We have one question and one question only: Do you like dinosaurs? If you answered “heck yes,” please continue reading. If you answered “no,” we would like you to reassess your life and your choices. Come back to us when you have come to your senses because Phoenix DinoCon is one of the best ideas anyone in Phoenix has ever had.
What is a DinoCon, you ask? Only the craziest pop culture dinosaur convention in the country, with panels such as “Mighty Morphin Dino Rangers” and “Dinosaurs in Steampunk and Victorian Literature.” We couldn’t make this up if we tried, so we had a chat with the ever-so-stylish Julia Zolondz, co-creator of the event, about the second ever DinoCon. Zolondz promises this year will be bigger and better with more panels, but really it is all just an excuse to “hang out and talk about dinosaurs all day,” she says.
College Times: How did you and your family put together the first DinoCon last year?
Zolondz: The first one was pretty much all my family and a couple friends helping out, and it was just one room in the Arizona Museum of Natural History. We had five panels and three vendors in the back. It was really simple but we wanted it like that because we were testing the waters to see if anybody would actually show up, and people did. A hundred people showed up and it was really exciting.
Have you found more dinosaur fans in the Valley?
The more we get out there, the more we find. You can begin to think, “Maybe I am the only one into this?” but you meet more people and it’s like, “Cool, people are into this!” And dinosaurs are coming back if you look at the movie trends. We have adopted kaiju into our fold with “Pacific Rim.” Big movie monsters, come on in! And then this year was “Godzilla,” and there were Dinobots in the new “Transformers” , and then next year Pixar is releasing “The Good Dinosaur,” and the next “Jurassic Park” (“Jurassic World”) is coming out, finally. The last “Jurassic Park” was released in 2001 and it should not have taken this long!
What panel are you looking forward to the most?
I might be bias but I am really excited for my nephew’s (Trinidad Jimenez) “2 Lost World 2 Furious” panel. Last year his panel was about the book “Jurassic Park” versus the movie “Jurassic Park” and he got really grisly. [Laughs] He was reading passages out loud and it made children flee the room, which was awesome to watch. He has crazy slides with terrible animation and he cracks me up. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m really excited about our “Pacific Rim” panel because it is a critical debate if kaiju were dinosaurs. I think it’s cool because it’s just a dumb summer movie, and for people to be so passionate about it and take it apart scientifically is a unique experience you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Phoenix DinoCon, Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 N. Third Street, Phoenix, phxdinocon.com, Saturday, August 2, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., $5