C.O.G.S. in Piscataway
Thanks to a new volunteer effort, there will be a steampunk event this May in New Jersey
After the collapse of The Steampunk World's Fair (SPWF), and the ill-fated attempt of the Silver Phoenix Society to put on a replacement event, a group of volunteers has stepped forward to stage C.O.G.S. Expo (Community Organized Gathering of Steampunks), which is scheduled for May 4-6, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel Piscataway-Somerset in New Jersey. Those are the same dates as the original SPWF, which met its demise last month in the wake of misconduct allegations against event producer Jeff Mach.
C.O.G.S. Expo is being produced with assistance from the Radisson Piscataway, which was one of two host hotels for SPWF. Otherwise, it's an all-volunteer effort. The organizers are not affiliated with Mach's company or the Silver Phoenix Society. Admission is free.
The event will feature indoor and outdoor performances, including appearances by Victor and the Bully, Montague Jacques Fromage, Dust Bowl Faeries, Steam-Funk, Coveilance Dance Project, and A Halo Called Fred. Hvbris will present a performance of fire arts. Many artists were originally scheduled to appear at SPWF.
"We also have a full track of amazing panelists," says Coral Rousseau, one of the volunteer organizers. These include Thomas Willeford, Wheeler Stone, Mickey Flint, Eddie Thayer, and Dave Lee, who will present a "Master Maker" panel on Saturday at 1 p.m. "There is also a gaming track planned, and a kids' track we're working on," she says.
Steampunk vendors will offer their wares in outdoor spaces as well as rooms and tables inside the hotel. Table space costs $10. Room vending costs $149 per night, the same as booking an overnight stay. The hotel is waiving the typical $150 fee to remove beds from the rooms.
The hotel is also offering incentives to encourage attendees to book rooms in the C.O.G.S. Expo room block (it's listed under "Steam Punk Event Piscataway"). For each room booked, the hotel will offer a small payment for the performers, Coral says. Otherwise, they are appearing for free. If attendees book 100 room nights, the hotel will offer four free rooms for the performers.
To book a room, call the Radisson Central Reservation number, (800) 967 9033. You should ask for the group rate for "Steam Punk Event Piscataway." If you already booked a room under Steampunk World's Fair, the organizers are encouraging you to switch from the old room block to the new one by emailing the hotel directly. Instructions are on the event Facebook page.
In a demonstration of transparency, the organizers live-streamed their inaugural meeting. A video of the meeting is on the Facebook page.