A Wizard behind the screen of Geeky Philly

Cosplay Prom is this Saturday, and  Philly’s geeks will celebrate with a party created by local geekster Jason Richardson. To celebrate this annual occasion, PASSIONAL interviewed Jason about all the geeky inspriationthat helped make this an annual event! Born and raised in a Jamaican family from Philadelphia, Jason Richardson grew up geeky and worked as a graphic designer for a solutions company for 10 years before  turning freelance. Now he produces local events, runs J1Studos and hosts geek talk radio show called Black Tribbles Thursday nights on 106.5 and Philly CAM internet radio

He credits his Mother, who worked at UPenn bookstore in the 80s for introducing him to all things geeky when she brought home books on science as well as comics and other nerdy reading. In the ramp up to his Cosplay Prom this weekend, we interviewed Jason about his history, exploits and future plans.

j1-con_jason_richardson

What was the first nerdy event you attended? My first event was Otakon in the early 90s, an anime convention where for the first time I met massive amounts of other people with similar interests. Was exciting to meet other nerdy people- especially other nerdy people of color. Which when I was young nerdiness you were told was a “white thing.” Just going and seeing that there were other brown folks that were nerdy was amazing- When I was in West Philly I was told I was a sellout trying to be white because I was into comic books .
Since then there has been more people of color getting comfortable expressing their nerdiness , even though there is still racism and sexism sometimes when POC and women “represent their geekdom”  at conventions and other places.

What wast the best party geeky you ever attended? I go to quite a few cons as a guest, supporter or contributor even as a fan and they are all great. My best experience was an anime convention in San Antonio Texas Antarctic-Con  when I was 16 I skipped school bought plane tickets and flew with a friend to Texas to meet al to of my my favorite artists who worked for Antarctic Press. I was even given a job offer to work on a manga (anime inspired graphic novel) called Robo-tech but I chickened out because I was young and didn’t think I was good enough… I have kicked myself ever since for not going for that opportunity so now I try to take any opportunity I can.

How did you start throwing parties? When I started J1 Studios I wanted to create events to bring people out and I loved the idea of conventions and I wanted to create small events where people come together to be nerdy with me. In 2009 I a started video game tournament and people came out to compete and win money playing fighting games like Street Fighter. All of my events are funded out-of-pocket

Tell us about the Cosplay Prom: Cosplay is so cool and people are passionate enough to be the characters that they love so much. We held contests at our (early)  events for best cosplay and I liked the idea of creating a cute safe prom setting because traditionally prom is a place where introverted people like nerds and geeks have a hard time expressing themselves.  I know that there were lots of nerds out there that were afraid of prom and didn’t go to prom so I created this event to cater to that demographic.
Did you miss out on your prom? Want to go to a nerdy prom? Was your prom “meh”? Want to cosplay and dance?” (My event is an) ALL AGES prom where you get to show up in cosplay to dance and have a great time- in a gym, with dance lights, a DJ, and balloons!! Mingle, eat, party, and dance!
The first cosplay prom I started three years ago with 40 so nerds at a South Street pizzeria. Last year it moved to Old Pine Center and brought out almost 100 people in spite of April snow on the day of the event. This year we won awards that have sparked the interest of more people because folks loved the performances, snacks and gymnasium setting of the prom.  A photographer is also included in the price of a ticket with a backdrop.   As much as possible with my limited budget I try to create a nerdy prom experience for the people who go.

Tell us about this year’s event on Saturday:
We got Snacks from D’Emiloi’s Old World Ice Treats
DJ Tygermouth  with Traps and Trees will be doing the dance floor.
There will be a live performance from from singer, songwriter, cosplayer Racheael Rota
Photographer Shinob-E will be posing and taking prom pictures.
There are prizes from  Philadelphia’s Sanrio retailer Asia Crafts who have donated 2 gift baskets with action figures and more for the two winning cosplayers at the Cosplay Prom and a raffle winner will get tickets to this summer’s J1Con.

promflyer

This year guests can opt to enter a raffle to win FREE TICKETS TO THE NEXT J1-CON!
ONLINE (add $5 for ‘at door’ prices):
$15 for Standard Ticket
$20 for Standard Ticket + 1 J1-Con ticket raffle
BUY TICKETS HERE

****** A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, the rest will go towards J1-Con *****

SAVE THE DATE FOR J1CON: This August 26-7 J1 con will be happening at 820 Spring Garden St in Philadelphia.

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