Review: Heroes of Cosplay, Episode 5

I love this episode, too!  So much excitement and – yes indeed! – drama!

One of my favorite things was the emphasis that Yaya put on the performance aspect of their competition entry.  I love the idea of a big reveal for Riddle’s Alice/Meat dress.  Watching Yaya move in their skit rehearsal really demonstrated her dedication to the theatrics of a skit like this.

I’ve really been enjoying this aspect of cosplay coming out.  When I started, the first skit I did in 1999 was literally a bunch of people I’d met at the con that day in Sailormoon costumes and we were making it up as we were in line for the contest.  I’m so delighted in the change to these well-written and planned out skits with music, voice, even special effects!  That’s so exciting, and really just adds to much to what cosplay already is.

Everyone also really seemed to be pulling out all the stops and trying something new.  Building props with friends is some of the best cosplay-time I can remember, and I feel like Jessica, Holly & Rebecca really represented that.nausicaa-warrior02  One of my own proudest moments in cosplay was made possible only by the huge effort of my friends Jake & Tom who built Nausicaa’s mehve glider for me.

Seeing Chloe & Jesse find success with their costuming was heartwarming.  Jesse, who had worked so hard, put so much expertise and effort into his truly professional-level costume, was really gratified by his award – a position I really understand.  Though we persevere despite a lack of recognition or praise, there is a great feeling that comes from the accomplishment of getting an award.  We can know we’re good, but outside recognition means something different.  Maybe not better, but different.

Also hello Jessica & Holly as Riker and Picard, I mean come on.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Old and out of touch…

I’ve been feeling a little bit lately like I’m out of the cosplay loop.  Part of it is just that I WAS out of the loop… getting laid off and finishing grad school and being a first year elementary school teacher and a major 3 month illness will sort of do that to you.  Oh, and getting married and buying a house with said A youthful Beverly in 2002.new spouse, those things will all do it, too.  All of that stuff happened to me in the last three or four years, taking away my attention from a community that’s been changing in major ways, right under my nose.

I never really stopped cosplaying, but it did take a major back seat in my life for a while, and that’s left me reeling a little as I’ve come back to the scene full force.  It’s been good in a lot of ways: I’ve grown in both skill and attitude.  I’ve done more ‘traditional’ costuming, working from a number of different material sources (books, for instance).  I’ve gone to more kinds of cons than just anime cons – I have to say that was a great experience, and I’m really fond of Costume-Con and the scifi-fantasy con scene.

It took me until last year to get up a cosplay Facebook page.  It seems like that really became the thing to do while I was on my not-really-a-hiatus, and I totally missed the boat.  I was surprised to see it a point of contention that how many ‘likes’ you had was so important, as if it was a way to measure your worth as a cosplayer.  Then again, it sort of didn’t surprise me at all.  It was that way for years with photo comments at cosplay.com or comments and friends on Livejournal.  A new method to old madness?  Could be.

The word ‘professional’ is bandied about quite frequently.  There’s no hard and fast definition (because how can you have a hard and fast definition of any job in the arts?) but I love that people are making what they love into a career.  That’s a dream so many have, and I’m impressed that people are pursuing it with such passion.

A more mature Beverly in 2013.My attitude is really different now.  I think that had less to do with cosplay itself than with me learning more about who I am and what’s important to me…  and while cosplay is definitely important, I think I have a better idea of, well, HOW.  I learned a lot about my former bad attitudes – limiting others (at least in my head) by gatekeeping, keeping a list of what the criteria for “good” cosplay was, that sort of thing.  I had my eyes opened to how damaging those ideas are really only within the past year, and I’m proud to have broken those incredibly destructive attitudes.  Unfortunately, I still see it happening in the community, and I feel like teaching more positive attitudes is now a priority for me.  I guess it’s a throwback to my chosen career, education, and how much I want our community to be strong and welcoming.

Cosplay IS mainstream now, there’s no denying it.  When Conan O’Brian uses the word regularly on his show, it’s mainstream.  The definition of the word itself has changed in the last few years – cosplay is a synonym for costuming.  There’s no difference now.  Cosplay is nothing more than wearing a costume, whether you made it or bought it, whether it finds it’s source in Asian pop culture or American comics or English literature, whether it’s a customization or genderbend, whether the design is yours or someone else’s.  It’s all cosplay.  And it’s so beautiful.

I take it back.  I don’t feel out of touch –  I feel inspired.  I don’t feel old –  I feel rejuvenated.  I’m so proud to be part of a growing, learning community.

I’m so happy to be back.

 

Review: Heroes of Cosplay, Episode One

(As compiled from several Facebook posts and subsequently edited to make more sense and follow some kind of grammatical logic.  Hurhur.)

I love it. I love the vast variation of skills and experience and perceptions and behaviors. All the feelings, all the experiences, all the perceptions, it was all so VALID. It honestly reminded me of my earlier days in cosplay, when competing was a priority for me.

No, it wasn’t all pretty. Anyone who’s cosplayed for any amount of time KNOWS it’s not always pretty. No, I wouldn’t have made the choices that others would have made, but that’s why it’s so awesome – it’s another perspective! And each one of them is valid. The joy of success. The tragedy of disappointment. Priorities and perspective are totally different for each person.  That’s real.  Some of it was hard to watch because I KNOW THOSE FEELS.

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My first costume, Super Sailormoon from Sailormoon, made in 1998 (Photo from NDK 1999).  I had on two wigs. For realies.

I swear I’ve been every one of the competitors shown over the last 15 years that I have been cosplaying. I felt like I got gypped, I felt like a performer, I felt successful, I felt like I swept, I felt like I had a rockin’ good time and that was all I cared about. All of those things. All of them.

And I’ve been the bitch. And I’ve been the one hurt by the bitch (or bastard, as it were). I’ve been the grown-up princess with the little girl who loved me for who SHE thought I was. I’VE been the little girl meeting a princess I love. I’ve been incomplete, overdrawn, stressed, blissful, grateful, exhilarated. I think HoC portrayed that perfectly, honestly.

And on top of that, there were any numbers of really amazing tips and tricks – costuming at a professional level!  Automotive paint, head moulds, embroidery machines.  So much to learn and try.

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Rosa of Final Fantasy IV (DS) done in 2008 for Dragon*Con.

It was inspiring. I want to go up to my studio and work. I want the back yard to be done so I can convert the garage into a shop. I want to compete again. I want to be on stage. Yaya Han & company, you should be proud. I am.  I am proud to be a part of this beautiful, fun, dysfunctional, nutty and nerdy community.  I love it.  All of it.

Also love DJ Spider’s take, and I can’t agree more.  Read it here!

Watch the show Mondays on SyFy.

You’re A Great Cosplayer

I was reading through my Facebook feed today and came across some frustration and anguish over the more unfortunate parts of cosplay.  We can be very critical of each other, and not in a healthy way.  It reminded me of a cute bit of text – originally aimed at the myths of motherhood – and I decided to write a similar piece about cosplayers and costuming.  Enjoy!

[Edit 12/11/2014: So I totally fixed the picture that went poof. My bad!]

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To the cosplayer wearing their own handmade costume: Awesome job! You worked really hard to create that costume, and you should feel proud of your work! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer wearing a purchased costume: It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there! Thank you for supporting costuming, as well as the person you bought the costume from! You’re a huge part of this community. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer wearing a wig: We suffer for our art! Wearing wigs isn’t always comfortable or easy, but they’re an amazing look. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer without a wig: Comfort is its own brand of style! That amazing style came out of your own head, how awesome is that! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who spent loads of cash: Being able and willing to make a financial investment is fantastic! It obviously means a lot to you to use quality materials to create your costumes. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who spent $20: Who cares if you’re broke! You’re rocking that costume like it’s worth a million bucks! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who doesn’t have a Facebook (or whatever): Look at all that extra time you have for making costumes, you lucky duck! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer holding a giveaway at (insert number here) followers: Thank you for supporting the community by making connections and sharing your tools and skills! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who makes their own props: What an incredible skill! Sculptor, painter, engineer… you do it all! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer who leaves the props out: It’s pretty nice having hands free to eat a meal or go to the bathroom, right? You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with a highly detailed costume: Wow! That workmanship is incredible! You are clearly dedicated to your craft and willing to go above and beyond for craftsmanship. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer in a sexy costume: It takes a lot of courage to – literally, sometimes! – bare yourself to the world. Not to mention having to engineer something that could be rather gravity-defying! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with professional photos: Those photos are fantastic! It’s a worthwhile investment to capture all the hard work you’ve done. You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer with phone photos: Thank you for sharing the work you’ve done and treasuring the memories! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the cosplayer in a big group: It’s so awesome to have friends to share your passion with. Let the good times roll! You’re a great cosplayer.

To the solitary cosplayer: Your dedication to your work and the costumes you love comes through everything you do. You’re a great cosplayer.

To ALL THE COSPLAYERS: Do what you love. Love what you do. You’re a great cosplayer.

 

Inspired by “You’re A Good Mom,” read it here: http://www.duchessoffork.com/2013/05/youre-a-good-mom/

#UnitedforMarriage

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Guys, I am SO PROUD of this piece. It came to me yesterday after seeing all the pictures on Facebook and around the internet.

Polished 1/2" copper charm features the equal sign [=] suspended on copper chain. Lobster clasp, adjustable 15"-18" length. Show your support of equal rights for all people.

This copper necklace with an equal sign = is yours to purchase and 25% of the purchase price will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign, because I believe that love is love, people are people, and we are all worthy.

Please share, purchase, and love.

Tada, jewelry!

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A few pieces I finished this morning after them sitting in my “to-do” pile for months.  The green pair were actually just purchased, but one of the earwires was broken.  A few fun new things for school, which starts in a week!

What “to-dos” have you gotten to lately?

Back to School?

Holy cow, is it really that time?  Sure is!  Most schools will be starting in just a few weeks, about halfway through August, and we sure are close to that!  In celebration, here are some fun projects to prepare for the big return.

source: Dollar Store Crafts

Rhonda of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show off one of our favorite classic writing utensils.  Think of all the things you can do with pencils, wow!

source: Factory Direct Craft

This adorable burlap pencil case is printed with a little foam and some paint to create a block print.  Super cute and of course functional!  Thanks, Factory Direct Craft!

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Finally, our own speech bubble chalk boards take nothing more than foamcore, a knife, and some chalkboard paint.  Make any shape you want!  Fun first day photos, anyone?

What are some of your great projects for back to school?

Sparkle and shine!

Recently a purchased a FABULOUS pair of gold glitter shoes for a friend’s wedding (who doesn’t love a bride who asks you to wear GLITTER shoes?), and I am just SO in love with them!  Check out the finds I’ve made by continuing the search!

source: endless.com

These are similar to the Steve Maddens I bought, but the glitter here is darker and multi-colored!  The sparkle really makes this classic style exciting!

source: endless.com

Who doesn’t love the Dorothy-style magic of a pair of red glitter shoes?  I think the strap makes it that much more fun!

source: target.com

If you’re a little more budget-conscious, don’t worry!  Our friends at Target have a great collection of shimmering shoes to sate our appetites for sparkle.

source: target.com

No need for heels?  Try these super simple ballet flats – comfort and style all in one!

Which are your favorites?

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They’re here!

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The wedding shoes have arrived!  These are the Seychelles Women’s Aquamarine Pump (a decidedly unimaginative name for such a charming pair of shoes!), and I have to say, they are fantastic.  Super comfy, just the right height, and just really impressively crafted.  I’m going to be hard pressed to not wear them before the wedding!

In love with some shoes?  Share it!

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DiY Scarf Vest!

I have to share this quick-and-easy solution for a vest accessory!  From the amazing studs & pearls blog, this super simple and fast vest-from-a-scarf DiY.  Looks AMAZING!

source: studs and pearls

DiY: Scarf Vest at studs & pearls

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