Talking Geek, Games, & Parties: Hangin' With Dom of Afroductions
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
I do love a good party! Wth PAX West on the horizon, I'm thinking back to previous years. While I've always had a blast at the con, PAX West also brings with it enterprising individuals with an eye for a good party hosting off-site events. When it comes to off-site events, one party that sticks out is Poropalooza, held at the Q Nightclub in Seattle's Capital Hill neighborhood. I took a lil bit of time to chat with Dom about Poro, Afroductions, and his future endeavors! So let's get on with it!
Justin Prince: What's up g33ks! I have a special guest with me today. Dom heads Afroductions and puts on the livest PAX West party of the weekend, Poropalooza.
So Dom, how many years have you been putting on this event?
Dom: Hey Hey Hey. Thanks Justin. Well this is the 4th official Poropalooza... but we have been doing parties around PAX for a little while before that.
JP: Before Poro, what other events have you put on? Any of note stick out in your mind?
D: Con parties before Poro... there were some house parties and I helped some other companies plan their events. Where all this really got started was in college, I don't know why but when I think of an event I am always looking for the most interesting way to do it.
JP: ...and of course holding it during PAX weekend does make for interesting. So back to Poro, your mascot for the event is Poro from League of Legends. How did you get around using one of Riot's characters for the event?
D: Well... I am the Hype-Man for a Nerdcore music group Area of Defect. Back then I was really into LoL. I gravitated to it over other things for the position it held in the gaming world. Poro is not a character or really even affects the outcome of a match but a fun extra.
That is what Poropalooza is. It is this sidequest of fun. An add-on that once it blows up only makes the whole weekend sweeter!
JP: That does make sense! I know my weekend is always made better after dancing the night away at your party. I never played my League of Legends myself. Do you still pop in for a match or two these days?
D: Yeah from time to time but I don't have the gumption to grind up skill ladders anymore. I still game but between my 7-year-old my, day job and expanding Afroductions into a full business
.................. I need a nap.
JP: I hear that man! Being on your grind makes it hard to grab an even 7 every night. What other games have you been playing recently? Of course when you get the time to that is...
D: Ha..... OK! I really like Overwatch but I can never seem to pick it when i sit down for a game. Antihero and PUBG have been my breaks as of late. My backlog on steam looms over my shoulder all the time and I miss Civ a lot... but until October who really has time.
JP: Mind you some of the hottest new titles always hit around the Fall/Winter... especially with the Holiday season. Anything you're looking forward to?
D: Did the new XCOM 2 expansion drop yet? I know I see little indie gems on steam all the time and those are kinda my bag these days. 6-40 hours... beat it... smile... and go cry in the corner cause you miss all the freetime you used to have.
JP: The War of the Chosen expansion launches at the end of the month actually... at least for PC users. Console players have to wait until September to get their fix. So the dream is to expand Afroductions to a full fledged business. How long has Afroductions been around?
D: Lke 73 Days since I LLC'd. This is a pivot that I learned over and over again as I try and not be the "face" for my endeavors. I love throwing money, time, and tech at problems... but when I have counted on others to be the face I seem to always drift off message and off brand.
So! I moved my IP's into this new LLC and am really looking forward to taking new chances and new steps.
JP: Any projects outside of PAX parties? Perhaps events catered to some of the other cons here in Seattle? Emerald City Comic Con draws crowds just as big as PAX.
D: Oh yeah. I am in the middle of planning a Halloween party as well as PAX South, ECCC, and Sakuracon. I am hoping to get up to 7 or 8 events that become as staple as Poro is to PAX West. After that I want to try and popup around other dates or icons that might matter to microcultures or actual game devs that want to host a next level event. For me, itt isn't about the crowd size as much as it is finding inspiration in the community. That's why PAX South is just now getting a party from me next year... it all came together last year.
Oh I almost forgot I am throwing a blockparty the weekend before PAX with my friends at the Living Computer Museum + Labs. They brought me on as lead organizer and I am pretty hype about the whole thing. It is my first corporate/freelance gig in this arena.
JP: Oh nice! I'll have to let the Lifted Geek fam know about the block party. Do you have venues set for your future non-Poro events in Seattle? Will they all be held at Q?
D: So I don't think they will be at Q. Each one needs to be it's own thing and I worry about running the magic down by just rinsing and repeating Poro. That and I can't have a paint party there.
JP: Welp! be sure to keep us updated when you do have venues. SO! Your nerd cred runs pretty deep. I admire that you care about how inspired you are by the community. In your personal life, how much does your geeky background affect you as a parent? Is your kid just as nerdy as you are?
D: Oh My! So for the last 2 years (this year being the third) I have taken him to PAX on the Monday after Poro. There is more room and shorter lines. I have taught him how to play the Pokemon TCG but he is more interested in just collecting right now.
I have refused to buy him a Switch or any next gen console until he beats either Kirby or the original Mario on the mini NES I bought him for his birthday #KNOWYOURROOTZ
He will also be in my group cosplay this year...
JP: Oh nice! what are you and the little one cosplaying as?
D: You will have to SEEEEEEEEEEEE
JP: Secret! I dig it, I'll have to find you guys. I'm assuming it'll be on Monday yeah?
D: Yeah YEEEAAAHHHHHhhhh
JP: You mentioned understanding your roots when it comes to being a gamer. What are your roots? What would you say is one of your fondest memories as a kid playing games?
D: So two things. The first is as an Army Brat in Japan in 1986-8(ish) I was playing Mario Bros like right out of the box and I remember my brother and I would run in place next to the TV while the other was playing. Sidebar! that feeling the first time you find the warp-zone OR an invisible block and the whole game becomes an easter egg hunt.
The next was my first experience in PC gaming. Staying up all night playing Heroes of Might and Magic III almost every weekend with my best friend. It was our version of fishing or camping. #Hotseat #RAMPART
JP: Sounds like you had a pretty awesome childhood. So in case you didn't know, the origin behind our name here is that a Lifted Geek isn't your typical geek. Geek culture is heavily consumer based, it's all about collecting and consuming. But we started Lifted Geek because we wanted to leave something behind. We consider people like you the definition of a Lifted Geek.
So back to it! For any other aspiring creator that wants to leave something behind, what sort of advice would you have for that person?
D: The world is vast and today we know so much more than we ever did in the past, but there is always something new to find or a tweak to make. Try as many of them as feels honest to you and rejoice in the attempts... not the success and failures. Failing forward is kind of my only talent.
JP: Failing forward... I like that... I'm going to use that from now on! Before we make tracks, let's touch on Poropalooza one more time. Last year fans were surprised when Porter Robinson popped by to perform an impromptu set. That was pretty sick to see! Looking back, what were some of your favorite moments from Poro past?
D: Um..... So I work the door at all my events. I am the List the gatekeeper, the road to El Dorado. People tell me my party's fly but I am usually in a panic induced fugue state at the door praying that I can cover the rental of the club that night. I really like the cosplay contest. It is non traditional, it is instant, and it is over. I love it when people try to use their social media influence or numbers to get one over on me. I am like day one millennial nearly in xillennial and in front of Line Club and the Universe you TELL me you should be VIP because you have 100,000 subs and "you don't know who i am?" and I have to fire back that less than 1% of the world knows who you are you should be surprised when you find someone that does. #StatsBurn. I am also really proud that all my events are posted safe spaces and any crossing of lines in MY club is a one way ticket to the door. Sponsor attendee or ghost I don't care if nerds are going to shape the world then we need to start by shaping one we can be proud of. I don't even ask questions.
JP: Well said! As an attendee to your events, I can say that without a shadow of a doubt you throw the livest party and one I look forward to each year! Before we close out, where can people find you and follow your future events?
Oh I am also getting my YouTube channel back up and running!
We have been out making more music and I am working on some other material with friends as well. I even bought a camera... I'm like a GROWN UP!
JP: Fantastic man! You guys heard the man g33ks, follow his stuff! Thanks for taking the time to chat Dom! I look forward to Afroductions' future projects!
D: Thank you and to Lifted geek. This was my first timmmeeeee (as Afroductions)
And that's wrap! Dom is hands down one of the coolest cats I've met since running Lifted Geek. His ambitions are admirable and dude is just such a good guy! Like We said through the article, make sure to follow his stuff to keep up to date with all things Afroductions. For my g33ks who are going to be in attendance at PAX West, make sure to check out Poropalooza... the LIVEST party all weekend!