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The Staff for JemCon 2017: Straight From The Heart in Seattle are all truly outrageous individuals.
Here's a breakdown and a bit of background information on all the hard working individuals who, through a combined effort, bring to you this truly outrageous event in your Jem calendar!
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Maria O'Connell (JemCon 2017 Chair) aka bluehairedgoddess makes her home in Phippsburg, Maine. Some of her favourite pastimes include crafts of all kinds, expanding her several collections and of course doll customization. Maria's life-long love of Jem began when the cartoon originally aired. She soon acquired her 1st Edition Jem and Aja dolls. Christmas of that year brought many more Jem surprises, further allowing her to expand her imagination. Due to Jem, Maria also adopted a love of music that would lead to a stint in a local band. Her passion for Jem was reignited in 2001 with the discovery of Jem on the web and eBay where the "frenzy" began. Currently, Maria boasts 60+ dolls including 7 original childhood dolls. Her goal is to own all of the produced fashions and dolls to display them. JemCon has quickly become a second home for Maria. Here she has met many amazing friends. Maria hopes to use her creativity and unique personality to bring added excitement and a fresh perspective to an already rich community. Maria is excited to be hosting her second JemCon in 2017, after all the fun she had hosting in Maine in 2013.
Sean (JemCon 2017 Co-Chair) is from San Jose, CA, makes his home in Phippsburg, ME and is married to our very own bluehairedgoddess and 2013/2017 Con Chair, Maria O. Sean has always loved comic art, cartoons, and toys from the late 70s through mid 80s. He practically grew up backstage as his father was involved in the local Drama/Light Opera group and participated in multiple performances every year. He was even on set during the production of the feature-length film "Kill Squad", that went on to achieve "Cult Classic" status. Sean says, "I remember when Jem first came out and will never forget the cartoon girl group as well as most everything else 80s; the sights, sounds and even the styles. Keep that Jem spirit alive and strong and the world will always be a little bit better place."
Elizabeth Pemberton (Mother JemCon / JemCon Founder) is from Van Wert, OH, and lives in Minneapolis, MN, where she hosted the first JemCon in 2005. Liz remembers seeing a few episodes of the cartoon when it first aired, but she was in high school and didn't have time for much TV. She didn't get her first Jem doll until 2003, but has made up for that with not only a large Jem collection, but also extensive chunks of the Darci, Maxie, and Creata doll lines, 1980's knockoff fashions of all kinds, and stupefying numbers of That Other Doll. Liz works at a music store, doing nerdy data and computer stuff. She also holds a job as the first soprano soloist and section leader at the Episcopal cathedral in Minneapolis, plays saxophone and recorder, reads voraciously, and spoils her cats. At JemCon, she can most frequently be seen lecturing about shoes. The JemCon community never ceases to amaze her, and she is deeply honoured to be part of it, and to be on staff again for 2017!
Allie hails from Brooklyn, NY. She has always enjoyed Jem, but experienced a true Jem Renaissance when the show began airing on The Hub. Her favourite episode is "Island of Deception." Allie never had Jem dolls as a child, and always favored the cartoon aesthetic of the characters. This led her to get her first Jem doll (Stormer) and begin repainting and sewing cartoon-accurate custom fashions. Allie also enjoys painting and drawing, and loves all the inspiration from creative people in the Jem community. You can see her work at: www.dearstormer.etsy.com and www.dearstormer.tumblr.com. She loves the Misfits best, and Stormer is her true-blue favourite.
Ankur grew up in Toronto, Canada, watching the show as a small child, but his memories of it were hazy until he re-discovered the show in his early 20s. However, Ankur grew up singing songs such as "Congratulations to Me" and "All's Right With the World" and it wasn't until he got back into the show that he realized these were Jem songs. Ankur claims that hearing Jem and all of her high notes as a child was a gateway for him to become a lifelong Mariah Carey fan. An avid traveller and photographer, Ankur has enjoyed visiting all of JemCon's varied locations. Ankur's favourite part of JemCon is always the masquerade and karaoke, where he gets to sing in costume/character (with his unique twists on cosplaying), and is looking forward to doing that for the eighth time at JemCon 2017.
Damon V. D'Amore has an AA in Social Sciences with a concentration in History. He was born just outside of Philadelphia in 1991, after Jem's original run. He has been a fan of Jem since the late 2000s, when he caught it on Cable while skipping school, which might make him the subject of a 'Be a Superstar' segment. He fell in love with the music first, but the story kept him hooked. He has connected with many wonderful people through JemCon and he believes that many people here really keep the spirit of Jem alive - not just the glamor, glitter fashion and fame, but also the life lessons about ourselves, and more importantly, each other. Damon hosted JemCon 2015 in Philadelphia and is looking forward to helping out again in 2017.
David Butz first came to know Jem in the summer of 2008 and was hooked after watching all of the DVD episodes. Since then, David has obtained the entire produced doll and fashion line in unopened condition. He first attended JemCon in 2009 and climbed all the way to the "Top of The Charts" (his favourite song from the cartoon) by hosting JemCon in St. Louis, Missouri in 2012. Of hosting JemCon, David says, "It was a positively surreal experience which I will remember for all time. It felt great to bring everyone together and to see so many smiling faces." His favourite character is Roxy, and his is favourite episode is "Britrock".
Garth Jensen (aka Jumbo Jem) lives near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Garth has been a devoted Jem fan since his childhood. He had an original Jem/Jerrica doll, and has recently begin to collect some of the new dolls from the Integrity line as well. Garth is always keeping himself busy with multiple hobbies and projects, including a love of all things Wonder Woman and Madonna, plus he's a die-hard over-the-air television fan. He's also a renowned remixer, known especially for his Mariah Carey remixes, but rose to new remixing heights with his Jem remix compilation CD "Mix/Mash" which was distributed to all attendees and supporting members of JemCon 2014. When in costume, Garth loves to perform as Jem, though his friends will be the first to tell you that he is a Jerrica since he is always wanting to do the right thing... and that makes him a superstar! Check out his websites: tvgarth.blogspot.com and frothypoptreats.blogspot.com
Mitzy (aka Ilana aka Minx) resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mitzy has been a Jem fan since the show originally aired in the 80s, and enjoyed playing with the dolls in her childhood. Mitzy has made it her goal to collect all of the Integrity dolls, though something that's missing in her life is Glitter and Gold Rio. A renowned burlesque performer, Mitzy was recently inducted into the Canadian Burlesque Hall of Fame. Jem was actually an inspiration for Mitzy to get into Burlesque, as it was the concerts she gave for her grandparents that inspired her to want to perform even more. Mitzy is also a fierce cosplayer and can't wait to share her love of dressing up with everybody at JemCon. Since 2008, Mitzy has attended every single JemCon and feels it was her destiny to show everybody a Truly Outrageous time in Toronto as the Chair for 2014. Mitzy is also a diehard Stingers devotee. She would do anything for Riot, except that.
Jessica Center aka faejemgrl makes her home in Maryland. She is the queen of cosPlay and completely fierce in every way imaginable.
Rachel (JemCon 2018 Chair) is a huge fan of all things 80s, 90s, and pop culture related but the truly outrageous Jem always held a special place in her heart. While she was born right after Jem aired, she grew up watching the show on VHS tapes courtesy of her local video store (remember when those were a thing!?) She stumbled across her first JemCon in 2007 and couldn’t believe how much the JemCon community had grown when she came back in 2014. She presented her first Jem panel “Getting Down to Business: The Business of the Jem Brand” at JemCon 2016 and the positive feedback from that made her want to get more involved on the JemCon staff. She loves the community feel of JemCon and has even visited her fellow Jem buddies in different states and countries! Her ultimate goal is to bring the Jem brand back to the masses and she hopes she’ll get to do that when she hosts JemCon 2018 Click Clash in Cleveland.
Teena is from Maryland and exemplifies all that is Truly Outrageous. Her inner Misfit gives her a distinct edge, but underneath she's a Starlight girl at heart. Teena is excited to be joining the staff for 2017.
Tivia is a longtime fan and avid collector of all things related to Jem. She has a background in media and creative arts and has used her skills in these areas to direct stage productions, children's theater and has even done some animation voiceover work herself. She loves to make custom creations and credits the Jem series as having an early influence on her and inspiring her creative nature. Tivia identifies with the duality of the Jem/Jerrica characters and loves the "secret identity" element of the show. She also loves all the music and has enjoyed being present for some great musical moments at JemCon including Britta Phillips hitting the high note on "Music is Magic" and watching Anne Bryant in the process of creating "a new Jem song". She was thrilled to host JemCon 2016 in Upstate New York last year. The wonderful friendships she has made through JemCon are part of what keep her actively involved and she is enthusiastic about another year of JemCon in 2017!
TJ is a fan of all things 80s and has been making art since he was old enough to hold a crayon. He has been a Jem fan since the beginning, when Jem was aired in 10 minute episodes on Super Sundays. The wild colors, mysterious makeup, and rockin' adventure storylines made a vivid impression on him. So much so, that Jem has been influencing his artwork in one way or another ever since. His favourite characters are Stormer and Kimber, the good bad girl and the bad good girl. TJ's favourite episodes are "The Bands Break Up", "In Search of the Stolen Album" and "Adventure In China."