Opinions May Vary

 Wicked Faire 2015:

 *CORRECTION ALERT: In this review episode of OMV, I exhaustively referred to Azkadelia’s associate/compatriot as “Charlie”. This is inaccurate information. His name is Christopher. My sincere apologies for the mix-up!*

 

Princeton, NJ was the travel destination for fans of Renaissance, Steampunk, Gothic and alternative culture this past weekend. Costumes, Vendors, Performances and good company abound as this year’s  Wicked Renaissance Faire fell upon the grounds of its new home at the Hyatt Regency Hotel off Carnegie Center. A staple in the pantheon of Jeff Mach Events, Wicked Faire boasts a plethora of performers, patrons, vendors and activities to satisfy the nerd in all of us.

Pass

 I got to give my artistic skills a stretch over the weekend by handing my airbrush ability over to the Fantastic Photographer, Babs Who Takes Pictures! She was taking a con off from work and was out and about doing costuming with the help of Redfield Design. Here's my favorite look from the event: 


Babs 

Once costumes had been donned and readied, we hit the Convention! Babs told me that she got quite a lot of photos taken of her, which was great to hear. Here is my systematic and methodical breakdown of the event in categories. Enjoy!

THE VENUE:

The Venue this year was nothing short of beautiful. The Hyatt Regency in Princeton (which was reserved just for Wicked Faire attendees) boasted a lovely setting for the event. Among the beautiful architecture and design of the hotel, the most impressive space was the wide open, courtyard-style area in the lobby of the building, and was brightly lit and packed with activity. 

hotel

 Hotel 2

Hotel 3

The central food court area made for a great place to eat and drink without having to leave the venue. The quality of food sold there was outstanding, and the beverage selection (both alcoholic and N.A.) were fairly respectable. 

There was a hallway for vendors, one for panels and adult vending. After just a few rounds it was very easy to navigate to where you needed to go. The only challenges were the inevitable traffic jams due to mini photo shoots and socializing, but it never got to a point of incessant or intolerable. 

Map

PERFORMANCES & PANELS:

The Schedule did not disappoint this year, with more than 100 separate events occurring on Saturday, and well over 50 happening on both Friday and Sunday, there was always something to see or do. Here is a quick rundown of the shows and performances I saw at length: 

 Katie Kat: A gifted singer, Katie took to the main Atrium Stage and captured the attention of the entire courtyard in a few short notes. A powerful voice paired with enchanting music! (KatieKatOpera.com) 

 White Elephant Burlesque: This troupe had a number of memorable and entertaining performances! 

Frenchy & The Punk: A must-see for any convention. They performed new music from their recent album, and they delivered grand performances throughout the weekend. 

F&TP

F&TP2

This Way to the Egress: A surprise discovery for me, this band was nonstop fun and energy. A six-piece blending sounds of swing, folk and more, this talented group was a great time to see. I look forward to seeing them again. 

Poisonous Apples and Pretty Witches - Lilith Lore: Lilith performed a number of darkly re-imagined tales with grace, poise and intrigue. Among the tales was a sublime rendition of the Beauty and the Beast, which was both engrossing and enchanting. An enjoyable exhibition! 

Azkadelia the Mad Hattress / Mad Hatter Aerials:

Akkadelia and Christopher entertained and engaged this weekend with nearly nonstop performances throughout the weekend. In addition to performing, Azkadelia also held workshops in between shows (all having been booked solid before the weekend began, which speaks volumes). Her final performance of the weekend on Sunday was chock full of DJ takeovers, background dancing from both Chris and Wyck, as well as guest appearances. You know it's a good show when an entire hotel of attendees stop dead in their tracks to watch! 

Flying

Flying2

Flying3

Karneival Sideshow Circus: Their Saturday performance was very impressive, with great feats of skill and sensation! Whip cracking, Broken Glass walking (and face standing), blowguns and balloons, ending in the classic Human Bulletin board. A solid show with strong character work and audience report! 

VENDORS: 

There are never a shortage of unique and interesting vendors at a Jeff Mach event. This year the Vendors were spread out between two separate areas/floors of the con. Here is a list of the vendors I saw that I really enjoyed and had to note: 

Canes Enable: 

With Accessories and Accouterments that any Victorian Gentleman or Woman could ask for, Mark P. Donnelly's booth will never cease to engage and impress me. I added to my collection with a Gangs of New York-styled Police Club/Truncheon. 

Mad Etcha: Freehand Glass Etching (etsy.com/shop/MadEtcha
Fantastic skill and artistry from Mad Etcha. A lovely display and impressive breadth of work! 

Warpath Archery: (WarpathArchery.etsy.com)

A very cool booth that specializes in Bows, Arrows, Strings and other Traditional Archery Equipment. Very cool display and array of wares. 

Masks by Antonette and Creations: (facebook.com/antonette.masks)

Given the Masquerade on Friday Night, this booth was a no-brainer in theming, with a lovely selection of hand-painted masks of various styles! From Carnivale to Dia De Los Muertos and everything in between. 

Dellamorte & Co.: 

I have seen Dellamorte & Co. a few times, and every time I see them, they have something new in their selection, and something that makes me mad that I don't have more expendable income. Their work is in a dark/gothic aesthetic with beautiful detail. If they are at Steampunk World's Fair, I will be making a purchase! 

Corvus Creations: (etsy.com/shop/CorvusCreations)

I was drawn to their wares, especially their Steampunk pieces. Very nice work! 

The Leather Lair: (theleatherlair.com

They had an impressive display and selection of wares in the bigger Vendor room at the Hotel. Vests, shirts, wrist buckels, you name it, they have something in the neighborhood of what you are looking for. Very personable and friendly staff! 

ISSUES & CONS

Overall, the Convention was a wonderful time. While there were the few expected "new venue" hang-ups that occur at any public gathering, to anyone attending a convention for the first time would not have noticed anything. It seemingly ran quite smoothly. My notes are quite nit-picky and really played little roles in the overall experience I had with the event. 

The Hotel Staff were incredibly helpful and accommodating, and despite looking confused and befuddled from time to time, they were exceptional and professional whenever I saw them. 

Princeton Police Department was in full force throughout the course of the event, with no less than three officers on site keeping watch (that I saw). In addition to the Convention Volunteers, everything seemed well organized and taken care of. 

On Saturday, there were a few Facebook posts that alerted to some indiscriminate behavior that occurred at the event. I did not bare witness to any such occurrences, which to me would speak that they were handled with grace and discretion. (If there's more of a hassle going on about it online than at the event it occurred at, I think you are handling it right.) 

A blameless issue that occurred was the weather. Many people were forced to disband earlier than expected on Saturday due to a Storm system that rolled in through the mid-afternoon into the evening. With a couple inches of snow which turned into sleet and ice, it was a major impact on the mood and behaviors of the attendees. However, those that stayed were determined to enjoy themselves, and did not let the weather ruin their good time. And that is turning a frown upside down. 

There were spacial issues in some spaces (a vendor or two out in the open, seemingly displaced, traffic jams from people, etc.) but once more, these are VERY minor observations, and if Wicked Faire returns to the Hyatt Regency (which I hope will occur), I am sure it will become bigger, better and a more well-oiled machine. 

My grade for this con is: B+/A- 

I had a blast, and I attended this convention with less than 6 hours of sleep in two days under my belt and fresh out of a Wisdom Tooth extraction the afternoon before. I was smiling, dancing and laughing with people both familiar and unfamiliar. I got to network, be artsy and spend time with members of the Steampunk Community. A weekend well spent! 

One thing I really appreciate about Jeff Mach Events (there's plenty of things I appreciate, but this one in particular) is that there is always the desire for dialogue between the Convention holders and attendees. The Facebook page is always active with threads actively engaging and requesting feedback and thoughts on how things occurred, and how things went, as well as gauging interest on possible future events. It is refreshing to see, especially when that formula is not as well-exercised with other live events in this category. 

A solid Convention, and if you have not been to a Jeff Mach Event, do yourself the favor and take a weekend to enjoy one. You will not be disappointed! 

This concludes my post-mortem of Wicked Faire! I would like to thank Alex and Jayare for enlisting me to help report on this great event, and I look forward to doing it again for Steampunk World's Fair in May! 

Until then.. 

Brett Kelley: Art Mercenary 

Like a bawse.

Direct download: 2.26.2015_Episode_154.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 6:52pm EST
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Anyone who consistently reads this is probably well aware that writing is not one of my greatest talents. I use way too many adjectives and I tend to cluster short sentences one after the other so it's like a robot talking or something. The defiant side of me wants to say "hey shut up man. That's how you write and you should stick to it" whereas the more reasonable side wants to say "you should probably listen real hard to this week's guest."

Oh man what a perfect segue.

Our pal Joe Sherry joined us this week so we could grill him on a neat contest he's a part of. He was one of 13 contestants picked to compete in David Wellington's Fear Project. Every week he's given a topic and just a couple days later he has to submit an original short story about it. The person with the lowest amount of votes (or comments on their story. Positive/negative doesn't matter) is eliminated. Joe has currently made it to the top 11 and is still going strong.

Fans of horror/comics/writing/laughing/constant puns are going to want to check this one out. We had a blast with Joe this week and we wish him the best of luck in the contest!

-Jr.

Direct download: 2.19.2015_Episode_153.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:39am EST
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You ever look back on past events and really question the decisions you made during that event?

You ever look back and think "Hey. The dude at the table next to us at the Boston Comic Con last summer was really cool and his artwork is currently blowing my face off with awesome. Why didn't we talk to him more?"

Yeah. Us too.

Our guest this week is artist Dave Mahan. If you haven't guessed by now he he was stationed next to us at Boston last year. While we chatted and joked every so often throughout the weekend we never really took the proper time to check out his work and really see what he was about. In other words we were fucking idiots. Lucky for us we got a second chance this week.

Want to see some of his art? Click here. And here. Or even here. And maybe even here if you want to buy some of it.

We hope you learn something from this episode. Don't be like us. Don't make the same mistakes we did. Talk to your table-mates. You never know who might be sitting right next to you.

-Jr.

Direct download: 2.12.2015_Episode_152.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 12:30pm EST
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If someone came up to me today and asked me to name one friend I have that wasn't in to pro wrestling at one point in their life I'd have a very difficult time finding an answer.

Some of my fondest childhood memories were watching Brett Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock destroy each other on a weekly basis. Hell, I even had a Four Square team in 4th grade named The Nation of Domination. I'm not kidding. We were badass.

NOD

                    It's like looking in a mirror and seeing my 4th grade self.

Sadly, I'm one of the many who just kind of fell out of it once the Stone Cold/Rock era ended. As a kid you can't help but think all of it is totally real. I mean, he got hit in the head with a steel chair! It's metal! And it hit his head! How could this NOT be real? Then as you grow up you start to see the fabrication and the scripting and the stars you grew up idolizing start to fade out or just plain retire. I'm not necessarily the best when it comes to change and when John Cena showed up that was just about it for me.

Cena

                         I think I have a natural hatred for jean shorts.

There was a short time in my late teens when I had somewhat of a resurgence and started watching the pay-per-views again but that was short lived. But...after recording this week's episode our guest has me hankering for some old school "Stone Cold has literally stunned every single person in the arena" action.

His name is Matthew James and he's the emcee of Revival Pro Wrestling out of Chicopee, Massachusetts. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of professional wrestling and completely broke my brain within 5 minutes of recording. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for updates on shows and events possibly coming to an area near you! They're a ton of fun and Alex approved. Honestly you don't need much more than that.

-Jr.

All images are copyright of their respective owners

Direct download: 2.6.2015_Episode_151.mp3
Category:Comics Movies & Videogames -- posted at: 9:44am EST
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