************ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ************ ValleyCon 36 - the celebration of popular culture RETURNS October 15-17, 2010 to the Fargo Doublewood Inn! Acclaimed television star MARK A. SHEPPARD (Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, 24, Medium, CSI, Leverage, Bionic Woman, Supernatural, White Collar, Burn Notice, Warehouse 13, Dollhouse, X-Files, and many more! ) FEATURING Best-selling author DC/Marvel Comic Artist (STAR WARS, young adult DRAGONBACK series & CONQUEROR series) (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern DARKEST NIGHT series inker) TIMOTHY ZAHN TOM NGUYEN ValleyCon 36 is the celebration of popular culture over a three-day weekend. ValleyCon 36 features the best in film and television, books, game tournaments, comics, books, toys, art and fun for all! Highlights include our guests: one of the top best-selling authors in all genres: TIMOTHY ZAHN and renowned character actor MARK A. SHEPPARD! Please see the attached information sheets on both of these highly acclaimed and talented artists. Also featuring DC/Marvel comic artist extraordinaire TOM NGUYEN! TIMOTHY ZAHN will be available FRIDAY, Oct. 15th for press consideration-please contact as soon as possible for arrangements! MARK A. SHEPPARD can be arranged via phone before the event-again, please contact us as soon as possible for arrangements! ValleyCon 36 is also expanding its’ awards functions, previously given in the film festival only. This year we’ve added awards honoring achievement in illustrative arts and have been honored with permission to name our award after a true giant in the field: Frank Frazetta. Frank Frazetta recently passed away, leaving a legacy of critically acclaimed art works from his beginnings as a newspaper and comic cartoonist to the preeminent painter of heroic fantasy, film posters and album covers. Frank is probably best known by the public for his iconic paintings of Conan the Barbarian as well as the classic Molly Hatchet album cover and dozens of film poster artworks. ValleyCon is honored to be given permission to name our series of illustrative awards after Frank Frazetta and is giving our first Frank Frazetta Award for Excellence in Editorial Cartoon Illustration to local legend, Forum Communications artist Trygve Olson and the award for Excellence in Comic/Graphic Novel Illustration to our guest Tom Nguyen. The award ceremony will be held at our Opening Ceremony 6:30pm Friday, October 15th. ValleyCon also features a huge vendors and exhibitors room which for the first time will be FREE for all to enjoy! To enter the rest of the event a simple pass is all that is required and will be available right at the door. ValleyCon 36 has a full all-weekend long slate of presentations, panels, events, demonstrations, and video games and game tournaments of all kinds. We feature an Art Show and Auction, and of course, theme parties! Saturday night features a new event-GEEKS GOT TALENT! Any talented people are encouraged to apply! See our website for details. This year we also celebrate a pop-culture milestone, the release of arguably the best Star Wars film: The Empire Strikes Back! ValleyCon will also look at other pop culture sensations such as the Harry Potter phenomena, Vampires and other things going bump in the night with the recent Twilight craze, the increasingly popular sub-genre known as Steampunk and much more! A complete listing of programming will be available on our website soon. ValleyCon 36 will also feature the return of our highly successful event: The Fargo Fantastic Film Festival 8, spotlighting film and video works in all genres. This year features award-winning works from over 10 countries and most of the major film schools in the US and a writing workshop sponsored by Final Draft software and featuring Todd Eliassen, a noted TV writer. ValleyCon 36 also welcomes other local guests including Irish literature and vampire expert Jamison Ridenhour and illustrator Ali LaRock presenting their award winning film “Cornerboys” and paranormal expert and nationally syndicated radio host Jamie Standifird, who recently was added to FATE magazine’s radio network. Ridenhour and local vampire and Dracula expert Tony Tilton will be hosting a presentation on the vampire craze and Standifird will be talking about real ghost encounters. ValleyCon 36 is also excited to thank our major sponsors starting with Rasmussen College and including Section 9 Cyber Café (which will host our electronic gaming tournaments-see a partial listing below), Paradox Comics and Cards, FUNimation, Final Draft Screenwriting Software as well as many more. ValleyCon features programming geared towards fun but with an added bonus of educational benefit. We feature professional writers, actors and artists who are actively working in-and are at the top of-their fields in panels and workshops, all for a low cost pass! Most of our guests participate in workshops around the country that cost those attendees hundreds of dollars each but for the cost of less than 2 movie tickets (matinees, even!) ValleyCon attendees can meet, talk and work with these highly regarded professionals. Tickets in all ranges are available from Daytime passes to All-Day pass (that last basically until the next morning) to All-Weekend passes! All are available on the website and at the door. Friday daytime passes are only $10, or $15 for the All-Day pass. Saturday daytime is $15 or $25 for All-Day and Sunday is $12 for all-day passes. All-Weekend passes are $50 or $35 for students. Kids passes (12 and under) are much less and on our website. For the amount of entertainment over 3 full days and 2 nights, ValleyCon passes are comparatively the best deal around! ValleyCon 36 is the celebration of popular culture over a three-day multi-media weekend! Escape for a weekend of fun and join us! Mark A. Sheppard is a British actor and musician, born in London of an Irish-German background. He has become a welcome presence on a wide variety of television shows. His television work includes the "Fire" episode of the X-Files, a year on the Jerry Bruckheimer action series, Soldier of Fortune, guest-star and recurring roles on CSI, The Practice, Special Unit 2, JAG, The Chronicle, Monk, Las Vegas, and CSI: NY, among others. He played the villian in season five of 24, and Patricia Arquette's serial-killer nemesis on Medium. Mark is well known for his roles on Star Trek: Voyager but his roles as “Badger” in Firefly and "Romo Lampkin", (Gaius Baltar’s lawyer) in Battlestar Galactica brought him to the attention of sci-fi and genre fans. Mark played a regular role on the remake of the Bionic Woman and has recently invaded shows like Warehouse 13, Supernatural, Dollhouse, Chuck, The Middleman and Charmed. Mark is, however, one of the few actors in demand in the more mainstream productions as well, a testament to his talent! Mark has been featured on shows like Burn Notice, Leverage, White Collar, Without a Trace, Shark, In Plain Sight, NCIS, and many more. These are just productions he’s acted in-he has also produced, directed, written, voice-over, and second unit directed other productions such as Room 101, Nether World and The Conduit. Look up Mark’s credits on imdb.com and see what we mean! We’re extremely excited to welcome Mark to Fargo and VALLEYCON 36! Courtesy Wikipedia/IMDB: MUSIC: At 15, he became a professional musician and enjoyed many years as a recording and touring artist with bands including Robyn Hitchcock, Television Personalities and the Irish group Light a Big Fire. Mark played drums on Light a Big Fire's second album. As a session musician, he recorded albums for many groups throughout Europe, and eventually moved to the United States. STAGE: Sheppard was invited to audition for the American production of the play Cock and Bull Story (directed by Midnight Express author Billy Hayes), for which he won numerous awards, including the 1992 L.A. Drama Critics Circle award and the LA Weekly and Dramalogue awards. TELEVISION: His television work includes the "Fire" episode of The X-Files, a year on the Jerry Bruckheimer action series Soldier of Fortune, guest-starring and recurring roles on The Practice, The Invisible Man, Special Unit 2, JAG, Star Trek: Voyager, The Chronicle, Monk, Las Vegas, CSI: NY and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, among others. He played Badger, a semi-comical cockney-style crime boss in the short-lived Joss Whedon show Firefly and later cast again in another Joss Whedon show, Dollhouse as Paul Ballard's dismissive FBI superior. He has . appeared as a villain in season five of the Fox show 24 and as Patricia Arquette's serial-killer nemesis on Medium He appeared as Romo Lampkin in seasons three and four of Battlestar Galactica, and had a recurring role as Manservant Neville in ABC Family's short-lived cult hit The Middleman. He has recently been seen as Anthony Anthros on Bionic Woman, as the nemesis character on Leverage, as the demon Crowley on Supernatural, and as a bank robber on an episode of Burn Notice. He appears in the SyFy series Warehouse 13 as Regent Benedict Valda. Most recently, he appeared in the pilot episode of the USA series White Collar as a villainous master forger. FILM: Mark’s film credits include the Jim Sheridan film In the Name of the Father, starring opposite Daniel DayLewis and Emma Thompson as Guildford Four member Patrick Armstrong; the romantic comedy Lover's Knot; the Russian historical drama Out of the Cold; the thriller Unstoppable; and with Heather Graham and Jeremy Sisto in the dark independent, Broken. He also starred in Megalodon. His father is the noted character actor W. Morgan Sheppard, whom he directed in the film Room 101 and with whom he co-stars in the psychological thriller Netherworld, which he also co-produced. Timothy Zahn is a writer of science fiction short stories and novels. His novella Cascade Point won the 1984 Hugo award. He is known for three Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, called the Thrawn Trilogy, which takes place after Return of the Jedi. He also wrote the young adult Dragonback series and the popular Conquerors' Trilogy. He has written over 30 novels. BIOGRAPHY (Courtesy Wikipedia) Timothy Zahn was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his thesis adviser quite suddenly died, leaving Zahn with three years of thesis work down the drain. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and later he became a professional writer. He and his wife Anna live in Oregon. They have a son, Corwin Zahn. TOM NGUYEN Born in Minneapolis and raised in Burnsville, MN, Tom has been drawing for as long as he could remember. At age 14, he was already commissioned to do portraits of baseball players, and at 16 he was hired to draw caricatures at Valleyfair amusement park and at the Mall of America. But at age 19 Tom was able to break into the industry that he loved most: comic books. Since then he has done work for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Seattle Weekly, Wizard magazine, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Upper Deck Entertainment, Titan Books, and the television series Little Miss Perfect for WeTV among other clients. Tom has also established himself as a renowned pin-up painter, having worked with some of the top professional models and pageant winners. Although he jokingly refers to himself as “The Prince of PinUp,” he is most definitely the undisputed “King of Pageantry Pin-Up” as there is no other artist who has worked with more high-placing pageant competitors than Tom has. His work also includes Playboy models and NFL cheerleaders. Tom’s pin-up work has been featured in publications such as Club International magazine, American Curves magazine, Aphrodisia 2: Art of the Female Form, and the upcoming How To Airbrush Pin-Ups due Fall 2009. He is also a prize sponsor to the Mrs. Minnesota-, Mrs. Iowa-, and Mrs. Wisconsin-America pageants, providing his rendition of each of the state’s winners. --Inker of Blackest Night's "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps" -- author/artist--"Incredible Comics With Tom Nguyen" & the new "Incredible Comic Book Women With Tom Nguyen: The Ultimate Guide to Drawing Kick-ass Babes" --Artist- "Ghostbusters" (IDW), "Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters" (Dynamite), and upcoming "Undertaker" WWE series. Tom will be doing a signing of his new book at Paradox Comics Friday, Oct. 15 at 3pm and also at ValleyCon all weekend long! He’ll also be conducting portfolio reviews for up-and-coming artists to help them entering the industry-a very rare event to occur outside of New York or Los Angeles! Bring your portfolio down! Todd Eliassen Before leaving Hollywood in late 2006 to focus on a novel writing career, Eliassen worked for fourteen years in the television writers' room. As a script coordinator, freelance writer, and staff writer, he worked on twenty-five network shows in both the half-hour and hour formats; these included a wide array of genres such as kid's programming, animation, sitcoms, and dramas. The personal highlight of his career was being paid copious amounts of money to sit in a room for three months getting high with Pee Wee Herman -- ostensibly writing a pilot for NBC but, in the end, doing nothing of the sort. Some of Todd’s work include: THE BLACK DONNELLYS NBC, WINDFALL NBC, REVELATIONS NBC, HAWAII NBC, SUMMERLAND The WB, THE HANDLER CBS, HIDDEN HILLS NBC, ALIAS, TITANS NBC, EVEN STEVENS Disney Channel, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 FOX, PAUL REUBENS SHOW NBC Pilot, TEEN ANGEL ABC, INVASION AMERICA WB, MR. & MRS. SMITH CBS, CLUELESS ABC, ON CALL CBS Pilot, FOREVER YOUNG NBC Pilot, STRANGELUCK FOX, DREAM ON HBO Writer and director Jamieson Ridenhour writes poetry about goblins and old monster films, and dark and funny fiction. In addition to Cornerboys, Ridenhour has published poems in Strange Horizons and The Lumberyard and literary criticism in Literary London, The Irish Literary Review, Yemassee, and Dickens Quarterly. He is also the editor of the Valancourt edition of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 vampire novella Carmilla. His first novel, a comedic murder-mystery with a werewolf in it, will be published by Typecast in 2011. Cornerboys is his first film. Illustrator Ali LaRock has this to say about her work: “For me, creating art is a continuous learning process about myself, those around me, and the complexity of this world. Combining humor and playfulness with the intense issues that are involved in trying to understand myself and others is a natural response to the way I see the world--a place filled with so many wonderful feelings and possibilities, and yet a very frustrating place full of all sorts of struggles.” LaRock has exhibited in galleries across the U.S. Cornerboys is her first film. Jamie Standifird is a paranormal radio host. Every Friday night she interviews people who have had paranormal experiences or may be an expert in a paranormal field. She is from the Mandan/Bismarck and has a research team there as well. Jamie was recently picked up by FATE magazine. FATE is a 60 year old paranormal magazine that has just recently started their own radio network. Gaming Tournaments ValleyCon hosts open games of all kinds including Role-Playing games, Live-Action Role Playing, Card games, Board games and electronic games. Section 9 will be running the electronic gaming tournaments and they will include four computers that have over 300 games to play over a Local Area Network (slightly dependent on internet connection speed!), a Nintendo Wii setup that will include Dragonball Z, Budokai, Tenkaichi 2, The Conduit, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Red Steel 2, the new Super Mario Bro's and of course Smash Bros. Brawl. The Playstation3 setup will include Bayonetta, God of War 3, Little Big Planet, and Uncharted 2. For Xbox 360 we will have Halo Reach, Batman Arkham Asylum, Gears of War 2, Fable 2 and Red Dead Redemption. More details will be available on our website by October 4th and at ValleyCon 36!
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