Friday, April 27, 2018

COGS Steampunk Expo Rises from the Ashes

To quote Spike from Notting Hill, "I'm going to tell you a story that will make your balls shrink to the size of raisins." There once was an event called the Steampunk World's Fair. Like many events in the New Jersey area, SPWF was run by seemingly nice people who also appeared to be hopelessly befuddled at every turn. At the best of times, most show operation was chaos, with many an unhappy vendor and volunteer. Speaking of volunteers, also like a lot of New Jersey conventions, SPWF relied heavily on a steady stream of volunteer help to run just about everything, including those things they probably should not. It became clear to most that these volunteers were also highly expendable.

The event's lead producer or some such took to Facebook on the daily to solicit aid from the hive mind for everything from simple marketing tactics to complex search engine optimization (I don't actually remember the exact posts, so just take those as a "for example") and you would just assume it was because he didn't want to pay anyone qualified to do these things. One day, this producer took to Facebook for the upteenth time to mine for volunteers for an upcoming event and something suddenly snapped. You could say it was the tsunami that was the #MeToo movement emboldening people, or any number of stimuli, but one person spoke up...and then another...and amid allegations of sexual misconduct, shady business dealings, unkept promises and general apathy toward accused rapists, the Steampunk World's Fair met a grisly, very public end. Unfortunately, when people love an event, they can forgive a multitude of sins and turn a bind eye to loads of things they should not. This was a firestorm long in the making.

Flash forward to ONE MONTH from the date the Steampunk World's Fair was scheduled to play out. Vendors had been bemoaning the loss of potential income from product they already produced, and any deposits they laid out (alongside any attendees) to the now dead event's owners was clearly not going to be paid back. This is when the magic happened and, to my knowledge, is the first time a community rose up and took their event back.

From the ashes of the SPWF, COGS was born. Community Organized Gathering of Steampunks. With the aid of the Radisson  Piscataway Hotel, in which the SPWF used to take place, a committee pulled the tight knit community together and proceeded to create a new event among the bones of the old...quite literally one piece at a time and well clear of any of the influence that sent the former event down in flames. The vendors are all lined up. Performers of the musical, educational and artistic variety are donating their time, free of charge. Point of fact, for the first time ever, entry to this event is FREE, and now all they need is YOU! Check out the press release:

Strap on your jetpack, dust off your best bowler hat and make sure your goggles are squeaky's time for the COGS Steampunk Expo! The Radisson Hotel Piscataway will play host to a dizzying array of performers, educators, musicians, crafts-people and the Steampunk community at large, all welcoming the public to experience a fantastic weekend of entertainment and enter into this world for FREE!

May 4th through the 6th are the dates for this year's event, but things were not always so certain. Those who attend fairs and conventions in New Jersey regularly may remember the Radisson Hotel Piscataway as the home for the Steampunk World's Fair in previous years. Due to gross mismanagement and alleged abuses against the community at large, vendors and fans alike suddenly found themselves without an event necessary for their continued wellbeing or refunds on any pre-show registrations. With the former show producers offering little respite or solution, it fell on the community itself to pull together and save themselves. You could say the east coast Steampunk community cared for each other so much, they refused to let their yearly event die, and that is what makes the COGS Steampunk Expo so special!

COGS (Community Organized Gathering of Steampunks) have worked with the Radisson to provide a low cost way for vendors to recoup their losses while offering a completely unique entertainment experience for visitors with FREE entry. Every hotel room booked helps to cover room and board for performers. Every donation and sponsorship from individuals and companies alike goes directly to covering production expenses. In short, COGS needs you!

Call the Radisson Hotel Piscataway (1 800 967 9033 ) to book a room today and ask for the special Steam Punk Event Piscataway rate!
Email for donation, sponsorship and vendor opportunities!

Show highlights include:

  • Musical Guests Victor and the Bully, Dust Bowl Fairies, A Halo Called Fred, Montague Jacques Fromage, Faith in the Glitch, Infinitus Mortus, Death by Fiction and more!
  • Performers Steam-Funk Studios, Coveilance Dance Project, Hvbris Fire Performance Troupe, Karnevil Sideshow Performers, Magician Mike OJ and more!
  • Contests include the Epic Facial Hair Competition, Doc & Wyatt's Quick and the Dead Quickdraw Competition and the Mad Science Fair
  • Panels both educational and entertaining, like the Master Maker Panel where masters of their craft Thomas Willeford, Dave Lee, Wheeler Stone, Steampunk Eddie, and Mickey Flint share insight into the creation of leather works, props, armor, handling tools of the trade and more. For budding or experienced cosplayers, this is one you can't miss. Come soak up some inspiration!
  • Premium events like The Grand Illusion: A Magical Masquerade Buffet Dinner Party and Tea Rex: A Not-So-Proper Afternoon Tea (with tickets available to both for a nominal fee)
  • Tabletop Gaming, Kid's Programming, Movies, Buskers, Amazing Vendors with hand made wonders and vintage treasures, Cosplayers around every corner and so much more!

Bookmark for up to the minute updates and info so you can plan your weekend to perfection.

Further links:

Any signal boost you could give to this event would be greatly appreciated.

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