New sci-fi/horror convention promises to haunt and thrill the borderland

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Joe Paz horror host gives kids a taste of what Frank N'Con has to offer. (Jesus Garcia/Borderzine.com)

Joe Paz horror host gives kids a taste of what Frank N'Con has to offer. (Jesus Garcia/Borderzine.com)

EL PASO – A convention of ghosts and ghost-busters alike will gather here in the shadow of the Franklin Mountains this Halloween hoping to draw science fiction and horror fanatics from all over the southwest.

The first ever Frank N’Con convention will descend on the hotel Wyndham El Paso Airport at 2027 Airway Blvd on October 29th-30th. The haunting event will feature big names from the twilight zone of horror and science fiction such as Ernie Hudson who was best known for his role as Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters movies.

Convention chairman and founder Sal Arrellano says he expects some 3,000 people to attend the event. Convention organizer and filmmaker Dakota Thomas said that Frank N’ Con can be a new hub for sci-fi enthusiasts throughout the southwest.

Joe Paz shows off his ghoulish hosting costume. (Jesus Garcia/Borderzine.com)

Joe Paz shows off his ghoulish hosting costume. (Jesus Garcia/Borderzine.com)

“I think people here in El Paso have this mentality that there is nothing to do, and that is not true. There is a lot to do and we are trying to bring more to the borderland. We just want to bring some entertainment to El Paso,” Thomas said.

The “El Paso Ghostbusters” are expected to make an appearance. Jose Illarramendi, an El Paso Ghostbuster appeared at a Frank N’ Con promotional event held at the Judge Edward S. Marquez public library, ready to show his ghostbusting gear to fascinated kids.

El Paso remains somewhat monotonous in terms of entertainment, Illarramendi said. While he says repetitiveness is fine for some people, he believes that the Sun City can benefit from a different scene. “El Paso needs to get out of the same cycle you see here every year. It gives El Pasoans something to do with their kids that doesn’t involve them having to be a certain age.”

Illarramendi said it would be nice to hear people say that El Paso is a hotspot for this kind of convention.  “I’ve been to other cities and I would talk to people who actually believe that El Paso is just a dirt road with a saloon to your right and a barber shop to your left and horses on their troughs…that way people from all over the southwest can come meet here and check El Paso out.”

Frank ‘N Con is also expected to appeal to a large number of artists hoping to gain exposure through this convention. Such is the case for El Paso artist Christopher Daniel Meledo, who crafts what he dubs “lowbrow art.”  He said he hopes that this convention will draw people who might not otherwise have exposure to his style of art.

“It’s hard to sell art in El Paso. Especially the kind of art I do and that makes it really impossible to sell unless you do the expected traditional art like desert landscapes and murals. There are a lot of horror artists in El Paso that don’t get to show their work unless they go out of town to another convention.”

East El Pasoan Alicia Becerra who took her two children to the library promotional event said that an event like this is exciting for El Paso families.

“This is something different — it’s going to be something entertaining and very fun! It’s good to have something different around this season.” Becerra is also hoping to be a volunteer at next year’s convention.

Convention tickets are available for one day passes which cost $20 or two day passes which costs $30. Children under 10 are admitted free with an accompanying adult. Frank N’ Con will open at 10 am on both days.

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