Monday, July 22, 2013

Gene Simmons To Make Guest Appeareance At FandomFest

This weekend, some of the biggest names in science fiction, horror and comics will descend on Louisville for FandomFest, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Galt House and Kentucky International Convention Center.

William Shatner, Gene Simmons of KISS, Gillian Anderson of “X-Files” fame, actor and director Kevin Smith and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee are among the stars who will appear at the festival, billed as the largest convention of its kind in the Midwest.

The convention covers entertainment genres such as horror and anime films, steampunk literature and video games. According to the founder of FandomFest, Ken Daniels, the convention should appeal to fans of all kinds.

“We all want to escape sometimes,” Daniels said. “This is the greatest form of escapism ever.”

Daniels started what was to become FandomFest eight years ago as the Fright Night Film Festival, focused on horror films. But Daniels had hoped to expand it to include his other interests, like science fiction — interests that many of his fellow horror fans also shared.

“Our ultimate goal was to take it to an all-fandom event,” he said.

What began with 600 attendees eight years ago grew to nearly 17,000 last year — although organizers had only expected 4,800. Daniels expects more than 25,000 to attend this year, after expanding his advertising to Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Nashville, Tenn.

While FandomFest has had big-name guests before, notably the prolific horror director John Carpenter in 2011, this year’s lineup is unusually high-profile. “We grew slowly,” Daniels explained. “Other shows across the country try to bring in 20 or 30 guests and fail.”

Attendees at this year’s FandomFest will get a chance to see Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster in “The Munsters,” Jason Momoa from “Game of Thrones,” and a handful of cast members from the TV shows “The Walking Dead” and “Firefly.”

Most of the celebrity guests will do question-and-answer sessions and sign autographs (some for an additional fee). The festival will also hold separate, ticketed VIP receptions for several of the headliners.