‘Wasteland Lolita’ Photoshoot, featuring In The Starlight

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New Photoshoot: Sansa Stark

A cosplay that came out of my year while I was living in New York. Something I drew on for transformation. I looked to Sansa in the series while I was living in NYC. I was lonely, on my own. I wasn’t sure who was really my friend and if the relationships I had with certain people were genuine. It was rough living there. Well, Sansa had it rough too. The two of us reached an accord during those 18 months. Here’s what resulted when we finally moved home to Portland.

Cosplay Profile – Little Sister, Bioshock

LittleSister

  • The costume – This was my fourth cosplay. Bioshock is one of my favorite games and the only game I have played to 100% completion a.k.a. I got every achievement. I fell in love with these Little Sisters, their backstory, their place in society. Around this time, cosplay was really starting to pick up in popularity, and sexiness in cosplay was becoming more and more common. I didn’t want to just be another sexy girl. I wanted to be scary. Little Sister became the first character for any major propwork for a cosplay, the first to generate a backstory (as I have gone on to do for other characters), and the first that I genuinely did a complete immersion when I was in full costume. This costume design and interpretation is based on a hybrid between the Little Sisters seen in Bioshock and Bioshock 2.
  • The parts

    • The Dress – Since my sewing skills still weren’t good yet, I used a preexisting dress I found at a vintage store. The dress itself dates to the 1920s and was just the color I wanted to work with. My friend, Heidi, donated some sewing skills to make the lace pinafore that goes across the chest, sewed on the buttons, and made the apron from scratch. I don’t think I could get more accurate in terms of style, but this dress went through a hell of a lot of distressing before it reached the final product. My friend, Ashlie, did the distressing. I think she worked with coffee, paint, fire and an assortment of cutting implements to totally destroy this historical garment. The final product was exactly what I wanted – a dirty, falling-apart dress that a little girl had been crawling around in for a long time in an abandoned city. Let’s just say when I wear this cosplay, if I get something on my hands, I just wipe them off on my dress. This cosplay cannot get any grungier.
    • The Adam Gun – While I had lots of help with the construction of the dress, I had enough skill and inspiration to build the Adam Gun on my own. I went off  a design from Harrison Krix of Volpin Props for the Adam Gun he created. I started my construction process with a vintage gas pump that I bought off of eBay for ~$40. From there, I took it to a plumbing store where I played with plastic plumbing pieces to create a mount for the Adam container that would rest on the gun. The parts all fit on there very snugly, but I was sure to pretty much cover everything in e6000 to make sure it stayed together. The Adam container is just a larger size jar from baby food. YES, BABY FOOD. And the Adam nipples, those are also from the BABY DEPARTMENT. The nipple fits tight over the top of the jar, and covered the seal with a piece of elastic that I painted bronze. Other misc. parts in the gun include lamps parts and a sharpened dowel for the needle. After it was assembled, I wacked the shit out of it with a wrench to get some distressing marks and then painted it. I even added some red marks around the handle to give the effect that I picked it up with a bloodied hand. In contrast to the Volpin Props Adam Gun, mine doesn’t light up from the base, but! It is functional! I can drink Adam right from the gun, just like a Little Sister would. I usually fill it up with red Rockstar or cranberry juice. I tried lots of liquids before I settled on ones that were the right color of red I wanted.
    • Makeup and Contacts – This was the first cosplay I incorporated the use of stage makeup and color contacts into a cosplay – yay for using my Technical Theater degree! In my first go-around with Little Sister, I only did stage makeup for my face. In later versions, I added full body makeup to drastically change my body tone and to cover up all my tattoos. I did this for Crown Cosplay Championships, and the result made me much paler than I usually am. I got yellow contacts from my eye doctor, and if you want contacts, that’s the way to go to make sure you don’t get cheap ones that damage your eyes!
    • Choreography – You read that right! I did some sessions playing the game to perfect a classic movement style for Little Sister. If you look below at the CCC video, you can see an example of my movement!
  • Research – I played Bioshock. A lot. To the point that I unlocked every single achievement. I also did a lot of photo research online. For makeup, I really love this photo in particular

LS6

  • I did a lot of test runs with makeup and it took me a couple tries to figure out how to get contacts in since I had never worn them before in my life, but I think all the time I spent playing the game was all the research I really needed XD
  • The Finished Product – From cosplay that almost wasn’t finished in time (surprising for any cosplayer >_>) to what is now my award winning cosplay and the one I probably most well known for, Little Sister is where my cosplay heart always rests at the end of the day. It was a collaborative effort and the inspiration for me to move forward with my cosplay career and do bigger, better things. She and I went on to have our first major photoshoot together, to win Best Performance at New York Comic Con, and to be invited to the first ever Crown Cosplay Championship at C2E2. I’m proud of this little girl and her life under the sea. It has inspired me to aspire to greatness, and I can’t let her down.

I am 4:54! This guy gives me mega-props. Thanks, Rush Down ^^

 

LittleSister

BlizzCon 2015 – Post Con Update

A second time at BlizzCon and it was even better than last year. Why did I ever say you only need to go to big conventions like this once?! Well, it’s been agreed, if I can afford it, I need to go to BlizzCon all the time. This year was an absolute blast. It could be that I didn’t have to to fly all the way from NYC this time around. It could be the charming, adorable boyfriend I got to bring along with me this year. It could have been the largest BlizzCon Bottle Share that has happened to date. Hell, even Jessica Nigri’s cosplay is a level of awesomeness that sets this BlizzCon, this convention, just steps and steps ahead of many previously attended conventions.

The Highlights

  • Taking Along a Cute Boyfriend – This year, for his birthday, I bought my boyfriend, Jeremy, a ticket to BlizzCon. He’s been into the Blizzard franchise much longer than me, and he’d never been to a true convention before. With my veteran status of convention attendance, I decided to initiate him to my life on the highest possible level – with BlizzCon! Needless to say, I think he enjoyed himself, and I enjoyed having a nerd in tow that was just as excited about everything as me. He tolerated my lengthy dressing process for Prescilla, waited in endlessly long lines, and even put up with standing while we watched the Heroes of the Storm Championships. He’s a good one. I think I’m going to keep him.JeremyAndMeOh, did I forget to mention that we also did a couples cosplay?! OMG. First time ever for me, first cosplay EVER for him. We wanted to do something simple and comfortable, and we kind of wanted to be low on the radar. We went as the Defias Brotherhood – he went as the Defias Messenger and I went as a Defias Renegade mage. Both costumes were easy to put together and some people even recognized us! It was cool to just walk into a space, throw on the bandanna, and a bunch of people high-fived us and gave us smiles. Simple, yet satisfying.

Defias

  • The BlizzCon Bottle Share and Swap – this is the second year I have been involved with this epic event. At a basic level, it is nerds gathering together to drink beer. On an epic level, it’s intelligent, respectable, friendly and gracious nerds gathering to open the rarest of brews from across the country (and the globe) to raise a glass and appreciate the greatest gifts the gods have given us – beer and video games. I knocked out a few of my beer whales at this party and reunited with some spectacular people. The Doubletree even let us utilize some space in the lobby because the evnt grew so large. There was Cards Against Humanity, good conversation, and the best of brews. Here’s to another fine year at the Share! Cheers to all that played a hand in bringing it together again!

Swap

      Prescilla 2.0 – it’s amazing how a cosplay character changes in the span of a year when you just throw a blond wig into the mix. In the past year, my Robe of Departed Spirits cosplay has received a slight makeover (Prescilla is a blonde now), a new backstory, and an awesome photoshoot with my new cos-photographer, AJ Brooks. I also took some time with her to go check out the BlizzCam 360 were we got this 3D view of my entire cosplay! AHHH! WATCH ME ROTATE FOREVER!!!

 

prescillagif

 

    • I also took this picture with an Arthas who had to have been like, over six feet tall. OMG I look so tiny. I’m super stoked in this picture because he told me I could hold the sword. Like a kid on Christmas. I then went on to take over the world.

 

arthasandme

  • Warcraft Movie Trailer – enough said. Go YouTube it and wait for June 2016.

I honestly can’t think of a way to make this con better. Maybe if Blizzard decided to make it three days. I never have enough time to go do everything I want to. I ALWAYS miss the Cinematics, even thought they run all day. Maybe making more seating so people can watch the Championships without having to stand? The need like satellite seating areas around big televisions. I don’t think they anticipated how big the HotS tournament was going to be. Well, earth to Blizzard – it’s a big deal. Make more seating available. My feet hurt. Regardless, I will be back next year if I can procure the tickets.  And we’ll be back with another awesome Blizzard-esque cosplay. Maybe something that lights up >.> I dunno, we’ll see!

Till next time!

-KLR

New Photoshoot: Robe of Departed Spirits

Yay!

Most of the coverage on my website has featured the development of this robe from when I originally said I would start working on it to when I finally finished the robe and debuted it at BlizzCon 2014. Now, with my new cosplay photographer, AJ Brooks, we managed to find some time to sneak off to the woods and do a photo shoot. At last, I give you the Robe of Departed Spirits (done as a female Blood Elf). Pleas enjoy this photos as this is one of my most exciting photoshoots to date!

-KLR

Anime Expo 2015 – Post Con Update

I had such a blast! First time ever at Anime Expo! I never thought I would be able to make it to a big convention like this, but when Need Input was accepted for presentation, I was so excited to finally be given the chance to to go to Anime Expo! I would have to say my major highlights were:

!) Sailor Moon Meet and Greet and premiere of the new English dub Sailor Moon Crystal R! I met so many gorgeous cosplays, the room was full of Sailor Scouts! Because it’s comfy and was really warm in LA, I wore Sailor Neptune for almost the whole day! Here’s some pics from the meet up and from strolling around the convention!

2) Inafune Surprise! – I found out very late on Friday morning that a bunch of my hotel mates were going to wake up early on Saturday morning to go in wait for autographs for Keiji Inafune – THE MEGA MAN GUY. Turns out my boyfriend is a huge Mega Man fan and what else was I gonna do on Saturday morning? So I got up at 4:30 am and went and waited in line to get tickets for his autograph. After managing to wait in line until 9:00am, I managed to get a ticket! I spent some more time and I found a kickass wall scroll that I had Inafune sign. Even though it wasn’t for me, it’s still an emotional moment when you’re inches away from a living video game legend.

3) MY PANEL OMG – I got to run Need Input! at Anime Expo! Still can’t believe how far I’ve come with this little panel! My turn out was minimal, but there were still a lot of very heartfelt moments and I got some amazing responses from people. I tried out a lot of new questions for the first time and even some interactive experiments to really get people to talk to each other as opposed to just talking at me. I also go to debut my new gijinka Ampharos!

All in all, it was a wonderful experience to have and a great event to be a part of. I’m not sure if I’ll make the time and effort to go back again any time soon, but at least I can now say I have ran a panel at Anime Expo!!!

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-KLR

Oregon…I’m BACK!

After the move of my life – 289 pounds of my own stuff, 3 checked bags, one cat, and way too much alcohol at an airport, I have managed to reinstate myself in my home state of Oregon! I got things off with a bang pretty quickly by dropping in for my 11th consecutive year with Sakura-Con. Honestly, I can’t believe I have been rooted for so long with a convention, but every year keeps getting better and better. See my con review blogged here! (TBW).

Now that I am back on the west coast, I have a whole new bunch of conventions that I can travel to with ease and cheaper travel costs. My friends didn’t hesitate to tell me that I can now attend the grand daddy of them all – Anime Expo in LA! I’ve always heard of AX but never considered going, but this year, it’s on! I’m gathering up my favorite anime cosplays – Sailor Neptune and Magumi – and we are going to go run and play in the sun! For the first time ever, I am also going to be designing and making my own Pokemon gijinka! Gah! I’m so excited!

Gijinka

I ALWAYS caught a Mareep when I played Pokemon Gold and that was my electric Pokemon all the way until I got my Ampharos. Picking a Pokemon to gijinka was the hard part at first, but now that I know, I had to pick a fashion style and really, the options are endless! I went ahead and stuck with something familiar and I’m going to do it in Lolita style with a bustle back, and I’ve decided to also add a black waistband that wraps around and ties into a bow in the back. I have some other really cute accessories planned and can’t wait to buy my fabric so I can find the coolest yellow shoes EVER. I’ve never done a gijinka, but I feel really good about this one! It’s probably my new cosplay gateway drug and I bet I’ll want to do another one later!

After lots more discussion and convention planning, I have figured out my con schedule until probably the winter. I never imagined I would get booked up so quickly, or have so many things that I wanted to do! Here’s what I’ve got going on, and this is just the conventions I’ve got planned!

Anime Expo – Fourth of July weekend, Los Angeles, California

Anime Revolution – August 14-16, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Kumori Con – September 4-7, Vancouver, Washington

Rose City Comic Con – September 19 & 20, Portland, OR

I have so many other events crammed in there that my work is going to super hate me for the all the time I plan on taking off work. I figure taking a few days off every other month isn’t too much to ask, so we’ll just have to see. I’ve already got things arranged for Anime Expo, including my cosplay line-up. We’re goin’ full anime for the first time in a long time! Gee…cosplay…what on earth am I going to do for Anime Revo?! Guess we’ll have to pull something from the ‘To Do’ list.

Life is gradually getting easier as I am back home. I have so many people to spend time with now. All my favorite hang-out spots are right where I left them, and traveling around this city is so easy, both by bike and by public transportation. I am in the height of the weather season here. The days are getting longer, it’s warmer and there’s more sun in my life than I feel like I’ve had in a long time. Even though there was technically sun in NYC, it never really feels this clean and pure because there’s garbage on the ground everywhere. In Portland, I am surrounded by green. I’m heading into the summer months, and in addition to conventions, I have so many events planned and still so many things in addition that I should be doing. Also, BAWLS is fully back in my reach. I CAN DRINK IT EVERYDAY. It’s going to be a great year.

I think I have said this at least once everyday in the past month and a half…but it is so good to be home.

-KLR

15 Minutes of Fame

Prepare to get dirty, crass and half-dressed. I spent some time on You-Tube recently and I have come across some fun videos from my cosplay past!

Well, it’s kind of cosplay. I’m a former champion and judge of the Sakura-Con Anime Swimsuit Contest for five years. I was runner up two years and took the crown for Fan Favorite one year. Following two years, I stood on as a judge…and to keep the guys who ran the contest sober. I miss that contest, but it’s not at Sakura-Con anymore. I hear the guys that run it are doing it all over the country at tons of different conventions now. I’m happy to have been a part of their experience while they were getting started up. f you YouTube Search “Sakura-Con swimsuit contest”, in the top ten videos, three of them feature me. Not too shabby, I must say.

Year One

I My first year resulted in a third place. It was ok, speaking it was the contest’s first year ever. No pics or video, but it was the first year the contest was ran. They had it in a room that could seat around 80 people. They easily capped it and probably put the convention at risk for creating a fire hazard. Guess they didn’t know how many people would actually want to see nerdy girls in bikinis. After three rounds, I was granted third place! I felt awesome to even place! I got $20 and a box of Pocky. I got to run around in a bikini at Sakura-Con and there was no issue. I consider myself lucky.

Year Two

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ASS2010  25608_505726785256_8036364_n

My big win as Fan Favorite in 2010 features me as Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion doing anime and video game-related stand-up comedy as my talent. I scoured the internet for really awful nerd jokes that were sure to make someone laugh. Most of them got people laughing and cheering. A few of them were pretty bad – so bad that someone in the audience boo’d me. Everyone started to boo him and shout at him. I calmed everyone down and said, “No, no it’s ok. I came prepared for this. Hey, you, your mama is so fat it took two Deathnotes to kill her.”

AWWWWWWWWW! The audience erupted. I had just school’d someone. I felt very cool ^_^ Very cool indeed. I shortly after that, someone decided my stand-up was worth recording, as you can see in the video before:

Year Three

In 2011, I cam back in full force as the Wolf Goddess Horo from Spice and Wolf. I took a note from Horo and tried to make it about her as much as possible. I sported my ears and tail with pride. I even drew from spring green-colored dress in the manga art and made my bikini to match. The one thing I was struggling with was the talent portion of the contest. I couldn’t figure out what to do. Fortunately, one night, I was discussing the upcoming and daunting Swimsuit Contest with my friends and how I hadn’t figured out my talent. I was waving my empty beer can around in a drunken stupor and exclaimed, “It’s not like I can crush a beer can with my thighs!” The reply came: “I don’t know, can you?” I tried. I could. I did. The first round left some very, very deep bruises.

Bruises

But hey! I could do it! I spent the next few weeks practice with strips of leather lining my thighs so I wouldn’t continue to bruise. I tried different positions, different kinds of cans, and even managed to put a few small secret starter dents (I know! Cheating!) in the cans so it would eventually give. If you’ve never tried it, it’s really fucking hard to crush a can with your thighs, especially when you’re sober.

Con came around, and I might have had a couple cocktails before the contest. I was so nervous, more so than I had ever been in previous years, I really wanted everything to go well. I was gonna need a can, an empty one, but then it dawned on me. Horo’s a booze hound, literally. The wolf-woman is a drunk, and she often does it to excess. It made me want to drink on stage too, but Sakura-Con has rules. I decided to chug a can of Pellegrino on stage to demonstrate my all powerful chugging skills…which are actually non-existent. I’m not a chugger. I lack something in my throat muscles. So, it took a while. A lot longer than I had hoped. The audience cheered me on, and I just kept trying to finish the damn can. Finally. The damned thing was empty. I was ready to crush. I got their attention and everyone was watching. In a farking bikini with a wolf’s tail and ears I squated into the chair, spread my legs and got the can ready. Allow my inner monologue…”Damn. This is really hard. Ah fuck. Why isn’t it working? C’mon Kat! We’ve been practicing this for weeks! Don’t fuck up now. Holy shit. What is going on!?”

People were leaping out of the seats. They were bum-rushing the stage – photographers, fans, creepers, but king among them all was Frank the Bearded Man. He is the champion of all swim suit contests. He takes off his shirt at every single one and is the real winner every year. He has become my long-time con buddy and he always brings me Bawls. I would like to take this moment to say that Frank was there first to make sure I crushed that can. That’s a real friend.

To skip my initial chugging and for other angles of the can crushing, see below:

The two years following I sat in as a judge to help declare the future winners, and hey, we even had a guy win the forth year! My last year sitting in, I was up on the stage at the Judges table, drinking BAWLS and messing with my phone. The contestants were all lined up on the panel floor, sitting in chair directly below us. I overheard their conversation trickle into familiar territory: “…You remember a few years ago when that chick crushed the can with her thighs?” “Yeah, that was pretty boss.”

And so my legendary memory had been passed down to younger generations of nerdy, scantily clad men and women, all questing for that $50 grand prize – oh, and a box of Pocky. So, I guess if you’ve ever wanted a real inside look of nerd convention swimsuit contests, you know what it looks like now – the inside of a wolf goddess beautiful yet bruised, porcelain thighs.

OldPhoto

-KLR

A Year in New York: Cosplay and Life

I have pretty much come full circle with my life since moving to New York a year ago. I’ve made five new cosplays, traveled to six different states for conventions, been a participant in the country’s largest cosplay contest, and ran Need Input four times. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve battled terrible homesickness, struggled to maintain PMDD, and my relationship with my fiance finally fell apart after 4.5 years. I find myself with the year coming to an end as both a winner and a loser.

Well, no, not a loser. I’m just being hard on myself. My own greatest weakness. I’ve never felt like a loser in the past year. Even standing up on the stage at Crown Cosplay Championships as they announced the winners of my category, I didn’t feel like a loser. Quite the contrary – two other competitors in my category also had skepticism about being able to win. The three of us all agreed that even if we lost, we would stand firm as Team Snowflake and that nothing could even crush our dreams. When Big Daddy was announces as Video Games Category 1st place, the three of us all cheered, “Yay! Team Snowflake!”. It was obvious that many people in the front row of the audience had heard us, and they had no idea what was going on. We were more stoke than anyone one else when we learned that we all still got this large swag bags with tons of awesome nerdy stuff inside. It still felt like winning.

As far as the year ha gone, New York has been a unique experience that I think any creative person can benefit from. It lights a fire under your ass. It will make you pursue your dreams, conquer your fears and you will learn more about yourself, more than you ever thought possible. I have been so productive this year in terms of cosplay, and I have been able to discover what I really want to do career-wise while living here. I know I’m never going to be a big professional cosplayer, probably not an ambassador for the craft, but I’d like to think I’m a good representative for the idea of cosplay. I believe in what this craft can do for you, and I’ve just come to terms that I’m not going to make a living off this, and I’m ok with that. I have found my true calling…beer.

With my cosplay season over for the year, I am going to spend the month of December working on new cosplays for my upcoming season, which actually starts in Janaury this year x_x I was invited by Wizard World to present my panel at another convention, and I picked Portland since it means I get to go home! With the ending of my engagement and no real reason for me to stay in New York, I am going to being moving back in March. I’ll spend some time while I’m back in Portland in January networking with Whole Foods locations in the Portland area so I can try to secure a job before I move back in March. Just to give them my resume and put a name to a face. The month of December is also dedicated to earning my Certified Beer Server, which will just make me more marketable as I transfer back to Portland.

I regret nothing over the past year. Eh, I’ve lost some and won a lot in exchange. Leaving New York will be hard. I’m leaving behind an ex, a great team of workers at the Whole Foods I helped open and all the footsteps I’ve taken all over this filthy city. At least I’ve done it. Moving back to Portland doesn’t feel like failure. I have never felt like I belong in New York, and I fucking love Portland. It’s an ok place to be. I miss my old fabric stores too. I like being able to go one place and buy everything at once. I will miss the garment district, but I get the feeling most of the things I have been buying here, I can get them online. Ah, the glory of the internets.

Speaking of internets…When my relationship finally ended, like, I knew it was over, the first thing I did was crack open a beer and get onto Battlenet. I worked with a wonderful WoW GM who helped me reset my password and get back into the game. I told him I had stopped playing around the beginning of a relationship with a non-nerd, mostly because there was no internet to play WoW with. Anywho, this GM though it was nice that I was coming back to WoW after leaving it because I was in a relationship with a non-nerd. He gave me a week of free play time and gave me some advice as I came back into the game. I had left pre-Cata, so everything had changed. This was part of the reason I never wanted to go back. On the bright side, my favorite parts are still there. The feeling is still the same. I don’t have to say no anymore. And I couldn’t have come back at a better time. Warlords of Draenor just release. I attended Blizzcon for the first time ever, and now I have to go back next year. I met awesome new people, was exposed to some of my favorite gaming lore, and I can’t wait for next year. I couldn’t be happier on the nerd plane.

The world is realigning itself. I’m moving in a direction of eternal gaming, cosplay and nerd happiness. Now stop reading my blog and go back to playing your video games. Or watching your anime. Or reading your comics/manga. Or just go back to being your awesome self ^_^

-KLR

 

New Photoshoot: Sailor Neptune

I was able to escape to an abandon building on the coast during this last summer and shoot some awesome, sandy photos in my new Sailor Neptune cosplay! Sailor Neptune has made several convention appearances, including  Sakura-Con 2014 and Nashville Comic Con 2014. It’s a fun, frisky and powerful cosplay for me to wear – also the first cosplay I have ever done with a wig! Easier than I ever thought would be and I simply love this wig from Epic Cosplay! They will be getting so much business from me in the future as they have broadly expanded my world and made me really love being able to chance my hair for other costumes. Using my hair is awesome, but I think having teal hair is pretty spectacular too!

-KLR