David Bowie World Fan Convention 2023 Announces Schedule


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Bowie Event poster
Event poster

(Reybee) As the countdown begins for the David Bowie World Fan Convention which takes place at RACKET NYC (431 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011) on June 17-18, 2023, more excitement packs the starman-studded event with new announcements!

Marking the anniversaries of Let's Dance (40th) and Aladdin Sane (50th), the weekend's jam-packed schedule of panels, Q&As, and presentations has been unveiled, featuring a smorgasbord of information, first person anecdotes, and colorful tales of David Bowie in action - either in the recording studio, on stage, or in his fascinatingly colorful private life from those he's collaborated with. The David Bowie World Fan Convention is a world-class collection of producers (Tony Visconti, Mark Plati, Tim Palmer, Erin Tonkon), guitarists (Carlos Alomar, Kevin Armstrong), bass guitarists (George Murray, Carmine Rojas), and vocalists (Robin Clark, Emm Gryner, Joey Arias), stylists (Keanan Duffy) as hosted by compere and author and Bowie expert extraordinaire Nicholas Pegg. Adding to the excitement, the convention adds three more names to its marquee: Bowie author Chris O'Leary, Bowie video archivist Nacho, and acclaimed journalist Stephen Pitalo.

Chris O'Leary is the author of two books on the complete songs of David Bowie: Rebel Rebel (2015), which he is currently revising, and Ashes to Ashes (2019).

Best known for creating and restoring archive music videos and documentaries, Nacho's popular YouTube channel - Nacho's Videos boasts over 25,000 subscribers and over 10 million views. In 2020, Nacho produced the documentary David Bowie in New York 1980: The Elephant Man, Scary Monsters and Other Strange People. In March 2021, he released an updated version of his documentary David Bowie is The Man Who Fell to Earth which was endorsed by the official David Bowie Estate website and received a commendation from Bowie's wife, Iman.

Stephen Pitalo has served as a music journalist for more than 35 years and is a music video historian, having interviewed more than 100 music video directors of the '70s, '80s and '90s . To uncover the behind-the-scenes stories about David Bowie's film and video shoots, Stephen has interviewed directors Mick Rock, D.A. Pennebaker, David Mallet, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Julien Temple, Jim Yukich and Samuel Bayer about their experiences. The David Mallet and Samuel Bayer interviews are featured in the current issue of Music Video Time Machine magazine, where Stephen serves as managing editor. He is currently writing a book about the creative side of The Golden Age of Music Video (1976-1994).


For our opening panel at this year's convention, we bring together two musicians who played key roles in the most globally successful period of David Bowie's career. As bass guitarist on the albums Let's Dance, Tonight and Never Let Me Down, CARMINE ROJAS played on some of Bowie's best-known recordings, and toured the world with David on his spectacular Serious Moonlight and Glass Spider tours. Guitarist KEVIN ARMSTRONG likewise played on some of Bowie's biggest hits of the period, including 'Absolute Beginners' and 'Dancing in the Street', and was Bowie's bandleader at no less a concert than Live Aid. Kevin later went on to record and tour with Tin Machine and on the boldly innovative 1995 album Outside, giving him a special perspective on two different Bowies: the stadium superstar and the experimental art-rocker. Moderated by our compere, Bowie author and expert Nicholas Pegg, this panel promises to offer fascinating insights into the creation of some of Bowie's greatest hits, and life in the studio and on the road in the white heat of his glittering career.

11:00am-12:00pm: 'PLANET EARTH IS BLUE'
Presentation by EMM GRYNER followed by panel with MARK PLATI
Singer and multi-instrumentalist EMM GRYNER toured with David Bowie in 1999 and 2000, during which time she also worked on the legendary 'lost' album Toy. In 2013 Emm made a spectacular return to the Bowie universe when she collaborated with Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield on his celebrated performance of 'Space Oddity', recorded aboard the International Space Station. Emm will be kicking off this panel with a fascinating talk about how, from her base on Planet Earth, she provided the musical arrangements for that remarkable project. Following Emm's talk, she wiill be joined on stage by her old friend and colleague MARK PLATI, another veteran of Bowie's millennium period, and together they will take us back to the recording of Toy, the 1999 'hours' tour, and their memories of performing with Bowie during his magnificent headlining set at Glastonbury in 2000.

12:15pm-1:00pm: 'FA-FA-FA-FA-FASHION'
From his custom-made Alexander McQueen frock coat on the cover of Earthling right back to the Mr Fish dress he modelled for The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie was more than just a dedicated follower of fashion: he was a trendsetter and a trailblazer. Bowie's collaborations with some of the biggest names in global fashion - Kansai Yamamoto, Hedi Slimane, Thierry Mugler and many more - resulted in a host of influential and unforgettable creations. Fashion designer KEANAN DUFFTY, himself a sometime Bowie collaborator, is our moderator for this trip along the glittering catwalk of Bowie style. Joining him are two performers who shared the stage with David as he showcased some of his most striking looks: AVA CHERRY, who performed with Bowie in The 1980 Floor Show and the 1974 Soul Tour, and JOEY ARIAS, who partnered Klaus Nomi in Bowie's backing group during his legendary 1979 performance on Saturday Night Live.

2:00pm to 2:45pm: 'FANTASTIC VOYAGE'
TONY VISCONTI's fantastic voyage with David Bowie began way back in 1967, when the two young musicians were introduced in London. As producer, arranger, bass guitarist, vocalist and much more besides, Tony would go on to become David's longest-serving collaborator, and also one of his closest friends. In the first of two panels this weekend, Tony will be invited by moderator Nicholas Pegg to unlock some of the secrets of his working process with Bowie, with a particular emphasis on their final projects together: The Next Day and Blackstar. To this end Tony will be joined on stage by another veteran of those albums, studio engineer and backing vocalist ERIN TONKON, who will help to take us behind the scenes on the genesis and recording of Bowie's final masterpieces.

3:00pm-4:30pm: 'GOLDEN YEARS'
Of all the musicians who have played their part in the Bowie story, few can match the contribution of the legendary CARLOS ALOMAR: guitarist on ten studio albums from Young Americans to Heathen, Bowie's trusted bandleader and musical director on numerous world tours, and co-writer of classic songs including 'Fame' and 'DJ', Carlos was at Bowie's side from Berlin to Serious Moonlight and beyond. With Carlos through it all was his wife, ROBIN CLARK, one of the finest singers in the business who, besides touring and recording with Bowie, has worked with superstars from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson, from Aretha Franklin to Beyoncé. And in a very special treat at this year's Bowie Convention, history is truly in the making: for the first time in more than four decades, Carlos will be reunited on stage with his old bandmate GEORGE MURRAY, veteran of two world tours and bass guitarist on every Bowie album from Station to Station to Scary Monsters. It promises to be an emotional reunion as Carlos, George and Robin turn back the clock and relive those extraordinary golden years.
8:00pm-2:00am: Deryck Todd's BowieBall

Sponsored by Polaroid, the crowned jewel of the weekend, Deryck Todd's BowieBall on Saturday evening (June 17th), announces that award-winning musician JEFF SLATE will join special guest vocalist Ava Cherry and renowned Bowie DJs TheMenWhoFell2Earth for a spectacular selection of performances as hosted by iconic Bowie performer Michael T. Deryck Todd's BowieBall also sees the return of the "Best Dressed Bowie" competition where all attendees are invited to showcase their brightest, boldest, and most daring Bowie outfits in celebration of his innovative impact on the world of fashion.


Having already enjoyed a panel focusing on CARLOS ALOMAR's golden years with David Bowie in the 1970s, we are now thrilled to welcome Carlos back to the stage to continue the story into the 1980s and beyond, taking us through classic albums and world tours, from the stadium spectaculars of Serious Mooonlight and Glass Spider to the experimental textures of 1.Outside and Heathen. Your moderator is Nicholas Pegg, and joining him are singer ROBIN CLARK, who worked alongside Carlos on two of Bowie's smash hit eighties albums, and bass player CARMINE ROJAS, who played on three of them and joined Carlos on those epic world tours. It was a truly spectacular phase of Bowie's career which doesn't always get the credit it deserves: on this panel we shall seize the opportunity to explore it in depth.

12:15pm-1:00pm: 'I'VE GOT TO WRITE IT DOWN'
Many books have been written about David Bowie over the years, and for this panel we are thrilled to bring together the authors of some of the essential works for a deep dive into the pages of Bowieology. NICHOLAS PEGG is the author of The Complete David Bowie, widely regarded as the 'Bowie Bible', and CHRIS O'LEARY is the writer behind the acclaimed blog Pushing Ahead of the Dame which spawned his twin volumes Rebel Rebel and Ashes to Ashes. STEPHEN PITALO's new book Bohemian Rhapsodies, Thrillers & November Rains is a fascinating account of the golden age of music video, featuring new interviews with the directors behind some of Bowie's most celebrated videos: David Mallet, Julien Temple, Steve Barron, Samuel Bayer, the late Mick Rock, and many more. Moderating this panel is a man who knows a thing or two about Bowie videos himself: the one and only NACHO!

2:00pm-2:45pm: 'YOU BELONG IN ROCK'N'ROLL'
One of the most intriguing and controversial chapters in David Bowie's career came at the end of the 1980s, when he boldly decided to step away from the bright lights of stadium superstardom and go back to basics, forming the proto-grunge rock band Tin Machine. Confrontational, energetic, and very, very loud, Tin Machine astonished Bowie's fans and divided opinion among critics. It is now recognized as a stage in David's journey that was every bit as creatively courageous as any other, spawning some magnificent songs and paving the way for the avant-garde experimentalism of Bowie's 1990s albums. Joining moderator Nicholas Pegg on this fascinating panel are guitarist KEVIN ARMSTRONG, the 'fifth member' of Tin Machine who recorded and toured with the band, and producer TIM PALMER, who masterminded both of Tin Machine's studio albums and has since worked with artists as diverse as U2, Tears For Fears and The Cure. Kevin and Tim will take us behind the scenes for a compelling exploration of the genesis, impact and legacy of one of David Bowie's most enigmatic phases.

3:00pm-3:45pm: 'BRILLIANT ADVENTURE'
One of David Bowie's key collaborators around the turn of the millennium, producer and multi-instrumentalist MARK PLATI worked on a string of albums and tours spanning the seven years from 1997's Earthling to 2003's Reality, along the way taking in such highlights as Toy, Heathen, and Bowie's spellbinding performances at the Glastonbury and Meltdown festivals. Both on stage and in the studio, Mark Plati's contributions helped to shape Bowie's sound during this prolific period. Moderated by Nicholas Pegg, this promises to be a fascinating panel as Mark delves into the creative process which drove a phase of Bowie's career regarded by many as a creative rebirth.

What better way to conclude our programme of panels than an afternoon in the company of David Bowie's close friend and longest-serving colleague TONY VISCONTI, who joins moderator Nicholas Pegg for a wide-ranging discussion of his prolific work with Bowie over almost half a century, from London to New York via Berlin and all points in between, recalling classic albums from Space Oddity to Heroes, from The Man Who Sold the World to Heathen, from Young Americans to Scary Monsters, and many more besides. For the second half of the panel, Tony will be joined by other star guests who worked closely with him on some of Bowie's best-loved recordings, in what promises to be an unforgettable finale.


A special evening of exclusive panels, conversations and music only for VIP ticket holders, will take place Friday, June 16th at VIP event partners Hard Rock Hotel New York City. It will welcome a host of luminaries including guitarist and bandleader Carlos Alomar, a veteran of eleven albums and the co-writer of Bowie's first US number 1 single, 'Fame'. Fans will be thrilled to learn that Carlos is to be reunited with his bandmate George Murray, the bass guitarist who played with Carlos on two world tours and six albums including the legendary Berlin trilogy - this will be George's first-ever appearance at a Bowie event. Other guest speakers include guitarist Kevin Armstrong, who played on 'Absolute Beginners' and led Bowie's band at Live Aid; Carmine Rojas, who played bass on the classic Let's Dance album and the Serious Moonlight tour; Tin Machine producer Tim Palmer; and performance artist Joey Arias, who appeared alongside Klaus Nomi during Bowie's groundbreaking Saturday Night Live performance in 1979. And there's more!

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