BayouCon set for this weekend at Chateau Du Calcasieu event center

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

An anime voice actor and a homeland security expert turned “Star Wars” actor will headline the fifth annual BayouCon convention

Friday through Sunday at the Chateau Du Calcasieu event center, 932 Enterprise Blvd., between First and Second streets.

Vic Mignogna, voice actor from the anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist” and Capt. Kirk from the Web series “Star Trek Continues,”

will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs. There will be a special showing of “Star Trek Continues.”

John Morton, who was gunner Dak in “The Empire Strikes Back” and donned the costume of Boba Fett when Jeremy Bulloch was not

available, will also attend.

Mignogna will conduct a question-and-answer session at 4 p.m., and Morton will answer questions from fans at 5 p.m., both

on Saturday. On Sunday, Morton will speak at 2 p.m. and Mignogna at 3:30 p.m.

Morton, who has switched careers back and forth between government and show business, said he got into the convention circuit

via his daughter Wendy, who worked on modeling and creature-making in “The Empire Strikes Back” and in other projects.

“I am a member of the 501st Gallery Rebel Legion,” a worldwide costuming organization of “Star Wars” fans, Morton said in

a phone interview.

“I scratch my head every day,” he said of the “Star Wars” fan movement. “It is a very compelling phenomenon, the way George

Lucas structures his films. Gary Kurtz, producer, works in a collaborative way, and he is a Quaker. A spiritual dimension

is very much a part of the Lucas films.”

The sense of spirituality is not only on film but in the way the company works with its people, he said.

“When I got to the set, all were enthusiastic, and everyone looked after everyone else. Now that they have transitioned into

Disney, I hope it will continue,” Morton said.

“It’s as if George has created his own sandbox and says, ‘Come play, and bring your own toys.’ He listens to everyone. You

bring something to the table, and you are part of the Lucas family.”

Morton is completing a book, “Next-Generation Homeland Security,” with a foreword by Tom Ridge, former U.S. homeland security

secretary. He earned his degree in international affairs from the London School of Economics.

Mignogna has been involved in voice acting for anime for 13-14 years and has done voices for more than 200 films and video

games, he said.

“I have seen it explode. I was into anime before I knew it had a name. I was excited by ‘Speed Racer,’ the television cartoon

series of the late 1960s,” he told the American Press.

“The industry has suffered as the shows are ripped off and the DVDs put online illegally. Some franchises have been put out

of business, but the industry is still strong.”

Mignogna has worked in stage and film acting, writing, production, music, camera work and just about any other position that

exists. When asked if he had to narrow it down to just one, he responded, “I wouldn’t want to give any of it up. I love it

all.”

He said he enjoys the convention circuit. “It is meeting the fans and interacting with them,” he said. “I have met thousands,

and I’m a big sci-fi fan myself.”

Although he is a seasoned veteran of stage and film, voice acting requires its own set of skills, he said. “Not every good

stage or film actor can be a good voice actor, and not every good voice actor can be good on stage and in films,” he said.

Mignogna has composed and performed music for many productions. He has released six music CDs, including theme music from

the anime productions he has provided voices for.

He worked out of Houston for a number

of years and still owns a home there. He still likes to get back as

often as possible.

However, since most of his work is in Los Angeles, he spends most

of his time on the West Coast. This will be his first trip

to Lake Charles, though he has been through to other venues in

Louisiana. He wrote a stage play for a church in Bossier City.

“BayouCon will also have several featured cosplay artists donning their different costumes,” reads a news release. “More than

20 artists and authors will showcase their independent works along with custom commissions.”

Other features will include Carnival Epsilon, which performs a steampunk stage show, and the Orion’s Envy cosplay group. “The

conference will feature panel discussions on subjects including costuming, steampunk creations, Star Trek, Star Wars, and

more,” reads the news release.

“BayouCon is a fan-driven and fan-produced event,” Justin Toney, BayouCon founder and director, said in the news release.

“We are excited to be able to offer this type of entertainment to an area rich in arts and culture. Our headlining guests

will offer a lot to the convention this year.”

If you go

• Tickets for the weekend are $25 at the

door for adults and $15 for children. Saturday-only admission is $20 for

adults and

$10 for children; Sunday-only tickets are $15 for adults and $5

for children. All tickets include a year’s membership in the

Southwest Louisiana Science Education Foundation, producer of the

convention.

A meet-and-greet preview party will be 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday.

Saturday hours are 9:30 a.m.-midnight, with dealer room open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sunday hours are 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., with dealer room 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.bayoucon.net or www.facebook.com/bayoucon. Parking plans will be posted on Facebook.