BlizzCon – 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!!!

 

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    • 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

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

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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

Sakura-Con 2014 – Post Con Update

With ten years of Sakura-Con tradition under my belt, I returned to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA in April to attend my home convention. Usually occuring over Easter weekend, Sakura-Con is the Pacific Northwest’s biggest anime convention, boasting over 20,000 attendees at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle, Washington. It was the first anime convention I went to and the second ever, just after my first at Penny Arcade expo the year it debuted. Since then, I have attended Sakura-Con every year for the past ten years. I’ve even kept all my badges as the years have passed!

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Just add one more and you have ten years of Sakura-Con tradition! Sakura-Con means the world to me, if you haven’t noticed. They inspired me to keep making cosplays every year and to do bigger and better things every year. Five years ago, I competed in the Anime Swimsuit Contest. Year one, I got 3rd place; year two, 1st place by fan vote; and year three I got 3rd again. The two following years I was invited on as a guest judge, a position I take very seriously with my history with the contest. Two years ago I start running my Need Input! panel and it has been extremely successful in terms of gathering feedback for my research. For the past three years, I have played as a chess piece in the Cosplay Chess Main Game, playing a pawn, then a knight, then a rook. I’ve attended panels about everything under the sun, watched hours of anime in the screening rooms, watched the AMV Contest every year, danced with total strangers, done photoshoots,  and been drunk and stoned until the early hours of the morning just about every year. With my nerdy lady friends, Sam and Heidi, we’ve established theme phrases for the past three years. First, it was “Bidoof”. Just saying the word made us crack up. Then there was “You know nothing!”, said in a very selective tone. This year, as all three of us were mounted with some combination of stress, illness, jet lag,  work and school with just days before the con, the theme was “Nope.” For example – “Are you going to get up early for the panel tomorrow?” “Nope.” “Have you eaten anything today?” “Nope.” “Did you finish your cosplay?” “Nope”.  Sakura-Con, or Sa-Con as my friends and I call it, is home.

This year was probably more full than it needed to be. I was running my panel, competing in the Cosplay Contest AND a piece in the Cosplay Chess Main Game. Two of the three of those were extremely successful. My panel didn’t have a fantastic turn out, but everyone that came contributed very well and I was able to get more audio for a new transcription. I found it to be very productive and valuable. Hopefully Sakura-Con will let me come back for year three in 2015. Cosplay Chess went awesome! I had a great sparing partner dressed as Sora from Kingdom Hearts that was very fit and doing flips across the chess board. I played as Jean Grey from X:Men Evolution. I haven’t seen any video surface of the game yet, but I will be sure to post them here. A lot of people said that our match-up was one of the best fights of the whole game, so Cosplay Chess felt great to be in again. The waste of time of my Sakura-Con was, unfortunately, the Cosplay Contest. It had nothing to do with the fact that I didn’t win, really, nothing. It was horribly organized, sucked up my entire Saturday, and I never even got any stage time to work anything out. I got maybe 30 seconds just to walk around the stage with all the other walk-ons, and then we were ushered off very quickly so people could resume practicing their skits. I booked time right at the beginning of the morning, like 5 MINUTES of booked time, so that I could work on the stage, get some perspective and then be done. I wanted to go to other panels, actually eat some lunch and do more with my day. I sat around for almost three hours waiting to get stage time that I had made the effort to book and they never honored it. I then had to beg to be released so I could go eat as I didn’t plan on being there all day and was starving. By the time I finally got on the stage, I really didn’t know what I was going to do for the 1.5 minutes that my music was suppose to run for, and I felt foolish up on the stage. When I got back to my walk-on group, they were dividing us up, sending some people to a different line, and some people back to the dressing room. I was the only one in my group that they released, simply saying, “Ok, you’re free to go.” There are kinder ways of telling someone they didn’t win. I have competed on some of the greatest competitive cosplay stages in the country and this was a horrible way to run a contest. Sorry, Sakura-Con, I love you, but I will NEVER compete in your cosplay contests again.

After the blight of the cosplay contest was over, I joined back up with my friends. Some of us went to do other things, and two of my lady friends and I went back to the hotel room to get our drink on. Bawls + vodka = the most ridiculous Con drunk you could ever have. We ended up pouring out our hearts about an assortment of subjects – lifetime changing moments, lost and evil loves, trying to figure out what to do with our lives. It was a really meaningful conversation that was just meant to be some time to drink so we could go back to the convention. We did make it back eventually and went and danced our hearts out. When the dance closed at 3AM, we went and played some Rock Band. I discovered I can do vocals on Rock Band pretty well! It’s a lot like karaoke, just with grades! All my my scores were 94 or above, so I think I’ll try to be in Rock Band gaming sessions more often! After that, I played some Katamari Damacy for the first time in several years. I think I need to get another PS2 back in my life and buy some of those games again.

I woke up the next morning and didn’t really have a hang over, but I wasn’t really functioning either. I ended up spending the last day of my con in the infirmary and the convention center. I had terrible vertigo. Eventually, I ended up puking. I think I just completely burnt myself out. I really shouldn’t participate in so many events at a con! I just had too much on my plate. I thought I was going to have to reschedule my flight and stay one more night in Seattle, but I ended up just popping a Benadryl and sleeping through my red-eye home flight. It really is possible to out-do yourself at a con, but in the end, I think it was a really worth it. I can’t think of a better ten year anniversary!!! Can’t wait for year 11!

 

-KLR

New York Comic Con 2013 – Post Con Update

After moving to New York I was extremely disoriented. All of my stuff was in boxes, I had no furniture, no friends and I was already homesick. The only things I was enjoying were the warm summer, a new environment and having a fresh start. I guess all those things come hand in hand. The first thing I had planned in NYC was New York Comic Con in October. My oldest sister Beth bought me three days passes for my birthday, setting me up to attend for the entire weekend. It would be my first east coast convention and my second kind of comic book convention, the only one besides Emerald City I had ever attended (I’d been to Emerald City for the past four years in a row). I had a few major events that I was looking forward to. For starters, I had a huge pile of comics to be signed by a variety of people to sign in the Artists Alley. I was excited for one man in particular – Joshua Ortega. I’d been a fan of his since the first Emerald City I attended. I had started with his Necromancer comic, and then started reading his adaptation of Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer. I enjoyed his writing in everything he did, and declared myself his official fan girl. At New York Comic Con, I met up with again for the first time in two years. He remembered me spot on and greeted me with open arms. It’s always wonderful to have a celebrity remember you from previous meetings. I made sure that this time we got a photo together!

 

JoshuaOrtega

 

I got him to sign everything I had brought for artists and writers (literally half of my stack!) and thanked him for his wonderful work. He mentioned that if his success continued, he was going to buy the rights back to a comic I particularly loved and make sure that he wrote more. Necromancer only had six issues before it was cancelled, and I got completely hooked on the series, but was sad to learn that there wasn’t anymore. I’ve collected every issue and every variant cover I could get my hands on, and Joshua was always great with signing everything I could find. I’ve always wanted to secretly do an Abby cosplay. She’s a strong, powerful female character and really makes Necromancer an awesome title! If you’ve never read it, pick up the first six issues before he starts writing more!

 

Necromancer

The rest of my Friday was consumed with industry panels, shopping at the Gunpla booth and checking out the convention space. The Javitz Center really is gorgeous, and I think the highlight of any convention space is making sure it has plenty of windows. Sunlight is important for con-goers! About halfway through the day, I slipped into my newest cosplay, the second big event of my con. I decided to commit to a comic book cosplay. As a red head, I felt I would make a good Jean Grey, but which one to do? I went with something from my childhood and decided to do the X-Men: Evolution version. Not quite a comic, but definitely based on it. I remember watching X-Men: Evolution as a kid on Saturday mornings, right along side Cardcaptors and Pokemon. I didn’t have a lot of time between moving to New York and putting together a new cosplay so I kind of just threw something together. Not my greatest, but it was something fun to wear around the convention.I even got the chance to show it off on the Marvel Stage!

 

JeanGrey

While I had fun with Jean Grey, I had another cosplay event that was dominating my conscious while at the convention. The Saturday night of New York Comic Con would be my debut of competitive cosplay. I signed up to be one of thirty contestants that would compete for prizes in the Wikia Live Costume Contest. I’d managed to cosplay for almost ten years before I decided to compete. I’d done walk-on cosplay shows before, but nothing with prizes on the line. Naturally, I was a little nervous. I don’t know why, but it’s something to have your peers judged your cosplay, and something completely different to have judges, well, judge you! For the contest, I decided to go with Little Sister. She’s my strongest cosplay in terms of presence and performance, as in I can really get into the character. I think that’s one of the most important things when being in cosplay is being able to relate to your character and become them as much as possible. I think I get spot on with Little Sister. I creep around convention halls, leer around corners, stalk people and call out for Big Daddies. I scream at splicers, drink from my Adam Gun and play with Mr. Bear. I really, really get into it, and it seems to have an effect on those around me. I like the way it feels. This time, I’m not quite sure, but I think it worked to my advantage, or at least made me memorable. One of the guys I followed around the convention and inevitably scared turned out to be a judge for the contest. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I had done something bad, something that would count against me. During the interview portion of the contest, I mentioned that performance was important to me when I was Little Sister, that I liked to follow people around in order to be scarier. The judge in questions chuckled and said “Yeah, we noticed that!” Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it slid away as being a primary fear in the competition. I managed to get some lovely photos as part of the interview process. Special thanks to The Lemon Cookie for the wonderful photos and for featuring me on her website!

 

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The contest featured a lot of wonderful cosplayers from all sorts of genres, everything from comics, anime, video games, and popular media, like Lord of the Rings and Hunger Games. With thirty of us and only a few prizes to give away, I was wondering how it would all work out since I was at the end of the pack with the Balrog – he had to go last since he didn’t fit through the door so well. I did my best and put on a good show! In the end, I won my first award for cosplay – Best Performance! Turns out all that creeping around isn’t for nothing! I was awarded with some awesome gaming electronics, including the gaming mouse I use now. I was happy to be recognized for all my hard work, especially for my efforts in performance. My legs always hurt after cosplaying Little Sister because of the crouching I do, and it’s great to finally have that all pay off!

My Sunday was like most Sundays at conventions. I wore civilian clothing, was malnourished and exhausted and didn’t spend much time at the convention. I spend Sundays at panels and in viewing rooms, taking pictures of cosplayers and shopping. In particular, I made sure to go visit Yaya-Han at her booth in the Dealers’ Hall. I forgot to buy a print from her, but I did make sure to get a photo!

YayaHan

After some brief conversation (she had a heck of a line behind me), she mentioned being interested in my cosplay research ideas, proclaiming her interest in the sociology of cosplay. She gave me her business card and then gave me the opportunity to have a photo with her. She’s a big influence for anyone in the cosplay world and she has earned a fair amount of respect for what she’s done with it as an art form. I’ll admit, I had some opinions about her before I ever really read about her as a person, and especially before I met her. I have since changed my tune, hopped the fence, whatever you want to call it. I have a huge amount of respect for Yaya Han as a cosplayer, an artist and a human being. I hope to be able to do an honest interview with her in the future, hopefully something we’ll see on the RLC website!

Overall, New York Comic Con was fantastic, a true convention experience that I valued and learned from. I’ll have to add it to my list of possible convention attendance in the future if I end up moving away from New York. Surely, a convention not to be missed!

-KLR

Sakura Con 2013 – Post Con Update

It’s been a week since Sakura-Con ended and I am just now getting to the website. The hard shock of reality taking you back to grocery shopping, paying bills and going to work causes what my friend Heidi refers to as PCRDD – Post-Con Reality Distortion Disorder. In the nine years I have been attending convention, I actually do suffer when my main con, Sakura-Con, is over. I look at people on the street and they’re not cosplayers. Bawls suddenly isn’t an integral part of my diet and I have some withdrawal problems. Instead of trying to find my next panel, I’m trying to find my serving apron and I’m running late for work.

But in the beauty of it all, I get to look back on a truly magnificent convention this last year. Sakura-Con blew my mind for a ninth year in a row. Here are some of the big highlights of my year at Sakura-Con:

– I hosted a panel for the first time ever. Need Input: A Panel for Cosplay Research is my first step in a quest of anthropological field research to find out why people cosplay and how they feel belonging to a community at a convention. I was able to record all of the dialogue from the panel, including all of the feedback from the audience. I plan to make a transcript of the entire panel so people can read over all of the dialogue that took place. It is in progress as we speak, but transcription is a slow process. Stay tuned for the PDF file.

– In addition to my panel, I also conducted a 125 person survey to gain statistical information from the cosplay community, for cosplayers and non-cosplayers alike. I asked all sorts of questions, from basic info like age, gender identity and interest and scaled questions about feeling from cosplay, motivation to cosplay and level of intimidation from being judged when cosplaying at a convention. Now I just have to figure out how to make statistics out of this massive poll that I took…

– The AMV Contest is a very integral part of the competitive nature at Sakura-Con. It is one of the biggest contest with the most amazing handmade trophies I have ever seen. In a room with thousands of other Con-goers, we watched 35 awesome anime music videos battled it out in various categories. The AMV that won not only Best Technical also won Best of Show for the Audience AND Best of Show for the Judges. Here’s a link to Ileya’s awesome Evangelion AMV that stole the show and rocked out to my favorite Imagine Dragons song – http://youtu.be/7rMcBwbZbKM

– I debuted my newest cosplay, Megumi from Burst Angel. I will admit, I have been seriously been lacking with updating my cosplay profiles, and I plan to try and change that today after I make breakfast and before I have to go to work, but there will be photos of this cosplay in time to come. I decided that I needed to get back to being sexy with cosplay, so I chose one with tons of T & A. My fiance took some amazing photos in a photo shoot after the convention. Since I’ve told you all about it now, it would be rude not to give you some visual to go off of…

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– So on Friday night at the convention, I snuck into my old tromping grounds that is the Anime Swimsuit Contest. I have had something to do with this panel since the first year it happened. I competed for three years in a row, taking first place the second year by Fan’s Vote and third place the two other years. Last year I sat on the judges panel. I walked into the panel seeing the regular crowd that runs the contest, including my friend Frank the Bearded Man. The host of the panel was missing, and it was set to start in 10 minutes. I decided to just walk in a join the judges. I got to assert seniority with someone asked “who the hell I thought I was sitting on the judge’s panel” and recited my history with the contest. That somebody quickly silenced themselves. I could hear the contestants talking about the contest in previous years, especially two years ago when the Horo lady crushed a beer can with her thighs. They all said they wanted to meet her. I cleared my throat and waved at them like some retired legend from an ancient battle. The legend lives on….

– I participated in Cosplay Chess again this year as Little Sister, a huge success I must say. I definitely think I scared some competitors on the chess board and all of my battles went well ^_^ Good job everyone! Mark and I will be doing an outdoor photoshoot with Little Sister since I have a new set of contact lenses to make the cosplay ultra creepy!

– I also managed to survive my entire convention is a horrible cold that I think I acquired on top of the fact that I also had bronchitis. So yeah, I was pretty damn sick at Con too.

This concludes my epic Sakura-Con update! Next post will probably consist on my future plans for my next conventions! I also plan to post my prospective cosplay plans for the future!

-KLR