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Exclusive: Flame Con new venue and 2018 dates announced

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Jan 25, 2018, 8:00 AM EST

New York City's Flame Con was created by the non-profit Geeks OUT as a place for queer geeks and their allies to celebrate the LGBTQ geek community. This summer the annual LGBTQ comic-con is returning for a fourth year, but this time you won't find it in Brooklyn.

For the first time, Flame Con will be held at a new venue in Manhattan. Fans will have to make their way to the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel for the con. In addition to announcing the new location, Flame Con also revealed to SYFY WIRE that the convention will take place on August 18 and 19. Tickets are on sale now, with Sunday again free for youth to attend, and registration for exhibitors and vendors is open.

To find out more about the venue change and what else you might find at this year's convention, we spoke with vice president of Geeks OUT and Flame Con chair Steve Gianaca.

Why did you decide to change the location of the convention?

Steve Gianaca: Last year Flame Con had a problem that we were very happy to have, which is that we had such a great amount of interest it was almost hard to move, and we don't want people to feel claustrophobic or confined or feel like there's not enough space for people, because that's really why Flame Con exists. To make a space for people. So we're moving to a location that has a much larger floor plan. Much larger panel rooms. Something that can encompass all the people who actually want to be a part of it. Far be it from us to keep people away who want to join us.

What are you looking forward to being able to do with the new space?

We can get panels to expand a bit, b,ecause we had I think about 50-people rooms [last year] and now we have about a 200-person room. We can have more engaged panels and discussions. We can incorporate more people who want to be a part of us into the main event spaces. We sold out of our vendor tables last year, and we're hoping this year to actually up that a tad. People were disappointed they couldn't be a part of Flame Con last year. Now we'll have more opportunity for anyone who wants to be a part to join.

The SparQ Fund, which was started last year, is returning. How will the fund impact this year's convention?

The SparQ Fund helps us bring artists and people who otherwise would not have been able to access Flame Con to be at Flame Con, and also at the same time we help raise money for accessibility and ways to give back to the con and the community at large, so while we're still developing some strategies for SparQ, expect it back, expect it bigger, expect it to be more impactful than ever before.

Flame Con SparQ

Photo credit: Flame Con

Are there any other changes to Flame Con people can expect to see?

We will have new ways for how people access the con. We're hoping to find ways to make Flame Con so people aren't queued up forever … we want to make sure everyone can access our con and our panels. We're developing strategies for that right now. We will have new after-hours activations. I can't tell you exactly what they are just yet.

When should attendees start keeping an eye out for announcements regarding special guests?

Once our public announcement goes live we'll have a few of our special guests revealed, and then they'll be rolling out continuously weekly and bi-weekly.

What are you excited for attendees to experience at this fourth Flame Con, and how do you think this year might stand out from previous conventions?

We're always hoping to change, but at the same time we're always of the mind that Flame Con has always been this refuge for the queer community who are also geeky to find spaces where they can be themselves and geek out. My major hope is we can make that transition from a Brooklyn to a Manhattan scene, which might make more people enticed to come, because it can be easier to get to Manhattan.