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The Con is on
Popular culture convention Ptarmicon rolls the dice on a new venue this weekend

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Northern News Services
Friday, July 28, 2017

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
It's a bird, it's a plane - it's Ptarmicon and it's back for its sixth year.

NNSL photograph

Desmond Mackay, left, and Maccheus Mackay cosplay as Minecraft characters to compete in the costume competition at last year's Ptarmicon. The pop-culture and gaming convention hits town again this weekend. - NNSL file photo

And, this year, it's bigger on the inside. The world's most northern gaming and popular culture convention is taking over the Chateau Nova Hotel this weekend.

"It's just a better venue this year," said Reigh-Leigh Foster DeBaie, Ptarmicon president.

"We have a bit more programming, a few more guests, the first day has expanded big time because we have so much going on in the schedule."

Doors will stay open later until 8 p.m. on opening day to squeeze in everything on the schedule. Annually, the convention draws about 400 people.

In addition to tabletop role-playing games, board games, anime screenings, video games and the annual cosplay competition, this year's event features more speakers and panels.

After the success of last year's cosplay panels, Foster DeBaie says this year the convention is excited to host husband-and-wife cosplay team Obsessive Cosplay Design, who will be teaching workshops on how to sculpt, mold and cast costume pieces and is scheduled to host a special cosplay over-30 panel.

"We've had a lot of people that have messaged us and said they're really excited for that," said Foster DeBaie.

While the event has always attracted the geek-youth community, this year is aimed to attract more people of all ages and interests.

"We've got the youth aspect," said Foster DeBaie. "But also there's a really big older population that also really enjoys sitting around a table and just having good old fashioned fun."

This year's headlining speaker is Elaine Will, author of the graphic novel Look Straight Ahead. Foster DeBaie says Ptarmicon has wanted to host Will and her partner Marc Allard-Will for years, but wasn't able to fit the cost into the budget. This year, thanks to a donation from SSi Micro, the duo will be bringing their expertise to the Yellowknife stage.

Look Straight Ahead follows a teenage boy who is bullied and experiences depression.

"It's sort of biographical for her," said Foster DeBaie. "She suffered a lot of these things herself as a youth, so she's kind of used this graphic novel to write about some of her stories and also use it as an outlet for her research and knowledge of mental health."

Will is scheduled to be joined on stage from representatives from the Department of Health and Social Services, and Foster DeBaie said she'll be consulting with them to help design programs.

Ptarmicon runs tomorrow through Sunday.

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