CoKoCon is a local Phoenix valley convention that came about from merging Copper Con and ConKopelli Convention starting in 2018. CoKoCon is not a big convention like San Diego Comic-Con or Phoenix Fan Fusion. Instead, CoKoCon is a good-sized “fan gathering” of geeks coming together and relishing in their geekdom. One might call it a nerd party. While it can be thought of as that, there is much more, as evidenced by this year’s programming.
Run by co-chairs Hal C. F. Astell and Mark Boniece, the programming for this year’s convention (returning after two years due to “The Great Pause,” aka COVID-19) provided a nice variety of panels and programs to satisfy the tastes of most fans. Special guests included artists Joseph Nassise and Ave Rose, Filk Artist S. J. Tucker, and local author guest of honor Linda Addison. Other guests included author and astronomy associate at Kitt Peak National Observatory, David Lee Summers, ASU astronomy professor (and HUGE Star Trek fan/expert) Dr. David Williams, as well as author and food connoisseur Beth Cato. The big surprise was the variety of the panels provided. The first we attended was one on neurodivergence and Writing on the Spectrum (which I found quite enlightening). Friday night also saw the return of the Apocalypse Later Roadshow, a film festival with a primary focus on science fiction short films put together by Hal Astell (click here to see my mini-breakdown of the event), artists demonstrations, readings by the authors present, a variety of panels covering the different shows that make up the world of Star Trek, and one of the most enjoyable sci-fi/fantasy/horror themed trivia games I’ve ever had the pleasure to play.
So why is this convention so important? Well, at the risk of sounding like some old fossil, CoKoCon provided a multi-day event where we, as fans, and even friends, could get together for some laughs and geek out on those very things that we love so much, but without some of the sensory overload that can come with a Comic Con or Phoenix Fan Fusion (as enjoyable as those events are). While there were some young people there, most of the fans were clearly on the “mature” side and probably sought out the same thing that the Two Gay Geeks were after, and that was a fun time with friends we had not seen in several years. At the same time, the panels that made up this convention were fascinating and moderated by people who knew their subject matter. It was a convention that created interesting conversations, generated plenty of laughs, and even imparted new ideas to consider. There was even a Drag Show that did not disappoint in the slightest and even reached some new levels that I did not believe to be possible.
To sum things up, CoKoCon 2022 was a success in my eyes! Keith and I had one of the most enjoyable experiences at this con, and we were sorry to see it end. It was a joy seeing old friends again, it was a greater joy making new friends, and it’s very safe to say that a fun time was had by all who attended.