From Fandom to Friendships, ClexaCon 2020 Celebrates LGBTQ+ Women, Community & Creativity
Reset your calendar, ClexaCon 2020 has pushed back it's scheduled date from April to late summer due to COVID-19.
ClexaCon is a unique media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ+ women, trans, non-binary and allies, with attendees from around the world and every state in the USA. Women gather together and celebrate each other and their achievements - with a jam-packed list of celebrity guests, workshops, parties and a full film festival, ClexaCon 2020 is looking fabulously informative and entertaining. One thing you can definitely be sure of, if you're attending, is being welcomed, finding new friends to connect with and being loved for exactly who you are!
We had the chance to interview Danielle Jablonski, ClexaCon Director and Dana Piccoli, ClexaCon Team Co-ordinator and learn more about ClexaCon's past, present and future!
Tell us about how was ClexaCon born?
Danielle: ClexaCon came around as a way to celebrate fans and fandom after a character, Lexa, was killed off the CW series, The 100 . It was part of a really rough TV season, where so many queer female TV characters were being killed off. We wanted to bring together the fans who were mourning the loss of that character. Then, as that TV season went on, more and more characters were being lost, it became much bigger than just the one character and the one show. We wanted to support our community and create a safe space for us all to come together and celebrate the shows we love and mourn the characters we lost. We also wanted to bring together industry professionals and encourage better story telling and thoughtfulness around the stories of queer people on TV.
What did you enjoy the most about last years ClexaCon?
Dana: There was so much to love, just being able to spend time with people from our community. Meeting people I’ve known for years through social media, and just seeing people come together to talk about what matters to us in our community. I love seeing people make new friends, it’s so much more than fandom, it’s really become more about friendships and family to me.
Danielle: It’s really good leading up to the convention, talking online to friends we made last year and making plans for this year. Our attendees come from all of the United States and from around the world and seeing them come together and all these little communities that have formed from it (ClexaCon) is pretty cool.
What advice would you give anyone who is struggling with their sexuality and this is the first big event they are going to attend?
Dana: I would say take it easy, take it slow, be good to yourself. You don’t have to do everything at once, you can sit back and relax or, you can take an active role and introduce yourself to people. No one’s coming out story is just like anyone else’s, we all have our own stories, so just talk, share your experience and maybe other people will share theirs. The thing to remember is you are in a totally safe space at ClexaCon. We are all there to embrace each other. You’re going to be loved!
Danielle: I’m in my early forties and growing up 20-30 years ago there weren’t spaces like this at all, you were lucky if there was one LGBTQ bar in town, and that was it, I think we’ve come along way but I feel we are still lacking in places where large groups of queer people, especially queer women can come together and just be ourselves.
Which women over the years have inspired you and why?
Danielle: I’ve been really inspired by women in politics, seeing women break some barriers down and I’ve been inspired by people in my life and their personal stories, how much they’ve had to fight to get to where they are. I have a close friend, who has been like another mom to me. She was the first women in her corporation to get into the higher levels of management and it is inspiring to me to listen to her and what she had to do to achieve that and why she thought it was important to do that for other women.
If you could have any woman attend ClexaCon as a special guest, who would you choose?
Danielle: Everyone! We want as many queer women in the industry to attend as possible, so we can celebrate them all and hear their stories!
Dana: If they just want to pop in, like the first year when Sarah Ramirez showed up and just to have them be a part of it and see the beauty of what’s being created and generated there.
Do you have many LGBTQ allies who attend?
Danielle: We have quite a lot of LGBGTQ parents who bring their children along, they want to bring their children to a space that’s for them. We also have a lot of people who come from the industry including producers, executive producers, directors who are cis men. I think its really interesting to have them there. They are in the position of writing or producing stories about queer women and hearing about why they think it’s so important they tell our stories authentically. It’s important that they hear from us and our community, the impact that has invigorates them to go back and push more for our representation.
Tell us about why the film festival is such an import part of ClexaCon?
Danielle: Film has always been important to me personally. Year one, when we first talked about different types of representation we wanted to showcase, I thought it was really important to showcase creatives who are making content, film or web-series. Giving them space to tell our stories, showcase their films and opportunities to network with each other and other industry people who come in for ClexaCon.
Dana: The ClexaCon film festival is one of the largest that features queer women and non-binary artists, performers and creators.
Can you tell us about Tello Films?
Danielle: We like to say that Tello Films is a Netfix for queer women, trans and non-binary women. Tello has been around for 10 years, I’ve been involved for a year and a half now and we are branching out into feature films. Our first feature film was released in December, Season of Love, and we are currently working on our next feature film, which will be out this next holiday season.
How do you decide where ClexaCon will be hosted?
Danielle: It was a bit by chance the first time we were looking. We wanted to choose a location people would want to go to, a destination location which Las Vegas definitely is and a place that is fairly close to the film and TV center of the world, which is LA. We did a London pop-up in 2018 because we love London and we thought it would a great first place to have a European pop-up.
Dana: London was smaller but in a really nice way, we were able to get the chance to talk to a lot of people and I had the best time, we had people attend from over 25 different countries. Vegas has become our home now, but we haven’t decided yet about next years event, or about where anymore pop-up events might be.
What excites you the most about this year’s ClexaCon?
Danielle: We’re adding some new things this year, a musical showcase, a queer cabaret event and karaoke, we’re also focusing more on evening events this year, so after a full day at the convention you have lots of entertainment at night. From 9 AM to late into the night, there are constantly fun things to do. We have a lot of featured guests this year and more out, queer women and non-binary people than ever before, which I think is really exciting!
We know that these last couple weeks have been very stressful for so many. With the Coronavirus quickly gaining momentum across the world and now with a foothold in the United States, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. As convention planners, our biggest priority is that ClexaCon is a safe space for our community and that includes taking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to our guests and attendees. We have been working closely with our partners at The Tropicana and the city of Las Vegas, and have decided to reschedule ClexaCon for late summer 2020. We are disappointed that we will not see you next month, but grateful that The Tropicana was willing to work with us to move this event to a time where this pandemic will hopefully be under much better control. We are already working with our amazing special guests to try and reschedule their appearances for these dates. We wanted to tell you as soon as possible. We will let you know the exact dates shortly.
For those attendees who have already purchased your passes, these will be honored for the rescheduled dates. That goes for badges, VIP, Heda, Lextra, and Ascension party tickets. For photo ops, meet and greets and autographs, those passes will be transferred to the August dates, and if any special guests are not able to attend the rescheduled date, we will refund add-ons associated with that particular guest. If you are unable to attend the new dates, or want to sell your autograph, photo or meet and greet spots, we will connect you with a peer ticket exchange Facebook page to help attendees who cannot make the date connect with an attendee who can.
While we can’t physically meet up in April, we will be showcasing all our amazing vendors via our social channels so you can shop their wares directly from their sites, and then come check them out in person this summer.
We understand that this is disappointing and frustrating news about April, but we’re so glad to be able to bring ClexaCon to you this summer. We thank you for your understanding and your support of ClexaCon these past few years.
Please stay safe and healthy, see you this summer.
For more information about ClexaCon 2020 please visit http://www.clexacon.com/
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