You can like anime AND still turn up! Urban Anime Lounge does it year-round online and in-person. This time, UAL was in Dallas!
Taking a cue from the old Texan saying, Urban Anime Lounge (UAL) proved everything is, indeed, BIGGER (and BETTER!) at their third annual meetup this year. The event, hosted in Dallas from June 7-9, boasted over 150 blerds from across the U.S. and several special guests.
Originally launching as a seemingly standard Facebook group in 2016 with 500 members, UAL has grown their online presence to include over 6,500 members with a daily reach of minimally 3,000 non-members, proving to be anything but run-of-the-mill. Through unique in-person social experiences via local and annual meetups, they’ve been able to cultivate what they’ve coined as “The Black Geek Culture Experience.” This includes a range of interests from anime, manga, comics, and video games to art, cosplay, and much more. Previous annual meetups were held in Atlanta, GA and Washington, D.C., with regional meetups spanning from New York to California.
Typically planned around popular anime conventions, UAL initially chose Dallas specifically for A-Kon 2019. When the convention made an unexpected announcement to push their event to late June, UAL made the decision to move forward without them. The convention change proved to be of little inconvenience as a full weekend was planned with additional events. These events included a welcome social, gaming tournament, karaoke, community service, fitness, and farewell brunch.
Friday evening kicked off with a Naruto-themed foam party to welcome members to Dallas. Attendees were encouraged to cosplay with a twist, a great opportunity for those new to cosplay to get their feet wet (literally) and dabble in a potential new hobby. Each area was divided into villages from Naruto with glow in the dark decor and red and black table toppers. Members entered the Leaf Village to register for the meetup and play games in the courtyard. The DJ booth, bartender, and foam party could be found in the Village Hidden in the Mist. Others could also venture into the Sound Village to grab a bite from an array of food choices ranging from ribs to ramen, and interact with each other on a more intimate level.
Special guests, RDCWorld1, wildly popular for their anime influenced YouTube channel– showed up to kick it with members and even managed to make time for a little beer pong. With the bar serving the night’s specialty drinks – “Sharingan” (part vodka, part genjitsu) and “Rasengan” (part rum, part secret) a good time was definitely had by all.
On Saturday, UAL spent the afternoon at Java Gaming Café for the live Smash Bros. gaming tournament with special guests, Ahman Green (NFL Hall of Famer and eSports gamer) and RDCWorld1. Leland, RDCWorld1 member, proved to be the tourney’s overall champion after knocking out some of UAL’s best Smash players one by one in multiple rounds.
Attendees, not looking to join the tournament, were able to chill and play the newest Mortal Kombat and Tekken on PS4 and XBoxOne or team up with each other on Overwatch or Apex Legends @144hz on the high spec gaming PCs.
Java Gaming Café provided the perfect atmosphere for various game play, offering comfy gamer chairs and various snacks such as muffins and boba tea. In other parts of the facility, members were able to also drop by the artists corner and doodle or simply snack and watch anime.
Alongside the gaming event, UAL hosted their annual community service project. This year’s project focused on collecting supplies for the upcoming school year and summer camp donations for teens at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas (BGCD). UAL exceeded their goal and raised over $1,000 for BGCD by providing 25 backpacks filled with supplies and sponsoring 10 teens for two weeks of summer camp.
Saturday night concluded at Family Karaoke Music Studio. Members (staff as well) would agree that this event was most definitely a lituation. A large raised stage, ample seating, spacious private rooms, and amazing bar staff helped make the night extra special.
Members were able to choose from an unlimited number of songs while munching on an assortment of fried rice, fried dumplings, and fried shrimp. The night’s specialty drink, “Endgame” (another secret concoction with rum) provided even the shyest of members with enough liquid courage to go onstage. Ahman Green managed to get the crowd especially hype with his rendition of Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” and Kanye West’s “Mercy.”
Sunday, Green paired with UAL GetFit (our affiliated fitness group), to host a special early morning workout. Attendees met up at Buckner Park to sweat it out as he led the group through an official NFL warm-up followed by intense calisthenics exercises.
UAL ended the meetup with their annual farewell brunch by partnering with Quirktastic to bring their “Anime & Trap Music” event to Dallas at Kung Fu Saloon, your local vintage arcade bar. The brunch was filled with cosplay with a western twist plus good vibes, giveaways, and games. Attendees were treated to various brunch items such as kimchi tater tots, breakfast tacos, cheeseburger eggrolls, and the meetup’s final specialty drink, “Plot Twist,” blue mimosa mix. Trap music was provided by DJ So4kis of Dallas, who kept everybody dancing until the very end.
Missed this year’s meetup? Join our group Urban Anime Lounge and follow our Like Page for info on the 2020 New Orleans Annual Meetup and other upcoming events. Much love and anime!
#UALMeetUp2019 Recap Video
Special thanks to Urban Anime Lounge sponsors, Java Gaming Café and Ahman Green. Check out the Java Gaming Café Facebook page and make sure to follow Ahman Green on Instagram (@ahmangreen30) and Twitch (AhmanGreenTV).