Behold the Halloween Special 2018. I hope you enjoy it. I want to tell you more about it, but producing this one has got me mentally and physically drained. Please give it a watch and spread It around! Consider it my Halloween treat to you. I appreciate you watching and supporting it. I hope you all have a Happy Halloween! Soak up the season as much as humanly possible. I’ll be back soon!
The Purple Stuff Podcast returns to our full length episode format with one of our favorite themed shows! If you’ve listened to us since we started the show, you know we’ve done 3 previous Spooky Songs episodes and they were all a lot of fun. Matt and I are huge fans of music of the Halloween season as I’m sure many of you are as well. This installment presents some deeper cuts to create one hell of a killer playlist for your 2017 Halloween celebrations. You’ll hear selections from obscure actresses turned minor pop stars, movie stars dabbling in macabre music, screaming Staten Island singers, and a theme from one ghoulish looking wrestler. If that doesn’t pique your interest I don’t know what will! Take a listen and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts! Thanks for checking it out!
I went old school (as usual) and got my hard ticket to experience Tommy London’s solo show at the Gramercy Theater in NYC on 9/27. If his past performances as charismatic frontman of The Dirty Pearls are any indication, this show will be a total rock and roll party. I blasted him 10 questions to get some of the inside scoop on what we can expect from his new solo show and forthcoming debut album:
1. After rocking NYC and beyond with The Dirty Pearls, what inspired you to go solo?
I was working on new material with my guitarist, Matt Hogan, and as the tunes were coming together I started feeling like the new music was going in a different direction than what The Dirty Pearls were built upon. It felt like something new and different to me. And with the guys doing other projects outside of the band, the timing felt right for me to step away and see where this musical journey would take me. I never closed the door on The Dirty Pearls, but for right now this is my focus.
2. On stage, in your lyrics, and in your style, you’ve always been proud to wave the flag of your musical influences. How have these influences evolved from when you were frontman of The Dirty Pearls and is there anything inspiring you on your solo debut that may be surprising to fans?
Well I’ve always been attracted to the rock/power pop side of music like Billy Idol, Green Day, Killers, Van Halen, Jet, The Darkness and others along those lines. Bands who have these big melodic choruses that make the girls shake their ass and the guys pump their fists.
I think the evolving part came across in my songwriting with Matt. I noticed that we started to really embrace the pop side of the writing and add the rock on top. I think in the past I always did the opposite. Not that I didn’t have a pop sensibility before, you can hear it in The Dirty Pearls songs that I wrote/co-wrote. But, I really pulled out the punches on these new songs and went down avenues I never thought I would take as a songwriter but it just felt so right. I think these songs are really going to surprise all the fans who know me from The ‘Pearls the most.
3. Let’s say someone reading this is completely unfamiliar with you and your previous music, sell them on your new solo album with a one sentence pitch.
My new album, “Emotional Fuse”, will make your feet tap, your fists pump, your ass shake, your hips thrust and your lips curl, (and that’s just after the first song).
4. That was a bang-up job! I am sold. Still, the anticipation for the new album is killing me and your fans are just about to explode if it doesn’t come out soon. Do you have a release date set?
Trust me! I’m ready to explode too! I can’t wait to release it. My original plan was to have it out by the summer but plans got delayed but for good reason. At this point it’s looking like an early 2018 release. But everyone keeps asking to hear the new music so I thought a “live listening party” was best. So I booked a show last minute for Wednesday September 27th at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City so I could just play the songs for everyone! I can’t wait to hear the songs come to life in a live setting. It’s all I keep thinking about.
5. Definitely looking forward to it. For all the years I’ve known you, you have been a total workaholic and have an undying drive to keep sharpening your music and performances. Tell us about how you stay motivated and maintain your work ethic.
Wow man! Thanks so much for noticing! As for how to I keep sharp with my music, I just I keep growing as a songwriter. It’s really interesting to me to see how I have evolved in songwriting. I feel that really came about working with great producers like David Kahne, on The Dirty Pearls album, and John Fields on my new solo album. It’s funny because one of the main comments I keep getting from people who have had a sneak listen of the new album is that they are impressed with the songs. Major compliment.
As for the live show, I’ve always just looked ahead on how I can make sure the audience is on a rock n roll roller coaster ride. I try to make each show it’s own journey. You see, not only do you want the audience to remember the songs you play, but you want them to think back and remember how energized they got from your show. That will stick with them for sure and keep them coming back for more. It’s all about energy. As for the performer side of that, giving that energy and receiving it back from the crowd is such an indescribable feeling. It’s the highest of highs. That’s what motivates me. Makes me want to do it again and again.
6. Looks like I need to make a change in careers! To expound upon the previous question, what are some of your favorite diversions? Do you have any rituals when you are recording in the studio or hanging backstage?
When I’m getting dressed and ready for the show I love to put on a killer playlist of some high energy balls to the wall rock tunes and just sing along. Gets my juices flowing. When headlining, I love to get to the venue early to see the other bands and soak in the energy of the night. That gets me motivated too. The anticipation builds and builds. Love it.
7. In terms of touring in support of the new record, do you plan on playing everywhere possible or will you be appearing in select cities? What can we expect from your solo shows and how it will it differ from a Dirty Pearls concert?
Yes! As soon as I drop the album I plan on playing everywhere that I can! As for different, well, I am who I am, so you can expect the same excitement and energy from my solo shows that you got from a ‘Pearls show, but these new songs will be taking you a totally different journey. Trust me. And of course, I will still be playing some of my favorite Dirty Pearls songs in the sets as well.
8. That’s awesome news! Will you feature any cover songs on the album? If not, is there a song that you are constantly singing to yourself that might be too ridiculous to include on an album but you would secretly love to?
Funny you should ask that! We actually recorded one cover song for the album and it was a total mistake. I just started singing this particular song in the mic and my producer, John Fields, said, “man that would be a great song to cover.” I totally agreed and on a whim he said “Fuck it! Wanna record it?” So we tracked it right then and there. I sang twice thru and that was it. It was just totally organic. Awesome feeling. As for what song is it? I don’t want to say because I don’t want to ruin the surprise! I also don’t want anyone to steal the idea!! hahahaha.
9. I too am pretty good at unveiling surprises, so I can’t wait for that. Right now at this very moment, who or what is your spirit animal?
Without a doubt, it’s the tiger. I got a tiger tattoo on my forearm not too long ago because the spirit tiger is a symbol of removing all distractions from the mind and being 100% focused on the present moment. That defines me and is definitely the approach I took with my album and new musical venture. “Eye of the Tiger” baby.
10. I like it. Be Rocky! I find the Who the fuck is Tommy London? social media account to be fucking hysterical. Are you coming up with all of those? If the solo gig doesn’t pan out, maybe your calling is writing for SNL? Will that account be sticking once you make everyone on earth aware of who you fuckin’ are?
Hahahahahhaha! You know there isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t say to me “Who The Fuck Is Tommy London?” No bullshit. Every single day!! Always makes me laugh. I create the memes, but the celebrity photos are always created by my good friend Dano Panariello. Friends and fans email me or tag me in ones they created all the time. It’s so funny how that marketing campaign just took off. Yeah, my @whothefuckistommylondon instagram page will always be there! And trust me, I already have a new campaign ready for when everyone figures out who the fuck I am! Stay tuned!!!
In the meantime, for those that do and don’t know who the fuck I am, come see me Wednesday September 27th at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City! Get more tix and info here: http://livemu.sc/2vy6cqc
How about that segue? Hahahhaha 🙂
Thanks Tommy! I’m pumped. See you at The Gramercy.
I woke up at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. The sky was dark and gloomy. It’s been unseasonably chilly for May, which I welcome. Anything to stave off the 90 degree heat and humidity of a typical Jersey summer is good by me.
The weather reports were threatening an all-day torrential downpour for the area. Hearing that is like winning a jackpot in Atlantic City, music to my ears. Keep talkin’ Carl Erickson. See, Carl is a weather anchor on 1010 WINS, our local AM radio station that spews non-stop news. As a teenager I swore that, as long as I lived, I would never listen to news radio. I adored the ‘90s TV series, NewsRadio, but the actual concept of an AM news station made me feel crusty and nearing the end. The fact that I’m discussing weather and news at length on my own website right now is seriously making me wonder about myself. Stick with me for a few, I need to go do some Snapchatting and buy a fidget spinner to clear the cobwebs. BRB.
Actually, I was told at work by a girl 10 years younger than me that nobody types BRB anymore. But, whatever, it’s still effective and I’m not giving it up anytime soon.
Ok, I’m back.
This impending storm sounded like the perfect intro for a trip to a haunted attraction, but, sadly, that wasn’t in the cards. On the upside though, as with all my excursions, I try to cram in as many activities as possible. I’ll relay them to you here in incredibly superfluous detail.
Experiencing a WSU event had been on my list for a long time. After several missed opportunities, I was dead set on making it happen this time around. Their event, BATTLE TESTED, was to be my main event for this trip. Getting to the arena was a bit of a drive for me, so, naturally, I planned a couple of stops along the way.
After gassing up, I picked up 3 cans of Monster Rehab and 2 sugar free Red Bulls, ya know, just in case I got drowsy. I don’t actually consume all that caffeine, but when it comes to 3 cans for $5.50 at Speedway, how can you not partake? Once I was cruising at a comfortable speed on the Turnpike, and my iPod playlist was shuffling along, I cracked a Red Bull. I nursed that baby all the way down to my first stop:
THE NEW JERSEY STATE MUSEUM, Trenton NJ
Museums behold such an oddly mysterious aura to me that I really dig. If you’ve listened to me talk about my love of old libraries on the Purple Stuff Podcast, it’s very similar to that. How can you go wrong in a giant building housing ancient artifacts, maps, and dinosaur fossils? Being a Jersey fanatic, you’d think I’d have visited this place umpteen times, but no! (I’ve been saying umpteen facetiously and constantly lately because it’s so ridiculous, so you are not exempt from this) As a lifelong Jersey resident, I’ve never stepped foot in this museum, but I was looking forward to it.
One specific exhibit grabbed me. I don’t think I would’ve been as compelled to add this to my itinerary if it wasn’t for Toy World. This is an exhibit spotlighting the history of toy manufacturing and innovation in New Jersey, totally up my alley. At least judging from the description on their website, another exhibit “Written in the Rocks,” seemed to up the ante as well. Perusing the oldest rocks, fossils, and dinosaurs from New Jersey would be an added bonus.
Although the Toy World exhibit was fairly small, it was definitely cool. I learned about Remco’s New Jersey history. Among so many remote control toys, they also created the first ever toy version of Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radios. These were the real deal! This was long before the one that I remember getting in 1990 when the Dick Tracy movie came out. That thing was lame because it just had a light in it and didn’t actually communicate with other Dick Tracy watches.
Then there was the first talking doll. That thing was creepy A F! Did you know that Thomas Edison actually had the first patent on that? In the simplest terms, he basically inserted a mini record player into the doll and it made for an eerie, screechy baby voice that was audible via the QR code on the display case. I have a feeling if James Wan gets a hold of that recording he might use it for this next Annabelle installment.
Thankfully, there was a lot of reverence to Kresge’s Department Store in Newark. They were known for their Santa’s Toy World theme during Christmas time. To get an idea of their store front window display, think no further than when Ralphie was drooling over the Red Ryder BB Gun outside of Higbee’s in, A Christmas Story.
From joy buzzers to toy trains, New Jersey has a rich toy history, but what about their rocks and fossils?
The fossil display was pretty decent, although I was hoping for more of concentration on Dinos. A highlight for me, was one of the first specimens you see when you walk into this area. Two rocks, but not just regular rocks. These happened to be the oldest rocks in New Jersey. The rock pictured above, a Gneiss, is from Back Beach Park, in Wanaque, NJ and it’s approximately 1.37 BILLION years old. Can you believe something this old still exists?!? This rock was formed before any living thing existed on the Earth’s land. A Ted Theodore Logan “WHOA!” is in order.
Before leaving, I also took a stroll through the 3rd floor. No, not where Fuller sleeps, but a floor with a concentration on big items from New Jersey’s history. Out of all the amazing and historical treasures on display up there, I was pretty entranced by one in particular. Possibly the most important map of New Jersey in history hung on the wall. This was the map crafted by William Faden in 1778 which illustrated the divide between the state split into East and West Jersey. This map was used by the armies during the Revolutionary War. Nowadays, it’s common to think of the state split into North and South, but back then, it was opposite, and in many ways, it’s still relevant. We’ll come back to this concept later in this post my young Padawan.
That was it for my time in the State Museum. It was worth the trip. Sad to say though, what we have here in Jersey in terms of museums, PALE in comparison to what you’ll find in Manhattan. It’s unfair to compare for various reasons, but I do feel that with such a rich history that we should be better represented in terms of showcasing all the amazing events and people who have shaped this state. Enough of the history lesson, it’s time for the fun stuff! Next up was an impromptu detour:
COLUMBUS FARMER’S MARKET, Columbus, NJ
Longtime readers may remember this post, when we ventured here and found that crazy, disheveled store full of random toys here. A portion of this market caught fire several years ago and has since been refurbished. It looks great, but now lacks that old vintage flea market feel in those new parts of the building. I didn’t leave with any toys or collectibles, but I did get sucked in by the bakery, as I always do. Their prices are literally bonkers. They had giant containers filled with homemade pumpkin rolls for $2 bucks and homemade cookies were 3 for $1. I think 3 pies are $5 bucks. So, I got a taste of the fall in mid-May. Considering everything is made by these guys right there by hand, and the prices are that good, it’s worthwhile. I had planned on bringing these to the family for Mother’s Day, but I wound up forgetting them at home. That worked in my favor since I ate most of the cookies on my own anyway.
To say that I got wet on the way back to my car was an understatement. I wound up forgetting where I parked and jetted to the complete opposite side of the parking lot, only to realize that I actually parked right near the exit I walked out of. All in the pouring rain, what a dope!
Washed down a chocolate chunk cookie with the remaining warmish Red Bull. Now, back on the road! Next stop:
TUNES, Voorhees NJ
Honestly, I had no idea this record store chain even existed until I needed to make a U-turn into a strip mall parking lot. When I passed by the store I saw “USED DVDs and VINYL” and almost jumped out of my car with it still running. Ultimately, I calmed myself down enough to park in a spot. I spent a good 40 minutes in this store thumbing through previously viewed DVDs and old records. Keep in mind, I’m spoiled by Vintage Vinyl, widely recognized as one of the greatest record stores in the country that never closed down during the downward trend for music stores. That didn’t deter me from enjoying a browse through Tunes. For an independent chain, their prices were damn good. Some of my pickups included the first season of In Living Color, like new condition, for $3.74 (marked down from the price tag in the picture) and a few records for about $3 bucks each (the Top Gun was $5, probably because Tom Cruise apparently still commands top dollar I guess!). If you’re near any of their other locations, it’s well worth a pop-in. They have 4 locations in New Jersey and one in Maryland. To think that TUNES started as a small tape shack on the Ocean City Boardwalk is incredible.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for our MAIN EVENT of the evening!
WSU BATTLE TESTED, Voorhees, NJ
Before I get into the actual event, I need to preface the geography for you to get a frame of reference of where it took place.
I drove into the Flyers Skate Zone like I was Triple H standing on top of an army tank. Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit, but there’s an intense rivalry between the Flyers and the Devils. Even as a casual hockey fan, it’s an uncomfortable situation to be in a facility called the Philadelphia Flyers Skate Zone, where the team practices – obviously not actually in Philly. To contrast this with our NFL situation, the New York Giants play and practice in Jersey while New York gets all the credit for their organization. WrestleMania 29 was in New Jersey, clearly did not take place in New York whatsoever, yet they billed it as New York-New Jersey. To my knowledge, the only WWE event to take place in multiple states was WrestleMania 2. But that’s just a tangent to get you to see the oddball nature of our state. We’ll always be the 2nd rate state, which is BS. Travel too far south or west and you’re in Pennsylvania. Live where I live and people think you’re from New York. So weird. Remember that map I said I would refer back to? See, it actually did apply to my trip later that day! I’m from East Jersey. BOOM. Thank you for your brilliant cartography, William Faden!
My first experience at Women Superstars Uncensored was awesome. I knew I’d have a good time, but didn’t realize that I would leave saying that I couldn’t wait to go back! My friend Chrissy Rivera, the #1 heel in the promotion, is really the person who turned me on to going. I mentioned to her a couple of times that I wanted to get down to a show, but I kept missing them. This time, it was on!
Right off the bat, I was impressed by the production value of the show. It may be that it’s been such a long time since I’ve been to an independent wrestling event, but I was impressed! Last time I was at a show like this, they didn’t have fancy colored lights or slip covers on the barricade, and they sure as hell didn’t have a multicolored LED entranceway with a video screen à la the WWE TitanTron! This was bananas. I felt right at home.
Since I’ve already exceeded my 6 million word cutoff, I won’t go through each match, but I’ll give you some of the highlights of this loaded card.
Kiera Hogan vs. Lana Austin for the Spirit Championship
The alluring Lana Austin likes to show off her bum and use it to her advantage, an aspect that was welcomed with open arms by the crowd. Prior to the match, she pleaded with the ref to check butt cheeks to see if she had any foreign objects stuck inside her trunks. In case you were wondering, I approve of this gimmick. The Spirit champ, Kiera Hogan is tiny, but packed with speed, power, and charisma. At first, Lana had the upper hand, but in the end, Kiera overcame Lana’s posterior offense to retain her title.
The Fella Twins vs. Maria Manic (Handicap Match) for the Tag Team Championship
The Fella Twins were completely new to me, and what comes to mind is Adrian Adonis. This androgynous team was over the top and didn’t hold back on spewing insults and screaming at the top of their lungs, it was amazing. They lived their personas. The Fella Twins faced their former friends (I’m gathering) from a faction they had called The Fella Academy, Maria Manic and her partner Penelope Ford. Ford didn’t show up so it turned into a handicap match. With the odds stacked against her, Manic was able to subdue the Fella Twins to capture the title.
The Reckoning vs. Leva Bates, Xandra Bale, Veda Scott, Missy Sampson, and Mia Yim inside of a Steel Cage
A STEEL CAGE was erected for the main event! As a lifelong wrestling fan, and knowing there have been some stinkers through the years, seeing that steel cage still gets me excited. This was a War Games type match that pitted The Reckoning, the most badass group of heels in WSU vs. Leva Bates (Blue Pants from NXT), Xandra Bale, Veda Scott, Missy Sampson, and Mia Yim (Jade formerly of TNA).
This match was batshit crazy in the best ways possible. From the aggressive hard hitting power moves to Samantha Heights’ dive off the top of the cage, it was the perfect finale for the evening. Getting to see Chrissy Rivera in action and watch her expertly lead her Reckoning faction was a treat. The fiery and controlling Chrissy and the Undead Bride, Su Yung together are brilliant. Yung looks like she walked straight out of a grave with her bloody bridal gown and smeared kabuki makeup. She captures my heart every time she spits blood.
I couldn’t possibly pack more punch into this day, so I headed home. I capped off the night by burrowing into the couch and watching Beyond the Gates. Thank you for reading about my latest Sexy Armpit excursion!
It’s finally here! THE SEXY ARMPIT HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2016 is now LIVE and available for viewing at www.YouTube.com/TheSexyArmpit
I hope you enjoy the 5th installment of our horror/comedy. It’s an eerie and insane delight that will enhance your Halloween season. You’ll see the Sexy Armpit crew as well as plenty of guest stars and favorites. If you haven’t watched the previous installments, I suggest you do so! It’s way more fun to see the often bizarre evolution of these specials. As always, I truly thank everyone who watches these specials because it means a lot! If you enjoy it, please share it on social media or you can even tell a friend in real life, if you’re into that sort of thing! Happy Halloween from The Sexy Armpit! Mwahahahahaaaaa!
After a brief break, The Purple Stuff Podcast is back! We’re ushering in our specialty, our absolute favorite time of the year, the Halloween Season! If you are just getting into the show, you can subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, and Podbean among others! We appreciate your support. Spread the word if you enjoy listening! Now, let me tell you what we have in store for you in Episode 32.
Horrific and disturbing scenes from movies is the topic in our latest show. To kickoff the season for the PSP, we delve into those unsettling parts in movies that stuck with us and even made us creeped out enough to want to talk about them. Consider it a therapy session. Matt and I bring you our take on scenes ranging from Halloween to Robocop 2…seriously. It was a blast as always and we hope you have fun listening.
We cannot wait to get deeper into the season and bring you along for the ride. This is only the beginning! Thanks again for subscribing and leaving us all those awesome reviews, you guys kick ass!
To arrive at their optimum relaxation zone, some people listen to the soothing sprinkle of a rainstorm or the natural sounds of a tropical rain-forest. But, for my ears, there’s something about TV theme songs that I find strangely comforting. Maybe it’s little details like the “sha-la-la-la” at the end of the Family Ties theme or the hum at the end of the Diff’rent Strokes intro that make me have that extra fondness for them. If you consider yourself the same kind of wacko, then you’re reading the right website! This week, the Purple Stuff Podcast brings you a show entirely dedicated to a select bunch of TV theme songs.
To say that my iTunes is quite a hodgepodge of various types of music is an understatement. If you listened to one of my playlists while driving around with me, you’d likely hear one of hundreds of TV theme songs. Chances are, you’d know the lyrics to the majority of them. That’s what makes it fun. You don’t even need to be an avid viewer of a show to have the theme song stuck in your head, which makes the genre that much more incredible. This is one of the reasons why I felt so compelled to convince Matt that we should do a whole show about some of the TV themes that stand out most to us.
After an arm bar into an Irish whip, followed up by a flying forearm, Matt agreed that it was a good idea. I’m kidding of course, but it did take a little bit of convincing since it is so difficult to do a show like this and not be accused of leaving all the important themes out. Everyone has their favorites, but these are just a handful that we felt compelled to talk about. Some of your favorites are ours too, but we’d need 8 episodes to touch on ALL the good ones.
Personally, I think some of the best TV theme songs are the ones that work on different levels. Some TV themes are great for what they are and work splendidly as a theme for a show, yet other TV themes soar beyond that. There are TV themes that are so catchy that you wonder how the hell they haven’t been deemed required curriculum in music classes in schools. Others are so versatile that they could be covered by metal and punk bands. Most of all, the best TV themes are the ones that pop into your brain the minute you hear someone mention the name of the show that it’s from.
I demand equality for TV theme songs. Even though a show’s theme usually undergoes subtle changes between seasons, a TV theme has the power to bring to mind the full reel of scenes in the opening credits. I loved when the opening credits of a show were so ridiculous. You can sit there and pick out the episode that each scene was from. The theme will also make you reminisce and sing along. Some themes are cheerful or quirky while others are arena-ready and triumphant. In all cases, there’s a lot to discuss so check out The Purple Stuff Podcast Episode 27 and share some of your favorite theme songs in the comments!
A very special weekend is upon us: WrestleMania weekend! Not sure what you’ll be up to, but I’ll be drinking and watching WWE related stuff for 3 days straight. The only thing that’s changed since I was a kid is the type of drink that I have in my hand. In honor of the annual of this giant pro-wrestling party, we decided to reminisce about our wrestling memories this week on a no holds barred edition of The Purple Stuff Podcast!
If you’ve listened to The Purple Stuff before, you know that Matt and I are obsessed with wrestling. Both of us got wrapped up in it at an early age and it stuck with us ever since. We’ve never dedicated an entire show to wrestling, but there was no more appropriate time to do it than leading into ‘Mania weekend.
Matt and I go way back to the early ’80s and take you through present day. It’s a virtual tour of the facets of our mind that store WWE Magazine back issues. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan either, but it helps to know the basics. Chances are, you remember Miss Elizabeth, Macho Man, Captain Lou Albano, Bret Hart, and many more! As per usual, we talk about action figures, presents, mishaps, and just plain ludicrous situations that involve wrestling.
To get properly excited for WrestleMania, check this episode out! You can listen at the link above or on iTunes, Stitcher, and Podbean. Thanks for reading and listening and we’ll see you down at ringside!
Much like Jello, there’s always room for another large scale comic convention, especially in New Jersey. Thinking back to when I was a kid and events like this were basically non-existent in my neck of the woods, the sheer abundance of pop culture conventions in the Tri-State area is reason to rejoice. The amount of cons is unfathomable to me at times, but it’s the quality that matters of course. Lately, I haven’t been disappointed. You might remember the AC Boardwalk Con, which was pretty awesome and set a pretty high standard for the modern era of NON-NYC Comic Conventions. With no affiliation to NYCC or Wizard World, this weekend’s New Jersey Comic Expo turned out to be an event we Jersey geeks can call our own, hell…look at that logo! It all went down this weekend at The NJ Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, NJ and I will give you the full report.
A sunny and cool Fall day provided the background for my excursion to the NJ Comic Expo. It was the perfect reason to ignore the fact that I desperately needed to clean my condo. On the ride to the convention center I thought to myself “How is this going to be any different than the other 462 conventions that I’ve been to?” For one thing, the complex I was driving to is where I had covered several Exxxotica conventions in the past. So, right there, it was definitely going to be different because there would be a lot less porn.
Even though I was an early bird, the parking lot was already starting to fill up. I got registered and made my way inside. First thing I noticed was the massive scale of this event. It was on the level of NYCC, and it hit me right away that it wasn’t bogged down with too much promotional nonsense. Everywhere I looked I saw collectibles, toys, and most importantly, COMICS! There was copious amounts of nerdery for me to gorge on, but I emphasize comics because that is the crux, the spirit, and the lifeline of all comic conventions, as it should be. When you have a hard time finding actual comics at a comic con, then there’s a problem. You may have read previously here that I stopped collecting physical comics a while back, opting for digital, and although it’s extremely tempting, I try my damndest not to buy hard copies unless it’s something really special. Further into this article you will see how I flip flop on this stance.
I continued on my trek through the entire expo center. The layout was logical and left enough room for me to not feel claustrophobic like I often do at these things. I stopped at Robert Bruce’s table to see his wildly diverse assortment of toys and nostalgic collectibles. You know him from AMC’s Comic Book Men and his accounts on social media (@popculturizm.) I’ve known him for a while now and I always enjoy talking with him because he loves what he does so much. He’s the real deal when it comes to toy collecting. After shooting the shit with Robert, I went over to talk to my friends in the New Jersey Ghostbusters. They had their Ecto 1 parked next to their table as we discussed their upcoming appearance in the Ghostheads documentary that is coming out soon. They are great dudes and they also appeared in The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special this year so I owe them a Chinese Feast with the last of our petty cash! They even had a small billboard for themselves that was a screen shot of them from their cameo in my Halloween Special. Check them out here: GBNJ.NET
Then, I found the autograph tables. I went to say hello to my friend Tommy Walker, star of Netflix’s Daredevil, who was appearing. Actress Amy Acker (Angel, Person of Interest) seemed very friendly as I passed by her table while she was meeting her fans. At that point I remembered that Samantha Newark, voice of Jem was appearing as well, and I had to go and meet her. Voice actors, especially those from cartoons that I grew up watching obsessively, are icons to me. Samantha was so cool to talk to and since I was in there just before the crowds started piling in, I had a while to chat with her. I told her about how I felt the Jem movie was needlessly shat upon (well, I didn’t use that exact terminology) and she agreed. I still stand by the fact that it in 5-10 years it will be looked at as a cult classic. You might think that’s a stretch, but stranger things have happened. Samantha had various Jem promotional photos to sign and other items, but I opted for a JoeCon exclusive GI Joe #212 comic with Zartan and Cold Slither and Jem and The Holograms on the cover. It’s one that I had been watching on eBay for a while. I’m glad I held out because now I can say I bought it and had it signed by the voice of Jem herself. This was one case where I had to get the Hard Copy. In fact, Barry Nolan is going to do a schlocky TV report about this.
What was cool about meeting Samantha Newark was that I didn’t even go to this expo with that objective in mind. I totally forgot that she was appearing, so it was this cool little unexpected moment for me. I actually smiled in the selfie we took which is rare for me. She even brought up her last name and how it has nothing to do with Newark, NJ, so all of those burning questions have been answered. It’s not a secret nod to her hometown or anything. It was just a cool moment because I’m that type of person who can hear Jem’s voice in my head, or any cartoon character from my youth, like He-Man or She-Ra etc. Not like “voices in my head,” but those are the voices I hear if I think of the character. I’d imagine not everyone feels as strongly about voice actors as me, but I’ve always been so fascinated with them, especially those who voiced characters that I loved as a kid.
Next up, I walked over to the Cosplay Corner. I’ve always been heavily interested in Cosplay and dabble in it myself. I can’t make any claim to be a cosplayer per se, but I do put together my own intricate costumes. What is so insanely impressive about cosplayers is their dedication. The cosplayers I know put so much time, money, and love into whatever character they are portraying. Their attention to detail is incredible and the fact that they travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to be at these cons is a testament not only to their love of cosplay, but to meeting fans and being a part of the scene. I had a chance to speak to Princess Morgan and Ashley Uncanny, and both were very cool. Princess Morgan had such an elaborate costume that left in me in awe (it won best in show at a Wizard World con) and traveled several hundred miles by car to be there. I told her I’m going to wallpaper my walls with her Harley Quinn photo shoots…she didn’t laugh. You can see the one that I took home below. Ashley Uncanny (pictured above) is a bubbly Jersey girl who was sweet and super friendly as she greeted everyone who went to her table.
By that point, all I purchased was a comic book. I always go into these things trying not to blow too much cash, but this wound up being like a small leak that grew out of control. Actually, I’m exaggerating. Truthfully, I wound up picking up a few things I had on my mental wish list for a while. Let me tell you about my haul!
I came home with some action figures, naturally. I’ve been re-watching the first season of The Flash TV series now that it’s on Netflix and that made me realize that, out of all the Reaction figures I own, I didn’t have The Flash! He’s now speeding around my condo cleaning for me (yeah right!) wouldn’t that be so awesome? I continued through the little mini storefronts that were set up with T-Shirts, Pop Vinyl figures, old Star Wars memorabilia, and my eyes zeroed in on one figure out of about 50 hanging on pegs. It was the Jae Lee Wonder Woman DC figure that I had been looking out for. It would’ve been easy to just get it on Amazon, but since it was right in front of my face, I figured why the hell not. It’s such an awesome figure! Glad to have it as part of my collection now and it coincided with the release of the Gal Gadot/Wonder Woman movie promo picture that hit the Internet. And the one figure that I hadn’t seen up until that moment was this Game of Thrones Daenerys figure from Dark Horse. It’s really more of a figure-statue since it’s not articulated, but I’m fine with that considering how detailed it is. Surprisingly, this is my first Game of Thrones collectible even though I’ve watched and loved the show since it premiered.
Toys are great, but Artist’s Alley is always my favorite place to browse at a comic convention. Jim Lee was appearing, but I was more interested in the creators in artist’s alley. Whether I’m discovering a new artist or meeting one of my favorites, it’s an excellent opportunity to pick up some original work from artists from the comic book world and elsewhere. After checking out almost all the artists, I arrived at two shared tables by a husband and wife from Chicago. The pieces they had on display were enticing me. Note to those with a table at a con: easiest way to lure me in: just put Lily Munster somewhere in your display and I will be at your table in mere seconds. After trying to decide what I wanted, I came to the conclusion that the Julie Newmar Catwoman print pictured above was perfect. This oil painting style of her had that special quality and it was like nothing I’ve seen before so I had to have it. I also picked up a couple of other pieces for friends here.
It was about time for me to wrap up since I couldn’t afford to stay any longer! I dug the Jersey Comic Expo and I hope they come back next year to the same venue. Next year, I’d like to see a larger roster of celebs as well as an expanded cosplayer area with photo backdrops and faux sets. Otherwise, there really wasn’t anything to nitpick, and if you’re into comics and buying geek paraphernalia, this is one of the best events I’ve been to in the area and I recommend it to you for next year! Thanks for reading.
Public Service Announcement: Halloween is so close that it’s imperative you take advantage of the remainder of October! Make every bit of it count! Submerge yourself in as many spooky things as you can! Watch some new horror movies, finish up your Halloween costume, and listen to the latest episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast!
Matt and I are back to bring you episode 11 of The Purple Stuff, a sequel to our Spooky Songs episode. We each supply a bunch of songs from our Halloween Playlists to bullshit about. There’s a lot of good tracks in this one including a few surprises! Be sure to check it out, and if you are so inclined, please leave us some feedback on iTunes! You can also check out The Purple Stuff Podcast on Stitcher, and Podbean!
Also, if you haven’t checked out The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special 2015, there’s still time for a viewing before November 1st when all it’s magic gets completely sucked out! It’s a perfect intro to your horror marathons this month! Thanks for reading, listening, and watching!