Category Archives: cosplay

Kollision Con 2011 Aftermath Super Late Summer Edition

It’s funny writing about a con that took place so many months ago now. But I’m really compelled to do so because I think that Kollision was a turning point for me and my con going adventures. At a small con, there isn’t much between you and everything else. There’s no place to hide, everything’s exposed.

This exposure can be a good thing because you can really get close to the guests and take part in the activities of the con in a more personal fashion. But it can also be kinda scary if you’re not a very social person. It’s difficult to be a shy cosplayer in such an environment!

My Saturday ended up being a dim sum of panels and running into old con friends. And I finally got to see Eyeshine perform! The concert was a lot of fun, in no small part because we were are right up close to the stage. Afterwards I bought some CDs and then wandered about some before the masquerade which I had entered as a craftmanship walk-on.

My Uhura cosplay is a fun one to walk around it because the red minidress really stands out and because everyone knows what it is. I’m always getting photo request from older people whether they’re at the con or not. And while I didn’t really know it at the time, I was passing really well.

This would be only my 3rd cosplay masquerade walk-on, and I was excited to be doing it because I really like this costume and had fun making it. Though it looked like there might actually be more cosplayers in the hall than spectators. So many great costumes around me! I wish I’d had my camera. In particular, there was an eye-popping Starfire cosplayer whose skin was completely orange. She was gorgeous!

Kollision Con 2011 Pics

We ended up with a nice crowd and I hit all of my marks. I guess at heart, I love the attention you get walking the stage so it was with great joy, and surprise, when I had to go onstage again to claim my Honorable Mention certificate! Looking back, I think that the enthusiasm I had detailing how I made the costume probably helped. And I think Jamie Marchi was one of the judges too!

Most of the night was spent doing karaoke. It was awesome! The song I had the most fun singing though was, It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. It’s a fun song that I first heard sung by a group of women at Reactor in the old Purple Hotel. I thought the absurdity of a guy dressed as Uhura singing that song would be a fun spectacle and it was! LOL I visited the dance briefly, but the music just didn’t do anything for me, so I returned to karaoke until it ended.

Midwest Karaoke Madness Blues Brothers

Sunday it was back to street clothes and cosplaying myself. Ran into Ed, another crossplayer I see regularly at the cons I go to. It was fun talking with him a bit as at the larger cons, there usually isn’t a lot of time between one event or another I’ll be trying to get to. I feel like I got a little more comfortable with myself at Kollision Con whether in costume or not. And I’ve carried this forward with me since then. It never ceases to amaze me the situations and venues that God uses to speak to me.

So I had fun at a little con named Kollision Con. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to return for 2012, but I certainly won’t forget 2011.

Otakon Pre-pre-flight

The good news is that the Sailor Mars project was coming along rather nicely. The bad news is that it won’t be finished in time for Otakon. T_T I thought about trying to push it through, but it would have meant working like crazy right up until a 700 mile drive. A cautionary tale of unexpected demise delivered by my lovely lady today convinced me that a more relaxed Otakon pre-flight would be more fun.

So I’m saving Sailor Mars for Dragon*Con next month. I don’t like missing my targets, but I’ve got one new cosplay plus a popular one from last year and an old favorite. Now I can rest up and be 100% for the drive to one of the most awesome weekends of the year for me! That is, me and 30000 others!

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath I

What can I say? Anime Midwest proved to be a small con with some big fun. While I love the sensory overload of the big cons, Anime Midwest was well worth the time and effort. Naturally I was feverishly finishing up a new cosplay before the con. Yeah, I can never just relax and get ready. LOL

Taking place over the July 4th holiday period, I was lucky enough to be able to take both the 5th and 6th off. So getting out to the con in Chicago suburban Lisle, was pretty low pressure. When I parked the car, it was over 100 degrees F outside. So I was less than happy when I learned that the hallways outside my hotel room were not air conditioned. Hot halls do not make for happy cosplay makeup and wigs!

Friday, I wore my Stocking cosplay which has proven to be one of my favorites. The wig is hard to manage, but I love this costume and the gothy makeup style I can use with it! Since it was a small con, I activated small con picture taking mode. Even at a large convention, the chances of most cosplayers finding pictures of their cosplays online is fairly small. So at smaller conventions I make an extra effort to take pictures whenever I can. Then afterwards I place them on my Flickr account and squawk about them on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog so that they are easy to find.

One of the first things I noticed was all of the Homestuck cosplay. This had to be the largest single contingent of fans at Anime Midwest. And my oh my were they having a great time. They were literally singing and dancing all weekend long. They were closely followed by the Hetalia fans. Oh my! ^_^

AnimeMidwest-2012009

After opening ceremonies I went to the first guest panel featuring voice actors Jamie Marchi, Ian Sinclair, and Joel McDonald. Greg Ayres popped in briefly as well. This was one of the biggest reasons I decided to attend Anime Midwest. I first saw Jamie at Kollision Con last fall and really liked her. At most of the cons I’ve been to, the actors have proven to be really fun, smart, and entertaining.

I wanted to asked Jamie a question about the English dub of Panty and Stocking. She’s the voice of Panty and the English script writer. But the *ahem* language I’d need to use just to ask the question forced me to wait until the after hours panel. That panel was totally off the hook! At the beginning, each person who wanted to ask a question was required to use at least one swear word in asking it. Over the course of the evening, that number increased to five! The Panty and Stocking dub is awesome! My question was who came up with the exclamation of “Repent Motherfuckers!” during the angel transformation sequence. Jamie said that was her idea. And it fit the lip flaps perfectly. It definitely fit the flavor of the series, that’s for sure.

By the end of the panel, the white board was covered with numerous depictions of genitalia, and I’m sure we had all earned ourselves a thoroughly soapy mouth washing! I rarely swear, so I think I must have used up at least two weeks worth that night.

My first day finished up with a costume change to my Miho cosplay before the Friday rave. Miho has become my go to rave cosplay. She looks like a goth rave girl anyway. Though I’m not completely sure what she looked like to the people I encountered in the elevator on the way to the dance. Apparently, the hotel was also host to a wedding party that night. So my purple hair caused a bit of a stir and one young woman was unsure whether I was a woman or a man. As we left the elevator, she apologized profusely for possibly using the wrong pronouns in reference to me. I assured her it was quite okay, quite happy, as any crossplayer might be, to have done a good enough job to engender such confusion (pardon the pun).

I had fun dancing, but wasn’t too hot on the music. So I only stayed a couple of hours before drawing my first day to a close. The next day would be Mamimi’s big debut. But more on that later.

Anime Midwest Prep Is On

I’ve been getting a new cosplay ready for Anime Midwest which is this coming weekend. With Otakon at the end of the month, at first I hadn’t planned on going, but you only live once, lol. Anyway, I figured it would be fun to check out a young con and the guest list is looking pretty good with Greg Ayres among others slated for the weekend. And of course, we cosplayers rarely pass up a chance to strut out a new costume.

I made really good progress on my Mamimi this weekend, so I think I’ll have it ready in time. FLCL is one of my all time favorite anime series, so I thought it would be fun to run about the con taking pictures of cosplayers as Mamimi!

OMG Kawaii Desu!

It really feels good to have finally gotten OMG Kawaii Desu!: A parent’s guide to anime, manga, and cosplay out the door! I started working on the book over a year ago so this baby was already way overdue, LOL! The book is intended to be an instructive tranquilizer for parent’s whose children have gotten into anime, manga, and/or cosplay. It’s the sort of guide meant to read while waiting for your kids at an anime convention. Over the years, I’ve met a number of parents and grandparents in this role. Many really aren’t sure what this stuff the kids are into is all about. This short guide seeks to answer those questions, and, I hope, encourage parents to join the party!

OMG Kawaii Desu!
The book is now available on the Kindle for $1.99 or free to borrow for Amazon Prime members. So check it out and leave a review or rating to let me know what you think. BTW, the cover art is by my totally awesome daughter Vanessa who is herself  OMG Kawaii Desu (really cute)!

AMKE Mission Scrubbed

Sadly, I had to cancel my Anime Milwaukee trip this weekend. Just too many unexpected repair bills. At the time, canceling felt like the responsible thing to do and now I can go to my oldest son’s birthday party, which had been scheduled after I’d made my original plans. Despite all of that, I’m feeling rather depressed and I feel like this sacrifice is unrecognized and unappreciated. But I suppose that’s what makes it a sacrifice. The worst feeling though is that an important part of me is being stuffed back into the closet. I guess cosplay has become an important creative outlet for me, perhaps the biggest reason I go to cons at all. Oh well, my other me will just have to wait until C2E2 and ACen in April.

AMKE Approaches!

Laverne and ShirleyYeah, I’m waaaaay behind on my writing, but it’s all good! Anime Milwaukee is coming up next weekend! I’m not really sure what to expect. Some friends went last year and seemed to have a good time. So when I saw the AMKE table at Kollision Con, I started making plans to go. Besides, Milwaukee is a short 90 minute drive from Chicago. And having missed Youmacon and Ohayocon, I’ve been trying to fill my con void with smaller cons leading up to C2E2 and Anime Central in April.

No new cosplays planned, just bringing out some old faves, that I haven’t quite decided on yet. I’ve pretty much settled into one new cosplay per year now. And this year I want to continue focusing on cosplays I’ve always wanted to do. So I’ve got Sailor Mars in the works and maybe one or two more in the works over 2012-2013. You never know which con/cosplay will be your last, and I don’t want to have any regrets when that day comes!

Anime Hoes, Myth, and Crossplay

I’ve followed the crossplay forum on Cosplay.com for a number of years now, and not surprisingly, the majority of the cosplayers there female. Many, if not most cite their reason for crossplaying as being because most of the female anime characters wear skimpy, slutty costumes. And this is often used as a way to assuage fears that their parents may have about crossplay. But casting the women and girls of anime as bitches and hoes is not only inaccurate, it’s something of an insult to the growing number of male fans who choose to cross the line and cosplay them.

The majority of the dresses, skirts, school and military uniforms are relatively tame. Cute, yes, slutty, mostly not. Even the uniforms of the eroge game, Bible Black, are fairly modest. Indeed, the costumes of one of the most popular series for MtF crossplay, the Touhou PC games, are quite modest. And the character personalities run the same range as male characters in my opinion.

The denigration of these characters to justify FtM crossplay just plays into the worst gender stereotypes which generally prefer the masculine over the feminine. It’s always better to be a tomboy than a sissy in that mindset. Which is quite sad because those of us who choose to crossplay female characters often do so, not only for a love of the character, but a love of the female form and feminine characteristics.

We all have both male and female characteristics. Crossplay gives us a way to have some more fun with our “other” and just maybe understand it a little better.

Kollision Con 2011 Aftermath Part I

Almost two weeks ago, I knew that Kollision Con was going to be a nice small con with a chance for fun and a break from a very very busy week. Looking back, I’d say that in a lot of ways, Kollision Con more than met my expectations. It was a small con with more than a few very tasty nuggets of fun mixed in!

I had to work on Friday which is unusual for me when cons come around, but since checkin and parking at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles wasn’t available until after 4pm, it didn’t matter. I packed my costumes and supplies in two bags, stuffed them in the trunk and went to work just like any other day. After work and a drive from Chicago that seemed to take forever, I arrived at the hotel and was able to get parking that turned out to be close to the room I would have for my stay.

I didn’t do that much on Friday except fret about my costume before working up the energy needed to get it ready and go sing at Midwest Karaoke Madness. Even after 5 years of cosplay, I still need a minute or two to cross the initial threshold. Oddly enough though, I have no trouble getting up on stage! Once I got out, I was pleased to see a number of familiar faces from Youmacon, Ohayocon, and of course, ACen!

My goal for the weekend was singing karaoke, concerts, and seeing the guests. So Friday night karaoke was a great start with Shizukana Yoruni, followed by Unwritten a little later. I still remember singing Unwritten at the last Reactor convention with just me and Neo Saturn in the room wondering if anyone else was ever going to show up. I started poorly, but with emotion welling up inside of me, I had a strong finish. More than singing myself though, I really enjoy watching others perform as well and singing along to everything from Mulan’s I’ll Make A Man Out of You, to Cee Lo Green’s Fu*k You!

As usual, I got out an hour late on Saturday morning, missing opening ceremonies. But I did get to see voice actress Jamie Marchi who even complimented my Uhura cosplay as I came in, yay! I’ve been improving my Uhura since its Otakon debut in July and it’s still my favorite right now. So with that encouragement, I later registered for the craftsmanship competition of the masquerade. The judging was done right at sign-up and I had a good time explaining all that went into the costume as well as things like makeup and shape wear. I think the fun I was having actually helped me a bit later at the masquerade, but I’ll have to go into that when I finish this up in the next installment!

kollisioncon2011-002

Resume Play On A Parent’s Guide To Anime Manga And Cosplay!

After a lot of summer adventures, some planned, and some not, I’m getting back to work on my next ebook, A Parent’s Guide to Anime, Manga, and Cosplay. I’m rather excited because I’ve got a kick-ass cover ready and the book is about 80% complete. And with the 1 year anniversary of Anime Aftershocks coming up, it’d feel good to get another title out the door!

Due to another project, I’ve gotten into the habit of working a couple of hours in the morning before leaving for the office. So I’m going to use these power hours to finish up the book at last!

Die Has Been Cast For Dragon*Con!

The die has been cast, I just registered for Dragon*Con 2012! I reserved a room a few weeks ago, so I figured it was time to pay for a badge before the cost goes up on the 15th.

I’ve wanted to go to Dragon*Con for some time and had originally planned to go this year. But I got laid off around this time last year and had to put those plans on hold. Fortunately, I’m working again, so it’s back on! Yay! I’m hoping to take my Uhura to the parade and will probably have one or two new cosplays by that time. Not sure what yet, but I always find yet another costume that must be made!

Home for Halloween!

It has been a number of years since I’ve actually been at home for Halloween. Since I started going in 2005, I’ve been at Youmacon during Halloween. This year, Youmacon is the following weekend, so last night I donned my Uhura cosplay and went to the Pew Pew Halloween costume bash in Chicago with my wife.

The artwork and the shop were interesting and we would hang out there for little over an hour before heading back home. I kinda wished we’d done some bar hopping, but she was getting tired and isn’t a big fan of bars. She joked later, that it took me more time to get ready than we spent out. But it was still fun, and my costume got a good reception. My friend Ron got a shot of us together. LOL, as usual, I’ve got the derp face goin on!

Beaming Down To The Official Star Trek Convention

Star Trek 45th LogoStar Trek is my home fandom, but it’s been many years since I attended my last Star Trek convention. When I started attending cons, they were all fan organized. This meant all kinds of fun and sometimes quirky panels and events in addition to guests appearances and dealers.

Somewhere along the way, a company called Creation started doing Star Trek conventions and while they got really great guests, they were somewhat lighter on the quirky stuff that probably tended to violate somebody’s licensing rights. After a break of a few years I heard about anime cons and started going to those where the for fans, by fans vibe is still very strong and vibrant.

That said, I had not initially planned to go to next weekend’s Official Star Trek Convention in Chicago, but actually Rosemont. We were hosting a potluck that weekend, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and duck out on it for a con. I didn’t even mention that there was a con.

My noble silence was rewarded when the potluck had to be pushed back, and so the mission has been approved! Right now I’m only planning to go on Saturday to show off my Uhura cosplay and hopefully see Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols. If I could show it to her, that would be totally awesome!

In any case, I was feeling happy today from some good news and decided to order an original series style tricorder, phaser, and communicator to round out my cosplay. Hopefully they’ll get here in time. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what may be Leonard Nimoy’s last con appearance!

Otakon 2011 Aftermath

It’s been quite a summer of travel for me this year. Right after Otakon, it was off on a road trip to Toronto for nearly a week. Then back to work, followed by this year’s installment of Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.

Otakon was fun and full of interesting feelings for me this year. I’ve been doing contract work most of this year, so for a while, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to attend. But things worked out and I hit the road for my 7th consecutive Otakon. I had three cosplays planned, Miho Tohya, Stocking, and Uhura. The Uhura costume was fun, challenging, and a lot of work to make. But I finished in time for the convention.

I wore Miho on Friday and as I had expected, there wasn’t a lot of recognition of the cosplay. Miho is a character from MegaTokyo, a web comic and OEL graphic novel series. Still I had fun with the cosplay and enjoyed singing and dancing in it. One extra level of difficulty came from staying at the Sheraton, which is a couple of blocks from the convention center. That meant navigating the public streets in costume, something that would prove interesting as well as enlightening over the weekend.

Madoka and Kyubey

Saturday it was Stocking cosplay day. I had worked up the courage to go to the Panty and Stocking photoshoot, unfortunately I was late and basically missed it. It’s okay though. I was late because I just had to squeeze in some karaoke first. Karaoke trumps everything, LOL! Made it to the Masquerade, which was okay for the most part.

Normally Sunday is not a big cosplay day for me, but with a new costume to show off, this Sunday was different. I had no idea just how different it would prove to be. The heat had been a problem all weekend and even the convention center was hot in places due to AC failures. So I was bit concerned about makeup with a new cosplay. As I stepped out into the heat, my main thought was to get to the BCC quickly.

No sooner had I crossed the street than a woman with children stopped me for a photograph. She was excited telling me how much she liked my costume. Soon I realized that she had no idea I was a guy, so I just nodded and smiled to maintain the illusion. Pic requests are part of the fuel that make cosplayers go, so I was pretty happy when I reached the BCC where I was immediately stopped for a picture by a man with a professional looking camera. Again, no idea I was a guy.

I got a lot of compliments and picture requests for my Uhura cosplay throughout the day. It even lead to a very enjoyable conversation with a fellow Star Trek fan. In the dealers room, I noticed a couple of thing immediately. One, a lot of pic requests came from black people. Two, a lot of these were black guys! This is really the first time I cosplayed a character who was black like me, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be so popular.

At the end of the con, while walking back to my hotel, I’d learn that my Uhura might be just a little bit too popular. About a block from the hotel a black man on the street asked if he could take my picture. I agreed and struck a pose. He took the picture and then asked me, “Can I walk with you?” I’m not sure if I was alarmed, shocked or what. I just silently shook my head. He got the message and we parted company.

In retrospect, I realized that it was a good thing that I did not reveal my true gender. There’s no telling how he would have reacted given that he’d just tried to pick me up. This was when I had my epiphany. I’d been worried all weekend about my cosplays and whether I looked good in them, and as a crossplayer whether I was passing. Turns out I was passing pretty damn good!

On the way to the con I had random guys apparently trying to talk to me. At the con, when I was getting food, some of the staff clearly didn’t know I was a guy. I enjoyed some of the ruckus that caused as I left. On Friday night on my way into the dance, a guy stopped me for picture. That was the only pic request my Miho got, which actually looks kinda like rave wear. And on Saturday night on my way back to the hotel after the Masquerade in my Stocking cosplay, while waiting on the corner next to another random guy, I noticed him totally checking me out. Hello! I’m standing right here! Nevertheless, he was running his eyes up and down my body. If he knew I was male like him, I doubt he’d have done that.

The only logical conclusion to draw from all of this was that despite some misgivings, my crossplays were pretty good. And, I was especially attractive to black guys. Or at least they were the most likely to make their interest known in a visible manner. So as I left Baltimore, I had my usual post con glow but on this occasion it was mixed with an extra portion of pride for a job well done!

Spinning Up for Otakon 2011

Over the last week or so, I’ve had no less than two convention related dreams. So there’s no doubt my subconscious is pretty excited about going to Otakon as I am when I’m awake! A few months ago, I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to go, but it appears that the Lord has blessed me with that much, and more this year.

I always seem to have a few more dream cosplays to do and again thankfully, it looks like one of those is going to debut at Otakon in a few days. My Star Trek: Original Series Uhura is going very well! I was really worried last night after making a number of mistakes and things just not looking right. But this is usually the case because I intentionally make my costumes slightly too big first and then refit them after trying them on.

Uhura Cosplay Progress PicFinally, around 2am or so this morning, I put everything on after the refit and got that “OMFG this is cute!” moment that comes when the costume has really come together. It was quite a relief after having so many doubts and flubs. But it all works! I just have some wig work to do and makeup related things I hope to improve on, but I think I’m going to love this!

After making this costume, I have new respect and awe for Bill Theiss, the costume designer for Star Trek. On standard definition TV, Uhura’s minidress uniform, beyond being sexy, is not all that interesting visually. But when you put it together from the official pattern found in the Star Trek Technical Manual, you can see the fine details that make it a work of art. The front and back of the dress are formed from 3 segments whose seams converge on the insignia. It’s truly a work of futuristic beauty that I’m honored to have the opportunity to wear!