EMCon3 animé fest at East Meadow library
The art of animé — that brand of animation featuring characters with eyes as wide as saucers — may have been made in Japan, but this weekend East will meet West as Japanese animation and comics take center stage Saturday and Sunday at EMCon3 at East Meadow Public Library.
And of the 500 or so people expected to attend the third annual festival saluting animé and manga (which refers to Japanese comic books and graphic novels), expect the majority to be children and teenagers, who normally wouldn't think of spending their weekend at the library. EMCon is the brainchild of Kelly Gordon, East Meadow's art director, and head of programming and public relations Jude Schanzer.
Gordon, a self-published comic book artist, got the idea for EMCon after the success of the weekly manga workshop for teens that he runs. "A lot of the teens really enjoyed themselves and asked for more drawing programs," he says. "I knew some animators I had met at conventions and Jude knew someone who did tai chi." From there, EMCon was born.
Says Schanzer, "I'm for anything that gets teenagers coming to the library on their own volition."
BIGGER AND BETTER
This year's EMCon is the first to run for two days, which means more drawing and animation workshops, a full weekend of animé screenings and games, a costume party (with prizes) and plenty of entertainment.
Saturday's highlights will include a "How to Draw Animé" workshop at 10 a.m. hosted by Gordon and his fiancee, Jen Scrimenti, also a comic book artist; a martial arts demo at noon; and then a workshop with animator Rebecca Friedman ("The Villikon Chronicles" films), who will teach kids and teens how to animate characters.
Attendees will also be treated to illustrator Joe Liotta's tales from his recent excursion to Japan and there will be plenty of art on display. "The one common thing about Japanese animé — and it's expressed in Japanese literature as well," says artist Michael Epstein, whose work will be shown, "is that the ending is almost irrelevant to the story. It's about the journey to get there."
LOOKING FOR LAUGHS
Animé fans shouldn't take themselves too seriously, especially when Ian Rubin, 17, takes the stage for his stand-up set Sunday at 1 p.m. Rubin is coming from New Jersey to bring the funny to EMCon with a routine covering everything from watching television on the Internet to "The Lord of the Rings."
"I'm a renaissance nerd," jokes Rubin, who says he prefers fantasy and sci-fi to animé. "I do a bit about my booth at Comic-Con and that's the 'Star Wars' booth. I also talk about how I can't pronounce any names of animé characters."
Rubin says he is starting to dip into animé, and that he does like "Pokémon." "Of course, if you say that to animé fans," he says, "you get shunned upon."
THE HAPPY DANCE
The theme song for Brooklyn teen Hitomi Himekawa, who follows Rubin on the bill Sunday at 2 p.m., should be "Get Happy," because that's what she's hoping will be the result after she and her Rainbow Bubble Dancers perform. Though Schanzer describes them as a quirky 21st century version of go-go dancers, Himekawa has a different view. "Go-go dance is too sexy for us," says the 17-year-old, who sings while the others dance. "Our dance is cute and full of energy and happiness."
Himekawa says the pop group's name came from the idea that a rainbow is that dream you can't quite catch, and bubbles are just plain cute. Not only do her performances cheer up the crowd, but Himekawa has gotten three proposals — including one from a girl. Though flattered, her answer is always the same: "I'm married to music."
EMCon3 Animé Festival
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, East Meadow Public Library, 1886 Front St.
INFO 516-794-2570, eastmeadow.info