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By Jacqueline Monahan
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Health, Healing and Happiness Conference at Springs Preserve

The title is inviting enough; who doesn’t want health, healing and happiness?  The Conference’s subtitle is actually The Second Annual Conference on Natural Solutions for the Whole Body, Mind and Spirit.

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Crystals for Every Occasion
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

On June 14 and 15 vendor booths full of vitamins, glittering jewelry, incense and air purifiers, spiritual and medical breakthroughs, natural healing solutions, and healthy lifestyle options targeted the organic human condition in these three areas.

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Everyone Has an Aura
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Occupying two buildings on the grounds of Springs Preserve (the 180-acre nature center that features botanical gardens, trails, displays, exhibits, interactive science and live animal shows) the HHH Conference examined paths of meditation, nutrition, exercise, diet, massage, and ornamental adornment.

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All I Need is the Air that I Breathe...and this Purifier
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The two-day conference featured a free yoga and Tai Chi Dragon Qi Gong class, panels on gluten sensitivity, raw/vegan food, emotional eating, divorce detox, bodybuilding, meat-free Chinese food, loving your life, reclaiming your power by speaking your truth, and attracting people you can actually stomach (actual title).

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Organic Food Prep Demonstration
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Keynote presenters Brendan Brazier told attendees that they could “Boost Athletic Performance on a plant-based diet,” while Dr. John MacDougall offered “The Starch Solution – Eat the Foods You Love and Regain Your Health” live via Skype.  Dr. Thomas Lodi declared that “Disease is Your Friend – How to Heal from Cancer and Any Diseases.”

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A Packed Panel
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Swami Ramananda led the “Mind, Body, Spirit Tune-Up: How to Spiritually Jump Start Your Life,” and yes, he DID have the saffron robes to prove it.  Anabella de Corro is an ex-Vogue model and rock n’ roll muse turned transformational therapist and led a panel on “Life After Glamour.”

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Annabella de Corro and Swami Ramananda
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Exhibitors displayed crystals, smoothies, essential oils, raw and vegan foods, juices, coffees and teas infused with Chinese herbs and ginseng, nutritional supplements, fitness programs, and eastern jewelry.  The Health Conspiracy Radio Show staff was on hand to warn attendees about misinformation in the field.

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A Row of Exhibitors
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Conference attendees received a bag full of coupons and treats from sponsors containing vegan cookies, raw protein bars, chia seeds, cold therapy pain relief gel, and a volcanic facial mask.  TruFusion offered one complimentary month of Pilates, Yoga or Bootcamp classes.  These guys practice what they preach.

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Healing Massage
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Walking through the exhibits (one was a beagle rescue complete with canine representative) was a serene endeavor, and the mood was decidedly laid-back.  Type A personalities were either soothed away or stayed away from the proceedings; there didn’t seem to be any around.

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Booth Browsing for Health Benefits
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

This would not be the place to come if you craved a steak, or bacon, or even a slice of cheese.  Animal protein is nowhere to be found, but someone would surely know where you could get a bag of brown rice chips or a wheatgrass smoothie.

There are probably a lot of clear arteries and unencumbered aortas as well.

Food for thought, wouldn’t you say?

 

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Convention at South Point Hotel and Casino


Superheroes, monsters, villains and sexy sirens filled the Main Exhibit Hall of the South Point Hotel and Casino from June 14-16, as the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Convention nearly burst its seams with comics (naturally) characters, and costumes.

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Comics by the Ton
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Booths containing metric tons of comic books (graphic novel is the preferred term) and shelves containing 3-D versions in all sizes of familiar creations met the visitor’s eye as soon as entry was achieved. 

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A Cacophony of Comics
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

In the case of your humble correspondent, that entry was led by a fan in white rabbit ears.  I knew he would lead me to the right place.  The South Point was also hosting a rodeo on the same floor, but it was easy to discern who belonged where.  You don’t think an Imperial Stormtrooper is going to compete in the barrel racing competition, do you?

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NOT lookin' for a Rodeo!
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Put “Comics” after these names and you’ve got just a few of the represented establishments: Alternate Reality, Cosmic, Critical Care, MaximuM, P Dot, Pioneer, Spiral Ink, and Torpedo.

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Graphic Footwear
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Put “Comic” ahead of these names and you still haven’t covered the multitude of vendors by a long shot: Collector Shop, Madness, Oasis, and Wise.  Collectibles and toys competed for space, none larger than a gigantic statue of The Hulk, drawing back a massive green fist in what else?  Anger.  You don’t want to be Loki in that scenario.

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Type A Personality
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Lavish cosplay occurred in nearly every aisle of the colorful labyrinth that was made up of individual comic book store displays, fanciful and intricately detailed artwork, Lego warriors, action figures, toys and stickers.  A small button, found on the floor read, “Lumpy Space Princess.”  Someone collects that.

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Heavy Metal Indeed:  Wolverine and Iron Man
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Artist Alley featured demonstrations from talented creators* seated at tables
laden with their illustrations.  Pencil sketches and ink wash versions or full color renditions could be (and were) purchased by collectors thrilled to have the chance at signed additions to already lengthy and impressive collections.

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Perusing the Pics
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Fantasy in 3 Dimensions
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

*Humberto Ramos (Marvel, Amazing Spiderman #700), Greg Capullo (DC 52 Batman) Rob Liefield (Deadpool, X-Force) Ryan Stegman (Marvel, Superior Spiderman) Marat Mychaels (Deadpool Corp) Neal Adams (Green Lantern)and Deryl Skelton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) among others.

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Beastly Busts
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Where there are pictures, there are words, and writers like Josh Fialkov (Dr. Who) Rick Remender (Captain America) Scott Lobdell (Superman) Mat Nastos (Phineas and Ferb) and Gerry Duggan (Deadpool) were also on hand to greet legions of fans.

Friday’s activities included a video game tournament, a cosplay scavenger hunt, and a My Little Pony fan meeting with artist Tony Fleecs.  Someone collects that, too.

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Gamers...
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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And more Gamers...
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

 Saturday’s activities highlighted two of the biggest names in the comics/graphic novel industry and they both were Lee – albeit unrelated men of different races and generations, yet iconic and possessing outstanding comic pedigree.

Both Stan “Architect of the Marvel Universe” Lee and Jim “Best Selling Comic Book Artist of All Time” Lee were on hand to autograph officially licensed merchandise for fans.  Jim Lee also conducted a drawing demo and gave away the results to lucky attendees.

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Future Stan Fan
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Creators’ Conversations with Skottie Young (Oz) Ryan Stegman, Rick Remender, and Gerry Duggan took place after a Bravest Warriors Meet-up for the online show.  The Comics in Hollywood scene was explored by Ken F. Levin, dubbed “rep to the comics stars” by Marvel EIC Joe Quesada.

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The Untouchable Batman
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


The day concluded with a costume contest hosted by New Zealand native and uber-famous cosplayer Jessica Nigri (Lollipop Chainsaw).

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Cosplayers in Every Corridor
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

 

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Point Taken
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Some lucky Sunday visitors (kids 10 and under) received free Phineas and Ferb sketches from creator Mat Nastos, and a Kid’s Day Kickoff followed with a My Little Pony event.

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Two Little Ponies
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Live art sketch duels , an Oz discussion, more cosplay, a back issue panel (collectors love ‘em) an Extreme Conversation with Rob Liefield, a toy panel, the screening of a fan-made Batman film, an authors panel, and the seductively titled Bring on the Bad Girls event took place along with a Kids Costume Showcase.

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Buy Us You Shall
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Back issues created before 1980 seemed to generate the most interest, and a buyer/seller deal was overheard that netted the seller $2000 for just six issues (one was worth $1800 all by itself).

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Convention was the largest of its kind in Sin City and is bound to get bigger and better with each passing year.  Organizer and promoter Jimmy S. Jay vows that “this is just the start!”

 

GALLERY
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Even Superheroes Need to Recharge

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Heading to the Steakhouse

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The Author Makes a Dare

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