For four years now, FlameCon, the premier LGBTQ Comic Con has been happening, and gaining momentum and fans. It has become the world’s largest Queer Comic Con, too.
Intersetingly enough, for the first time in FlameCon’s history, it is being held in Manhattan, as opposed to Brooklyn. For those of you who are unfamiliar with New York City, it is composed of five Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx (or, as the locals call it, “the Bronx”), and Staten Island. Long Island is often referred to as the Sixth NYC Borough, but it is not actually a Borough of NYC.
Now, I shall admit, when I learned that this year’s FlameCon shall be held in Manhattan, I was shocked! As most of you know, I AM one of Catland’s in-store Readers, so I AM in Brooklyn, fairly often, and truly, no stranger to the MTA’s Transit system; taking buses and trains fairly often, usually every week, and sometimes, as many as four to five days a week.
Nonetheless, I happily took a bus into Midtown Manhattan, then a subway train to Brooklyn, and specifically, to the subway stop closest to where FlameCon was being held.
However, the Manhattan location this year means I do not need to take any additional mass transit. I can simply travel into Midtown Manhattan, NYC, then walk a few blocks to the hotel where FlameCon is being held.
Alas, because I have a previous engagement this month, I shall not be able to attend FlameCon 2018.
In the vast and ever-increasing diversity of the LGBTQIA+ Community, there is a group of Gay Men called “bears.” Bears are men who are hairy and husky, and usually above the age of thirty (and yes, I AM a Bear).
Of course, there are variations on the theme. Slim, younger men, particular under the age of thirty who are hairy are often referred to as “otters,” Slim and muscular, as in corded muscle who are above the age of forty are usually referred to as “wolves.”
Men under thirty who are hairy and husky are usually referred to as “cubs,” and then, of course, there are other variations on the theme. For example, black men, or men of African descent who are hairy and husky are sometimes called “black bears.” Men who are hairy and husky and of Asian descent are referred to as “pandas.” Not sure if this also includes Pacific Islanders, but I digress.
Truly, the list tends to go on.
Now, there are events that are made for the Bear Community and they are usually called “bear runs.
Some of the more well-known bear runs in the United States are Texas Bear Round Up (or, TBRU, for short), which had its 23rd Annual Event this past March, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. Another well-known one in the United Statse is Provincetown Bear Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts, usually in July.
Internationally, there is “Bears on Ice” in Reykjavik, Iceland, which is usually the last weekend in August to the first few days of September, and then, we have probably one of THE most well-known of International Bear Runs, “International Bears Sitges Week,” in Sitges (near Barcelona), Spain, usually taking place the first full week of September.
“Bear Your Soul” is not a typical Bear Run. It takes place, twice a year at Easton Mountain, in Greenwich, New York. I often refer to it as a Spiritually-oriented bear run.
I have participated in a “Bear Your Soul” retreat previously; specifically, “Bear Your Soul: Winter Hibernation” in January, 2017.
However, this shall be my very first “Summer Camp” edition, and I AM looking forward to it.
It is clear to me that I could go on and on about “Bear Your Soul,” but I want to keep this post relatively short and sweet, especially as it is my first post on my personal, LGBTQIA+ oriented WordPress Blog, “This Gay Man’s Life…” since October, 2017. In the meantime, to find out more about “Bear Your Soul” as well as Freddy Freeman, who created “Bear Your Soul” you can visit the following:
This was the third year for FlameCon, the premier LGBTQ Comic Con in NYC, taking place in the Borough of Brooklyn in NYC every time.
In 2015, its first year, it was held at the Grand Prospect Hall. I remember seeing commercials for this place when I was a boy. And to think that I was actually going to the Grand Prospect Hall!
Keep in mind, when I a boy, I had no idea of the concept of being a Gay Man, or a homosexual, so when I would watch commercials for this place, I always found it fascinating.
Of course, as I grew older, then came out of the closet, it never occurred to me that I would ever go there, as I never considered Gay Men going to straight weddings. The times they have a-changed!
However, last year and this year, 2016 and 2017, respectively, FlameCon was held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. And this year, I would swear there were more attendees than last year.
Personally, although I AM not fond of crowds, I do prefer living and being in a city, and I love going to FlameCon, although what thing I did not love was saying “excuse me” and “pardon me” so many times on the first day, but I got over it.
Now, before I continue, I wish to share something with all of us.
Part of me had considered not going. Frankly, my professional Psychic Practice has become more involved, and my side position of employment more demanding, and both as of this year. Also, I have had more professional and personal expenses.
However, I had purchased the tickets (a VIP Package, in fact) about two to three months ago, and I have attended the first two FlameCon events, so attending this year’s FlameCon, also known as FlameCon2017.
And I AM so happy I did!!
Although this post, and its “Part II” shall have links to articles about this year’s FlameCon that features tons of photographs of the cosplayers, I want to focus on one of my personal favorite aspects of FlameCon and that is the panel discussions.
To give the reader a better idea, the first day of FlameCon (also known as FlameCon2017) was Saturday, August 19, 2017, 12-8PM; the second and last day was on Sunday, August 20, 2017, 12-6PM.
On the first day, Saturday, August 19, 2017, the first Panel Discussion I attended was “ComicsVerse Podcast: Celebrating Minority and LGBTQ Superheroes.”
It was a learning experience, especially since I AM still quite a newbie in the world of Queer Comics.
In the world of the Sacred Tarot, I AM a Master Level tour guide, but in the world of Queer Comics, well, they need to create a term for the level of inexperience I have! Ha!
If memory serves, ComicsVerse has been one of FlameCon’s sponsors since its very first year, 2015. Feel free to visit their Website, and show them some love:
The second panel discussion I attended was “Buffering the Vampire Slayer Podcast.” It is hard to believe that yours truly, forgot that this year is the 20th Anniversary of the debut of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Oh, well, I know now!
Here is what was written about this podcast event on the Thomson Reuters app for FlameCon2017:
“Buffering the Vampire Slayer is a podcast where, you guessed it, discussions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer abound! In addition to their weekly episodic discussions, hosts Jenny Owen Youngs and Kristin Russo (who also happen to be married to each other!) write an original song recapping every episode of the beloved television series! Join Kristin, Jenny, and friends for a live taping of a very special episode!”
As someone who attended this live podcast taping, and who was immensely thankful to have been able to gain entry (the lines for some of these panel discussions and events can be quite long, and there are safety issues to consider, such as too many people in a room can be a safety hazard, but I digress), it was definitely a very special taping.
I need to listen to it, because there is one section where one could clearly hear me say, “Yes, it’s funny.” We were talking about a First Season episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in which in one scene, everyone is talking about planning a party and Cordelia says, “I’m the dip girl.”
Kristin Russo said that it really was not that funny; all of us Lovingly disagreed with her, and I distinctly said “Yes, it’s funny” and I think I was loud enough to be recorded, but I shall let you know officially in Part II of this post.
In any event, do visit their Website, and check out the rest of their social media presence by visiting:
And finally, to conclude the evening, all of us who purchased the VIP Package, were entitled to dinner the Hill Country Barbecue restaurant. It was called Camp Fire; which makes sense, given the first part of this comic convention is FLAME.
We had brisket, collard greens, macaroni and cheese (and in spite of being Mister Literal, I continued calling it macaroni and cheese, although it was made with penne, which is how I make it, but I digress). And if you love margaritas, well, let me simply state I knew that, had I not eaten as much that particular day, I think I would have needed to have a cab take me all the way from the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn to my home in New Jersey! Ha!
For dessert, there were some super delicious s’mores cupcakes, and entertainment, which included a sing-along of the Pokemon song (I truly had no idea!), and a few other relevant ditties, including the “Rainbow Connection.”
That song touches my heart so deeply every time I hear it, sing it, etc., I always cry. I kept channeling my Inner American Idol superstar contestant, by refraining from allowing the song to affect my singing, but I kept sounding very off-key, or “pitchy,” It really was off-key. Very.
So, I simply allowed myself to stop singing and cry. Yes, the song moves me that much.
Before I begin to close and complete this post, I wanted to share with you some of the various articles I found online which showcases one of the more popular aspects of FlameCon: the COSPLAY (and other things, too)!
And now, before I conclude this post, I wish to acknowledge my newest subscribers to this, my personal, LGBTQIA+-oriented WordPress Blog, “This Gay Man’s Life…” They are: “meganwalt” and “ijustcookedthis.” Thank you both for celebrating your diversity and your ongoing PRIDE by subscribing to “This Gay Man’s Life…”
And for those of you who already subscribe to “This Gay Man’s Life…” or read without subscribing, continuing shining your Diversity and PRIDEful Light into the world, casting out all that and those who cause all of us harm.
I do not think I need to tell you of the importance of the Rainbow Book Fair for the greater LGBTQIA+ Community.
If you can attend and support this endeavor, then great! If not, then I invite you to become a Friend or Sponsor of the Rainbow Book Fair. When you visit their Website, click the tab that reads “Support Us” for more info.
Before I close, let me acknowledge my newest followers to “This Gay Man’s Life…” They are: “Chuck L,” “recipesbydaniel,” “warrenisaac,” and “amygrif.”
Also, I wish to acknowledge these other followers to “This Gay Man’s Life…” They are:”missymichaels452,” “DRCBCN08009,” “Jon,” “Man of many thoughts,” “AdultXXPO,” “uchechioma,” “scrappy1205,” “What’s your story?,” “donaldgeorgeherman,” “KRC62,” “reuserecyclerelove,” “Senna,” “Chuck,” and “lesouchef.”
To all of you whom I have acknowledged, thank you for your Love, your Light, and your PRIDE. May you always be beautiful, powerful, and sacred in all you do, and in all the ways you make a difference in the lives of those you serve.
And to all of you who already follow or read without following “This Gay Man’s Life…” may your Love and Light, bring you and all you serve, or shall begin serving, Empowerment, Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace.
I look forward to seeing you, in exactly three weeks, at the Rainbow Book Fair!!
And so, I was on my way to Manhattan, to go to Brooklyn. Specifically, the New York Marriott at The Brooklyn Bridge. In the meantime, in spite of being a fanatic for punctuality, I was late. Well, I did not need to be there at a certain time, per se, but the hours for the last day were from 11:30AM-4PM, so it was not like I was going to be there for several hours.
Last Saturday night, I began chatting with someone on the Growlr app, and he told me that THE Chris Claremont was going to be part of a panel discussion entitled “PRIDE and the X-Men,” and when I had learned that he wrote Uncanny X-Men for seventeen years, I knew that was a panel discussion to attend.
And I would have, except that I arrived after 2PM (did I mention the panel discussion was from 2-3PM?), and by the time I arrived, the room was closed.
Actually, I do not recall the exact phrasing the volunteer used, but she said that I would be unable to enter; I eventually learned that any additional people in Room B might be a safety hazard. Now, that I can certainly understand, especially as someone who used to work in supermarkets.
It certainly gave me the opportunity to catch my breath, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and have a light breakfast and certainly sitting down!
After catching my breath, eating, and relaxing, I looked at the Thomson Reuters Convene app, that FlameCon/GeeksOUT! recommended downloading on one’s smartphone (which was a very good recommendation, by the way), and saw a great panel discussion entitled “Agism in the Geekosphere & Fandoms That Span Generations.”
However, Nayland Blake announced early on that Mags Visaggio had an emergency and was unable to be a part of the panel discussion, as originally scheduled. I must confess, I have not followed up to see if she is OK, but I hope and pray that she is OK.
In the meantime, as much as I enjoyed all the panelists, it was listening to THE Laura Antoniou talk about her growing up, sharing her anecdotes, and her treasures of old ‘zines and scripts that touched my heart and moved me to tears. What she shared moved me to feeling nostalgic, in spite of the fact that the experiences she shared when she was younger were not experiences that I had experienced when I was younger, but they touched my heart, all the same.
Every panelist, from Nayland Blake, to Laura Antoniou, to Matthew Waterhouse, to THE Cecilia Tan, were a joy. Truly, I received more than double my money’s worth with that one panel discussion. I was also happy to discover that all the attendees of this panel discussion received a ten per cent discount on any purchase at the Circlet Press table. Circlet Press, “Erotica for Geeks” was founded by THE Cecilia Tan.
I must acknowledge that, although I took notes during this panel discussion, as well, I have not looked at them. Then again, my penmanship when I participate in panel discussions and workshops seems akin to Ancient Sumerian, these days!
I was truly very happy and floating on a cloud peace and light-heartedness after attending this particular panel discussion, and was looking forward to going to the Circlet Press table, and as I was about to leave said table, I had the opportunity to meet and speak personally with THE Laura Antoniou!
Once I finish up some of the books that I AM reading (as well as rereading), I shall begin reading her novel, The Killer Wore Leather. Yes, I AM very excited to read it. It has been a while since I have read some good LGBT books; of course, I only read good or very good LGBT books, but I digress!
In closing, here is a video that I made and uploaded a few moments ago, where I show off the programme for FlameCon2:
And I love how in the background you can see THE Terry Blas’s venerated vision of Buffy Summers, and yes, she DOES fight like a girl!
You can also view the Facebook Event page by visiting:
to read about my experience at the very first FlameCon.
This year’s FlameCon (or, FlameCon2, as the case may be) was not held at The Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, but was held at the Brooklyn.
However, it was still held in the Beautiful Borough of Brooklyn, NYC. Specifically, the New York Marriott at The Brooklyn Bridge.
Once again, as I have been stating lately, especially online, Brooklyn is doing a very good job of taking very good care of me.
When I first became a professional Psychic, Manhattan and Queens were the NYC Boroughs treating me very well, but especially since last year, Brooklyn has been doing a better (and more frequently!) job of taking good care of “Robert Alvarez, the Psychic Witch” than Manhattan and Queens, COMBINED!
The first day of FlameCon2 was last Saturday, August 20, 2016, and was from 1-7PM. I must acknowledge that I was already looking forward to purchasing comic books, graphic novels, original art work, and some other fun stuff, so I went right into the Main Ballroom for a bit of a shopping trip.
In fact, it soon became apparent that I needed a big shopping bag. I was walking by one of the tables, specifically, the one for Prism Comics, and found a big, purple tote bag with the words “homo superior” written on it.
It also reads, “A nonprofit organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender comics, creators and readers.” That enormous tote bag helped me enormously.
For more info about Prism Comics, you can visit their Website:
Heather Hogan moderated the panel discussion, and she did a lovely job. I must confess, I knew very little about Ms. Hogan, but after spending some time devouring her Tumblr page, I feel like nominating her for President of the United States (can I do that? Please?!).
I enjoyed all the panelists, but shall not deny that I felt a greater affinity for two of them. First, Sophie Campbell, a comic writer and artist known for her indie comics Wet Moon and Shadoweyes, as well as the artist for a new Jem and the Holograms Series.
When Ms. Campbell said that she was in a grouchy mood, I could not help but feel this amazing affinity with her. Granted, I was in a great mood, and was so happy to attend that panel discussion (although I would have loved to have sat in a chair, as opposed to standing, but I digress), and I know what it is like to feel grouchy!
And then, Mr. Terry Blas. When he mentioned that he is half-Mexican, and was a Mormon from Boise, Idaho, I was like, “WHAT?!”
Of course, once he mentioned how much he enjoyed watching the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer after he was no longer a Mormon, well, I felt as though I was looking at yet another brother from yet another mother.
It was a very informative and insightful panel discussion, and yes, I was able to have a seat, about a minute before the conclusion of this panel discussion.
After the panel discussion, I was certainly going to Mr. Blas’s table, and when I arrived (surprise, surprise!) there were several people there, and I must admit, I was truly digging watching the others talk to him, interact with him, ask him questions, buy his publications and art, etc.
Little did I know that I was experiencing a live, somewhat Psychic form of “foreshadowing.”
After about seven or eight people talked to Mr. Blas, made purchases and whatnot, he started greeting someone, and I had no idea that he was talking to ME! And yes, I realized this after I started looking around to see to whom he was speaking; when the people I saw around me looked at me, I quickly realized that Terry Blas was talking to ME!
Being Cuban, I was able to have a great conversation about being Latino, growing up Latino, and of course, I could get away with telling him to take another bite of his sandwich! People gotta eat, you know.
I enjoyed our Latino-themed bochinche and then purchased several items. And, of course, he autographed all of them. Thank you, again, Terry Blas!
There is more, but I shall leave the rest for tomorrow, Sunday, August 28, 2016, when I write and publish “FlameCon2, Part 2…”
But in the meantime,feel free to visit the following Websites:
In the meantime, here is my social media breakdown:
Facebook: Tomorrow, Friday, July 15, 2016, at 11:50PM, I shall deactivate my Facebook page; I shall reactivate it sometime between 1AM-12PM, Sunday, July 17, 2016;
Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat: if I can figure out how to temporarily deactivate those social media, I shall do so. If not, then I shall simply refrain from using them this Saturday;
Instagram, Swarm: Truth be told, I uninstalled those apps from my smartphone about two months ago. I have not missed them, and feel OK about it. I felt led to reclaim some mystery when out and about (no pun intended);
YouTube: I shall not use YouTube at all this Saturday, July 16, 2016, during #DeadSilentProtest
WordPress: I shall not use WordPress at all this Saturday, July 16, 2016, during #DeadSilentProtest
I shall spend the day engaging in some of my personal favorite Spiritual Practices: Prayer, Meditation, Visualization, Journal Writing. In addition, I shall catch up on some household tasks. And reading books, too.
It is ironic; so many of us in the LGBTQIA+ Community are encouraged to make our voices heard, and our presences felt. However, for #DeadSilentProtest, the opposite shall have the most impact.
We are strong. We are powerful. We are beautiful. And we are LOVED.
Perhaps not by everybody, but by more than enough.
You can also watch the YouTube video I created about #DeadSilentProtest by visiting:
Thank you for all you are, and all you do. And for honoring your Beauty, your Power, your Sacredness, your deserving of Love.
Let me know if you are doing this, too, or if you are not, and why.