Welcome again, ladies and gentlemen, Otakon members of all ages! Have you ever wanted to experience an authentic Japanese Matsuri, but haven't been able to make it to Japan to attend one? Well, Otakon's got you covered, as we plan to throw our Third Annual Matsuri on Thursday August 8th! If you thought the day before Otakon starts is all about picking up your badge and planning out your weekend think again!
This year the Otakon Matsuri will take place at Baltimore's West Shore Park, located just off Light St. between the Baltimore Visitor Center and Baltimore Science Center. At the green arrow on the linked map.
We've got plenty planned for our Matsuri, from carnival games, a variety of succulent foods, representatives from some local anime clubs and conventions, performances by some of the hottest musical acts around, and more! Best of all, the Otakon Matsuri is free of charge to everyone; you don't even need your badge to Otakon 2013 to get in!
Come by and join in the fun before you get your badge; have your friends hold your spot in line and come take a look, or show up after you pick up your badge and experience Otakon before Otakon even begins.
This year we've extended the hours for the Otakon Matsuri, it begins at 12 noon on Thursday, August 8th and goes til 8:00 PM. Come out and start off the Otakon weekend right!
We'll announce all the events and musical acts for the Matsuri here first, so take a look at what we've got to offer this year.
Adam WarRock has taken his lifelong obsession with pop culture and hip hop and created an Internet sensation. Through his tireless music production and touring, Adam WarRock has used his nerd and geek sensibility to tap into the current culture, catching attention from the biggest figures and sites on the web. Whether being personally cited by Nathan Fillion for his Firefly-inspired Browncoats Mixtape, praised by TV critics and cast members for his Parks & Rec EP, or made fans out of artists and writers for his comic book-influenced music, he's gained the respect of the most fickle audiences and harshest critics around. In the words of the biggest pop cultural sites and figures on and off the web, Adam WarRock is "not just Internet good. It is g*ddamn brilliant".
Chin Hamaya Culture Center
The Chin Hamaya Culture Center began in the United States in 2010. In 2004, The Chin Family moved to Okinawa, Japan (by orders of the USMC) and discovered a love for the culture and country. They began training in the martial arts of Seidokan Karate and Taiko Drumming. They were able to come to the United States with their Okinawan taiko group in 2008 to perform at the Kennedy Center and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. While in Okinawa, Rodd and Cole were able to become professional shisa dancers (the dragon or lion dog). They were the first Americans to be asked to do so. The Okinawan people presented a Shisa to the Chin family with the colors of purple and white to represent peace and unity in hopes that they would continue to share the Okinawan and Japanese cultures. This is the only Okinawan made shisa to ever leave the island. Upon arriving back in the United States they began their dream of "Peace through understanding each other's culture".
Chin Hamaya Culture Center is located in Charles County, Maryland. They teach adults and children the art of taiko drumming no matter the ability, disability, race or religion. To date they have 80 performers of all ages and abilities. Currently they have students ages 5 to 82.
Chin Hamaya Culture Center supports cultural and educational activities that bring to light the richness and diversity of Okinawan, Japanese and other cultures. Included in this mission is the dedication to foster community among the diverse cultures and those persons interested in cultural heritage. Chin Hamaya Culture Center is a base to utilize, enjoy, learn and discover cultures from around the world.
DJ CUTMAN is a passionate and prolific DJ and producer of Chiptune music and Video Game remixes. His record label GameChops is the first of its kind to license dance music remixes from major video game publishers like Nintendo and Sega. He hosts a weekly Chiptune show (This Week In Chiptune) on Mixify.com to spotlight new music by the world's best chip-musicians, and authors the blog VideoGameDJ.com to further promote Chiptune and Game Music.
Nestled in Portland, Oregon's predominately white and hipster culture is dance rock band, The Slants. Rather than adopting the usual departure points of Portland's music scene – alt-folk rock, shoe gazer music, indie pop – The Slants took their influence from grabbing onto the corners of foundational 80s synth-pop music and blending it with modern dance rock sensibilities. They call this amalgamation of contagious, energetic, and danceable music "Chinatown Dance Rock."
For their third full-length release, The Yellow Album, the band continued in the vein of creating an album charged with energy and shaped by an intensity gained only from frequent touring. It is the sound of a band who understands its roots but isn't afraid to branch out musically. The result is a rounded album that explores the dichotomy between darker undertones and the thrills of new love.
The Yellow Album could be a natural progression from either 2010′s Pageantry or their 2007 debut Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts. Musically, it draws from the wider synthesizer driven palette of the first album while retaining the harder hitting rock sounds of the second. The lyrics explore the personal lives and experiences of the members of the band.
Frontman Aron Moxley's life began with abandonment. He explains, "I was one of the babies born in Saigon during the Vietnam War. I'll never know my real birthday, let alone find out who my mother is or know if she's still alive." The song "Adopted" illustrates Moxley confronting these feelings, which have plagued him for so long. "This album is more transparent, more sincere. It came from a faulty, but true short love story that ended in numbness fueled by booze and tears. But, ultimately back to a rescue of my own heart."
The idea of redemption from all-consuming pain is also reflected in other songs, including "Misery" and "Been Through Hell." Moxley states, "I like to write songs that are deeply personal, that mean something to me. I think they're more real and they're things that other people can relate to as well. Things got as bad as I thought they could ever get, I hit rock bottom. But I kept moving on."
During the past two years, The Slants had to balance a rigorous international touring schedule, a lineup change, writing songs for the album, keeping personal relationships from falling apart, fundraising for the tsunami relief effort in Japan, and a fight with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that made headlines across both legal blogs and Asian culture outlets.
"We were pulled into an unexpected struggle," explains founder and bassist Simon Young. "A touring band has enough to worry about, let alone an international disaster involving friends and family or dealing with a legal battle against the United States government."
The trademark battle was sparked by a government attorney's claim that the band's name was disparaging to Asians. "It was like banging our head against the wall, trying to convince someone that we were not offensive to ourselves; that the community was in overwhelming support of our band."
Despite the frustration, Young used the opportunity to bring an entire community together in order to defeat the poorly written, antiquated laws that were affecting numerous minority groups, a battle that continues to this day. The title track "Yellow" reflects the constriction experienced by the band.
The album title itself was birthed in a more playful approach to the idea of ethnic pride. "We've actually been sitting on the idea for a few years," says Moxley. "The Beatles had The White Album, Metallica and Jay Z had The Black Album, so we wanted to have The Yellow Album." The juxtaposition of a tongue-in-cheek album title and some deeply serious songs reflect a band who can still embrace tragedy with a punk rock swagger.
With "The Yellow Album" The Slants continue to combine their 80s music heritage, floor-filling dance beats, and cultural experiences that provide the backbone for every note. The result is a collection of undeniably catchy songs that will make you want to dance. However, this album will also resonate with you, providing so much more than an enticing chorus. The Slants manage to combine heart and musicality, a combination that is becoming increasingly rare. The Slants have arrived and are ready to induct you into the Slants Army. It's time for you to listen.
The Slants will also be filming a music video at Otakon 2013 and we're looking for breakdancers and extra's. If this is something that you'd be interested in being a part of, please let me know!
The music video will be shot on Friday, August 9th. It's going to debut on a the site of a large music magazine (yet to be disclosed), and later, broadcasted on TV in over 80 countries worldwide (including stations across the U.S). The idea is to have some fun with this and we'd love to work with you to show off some of your skills.
If you (or someone you know) would like to perform, please send us an email at email@example.com and we'll get you the details.
Far East from their Mother Land, in New York City, The Japanese Pop Punk Rock band, UZUHI, was born in Fall 2004. UZUHI means "the Sun" in Japanese. The origin of the name came directly from their strong creed of music, "Music Has No Borders." As the Sun shines the world borderlessly, UZUHI plays Music for the world, for This Generation.
When they just got formed, they were usually categorized as a Heavy Rock or Hard Core band. However, due to the secessions of the bassist and drummer, the singer, GOSHA, and guitarist got obliged to play as a something else. After several months of silence, the decision they made was to challenge as an Acoustic Punk Rock 2-piece band.
Their challenge kept going for a year and finally, they could encounter with new members of the great Pianist and Artist, TSUBASA, and a drummer and were reborn as 4-piece of a new style of UZUHI in 2007.
Their base is in NYC and so they have played at many great and known venues such as CBGB, KNITTING FACTORY, Webster Hall, Santos Party House, etc. They also tour very often especially in East Coast Area such as NJ, PA, NY Upstate towns, Boston, MD, DC, VA, and NC. They have great numbers of followings in different towns because their Simple but Positive and Challengeable music actions and messages just make people supportive with UZUHI steadily.
The boisterous but delicate drum beats, The elegant but brave keyboard sounds, The rageful and crazy guitar shouts, and The earnest and passionate vocal performances.
Just Notes can't form the power of UZUHI's Music. Their performance crosses over races, sexes, ages, and any borders, and it fascinates, bewitches, and leads anyone to the earnest impression. What is the real happiness in the world? The answer should be found easily at their show.
UZUHI screams from their spirit, "Music is not what we look at. Music is not what we listen to. But Music is what we feel!!!"
If you don't get enough of UZUHI at the Matsuri, come check them out at Otakon as they show up to Otaku Idol as our Guest Judges for the contest!