VODKA O’CLOCK 1531
GARDEN STATE COMIC FEST
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DAVE O’HARE is one of the organizers of the GARDEN STATE COMIC FEST gardenstatecomicfest.com, one of the comic conventions here in New Jersey. With the upcoming show July 25 & 26, this marks their third show. Listen to the interview to learn all about the changes with the new location and the guest list. Kate the Geeky Redhead and I will definitely be wandering around on Saturday. We’re not coordinating our costumes, but if you spot either of us, please say hello and pose for pictures.
This show was held two times previously in hotels. For 2015, it’s been relocated to the Mennen Sports Arena. Parking is free at Mennan Arena for 2,000 spaces, half of which are paved parking lot spaces and the other half is a field. Both the Morristown and Morris Plains train stations are close to the arena. The official hotel rates are quite unbelievable compared to other shows, some are less than $100 for good hotels.
The Morristown and Morris Plains area has a lot of great restaurants so even though you’d have to leave the arena if you don’t want concessions, you don’t have to drive far at all. The nearby ShopRite even has a ton of cafe counters inside like a juice bar, grill, and sushi. For after con haunts, check out some of the local scene like Grasshopper on the Green, the Famished Frog, Roots Steakhouse, a couple of Thai places, frozen yogurt and ice cream shops, Smartworld Cafe, Pure Pita and lots more. All these are under two miles from Mennan Arena.
Another big change this year is that the show was extended to two days. Ticket Prices at the door are $20 for Saturday July 25th and $15 for Sunday or $30 for both days. Earlier sales are discounted.
Security/Harassment: Not only will there be several uniformed and plain clothes police officers, but the arena also has security cameras. The security is not only there for anti-theft deterrents, but sexual harassment is being taken seriously.
The GSCF will feature some legends like Greg Hildebrandt and Billy Tucci and newer stars like Amy Chu and Charles Wilson III. The Kubert School will have a booth and will be doing portfolio reviews for artists. Greg Hildebrandt is going to exhibit the gigantic DC and Marvel painting which was once on display at the Montclair Art Museum in 2007. The Metropolis Gallery will also have a booth of items including rare early comic issues. The list of guests includes some of my favorite comic professionals to see at shows because they have the best attitude for working in this industry. Joe Caramagna, Jim Calafiore, Erica Schultz, Walt Simonson, Alex Saviuk, Brigid Allanson, Brittany Pezzillo
COSPLAY AND PANELS
WDHA, a local rock radio station, will be holding a panel about how music and comics compliment each other. That’s at noon on Saturday.
On Sunday morning, there’s a drawing class for kids and a light saber training class for kids.
There will be a big tent outside for the cosplay activities. Belle Chere, Mikomi Chan, and Ruby Rinekso are some of the cosplay guests. They’ll be holding panels on harassment and hosting contests for the kids and adult contests.
Large troupes of cosplay fans like the Mercs and 501st will have access to the locker rooms. This is a fantastic opportunity to talk to all the cosplay troupes like the 501st, Mercs, Rebel Legion about costume builds, what membership is like, and to get lots of photos. One of my first conventions ever was in Pittsburgh many years ago and the first time I saw a Boba Fett, I probably embarrassed myself with teary eyes telling this helmed stranger how important the character was to me. Really, they love these kinds of stories and love introducing new people to the fandom.
Superheroes for Hospice, run by Spiro Ballas, will be set up in the lobby area. They’ve raised over $100,000 since 2009 for St.Barnabas Hospice.