video games where he’s voiced Superman and Helios in “God of War III.”
Noel Gugliemi is an actor many South Texans will recognize, because he’s always cast as the stereotypical Latino gang member.
But that hasn’t stopped him from appearing in a myriad of movies such as “Bruce Almighty” and “Street Kings.”
Not to mention his big multi-episode role on last season’s “The Walking Dead.”
The convention also has special FX makeup artist Sergio Guerra, who appeared on SyFy’s original series “Face Off.”
And, even though he didn’t win the competition, being a local Texan made him a local fan favorite.
One of convention’s biggest additions is the South Texas premier of Darren Lynn Bousman’s “The Devil’s Carnival.”
Bousman is best known for directing “Saw II” and “Repo! the Gentic Opera” (which will also screen at the convention with a live band performing along with it).
Velasquez mentioned, “It’s a big event, because the only time in South Texas that you’ll be able to see this movie at RealmsCon.
“He (Bousman) travels all over the United States touring and shows this movie, and he never comes to South Texas, so this is the first time you’ll actually get to see it.”
Tons of other guests and musicians will fill the weekend as well.
So, what happens when the convention hall empties?
When all the cosplayers take off their kitten ears and pink wigs?
“As soon as everything is said and done, I start planning for the next one,” Velasquez said with a laugh.
“I have a meeting with the rest of my staff members so we can think of ideas about next year’s convention.
“I start thinking what sort of guests we’re going to have down here, the theme of the convention and all that kind of stuff.
“We see what we did wrong and fix it. What we did right and keep it.”
And, by the looks of it and the size the convention has grown so far, there is sure to be more “rights” than “wrongs” on that list.
RelamsCon runs from October 12-14 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.
For registration information and a complete list of guests visit www.realmscon.com.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.