CrimeCon heads for Or­lando but first of­fers vir­tual edi­tion

Orlando Sentinel - - People & Arts - By De­wayne Bevil Email me at dbevil@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com. Want more theme park news? Sub­scribe to the Theme Park Rangers news­let­ter at or­lan­dosen­tinel.com/news­let­ters or the Theme Park Rangers pod­cast at or­lan­dosen­tinel.com/travel/ at­trac­tions/theme-park-r

The story of CrimeCon is not a who­dunit. Ev­ery­one knows the coro­n­avirus pan­demic is the cul­prit be­hind the post­pone­ment of the true-crime event, which was sched­uled to make its first Or­lando stop this month. Or­ga­niz­ers have piv­oted to dates this fall and have added a free on­line fea­ture called “CrimeCon @ Home” set for Satur­day.

“The feel was like very much ev­ery­one is in the ball­room. We’re pro­gram­ming this like a sin­gle stage,” said Kevin Balfe, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and founder of CrimeCon. “So ev­ery­one’s watch­ing this live so that we can have that fan in­ter­ac­tion and so­cial and all that sort of stuff ver­sus like some­thing that you could just kind of on-de­mand watch it any other time.”

Satur­day’s “at home” event will in­clude seg­ments with Josh Mankiewicz (“Date­line”), Nancy Grace and the trio from

“Last Pod­cast on the Left” plus up­dates on Net­flix doc­u­men­taries such as “The Stair­case” and “The Keep­ers.”

Mankiewicz, who Balfe said is re­ferred to as the “mayor of CrimeCon,” did an “ask me any­thing” seg­ment.

“He an­swered ev­ery­thing ev­ery­one’s ever wanted to know about ‘Date­line,’ but was afraid to ask,” Balfe said.

Karen Smith, a re­tired de­tec­tive from Jack­sonville, used chem­i­cals from her kitchen to show foren­sic tech­niques.

“She did a cou­ple of demos with some of the chem­i­cals to show how they as­cer­tain whether some­thing’s blood or ketchup and how they pull fin­ger­prints off of a Tan­queray bot­tle,” Balfe said.

What or­ga­niz­ers didn’t want for the new project was a feel of yet an­other Zoom meet­ing, he said. They also rec­og­nized that an hour of watch­ing some­one talk feels longer when watch­ing in an at-home set­ting.

“We just re­ally had to rein­vent how we thought about the pro­gram­ming, short ses­sions, you know, highly vis­ual where pos­si­ble,” Balfe said. “But just, you know, what we do, which is hope­fully ed­u­ca­tion, some en­ter­tain­ment, some ad­vo­cacy.”

“CrimeCon @ Home” can be seen from 4-6 p.m. Eastern time on Satur­day, May 9. It will be streamed on CrimeCon.com, CrimeCon’s Face­book page and Oxy­gen’s YouTube chan­nel. It will serve as a ben­e­fit to First Re­spon­ders Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion.

The flesh-and-blood ver­sion of CrimeCon, which was launched in 2017, has now been resched­uled to Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at Or­lando World Cen­ter Mar­riott. The lineup of sched­uled speak­ers in­cludes in­ves­ti­ga­tors, crim­i­nol­o­gists, lawyers, psy­chol­o­gists, jour­nal­ists, pod­cast­ers and more. But the event, like most en­ter­tain­ment of­fer­ings these days, re­mains in flux.

For in­stance, there could be ca­pac­ity restric­tions, not un­like what restau­rants are cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in Or­lando and Or­ange County.

“The city or state may say ‘You guys can do this but with half the peo­ple.’ Or they may say ‘with a quar­ter of peo­ple,’” Balfe said. “We’ll have to adapt.”

RED SEAT VEN­TURES/CRIMECON

Last year’s CrimeCon was held in New Or­leans and fea­tured speak­ers in­cluded Josh Mankiewicz, Keith Mor­ri­son, Nancy Grace, Erin Mo­ri­arty, Kelly Siegler and Christophe­r Dar­den. The 2020 CrimeCon is sched­uled in Or­lando for late Oc­to­ber.

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