Submitted by SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra
As the president of the SFPA I had the opportunity to take in two events over the weekend of May 20th-21st: The 6th Annual LitFest Pasadena and the debut of the East Los Angeles Comic Con. I attended scouting for emerging and established poets and artists whose verse involved or could involve science fiction, fantasy, horror and other imaginative themes.
As with most of these events I couldn’t catch it all, but there were some promising indicators to suggest that either event might be worthwhile for some of our members of the SFPA to arrange to read, perform, or helm a table there in the years ahead.
LitFest Pasadena in particular had a very strong SFF track. Although primarily for prose writers, the poets there were very diverse and enthusiastic when represented. Among the most notable events from the perspective of the SFPA would be the performance by Ron Koertge, author of Vampire Planet. Also, previous SFPA SF Poetry Contest judge Kenji C. Liu was seen there, and it was great to catch up with him.
LitFest Pasadena had several prizes for emerging SFF teen and adult writers, with nominated stories read by actors and actresses from shows such as Fringe and others. It was a noteworthy approach.
Many of the poets I saw this weekend have taken to breaking into song through at least part of their poems with significant theatricality. In some cases poems were entirely sung.
East Los Angeles Comic Con had a somewhat cramped space with a long line in noon-day heat in Southern California, but clearly demonstrated there is a market for such events in the area.
The vendors reported brisk sales, so those who are doing work with small press publishing, self-publishing, or similar techniques may want to check this out. It may be a long-shot, but if someone’s willing to put in the sweat equity, it may pay off for some of our writers in the future.