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Thursday, January 19 2017 08:53

Wizard World Touring Launches with GENE SIMMONS Club Shows, 'Con Appearances...

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After attending Wizard World events for nearly two decades, including a couple as a creator/guest myself, I've always wondered why they didn't formally start including music into their mix. After all, there's been many artists that have appeared at their events, including Static-X, Twiztid and Insane Clown Posse - all promoting comic titles. Last year, Wizard World Music tested the waters for bigger things, with performances by Grimes and The Pretty Reckless, and today comes news that Wizard World Touring has launched in partnership with veteran music and technology executive Nick Turner. The new unit "will bring vibrant live entertainment to Wizard World shows, building on the Wizard’s initiative to create an atmosphere of a weekend festival at every Wizard World show." First up: a club tour by KISS frontman (and no stranger to comics) Gene Simmons, complete with appearances at five Wizard World Comic Con events.

 “An Evening with Gene Simmons and his Band” will be presented as club venue concerts in conjunction with appearances at conventions in Cleveland (March 18-19), St. Louis (April 8-9), Philadelphia (June 2-3), Chicago (August 26-27) and Austin (November 17-18).

Evening concerts are planned on Friday in each of the respective cities, with Simmons on hand each Saturday to greet fans, pose for photo ops, sign autographs and conduct live interactive Q&A sessions at each Wizard world Comic Con.

“I’m excited to bring Rock & Roll back to Wizard World Comic Con in 2017,” said Simmons. “It will be great to meet fans and perform for them in every city.”

John D. Maatta, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wizard World stated: “We are thrilled to be working with Gene for our inaugural production by Wizard World Touring. Gene is a showman-businessman hyphenate, and there is no better entertainer whom the fans love more.” Maatta continued: “We are working very hard at Wizard World to build it into a ‘best of breed’ entertainment/live event company. Wizard World Touring is another aggressive step forward into a sector that is extremely promising for us—It is a brand new day at Wizard World. We are very pleased to have a seasoned executive of the caliber of Nick Turner to guide us into this space.”

The agreement is the beginning of a new touring unit spearheaded by Nick Turner, which will bring entertainment to Wizard World shows, building on the promotion’s initiative to create an atmosphere of a weekend festival at every stop.

In Cleveland, fans can rock out on Saturday night, March 18, with “An Evening with Gene Simmons and his Band” at Agora Theater (5000 Euclid Ave.) beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $29.95 in advance at http://agoracleveland.com and http://www.wizardworld.com and $35 at the door, with special meet-and-greet packages also available. Venues, times and pricing for other cities to be announced closer to those respective shows.

Simmons, who was a big hit in his first Wizard World Comic Con appearance in Richmond in 2016, is a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur and one of the world’s most recognized personalities. He co-founded KISS 42 years ago. KISS is America's #1 Gold Record Award Winning Group of all time, in all categories (RIAA). KISS has sold over 100 million CDs and DVDs worldwide, is celebrating its 43rd year, and continues to sell out stadiums and arenas around the world, breaking box-office records set by Elvis and the Beatles. KISS was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the 2014 induction ceremony, and the band is recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for its pioneering work.

Wizard World comic and gaming con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed –  will roam the convention floor. The famed Wizard World Comic Con Portland Costume Contest will take place on Saturday night.

For more on the 2017 Wizard World Comic Con series visit http://www.wizardworld.com.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade as Publisher of The Rock Father Magazine, he joined Adventure Publishing Group as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider—a destination for all things pop culture. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 25 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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