- City Guides
C.O.G.S. Expo is Back
All-star makers and musical guests lead the program for the steampunk fest in New Jersey
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
C.O.G.S. Expo, which arose in 2018 from the rubble of the Steampunk World’s Fair (SPWF), will return May 17-19 to northern New Jersey with a program that includes panels, workshops, musical acts, fire arts, gaming, contests, parties, vendors, and more.
Last year’s event was hastily organized by an ad hoc group of volunteers after the demise of SPWF. Now they’ve had the better part of a year to prepare for a gathering dubbed “C.O.G.S. 2-lhu: Victorian Monsters & Science Fiction Legends.” It all happens at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, about 30 miles west of New York City.
“It has been a rollercoaster and a hard journey sometimes, but I couldn’t be more proud of what we have worked to create,” says director of operations Azcordelia Quinn.
“C.O.G.S.” stands for “Community Organized Gathering of Steampunks.”
Among the highlights:
• A Monster’s Ball on Friday night headlined by Infinitus Mortus, a New Jersey band that describes its sound as “Symphonic Metal.”
• Multiple performances of fire arts by HVBRIS. The organizers say that the group will have its largest ensemble performing on the East Coast in almost a decade.
• A Master Makers’ Panel on Saturday featuring Thomas Willeford, James Neathery, Aleta Pardalis, Brian Fadrosh, Wheeler ‘Doc’ Stone, Tobias McCurry, and Mickey Flint.
• “The Vehicles of Hatton Cross Steampunk,” an outdoor presentation by Michael Parodi.
• A workshop featuring “Swordstick,” a fighting technique from the 18th and 19th centuries that employed blades hidden within canes. It will be presented by Prof. Mark Donnelly. Registration is required.
• Panels on history, costuming, leathercraft, character-building, Victorian monsters, the paranormal, community issues and more.
• A kids’ track featuring STEAM-based programming for ages five through teen. They will include an opportunity to work on a Community Rube Goldberg Machine.
• An Artist and Author Gallery featuring author readings and Artist of the Year Aristotle Chris Pramagioulis. Guest authors include Leanna Renee Hieber, Brian McKinley and Christine Norris.
• A costume contest with 12 categories plus a Mad Science Contest, High Noon Nerf Quick Draw, Facial Hair Contest, Tea Dueling, and Splendid Teapot races.
• Radio play performances of Frankenstein (on Friday) and The Time Machine (on Saturday).
• 1700 square feet of gaming space, including RPGs, miniatures, board games, card games, a custom LARP, Magic the Gathering Tournament, and more.
In addition to the Friday and Saturday night concerts, the event will include musical performances by Montague Jacques Fromage, A Halo Called Fred, Dust Bowl Faeries, and others.
A complete schedule is posted on the website.
“We have fully integrated the I.D.E.A. Initiative into our event,” Quinn adds, referring to “Inclusivity, Diversity & Equality Advantage,” an effort to promote multicultural diversity and inclusivity in the business world. Examples of its implementation include availability of non-gendered bathrooms, signage in multiple languages, breastfeeding and diaper changing spaces, and volunteers to assist the elderly or physically challenged.
Managed as a non-profit, C.O.G.S. Expo uses a membership model. The $25 Steel membership provides access to most weekend events, including concerts and panels. The exceptions are ticketed dinners, High Tea and liquor tasting events. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. The upper-level Copper ($100), Bronze ($250) and Brass ($500) memberships confer additional benefits, including “goodie bags” and commemorative badges.
The festivities begin on Friday, May 17 at 4 p.m. and run through Sunday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m. The Sheraton Parsippany Hotel is located at 199 Smith Rd., Parsippany, NJ 07054. See the event website and Facebook page for more info.
Photos from 2018 are used by permission of C.O.G.S. Expo. Credit: Cici and Nico.
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