Archive for the ‘Cosplay’ Category
A few summers ago, my husband and I went to an Anime Con in Chicago. It was a blast. And holy cow, the cosplay! The costume contest was the highlight of the weekend for a lot of attendees, and people waited inline for hours to get into the contest. I had a great time enjoying a Chicago summer afternoon and photographing people who were in line. The costumes were beautiful and very elaborate. There was everything from Disney princesses to Anime characters to steampunk interpretations of characters to mechas to Star Wars, to Gothic Lolita and American Superhero outfits, there was everything. The wigs, the props, the dresses, the spandex, just WOW. it was glorious, and it was intimidating. Nothing I could make with my skill set would ever come close to any of these outfits. The generic anime schoolgirl cosplay I was wearing was a button up shirt and a necklace (it’s the middle of the tie) I owned, and about $20 worth of stuff from Goodwill. Maybe there was a reason no one was complimenting my outfit. Who the hell did I think I was, I wasn’t even wearing a styled wig! Maybe successful cosplay just isn’t for me.
More than once, I’ve described myself as a “bad cosplayer”, because I am intimidated by the very elaborate costumes. I don’t have the sewing skills to make a beautiful dress, I don’t know how to style a wig, i don’t know how to shape boiled leather or make something approximating armor. I don’t have the patience for any of that stuff. All those “easy” projects that require something to be done outdoors because of poisonous fumes are a challenge for us apartment dwellers who don’t have a garage or back porch. Could I learn how to sew? Certainly. But I am also very impatient and not all that interested in developing a lot of costuming skill sets (did you not see my blog post earlier this month about having zero free time?). First and foremost, cosplay should be FUN. And to me, FUN means easy. FUN means as little stress as possible. FUN means using the skills I have, such as papercraft and glue, iron-on interfacing, and hand sewing. FUN means fun, not stress.
My first Comic Con!
Tickets were quite affordable, Nichelle Nichols was a special guest, the drive was only 45 minutes, and a few of my friends were already planning on going. Heading up to Grand Rapids Michigan on Nov 22nd for the Grand Rapids ComicCon was a no brainer. I’d never been to an actual ComicCon before, so I had no idea what to expect. According to their website, the media guests (including Nichelle Nichols, Alaina Huffman, Justin Kohn, Chad Rood, Peter Shinkoda and Maile Flanagan) would be doing presentations on the main stage, and would have autograph areas. There would be a costume contest, a gaming room, a violin concert, there would be food stands everywhere, there would be a huge dealer room, there would be a car show, the famous Star Wars 501st group, a few Tardis models, a huge Lego display, and of course tons of comics and superhero artwork. Designed to be a very family friendly event, strollers were welcome, and there was a family quiet room for a quiet space for nursing mothers and/or overexcited kids who needed a break.
The Lego/Robotics area was my favorite section of the convention. Designed to be an area attractive to children and adults, much of the space was given over to a car show of famous Batmobiles. The rest of the space included a massive Lego city (complete with trains!), a robotics area that had a singing tesla coil, a TARDIS, the actual shield Captain America used in the movie, an animatronic dinosaur, a guy in a massive transformer suit, a beautiful art gallery, representatives of the 501st, and a few local fandom and science clubs. This was where all the fun was! I was all about the Legos and the Transformer guy. I got to watch him climb into the suit, and once he got the helmet on you couldn’t tell if there was a person in there or if it was remote control. He scared the poop out of a lady who didn’t realize there was a guy in there!
Most of the media guests were TV stars, and since I don’t watch much network TV, I wasn’t familiar with most of them. But everyone knows who Nichelle Nichols is! On Saturday afternoon she took to the main stage along with a local media celebrity who guided the conversation and took questions from the audience. I always knew Nichelle Nichols was incredible, I just didn’t realize how incredible. She talked of her childhood, of growing up in a community outside Chicago that was founded by her grandfather for the purpose of being welcoming to mixed-race families, she talked about her early love for singing andperforming on stage, and she proved that she’s still got an amazing vocal range She told a beautiful and touching story about being star struck meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learning he was a fan of her work on Star Trek. When asked about that famous kiss between her and William Shatner, she said a kiss between a black person and a white person wasn’t anything usual to her, as she’d seen her grandparents kiss each other all the time. When asked if there were any unexpected consequences of the famous midriff baring “Mirror Mirror” costume, she said they got so much fanmail about it that her costume was changed to show off her belly button. When asked what the defining moment of her career was, she said it was when she got involved with NASA to help recruit women and minorities for the space shuttle program. She recruited Sally Ride. During the Q&A time she was incredibly gracious with fans who were invited to line up at the microphone and ask questions until we ran out of time.
My day at ComicCon was not without its frustrations, but they were all worth it to be in the same room with Nichelle Nichols.
In the last two posts, I mostly showed photos of Japanese manga, anime, live action tv, and video games. There were plenty of people cosplaying western comic book, movie, and video game characters as well! see?
Even Doctor Who and the Daleks made and appearance! I was able to catch up with one of the Elevens (I saw at least 3 of them) as he battled a Dalek-head. This guy, oh man did he have the physical mannerisms down! Acting the part takes the cosplay to a whole new level! (and yes, there was a number ten, but I couldn’t get close enough to get a photo)
Just joining us? You’ll want to read this post first.
Oh, and if i have misidentified characters, let me know in the comments so I can fix the captions. Google image search only gets you so far….
Jumping right back into cosplay photos:
Sword Art Online was another very popular show to cosplay, there were a ton of Kiritos and Asunas running around. Running Around, very hard to photograph.
Last weekend, hubby and I drove to Chicago for Anime Midwest. Over 6000 people converged on the Hyatt Regency and neighboring Expo center for autograph sessions and Q&A sessions with famous voice actors, concerts, panels, fan meet-ups, fashion shows, the dealer room, fandom specific activities, and the best people watching in the midwest. More a Cosplay convention than anything else, the lobby of the hotel and all areas outside were most definitely the place to see and be seen. it was all about the cosplay, with the most popular costumes being Kill la Kill, Madoka Magica, and Attack on Titan. Lots of younger people were dressed up, and the costumes these kids put together were simply incredible. Entire outfits, props, wigs, make up, the whole nine yards. Also? more Homestuck than I ever want to think about. I took a ton of photos, but for photos that are actually good, head over to Geek Girl Chicago’s recap.
You know how we’re always talking about how we want our conventions to be more diverse? We want more women, more minorities, more younger people? This convention was the definition of diverse. The crowd skewed on the young side, with plenty of kids and teens with parents in tow, and a huge crowd of 20-somethings. I saw all ages, all backgrounds, all skin colors, all everything. and it was beautiful. Everyone was cheering their favorite fandom, dressed to the nines as their favorite character, or in some cases, favorite two or three characters all at once. there were anime characters, video game character, a Maid Cafe, American superheroes, Disney princesses, you name it. Had I known ahead of time that there would be so many American characters, I’d have taken my Sabetha costume (don’t worry, I took a different costume!)
A few more quickie comments before getting to the photo dump (which lets be honest, you’re here for the photos, right?)
The hotel was spacious and down right huge, with plenty of public areas for people to socialize and take photos. Loud activities such as concerts were in the basement, as far from the hotel rooms as possible. Celebrities brought in for the convention did wonderful panels, gave autographs, and seemed genuinely excited about interactive with fans. The peoplewatching, oh my god, the people watching! I’d just sit in the lobby and watch people go by! There was a huge variety of panels, everything from anime show specific, to learning about Japan, to Cosplay tips and tricks, to Japanese street fashion, to fanfiction, to how to use Samurai Swords, to name that tune, to about a billion other things. The most popular events were, unsurprisisngly, the Masquerade Costume Contest, and autograph and question sessions with the attending voice actors, like Greg Ayres, Sonny Strait, Caitlin Glass, Johnny Yong Bosch, Chris Patton, Alexis Tipton, Laura Post, and D.C. Douglas.
Programming went very late at night, and around 11pm, most panels switched to 18+, and I was impressed with how strict they were about carding people. You had to show a convention badge and an ID. The two guys in line in front of me for the 18+ panel I attended were turned away, and the guys doing the carding chuckled when I said “I’m old enough to be those boys’ mom”. They let me in no problem.
photos! lets get to the good stuff!
Short Legendary Confusion write-up here. Longer one coming soon.
but what’s important is that I cosplayed Sabetha Belacoros. Click the link if you don’t know who I’m talking about. A very kind and patient friend made the dress and the jacket. The hat fucking rocked.
Pics or didn’t happen, you say? feast your eyes on this, baby, because I’m having a shameless egotistical moment.
this is my favorite photo. frankly I think I look stinkin’ adorkable in it. Even though I look like a hobbit.
without the props, so you can see the jacket a little better. the trim is some polyester black velvet I had sitting around and was so slippery it had to be sewn on by hand.
Long story short – It was ah-maz-ing. another weekend of my geekgirldreams brought to us by the very hardworking folks at Stilyagi.
but, in case you are interested in the short story gone overly long, here ya go:
Last year at ConFusion I was about authors, authors, authors, and just for good measure more authors (also, one particular author, but that’s a different story). But this year I wanted to branch out a bit and see what else was going on. Luckily, the programming made that even easier for me. The sheer variety of programs and panels was amazing. There was an entire Science track, a Doctor Who track, lots of guest artists doing artwork in the hotel atrium, and a Studio Ghibli movie marathon on top of all the amazing author readings and “such-and-such in Sci and Fantasy” panels. And the best part? I was totally cool about this year. A little bit less of the running up to authors and babbling ohmygodIloveyourbookssomuchwillyoucomehomewithmecanicookyoudinner going on. Also, I cosplayed for the first time. Now that I’ve worn a tail, I can see why people don’t want to take them off.
Friday afternoon was saying hi to friends, hitting up the dealer room, finding the consuite (on the first floor, down the hall from all the panel rooms = WIN) and playing “spot the famous person” (omg, there’s John Scalzi! and he has a ukelele!). I made it to 2 panels on Friday, Fun with Liquid Nitrogen, and the Opening Ceremonies of the Con.
Liquid Nitrogen with Dr. Jennifer Skwarski. I always thought if the stuff touched you, that part of your body would shatter off. not so! (wait, scifi movies lied to me??) Apparently you can splash it all over your hand and be OK, although I don’t recommend trying that. Also, it makes a really neat snapping noise when splashed all over the floor. Demonstrations included the amazing whirring around ping pong ball, frozen vodka, frozen soap bubbles, crunchy expanding balloons, and of course making ice cream!
Not too much to say about the Opening Ceremonies, except that Mary Robinette Kowal had the best ever marionette story. I’m hoping she posted it on her blog somewhere, because if I try to tell it I’ll mess it up, and also it’s not my story to tell. And, Yes, she had her Hugo. Perhaps it was a prop for this? Also, Charles Stross has a really cool accent.