Ogden UnCon bringing unconventional convention to Junction City

Ogden UnCon bringing unconventional convention to Junction City

Russ Adams is finally about to get a good night’s sleep.

Maybe not this week, but certainly the week after.

Adams is operations manager for Ogden UnCon, a brand new pop-culture convention coming to downtown Ogden beginning Friday. The three-day “comic con”-like event has been two years in the making.

“I’m twitchy, man,” Adams admitted a few days before the start of the inaugural Ogden UnCon. “I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in two years.”

The festival opens at 9 a.m. Friday at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center in downtown Ogden and continues daily through 5 p.m. Sunday. The event will include vendor areas, workshops, demonstrations, gaming areas and much more.

Adams encourages folks to get their tickets to UnCon now.

“Because once we hit our goal, we’re shutting down sales,” he said.

They already did it with the VIP tickets, which have been gone since early May.

“When we hit our 300 mark for the VIP tickets, we closed it down and people were blown away that we did that,” Adams said.

The convention still has single-day and three-day passes for sale, but Adams says they’re only going to sell a total of 6,000 of those. Once they reach that number — if they reach that number — the festival will be officially sold out.

“Once we hit that 6,000 number we’re pretty much done,” Adams said. “It’s one of those things that sucks, because if you’re in line, and the guy in front of you got the 6,000th ticket? Well, maybe next year.”

Adams said he knows that people might think it’s a marketing ploy, “and it sort of is,” but he wants to maintain that “exclusive feel” to Ogden UnCon.

“We’re fighting for that exclusivity thing,” he said. “We think it will make the convention that much more interesting.”

In addition to limiting the number of tickets sold, Adams said they’re only bringing in celebrities who haven’t appeared at other comic conventions in Utah. He says he can’t understand why some comic cons will do “repeats” — bringing in a celebrity year after year.

“To have someone show up three or four times to a convention does a disservice to the fans,” he said. “This is a chance for them to see these people in the flesh, as it were, and if you miss out that one time, you’ve missed out. We’re trying to embrace that whole FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) thing.”

Among the guests at this year’s UnCon will be:

• Toby Stephens, who played Gustav Graves in the James Bond film “Die Another Day,” as well as Captain Flint in “Black Sails,” and John Robinson in “Lost in Space

• Sophia, Hanson Robotics’ most advanced human-like robot

• Naomi Grossman, who portrayed Pepper in “American Horror Story”

• Zach McGowan, who plays Roan on “The 100,” Captain Charles Vane in “Black Sails,” and Anton Ivanov in “The Agents of Shield”

• Chris Kattan, a stand-up comic and actor best known for his eight years on “Saturday Night Live”

• Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Walking Dead” novels

• Felipe Rose, a founding member of the 1970s disco group Village People

• “Land of the Lost” actors Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman and Phil Paley

Adams said they’ve had one change to the weekend’s guest list. David Harbour, who starred in “Stranger Things” and the recent “Hellboy” reboot, was scheduled to appear at UnCon but has canceled.

“We had booked David Harbour, but unfortunately that got canceled,” Adams said. “It was out of everyone’s hands.”

Among the other activities at Ogden UnCon will be panel discussions, workshops, a cosplay competition, the Pitch Fest writing contest, and a gaming hall that will remain open around the clock. Not to mention after-hours parties and pub crawls.

“We’re trying to ease Utah into that whole nightlife-after-hours thing,” Adams said.

Special effects makeup artists will present workshops, Hollywood casting directors and producers will talk to actors, and a Hollywood script doctor will be on hand to present a workshop on the DNA of screenwriting.

“There are a lot of opportunities to learn from professionals here, to help local artists get a leg up,” Adams said. “We’re hoping we might see a diamond in the rough at this year’s event.”

Even Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell is getting into the act. On Sunday afternoon, Caldwell will present the convention’s final cosplay award while debuting a custom hero suit created by Adams.

Adams said fans are coming from all over the United States and the world for the convention — France, England, Austria, Denmark, Canada.

“We’ve even got people coming from tiny countries in Africa that I can barely pronounce,” he said.

And Adams said his team is already planning Ogden UnCon’s sophomore year.

“I think people’s heads are going to turn with next year’s lineup,” he said. “Our whole goal is to bring people out from all different areas of pop culture. Because folks want more than just the latest Marvel movie.”

But, of course, first Adams and his team have to get through this weekend.

And after that?

“I’m going to be drinking heavily, yes,” Adams jokes.

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