InQlusion put LGBTQ twist on pop culture fest

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

• InQlusion Con will put a twist on the traditional pop culture festival.

Organizer Carlos Rivera said the object of the event is to offer an LGBTQ point of view for all things horror, sci-fi and comic books.

“I grew up watching ‘Star Trek’ and stuff like that,” Rivera said. “It was a way to get away from life. It just spoke to me in some way that there is a possibility of a better future.”

Rivera said he’d attended similar events in New York City and Cleveland and decided to see if there was a market for it in the Mahoning Valley.

Special guest at the con will be Naomi Grossman. She has 50 movie, television and video credits on her IMDb bio, but she is best known for playing Pepper in season four of “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”

She also tours with her one-woman show “Carnival Knowledge: Love, Lust and other Human Oddities.”

“‘American Horror Story’ has a huge gay following,” Rivera said. “I don’t know if that’s because of writer-producer Ryan Murphy, who is gay, but just about everyone I know watches it or has watched it.”

Other guests include Pete Chiarella, a historian on Grindhouse movies who has written several books about the movie theaters around New York’s 42nd Street in the 1970s and the exploitation films they showed; Dee Fish, a comic book artist whose series “Finding Dee” chronicles her transition from male to female; horror movie hosts The Mummy and the Monkey; local filmmaker Travis Bowen and actor Jim Decker.

For its first year, InQlusion will have 17 vendors selling comic books, toys, DVDs and other merchandise. There also will be a cosplay contest hosted by drag performer Ahrinstarr.

Rivera said he is hoping for between 250 and 500 people for the inaugural event.

InQlusion runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Jewish Community Center, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 11 and younger. For more information, go to www.inqlusion.org.

• The fourth LaureLive music festival won’t happen until June 8 and 9, but organizers already are making plans for a new location in 2020.

The festival, staged by the Elevation Group, has been held on the grounds of the Laurel School’s Butler Campus in Russell and Chester townships, about an hour away, depending upon where one lives in Trumbull County.

In a press release sent out Wednesday, Elevation Group President Denny Young said the Laurel School Board of Trustees believes the event is outgrowing the school and its infrastructure. According to festival Executive Producer Steve Lindecke, organizers have been scouting new locations and have found several possibilities in and around Cleveland.

No announcement will be made until after the fourth LaureLive, which will feature Hozier, Dirty Heads, Moon Taxi, Misterwives, The Vindys, JD Eicher and 10 other acts on June 8 and Sheryl Crow, Trombone Shorty, Lake Street Dive, AJR, Coin and 10 other artists on June 9.

Elevation Group also is expanding its festival lineup to Columbus with the first WonderBus on Aug. 17 and 18 with Walk The Moon, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The Revivalists, X Ambassadors, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Bishop Briggs, Jenny Lewis and more.

• Weather nearly derailed Foo Fighters’ appearance last weekend at the Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival in Columbus.

High winds and lightning sightings forced an evacuation of MAPFRE Stadium at one point Sunday and led to the cancellation of several scheduled performers. After a delay, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Foo Fighters were able to finish out the night.

According to online reports, Foo Fighters played about the two hours, delivering a show that was a little shorter but essentially similar to the set played last July at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

The only other U.S. tour dates currently scheduled for the band, led by Warren native Dave Grohl, are festival appearances at Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 20 and the Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 22.

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