Club Cosplay kicks off the new year with it’s first big event this Sunday at the OHM Night Club. For the uninitiated Club Cosplay is touted as the Nerd’s Nightclub and it has truly earned that title. As someone who has attended several of their events I can report first hand that it delivers exactly what it promises and then some. However, a lot has changed since the inception of Club Cosplay that I decided to catch up with one of the masterminds behind the project to learn about what they have in store for the new year. Coming up in 2015 they have new venues, new locations, new collaborations, and even a few new events to add to their repertoire. With so much going on it seems like 2015 may be the year of Club Cosplay. Check out the interview with Ivan below and get all the details for yourself!
Mondo: Before we dive into all the things going on with Club Cosplay in 2015 I have to ask, how was the kickback party you threw that closed out 2014?
Ivan: It was a show; a little over 200 nerds trekked out for Galactic Ray. My day time job is running entertainment at this bar, it’s kind of like a clubhouse and I noticed that on New Year’s there really wasn’t anything going down. I knew that we were focusing on LA so we couldn’t put on a huge event for New Years because it was just too late rolling right out of Comikaze. So I thought “we’re just gonna throw a kickback. [There’ll be] DJs, we’ll play some pool, and have some drinks. You know, more of a meet up. Kind of a social hangout but with a bit of a dance going on and that turned out really well. On the day it never snows in Temecula it snowed for the first time in 7 years and people still came out. It was very well received for such a short promotion.
Mondo: Totally, I saw all the hype for it online. I wanted to go but I was working and the earliest I could have gotten there would have been 1AM so I was bummed but I’m glad to see it did well and that it went off. You said you work at the Uptown Tavern, what do you do there?
Ivan: I am the entertainment director there.
Mondo: Cool, how long have you been doing that?
Ivan: Since it opened. We opened around June or July [ of last year].
Mondo: Not too long then; seems like you guys have had a solid run so far. Speaking of Comikaze, I have to give you props. That after party was tight. Tell me about that. Tell me how that all came together.
Ivan: That was all Song Hammer and Bernie. They led the way on putting that together and then last minute I jumped into the mix to help give that Club Cosplay brand & style to it. It just all came together and hit really hard. It was fun; I almost wish we had brought out the whole show.
Mondo: Most definitely. Normally when you go to cons all the after parties are unofficial events so it was rad to see you guys working with the con to put on an event with them. It was a nice way to give people a teaser of what they’ve been missing out at the previous events in Corona to hype them up for the LA event this Sunday. I’m not sure if we can get into this at all but I saw that you aren’t working with M15 anymore. Is there any particular reason for that?
Ivan: We just outgrew the venue and the business practices that that venue helps.
Mondo: I gotcha. So we’ve been talking about this Sunday here and there but I have to know, anything special planned for the not only the first big show of the year but also the first appearance in Los Angeles?
Ivan: Yeah. Like I said we are coming to Hollywood and doing Club Cosplay in this new venue. We are really making use of this venue and the unique layout that it has. After we parted ways M15 in Corona we hit every single venue and nightclub in Southern California and this is the sexiest one by far. Club Cosplay is taking over this place and we’ve really figured out ways to use its features to give everyone a unique experience. It’s not going to feel like the Corona shows. It’s going to feel totally different which is what we want because we don’t want Club Cosplay to get stagnant. We’re gonna change it up on ya and every show is going to be different so you gotta come to all the shows!
Mondo: Most definitely and for the most part I have. There’s always slight change ups which is always fun. Speaking of venues, the OHM Nightclub isn’t the only new venue you’re working with. You’ve got a show in February at the House of Blues on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Ivan: Yes, that is correct. We are headlining the House of Blues on Saturday night for Valentine’s Day.
Mondo: Rad. So how were you guys able to link up with the House of Blues?
Ivan: I’ve been a national talent buyer for ten years so I’ve owned venues, ran venues, and put on concerts for years. It was really just calling up some old buddies and asking if they wanted to let us throw a show. So they dropped me some dates, we worked out a deal, and on to the races!
Mondo: Nice. I like that. So we’ve talked about the two Club Cosplay events now let’s talk about the Geek Meet.
Ivan: Geek Meet is the next brand we are creating under our umbrella. The company that owns the Club Cosplay brand and licensing is actually HappyCore Productions. Geek Meet is the next brand we want to work on. It combines two of infrastructures I have been working on into one hat. I have a huge history of concerts and now with the involvement with the nerd industry we want to create an event where we can bring both of those chapters under one roof; to play off of both their strong points. We ran it by The Slidebar when we were there a while ago. They had hired us to help promote one of their Star Wars parties. We went to go check it out and it was a pretty good turn out so I ran the idea of Geek Meet by them. How I wanted to have a free monthly event for nerds but have several things happening. Geek Meet is going to have a lot of fun features but it’s not going to be giant show like Club Cosplay is. It’s going to be more along the lines of the kickback event [at The Uptown Tavern] but with a lot more to offer. It’s going to be 3 arenas. You have the music arena where we will have bands going from 6PM to 1AM. I think we have Jedi Elvis in that room. Then we have a cosplay/DJ stage where will have DJ Galactic Ray and a couple of other DJs. Then we will have Club Cosplay host that room, I believe Bernie is hosting the first one, but we will have different hosts for each event. We will do a mild cosplay contest with a prize but I am not sure what the actual details on that are. Our 3rd room is going to be our gaming and meet up room. It’s going to be a quiet offshoot room so people can have conversations away from all the loud craziness. Basically in this room we are going to have a 21+ gaming room. For all those people that want to have a drink and play their table top games we now have a spot for you once a month. We are also going to be launching lightspeed nerd dating, our nerd themed speed dating meet up. So we are going to have nerds come down and have this free speed dating event once a month. So they can meet another nerd who understands who they are and connect with because that’s what we’re all trying to do anyway.
Mondo: Yeah and that’s really cool to see with the Geek Meet. If you want to go out and dance your ass off you can or if you just want to sit down and drink while you play some tabletop games you can do that too. So you can pick and choose how you want your experience to be. That event launches in March right?
Ivan: Yeah, it launches Sunday March 1st and from there it will be every 4 weeks.
Mondo: Ooh! That’s the same weekend as the Long Beach Comic Expo! That Sunday looks like a jam packed day.
Ivan: Teaser, there might be a Club Cosplay feature at the Long Beach Comic Expo but that has yet to be confirmed. However, there are talks going on right now about all that. Like I said we really want to show off LA first. We really want everyone to check out the LA show because it’s been awhile. We haven’t done a full event since August, almost half a year ago and we are all itching to put on the big show. So we are hoping everyone comes out to our support first gig back out on the market.
Mondo: You know what, I’ve been on the internet a lot recently because that’s what I do and I have been hearing a lot of buzz. A ton of people who have yet to attend a Club Cosplay event in the past have bought tickets to this show and are excited to check it out. A lot of folks who missed out because they couldn’t make the party bus or didn’t want to make the trek to Corona all the way from LA are saying they are coming out to the OHM Nightclub. It’s definitely shaping up to be a fun night and this one is going to be nuts. It’s going to kick things up a notch.
Ivan: It’s definitely going to be a whole new experience and we are going to make sure everyone have a great time. We have a couple surprise features in the works and as you know we give you guys so much you can’t do it all in one night.
Mondo: Most definitely. You have to be everywhere all at once to experience it all.
Ivan: I can’t even do that and that’s my job! (Laughs)
Mondo: Exactly! [When I am at one of your events] I see you here and there working. You’re doing it! Making things happen. Then later I’ll see you having a good time which is tough. I’ve planned and hosted events before and it’s hard to have fun while you’re making sure everything runs smoothly.
Ivan: I’ve put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this project and for it to be so successful you gotta jump in and roll around in it. You don’t want to regret that you spent all night working. The good thing about that is I have a fucking solid team around me so that I don’t have to worry about it. I have my guys in place that can make sure that shit runs [smoothly] even if I disappear.
Mondo: Most definitely. Let’s give a quick shout out to the team; a little round of applause. Now for anyone who may still be curious about what’s going on or maybe want to get more involved where can people find more details about all that fun stuff?
Ivan: We have info up at ClubCosplay.Net but we are taking on a lot of events this year so we are looking for some interns local to the Temecula area. We are definitely going to be looking for people who want to get involved.
Mondo: OK. So it looks like now is the time for people who have wanted to get involved to step up
Ivan: Exactly. If anyone knows anything about me and my history is that my interns grow with the company. My first intern, I think I got her 7 years ago, is now a partner and she owns a percentage of Club Cosplay. Another one of my partners came from the intern pool as well. So there are definitely opportunities to grow and become more involved if you have a good work ethic and positive attitude.
Mondo: That sounds rad! Well before I let you go is there anything else coming in the next few months that you can tease?
Ivan: Nah. I’ve told you everything. Actually I’ve already told you too much.
Mondo: You’ve told me too much?! The beans have been spilled?! (Laughs)
Ivan: (laughs) Yes. The beans have been spilled.
Mondo: Awesome. Well I just want to say it’s been a pleasure chatting with you and I can’t wait to see you Sunday!
Club Cosplay takes over the OHM Night Club this Sunday, January 18th. Tickets are still available and you buy them here.