Monday, May 13, 2013

Why Conventions Matter -- BlogCon 2013

Steve Crowder opens BlogCon 2013 in Dallas, TX
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak
Conventions matter.

These days we have comic book conventions. We have gamer conventions. We have Live-Action Role-Play conventions.

We have conventions for Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Firefly fans.

Inside each of us is a "Con Geek". The reason is simple. Everybody has interests and hobbies. It is refreshing, entertaining, informative, and fun to hang-out with like-minded people. For those of us who feel like isolated members of some "fringe" subculture, these conventions allow us to be with our communities. They let us know that we are not alone.

Contributors of Mental Aikido have attended many conventions. The first of any type can be overwhelming, at least for the first 15 minutes or so.

My first convention was the 20th Anniversary of Doctor Who, 1984. Other fans of the show may debate that the show was 20 in 1983. The first episode aired in December 1963. Its first full year aired in 1984, though.

I was star struck. Colin Baker, who was  the current "Doctor" at the time, accosted and assaulted a member of my group. She was wearing a hand-knit replica of Tom Baker's iconic scarf. Colin stopped her, mussed up the scarf, then adjusted it to more accurately reflect the way Tom wore it in the show. I just stood there with my jaw on the ground.

I also had the second and third doctors sit down and flank me in the audience of a panel discussion. They were supposed to be members. Instead  they joked that their schedules stated they were supposed to attend, not participate. It was great to meet Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton.

I have also attended several conventions within the Gothic subculture. I used to DJ goth gatherings on weekends for extra money while I was still in the military. It was great to "be myself" among other goths, especially "net-goths" from more rural areas who didn't have many other goths to socialize among, other than on old alt.goth newsgroups.

Then there are the numerous gaming and LARP conventions contributor Jared Royka and I attended as representatives of our local Camarilla/Mind's Eye Society chapter.

Members of various professional organizations have their conventions, as well. In fact, contributor Melissa Matuszak-Fosler is scheduled to present at one such convention in the near future.

Even "Cheetos Brigade" conservative bloggers have our conventions. There are several throughout the year.

This past weekend, Freedomworks, with assistance from Glen Beck's The Blaze, hosted BlogCon 2013. This, the fourth conservative bloggers' convention, was held near Dallas, Texas.

The event brought together conservative bloggers, commentators, and new-media journalists from around the country to discuss current issues, the political landscape, and the importance of accurately reporting news from the local to international levels.

Several key speakers addressed the crowd.

While attendees were still registering and collecting bags of SWAG, Todd Staples hosted bloggers for lunch. Todd Staples is Texas's agriculture commissioner. Due to the responsibilities of his current office, Todd has
garnered a unique view of border security and illegal immigration. His new book, Broken Borders, Broken Promises, addresses many of the issues to include a need to streamline legal employment visas in order to benefit US agriculture businesses.

Steve Crowder opened up the convention officially with a short, rousing speech. Those unfamiliar with Mr. Crowder's work should browse through his YouTube channel. Be prepared to laugh and be informed. One thing Steve stated set the tone for the convention. "I started in comedy and doing commentary spots on television. I arrived when I attended my first BlogCon and busted into 'new media'."

Steve Crowder, Chris Loesh, and other BlogCon2013 speakers appeared in this music video in 2012:

On a personal note, our daughter loves the song (and video) by Powdered Zombies. She always asks when Steve and Chris will make another music video.

"Powdered Zombie" Chris Loesch flanked by Emily Zanotti (left) and John Brodigan (right) of Misfit Politics
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak
Many may think it hard to follow a media icon such as Steve Crowder. Those who believe that may have found themselves overwhelmed by Deneen Borelli.

Deneen gave another great speech. Just as other Tea Party women, such as Michelle Malkin and Dana Loesch, Deneen's speeches should not be missed. It matters little what your political ideology may be, Deneen always has something you need to hear. Her book, Blacklash, is a must read for all.

Deneen Borelli (R) and Melissa Matuszak-Fosler
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak
The rest of the convention continued with great panel discussions and presentations from a myriad of great people on topics ranging from the implications of Obamacare implementation to the importance (and difficulties) of blogging stories of local significance.

Dean Clancy gives an update on the future affects of the PPACA
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Melissa and I were ecstatic meeting Lou Ann Anderson, Sarah Marie Brenner, Lady Liberty and Liberty Speaks. These are great women and great reporters. Read them.

We socialized with PJ Media's "Vodka Pundit", Steve Green. Steve is an awesome guy.

Melissa and Dana Loesch chatted about motherhood and education while grabbing some BBQ at Gilley's. Dana was assisting with memorial and funeral arrangements for Chip (Rest in peace, patriot). We thank her for taking a few second for a picture:

Melissa Matuszak-Fosler and Dana Loesch
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

She also was subjected to a lubricated Scott Jacobs while I was catching up with Mandy Nagy and John Gabriel.

It was also great to see David Darnell and Loren Heal again. David was quick to help Melissa feel welcome and among friends. 

As with previous BlogCons, I met many great bloggers; some new, some established. Despite all of the great presentations, that is the real purpose of the conventions. They allow us to meet and network with people face to face. There are far too many great people to list by name. Those who use Twitter can follow many of them on this Twitter-List of Blogcon 2013 attendees. Each and every one of them is hard-working, unique, and has something to say that is worth paying attention to.

So many great people collected  under one roof. Though we had to leave early, undoubtedly we will be suffering form BlogCon withdrawal for the next several days.

In the meantime, please prompt BlogCon virgin, Melissa Matuszak, to write her own perceptions.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Kristina Ribali and the staff at Freedomworks for another great convention. Your hard work is much noticed and appreciated.

Kristina Ribali
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Other Pictures:

"Misfit" Brandon Morse looking like he is still recovering from the Kruiser Cabana
In reality, he didn't miss a beat. He was about to emphasize a key point.
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

@ExJohn John Gabriel waiting for his chance to speak while Ace of Spades (not pictured) finishes his point.
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Radio Personality Dana Loesch speaks on challenging the Mainstream
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

"Fingers" Malloy
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

James O'Keefe of Project Veritas
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Lee Stranahan
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Mental Aikido's Melissa Matuszak-Fosler reacting to one of the great speakers
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak

Freedomworks' Matt Kibbe signs Amy Miller's copy of his book Hostile Takeover
while Melissa shows off her recently signed copy.
Copyright 2013 by P-G Matuszak