Voice Actor Guest of Honor
Born in San Jose, California, Charles’ family moved to Barcelona, Spain when he was 12 years old and from there to Paris. It was during these years that Charles learned French and Spanish, and developed a passion for European history, art, and culture.
Charles was accepted to the Drama Studio of London. There, he performed in plays and developed the foundation of his craft. He learned stage combat, movement and mime, along with a variety of acting techniques, and discovered a natural ability for accents and dialects.
Upon returning to California, Charles was invited to join the Berkeley Rep and then San Jose Repertory Theatre, where he was a company member for four years before branching into other performing areas. He has performed in over 75 stage roles, ranging from Shakespeare to Dickens to Noel Coward.
As a voice over actor, Charles has been the voice of the, Mario for Nintendo games, advertising, and events for over 20 years. He also does the voices of Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Luigi, Baby Mario, and others for Nintendo games. He first performed Mario at tradeshows, using a real time animation system, called M.I.R.T. (Mario in Real Time), developed by SimGraphics in Pasadena, California. The actor had contacts glued to his face that tracked his mouth, cheeks and eyebrow movements, while he guided Mario around the screen, interacting with the audience. Charles has performed using MIRT at trade shows, promotional and charitable events for Nintendo and the Starlight foundation. The technology of the MIRT animation system is now completely voice driven, and works over the internet, so Charles can be at home, and Mario can show up on a TV set and be able to interact with people anywhere in the world.
Charles has provided a variety of character voices in cartoons, and for over 100 video games. He has done over 100 national and regional spots for radio and television, and has performed regularly on the radio series “Half Hour of Humor”, for the Broadcast Services for the Blind. He can also be heard in over 100 educational toys, and on webpages.
His on-camera credits include work for ABC, FOX, Warner, Columbia and Lorimar.
Charles is an avid cylcist, and has done several charity bike rides to raise money for AIDS care and vaccine research. He lives in Sausalito, California, and does voices in his home studio, and travels around the world performing for video games, trade shows and corporate events.
Steampunk/Art & Writing Guest of Honor
Shawn Gaston is an artist and illustrator, and the creator of Clockworks. Clockworks is a steampunk fantasy webcomic, thrilling readers since 2009. This year, the setting will finally be expanded into a Savage Worlds role-playing game setting. He was also the sole artist for the neo-noir rpg Streets of Bedlam. Shawn lives in St. Louis, where in addition to drawing elves and robots he’s the DJ for events such as Beggar’s Carnivale and Gaslight Squared - St. Louis’s oldest and only monthly steampunk event.
Dark Fantasy/Art & Writing Guest of Honor
Jennifer Sights is the author of the Elena Ronen, Private Investigator series. She has been writing since she was a kid, but veered off track for college and a more traditional office job. Thanks to National Novel Writing Month, she has found her way back to her true love of writing, and losing herself for hours at a time working on various stories.
Jennifer lives in St. Louis, MO, with her black lab mix, Tiberius. When she isn't writing or reading she loves riding her motorcycle, learning about the mysterious side of our world, and traveling. She loves to hear from readers. You can find her at www.jennifersights.com.
Steampunk Guests of Honor
Airship Vindus started as a small steampunk costume group in Mid-Missouri with only 6 members. The crew of the Vindus has traveled to conventions around the Midwest, hosting popular steampunk panels, being featured as guests, and even hosting a steampunk ball. The group of artists behind the characters of the Vindus spent their summer of 2013 producing a 9 episode web series entitled "Steamworks and Shadows", and aspire to grow their web series into a project for the steampunk community and fans as a whole.
Learn more about them, and like them on their facebook page.
British Invasion Guest of Honor
Alisa Stern is a Brooklyn-based animation artist with credits on TV shows, music videos, and numerous commercials. She specializes in stop motion and digital cut out animation.
In 2012, Alisa created a puppet in the likeness of the Eleventh Doctor, then started a photo blog about his travels. The puppet took off, and in less than a year was starring in a stop motion animated Doctor Who fan series for YouTube. Alisa writes, directs, and produce the series, and also makes puppets and contributes animation. She gets help from a fantastically talented team of artists, animators, and musicians.
Musical/AVG Guest of Honor
Professor Shyguy can be best described as; high energy, chiptune-electro-rocking, 8-bit, epically vocalized, highly danceable, theatrical nerd-pop. His performance consists of him singing, playing guitar, keyboards, and drums, sometimes three of those things at the same time. He has toured from Baton Rouge to Chicago, including Atlanta, Orlando, St. Louis, Kansas City, Savannah , etc. and has shared the stage with Ellen McLain of Portal and Jonathan Coulton fame, opened for and performed with Samantha Newark of Jem and the Holograms. He has performed in venues of surprised and entertained crowds that range from the legendary dive bar Springwater in Nashville to a Microsoft conference for High Schoolers.
Japanese Culture/Art & Writing Guest of Honor
Cole Gibsen is a critically acclaimed local author of young adult novels who will be making her first appearance at Kawa Kon this year. She will be hosting panels on writing, story telling, and the history of the samurai warrior caste in ancient Japan, which is the focus of her latest series of books. Booklist calls her novel, Katana, "an action packed page-turner tempered with slow-burning romance." When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, and picking off her nail polish.
Learn more about Cole at her website: colegibsen.com
Joining us via live streaming only...
Joseph Fink is the creator and co-writer of the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale. He is also the editor of the small publisher Commonplace Books. He would like to own a dog but his apartment won't let him.
You can find out more about his work with Welcome to Night Vale and publishing at commonplacebooks.com.
Art & Writing Guests of Honor
Devon and Lexi (the Chalk Twins) both received majors in studio art and studied a breadth of art media through the University of Georgia program in Cortona, Italy. In addition to their formal study in art, Devon and Lexi have enjoyed tremendous success as chalk artists. For the past nine years they have been participating in chalk art competitions where they have been awarded in 14 out of 17 events. They now bring their chalking skills to conventions and special events around the country.
Their live performances at anime conventions are re-creations of everyone’s favorite characters and heroes usually 25 to 100 square feet in size that come to life over the course of the show. Sidewalk chalk is a performing art. Devon and Lexi are there to interact with people – so don’t be afraid to talk to them while they’re working. They’ll answer your questions and talk about anime or art - all while the artwork comes alive at their feet. Check them out at www.chalktwins.com, facebook.com/chalktwins or chalktwins.deviantart.com.
Japanese Culture Guests of Honor
Three Rivers Okiya is a collective of independently-minded actors and historians who live and work in the St. Louis area. Their goal is to promote awareness of the Japanese traditional arts in America. They perform demonstrations of traditional dance, flower-arrangement, calligraphy, story-telling and Tea Ceremony for educational and entertainment purposes, and are honored to be returning to Kawa Kon for the fourth consecutive year.
Read more about Three Rivers Okiya at threeriversokiya.net/
Art & Writing Guests of Honor
Bio coming soon!
Japanese Culture Guests of Honor
Daniel and Jillian Coglan are full-time martial arts instructors, specializing in 16th-century samurai arts. When not teaching at their dojo, the Kojokan, they travel the United States performing and teaching the ancient ways of the most famous warriors in history.
With a combined 35 years of experience, their show is a unique blend of history, combative skill, and humor, designed to educate and entertain.
Beyond their martial arts skills, the dynamic duo collaborated to write, direct, host, and star in a 12 episode TV series entitled "The Way of the Samurai".
Daniel is also an author with several martial arts articles published, and he is currently working on his second full-length novel.
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