In case you missed Zenkaikon 2012 Closing Ceremonies, we not only announced next year’s location at the beautiful Lancaster County Convention Center, but also our first guests for our 2013 event!
Zenkaikon is happy to welcome the following guests for Zenkaikon 2013:
The Slants (Band)
What originated as a side project for Simon Young (of The Stivs) in 2007 proved to be one of the most energetic and contagious movements of music in our time. In case you haven’t heard, The Slants are the first and only all Asian synth-pop band in the North America and they have been melting faces off all over the globe.
Kicking off the band’s career at a tiny dive bar in Portland, OR, The Slants soon found themselves on tour and in demand worldwide performing at music halls, colleges, and anime conventions. Within months, they released their debut album “Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts” winning multiple awards from the likes of Willamette Week, Rockwired, AsiaXpress, and the Portland Music Awards. Since that first iconic show in 2007, The Slants have been cited as the “Hardest Working Asian American Band” (slanteyefortheroundeye.com), toured North America ten times, rejected a million dollar recording contract, were the first and only Asian band to be a Fender Music artist, and according to U.S Congress, the first rock band to play inside a state library.
The Willamette Week, summarizes The Slants’ history perfectly: “It’s a great story: All-Asian synthcore troupe lands anime festival, achieves instantaneous notoriety from overpacked fireball-laden maelstrom, inspires John Woo and Dragon Ball Z fans toward aggro electro and—just months after its first practice—books gigs across the globe. As shadow-warriory as the Slants’ rise has been, it’s still all about the tunes, and the band’s debut—floor-filling synth pop bristling with all the menace and grandeur of its oft name-checked cultural icons—is propulsive, cinematic and impossible to ignore.”
By the end of 2008, the band had been featured in over 1,200 magazines, radio stations, websites, and television shows for their self-proclaimed “Chinatown Dance Rock,” including a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered” that blasted across 700 FM stations across the country for months.
The following year, The Slants headlined a SXSW showcase (other acts at the festival included Katy Perry, Metallica, and Devo), launched several more tours spanning North America, and released a dance remix album entitled “Slants! Slants! Revolution,” while donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit cancer research affecting Asian American women.
2010 saw the release of The Slants’ third album, “Pageantry.” Pageantry featured a number of local icons including Cory Gray (The Decemberists), Krista Herring, Mic Crenshaw, and Gabe Kniffin (Silversafe). The harder hitting, guitar driven songs still featured The Slants’ signature dance rock flavor and again, massive touring throughout the country continued.
The Slants have shared the stage with acts such as Apl.de.Ap (Black Eyed Peas), Vampire Weekend, Girl Talk, Girugamesh, M.O.V.E and Boom Boom Satellites.
Richard Epcar (Voice Actor)
Richard Epcar is known as one of the hardest working men in show business, having voiced over 300 characters. He is well known to animation, game, and anime fans beginning with Robotech, where he voiced Ben Dixon, Lunk, Grel, and Captain Grant. He is Batou in Ghost in the Shell and Captain Saikhan in the new series from Nickelodeon Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Some of you know him from Bleach (Zangetsu), Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo), Lupin the Third (Daisuke Jigen), Fushigi Yuugi (Mistukake), Noein (Kyouji Kooriyama, Noein), X-Men (Gladiator), Naruto (Manda, Hanzo), Lucky Star (Tadao Hiiragi), Monster, Outlaw Star, Macross Plus, Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, Digimon, Great Teacher Onizuka, Cyber Soldier 009, and Ninja Scroll to name a few. He also performed numerous voices in the Power Rangers.
Just some of the games you’ve heard him in include Kingdom Hearts (Ansem/Terra-Xehanort), Transformers (Skywarp), Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat (Raiden-Fighting), Catherine, Modnation Racers, Mortal Kombat vs. D.C. Universe (Raiden, The Joker), Call of Duty-Black Ops, Dead Space 2, Star Craft 2, Red Faction Guerilla, Command & Conquer 4, Xenosaga (Ziggy), Guilty Gears 2, Ghost Recon 3, .Hack, Dynasty Warriors (Dong Zhuo), and World of Warcraft.
He is also a sought-after game, animation, and ADR director, and has directed such games as Star Ocean, Blue Dragon, Unreal Tournament, Smackdown vs. Raw, and Jackass. He’s directed such live action films as Oldboy, Azumi, Fearless, and Iron Monkey. Some animations he’s directed include Lupin the Third, Ghost in the Shell 2, Noein, Fighting Spirit, and Robotech: Shadow Chronicles.
On camera, Richard has appeared in many films and television shows including John Carpenter’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Guns of Paradise, Beverly Hills 90210, Matlock, Cheers, Days of our Lives, and General Hospital. You will soon see him as the lead in the feature film Broken Spirits, and you can hear him as Buck the big gorilla in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
He’s very excited about his new audio book – White Eyes – a Doc Savage Novel – in which he plays 40 characters and is the narrator for this fantastic pulp fiction book.
Ellyn Stern (Voice Actress)
Ellyn began acting at the age of 12, and is a classically trained actress known for both her dramatic and comedic roles. Her career spans from film to television to stage, with her voice acting career beginning 30 years ago. She is also a director.
Her career in anime began with the original Robotech series, in which she played several characters. Most recently she can be heard in True Crimes: Hong Kong, Gundam Unicorn (Martha), Noein (Miyuki Goto), Mar (Jack’s Mom), and Bleach (Masaki Kurosaki). She voiced Haraway in Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Rosalind in Armitage III, Himeno in Fight: Spirit of the Sword, Sayaka in Mental Fighter Miku, Moru in Vampire Princess Miyu, Parome in Genma Wars, Hiroshi’s Mom in Zenki, all the female characters in The Little Punk, Aunt Polly in Tom Sawyer, and the cunning frog in Captain Schnauzer. She has also done voices in Zentrix, Mini Pato, Digimon, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Samurai X, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Movie Trilogy, Bushido Blade 2, Lupin the Third, Patlabor 3, Fighting Spirit, Abby, Macross I/II/III, Honey Bee Hutch, Wisdom of Gnomes, Gigi, Wings of Honneamise, and Inherit the Wind, to name just a few. You’ve also heard her as Veronica Vera in Shadow Hearts II.
Animated projects she has directed include Samurai X, Jade Cocoon, Super Magnetic Neo, Aerowings 1&2, and Galerians.
She has voiced lead characters in many live action feature films that have been adapted into English including Academy Award winners Cinema Paradiso, Belle Epoque, Eat Drink Man Woman, Kika, Mostly Martha, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Fencing Master, Widow of St. Pierre, Amores Perros, Mission Kashmir, Iron Monkey, The Emperor and the Assassin, Onmyoji-Ying-Yang Masters, Le Femme Nikita, Tae Guk Gi, Babette’s Feast, and Shiri, to name a few. Other past films include Jessie’s Girls (co-starred), Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (co-starred), Fatal Charm (co-starred), and Prisoner in the Middle aka Warhead (co-starred). A few of her television shows include American Carrot, Charlie’s Angels, and recurring characters on General Hospital, Santa Barbara, and Days of our Lives.
Currently on camera, she is a series regular with Debbie Allen and Idris Elba on Milk and Honey. She is a lead in Blood on Canvas coming out later this year, and the lead in a Disney pilot and feature that is soon to be shot.
Ellyn recently starred in the award-winning play Apple at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills, where she received rave reviews. Immediately following Apple, Ellyn starred in Mrs. Warren’s Profession, playing the role of Mrs. Warren at the famed Bistro Gardens to much acclaim.
Ellyn is married to Richard Epcar, and they have two children who are also performers. Jon Epcar is a drummer. His band Carney is with Interscope Records. They are currently on Broadway doing Spiderman, Turn Off The Dark. Jacqueline Epcar is a jazz/blues singer who recently opened at The House Of Blues.
Greg “Greggo” Wicker (Game Show Host)
Greggo’s coming back for his second Zenkaikon! Greg Wicker (or “Greggo” as he’s fondly known) has been producing and hosting game shows at anime conventions since 1999, when he premiered Anime Match Game at Project A-Kon in Dallas. Since then, Greggo has done anime-themed versions of several classic game shows, created a few games of his own, and even had an original project that very nearly turned into an actual television show on Anime Network. These days Greggo is concentrating on perfecting his craft and making game shows available for conventions everywhere, bringing his rapier wit and friendly personality with him wherever he goes. You can see some of Greggo’s past game show efforts on his YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/gregdasgo.
Stay tuned for plenty more guest announcements to come, and we’ll see you in March!