The end of 2017 is approaching and there's just a couple of cons that I haven't blogged about yet: GTA Comic Con in November, and Toronto Fan Days last week. So let's get them all tied up with a pretty bow!
GTA was an interesting experience - Mr Stark and I were invited as cosplay guests, but instead of doing panels like we usually would, we were asked to do something interesting/creative/interactive with our table space. Since I don't normally have a table to begin with, and Stark gets one occasionally, we pretty much had a blank slate to work with and it took us a little while to finally decide on a theme. So what did we go with? Pokémon. Specifically the Alola region from the most recent Sun and Moon games. We already had our Professor costumes, so the concept was to wear them, and battle/trade pokémon with attendees, as well as having some colouring pages available. We even did a (probably) one-time-only set of pokémon theme cosplay prints. I wish I could say that our table was bustling with Pokemon fans all day... but it wasn't. Sadly the colouring pages got missed while packing for the con and we needed a flashier sign for the table, but we did meet one very enthusiastic young pokémon fan who we were very happy to chat with about the franchise. I hope that we have the opportunity to use what we learned to improve and attempt a "Taste of Alola" table again at another event in the future.
Table business aside, it was nice to see a handful or friends there and have prime seats for the costume contest (since we were right next to the stage) and our table-neighbours Joshua of the North and ReyGrey Cosplay were both awesome and fun to be sitting with. We even all traded photos at the end of the day. And speaking of photos... here are mine from the event!
And now the last con of the year (unless New Year's Eve counts... does it count?).... the event that used to be called D-TAC and is now Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show. Or DTAC for short. I didn't go to do any shopping, but just as one last time* to see a lot of my local cosplay friends, all in one place. I was hoping to get a little Riverdale cosplay group together but in the end half the people couldn't make it but I chose to wear Betty anyways since it was easy and available.* I wasn't as festive as the last couple of years, just adding some antlers, but that was partially because Betty is such a simple costume that I didn't want to cover up any details, and also because I was short on prep time.* Anyways, the mission of seeing friends and cute holiday costumes was successful and I took lots of photos: see below!
And to wrap-up, Betty ended up in this cute Fan Days cosplay montage ^_^
*what's with all these notations? Something I haven't really posted about yet - at the end of December I'm moving from Toronto to Kitchener! So a lot of my costumes and cosplay supplies are packed or just inaccessible right now, and I won't be able to make it out to as many Toronto events next year. Related.... I'm selling a handful of my costumes and other assorted supplies, check here for all the details.
Despite spending most of my time at the Cosplay Recovery Lounge at Fan Expo this year, the weekend was somehow a whirlwind blur of old friends and new faces. I wish I had been able to go to some panels or celebrity Q&A's, but as usual, I was just too busy and/or distracted by the rest of the con.
As the last big con of the year, I had to bring out my favourite costumes of the year. Friday was Cersei, Saturday was Holtzmann, and Sunday was Alice for the Ain't No Pretty Princess group (I couldn't make it on Thursday because of my work schedule). Friday was a very early morning for me but somehow I managed to arrive at the MTCC in full costume in time for my opening shift at the Cosplay Recovery Lounge. I didn't take many photos during my shift (since the room is a "no photography" zone) but I did have a chance to talk with some awesome cosplayers who visited the room and had fun with Alex and Kat - my coworkers for the early shift ^_^ Once the afternoon shift arrived for the lounge I ran off for lunch and then sadly missed getting to hang out with The Marvelous Girls of KW. Boo: timing. However, I ran into Snowhawk and King of the Freaks instead and spent the rest of the con mostly checking out the North building with them, which was a nice chill way to wrap up Friday.
I started off Saturday with a photoshoot with Elemental, who is always a blast to work with. As always, I'm looking forward to seeing the photos from the set! Once we parted ways I decided to visit the Ontario Ghostbusters table (because of course) in the time before my shift at the lounge. It was nice chatting with them (and hopping in on some photo requests) and of course I took advantage of the opportunity to try out their equipment! After that I was off to work again, this time with Alex, Megan, and Kiga. Despite being busy, fortunately we had things covered and it was a chill afternoon/evening of helping people and making more new connections in the community, which are two of my favourite cosplay things. I didn't hit up any of the after-parties, but I did go out for dinner with Ragz and Jonathan afterwards which was certainly better XD
Sunday was my day of relative freedom to actually see the South building. We started the day off with an "Ain't No Pretty Princess" shoot with the fantastic Paul Hillier - I'm super psyched to see the shots he got! We had the largest gathering of the band yet - Merida, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Kida, Ariel, Belle, and me in Alice! I had to change up the details of my costume a bit this time - my feet were rejecting the black boots I usually wear, so I swapped them out for my new red chucks...and of course my art-brain screamed that I couldn't just wear red shoes with a blue and white outfit so I added the red rose, lipstick, and Easter-egg-esque Queen of Hearts stuffed in my top. I think it works, and the forced creativity gave me some ideas for next time I wear her.
Then I finally got to see the South hall! I needed to visit my friends at their tables (unfortunately I only found Ice Phoenix Art and Chibik3r0, but hey, at least I found them!), and I wanted to check out the Vikings booth (last year I spent a lot of time in front of it but now I've actually watched a few seasons of the show so I HAVE CONTEXT), but the thing I was most psyched for was seeing the Thor Ragnarok costumes on display. I'm not planning to make any of them, but I just love seeing costumes in real life, and I took TONS OF PHOTOS. I think some friends might appreciate the reference material... >_>
Here are my selfies and other photos from the weekend for your entertainment:
Let's finish up with a few of my fave photos that other people took ^_^
I was at ConBravo! for all 3 days again this year, but I guess I was too successful at being a stealthy ninja because I feel like I somehow missed most of it. Go figure. Friday is understandable - I spent the day at work, then took the bus to Hamilton, and by the time I had arrived. picked up my badge, checked in to the hotel, and gotten into cosplay... there was time to take a real quick look at the dealers hall and then go for dinner with Kurumasha. I'm not even sure why I bothered to put on my Kate Bishop costume - I didn't even take a selfie. But it was good to see Sha again and dinner was perfection.
Saturday was the big day - convention time during the day, then being a Stage Ninja for the masquerade in the afternoon/evening, followed by a group Wicked + Divine shoot to wrap up the day. So Kurumasha and I spent the morning doing our goddess makeup for Badb and Amaterasu respectively, went to Cosplay for a Cure to get photos and hang out with friends in the afternoon, until it was time to do the masquerade thing. I couldn't ninja my makeup off so I just did what I could to hide in the shadows anyways LOL
While it otherwise ran relatively smoothly, the masquerade did finish later than expected which meant that we were rushed to meet with Jen of Verberg and Dan the Video Ninja for our shoot with Dream Land Photography... but we made it work in the end. Jen and I had been trying to find a time to cosplay Luci and Ammy together for months, so I'm glad that it finally happened, and even better that we had Badb and Baphomet along too.
Sunday was a lot more chill. I was "on call" at Cosplay for a Cure but the other volunteers for the day mostly had everything covered so it was nice to get to wander away regularly as well as chill with the ever-growing Ain't No Pretty Princess cosplay group. I've got shots from Cosplay for a Cure and Dream Land Photography to share from that group too... coming soon. As usual my own photos (plus a couple others) are below... mostly Saturday. Between carrying around my bass and fighting off con-plague sniffles on Sunday I didn't have my camera out.
Last year I had a good time at YetiCon despite being in a terrible mood because of bad cosplay juju, and this year I had a good time despite being constantly rained out so I think that says a lot about the awesome people that I went with (both years). I was much more ambitious than usual going in: I attempted to make 3 new costumes for the con (Kevin for Mr Stark, and Professor Burnet and Milotic for me), and while Kevin was the only one that got 100% finished, my other 2 were more than wearable, so that was a good start.
Since Mr Stark doesn't get to attend many cons with me, we picked our costumes to coordinate all weekend - we figured Wendy and Robbie from Gravity Falls would be location-appropriate for Friday (though I don't think we ended up getting any snaps with Ragz's Dipper or Logan's Gruncle Stan, who were both also around); Professors Kukui and Burnet (from Pokémon Sun/Moon) for Saturday's Pokémon Snap hike, followed by Milotic and Blastoise for our friends group of water-type Pokémon for the pool party; and Ghostbusters with Elemental on Sunday.
I did try to do more convention activities this year than last - but somehow that didn't really work out... I partially blame the rain, which I got caught in at least once... every day. We attempted cosplay bingo, rode the mountain coaster, played about half a round of mini golf before getting rained out, and went on the Pokémon hike (which not only ended in Mr Stark, the Video Ninja, and I soaked through and temporarily stranded at the top of the mountain, but also the Celebi supposedly at the top had already been stolen). Sadly, pretty much everything else that I had planned or attempted to do was rained out, or missed because I was spending quality time with friends XD
So big props to all my hotel roommates (and extended roommates) for the awesome company, great food, cosplay groups, game nights, and not-so-pool-party water Pokémon; to the other friends I saw and played games with and hung out with over the weekend; to Amaleigh for shooting with Mr Stark and I (not to mention the adorable and awesome addition of 50 Shades of Fandom); and extra props to Kiirokeishi and Dan for picking up the camera unasked ^_^
My photos are below, along with some of my faves that other people took... and as usual, full gallery updates with photos from private shoots will be coming later... as soon as I finish all the con reports!
It might be preemptive to call CC35 the convention highlight of my year, but it might well have been. Because, while I didn’t get to attend nearly as many panels as I would have liked, or eat and sleep well, or take almost any photos… I managed to finish all my projects on time, enter not one but TWO contests, and run an imperfect but apparently successful panel/demo. And, as always, spend 4 days with my cosplay fam.
We arrived Thursday evening to have time to chill and prep for an early start on Friday. I didn’t cosplay during the day on Friday to save my energy (and outfit reveal) for the evening. I did hit up a couple of panels though, including the always entertaining “Costume Horror Stories” and “Vinyl Cutting” (the latter of which wasn’t relevant to my budget but was interesting as a higher-tech version of my own Freezer Paper demo). Then it was time to prep for the Single Pattern Contest.
My entry for the contest was using the coat pattern option (#M7025), and even though the “costume” was just the coat, I had decided to do some character and runway appropriate(?) hair and makeup which was time-consuming (but worth it). Luckily I still got to the greenroom on time and judging/photos went smoothly. I was really impressed by how elaborate some of the Single Pattern entries were, and was feeling pretty intimidated considering that my own coat felt very simple or too close to the original design once I could check out everyone else’s projects. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was thrilled to see someone else had picked a Marvel character for their inspiration - check out this Loki Coat!
In the end the runway/stage section went smoothly, although I had a hard time hearing the MC and could definitely have timed the “reveal” of my coat’s lining better. Regardless, it was fun and a nice relatively chill warm-up event before the Sci-Fi masquerade. And…. [drumroll, please]..... I won best coat!!! I was really, really shocked considering what everyone else had brought to the contest. I got to bask in the crowd admiration (hahaha) with friends briefly at the social before it was time to pick up Mr Stark and Little Stark and get them checked in to the hotel. We went back to the party, but sadly it was pretty empty by that point in the night.
On Saturday I had a similar plan to Friday - casual wear during the day (this time my twitch-quality Link cosplay) to get me through masquerade tech rehearsal and any panels I wanted to go to before changing for the sci-fi masquerade in the evening. In the end I spent the afternoon socializing and instead of going to panels, but nothing wrong with that. I got into costume a little earlier than greenroom call time to shoot with Dream Land Photography so I have some great photos of the finally-complete Cersei!!!
The masquerade greenroom was chaotic but ultimately everything got sorted out, as it always does. One of the cool things about Costume Con is that very few masquerade entrants are first-timers, so just about everyone knows the greenroom drill. I have to admit that workmanship judging was nerve-wracking, not only because this is Costume-Con, but because the judges really really had their game-faces on and when they didn’t seem impressed by what I thought were the best parts of my costume I panicked just a little. At least the stage portion went smoothly - better than I had expected (especially since I was shocked to discover that I would be entry #5 which meant that I didn’t have as much time to practice as I had assumed). The audience reacted well, and I could hear laughing as soon as the second track kicked in, so that was a big relief that at least some of the crowd knew the song well enough to know where it was going. So without further ado, my masquerade entry “Set the World on Wildfire” (video courtesy of Dan The Video Ninja, as usual).
Luckily, since I was so early in the show, I was able to join the Starks in the audience to watch the rest of the show! That never happens! Once the show was over I joined the line to return to the stage for photo ops, though this time I was at the end of the line (probably because I was coming from the audience instead of the greenroom hahahaha. Once that was done, I ended up chatting with a bunch of people in the hallway about my costume while waiting for the awards announcement. And at the awards…. I WON TWO! “Honourable Mention for Fabric Painting” in workmanship, and “Future Arsonist” award for stage!!! I felt so validated in terms of the hundreds of hours I put into painting, especially since the judges hadn’t seemed to like it at the time. I also hadn’t realized until the awards that one of the workmanship judges is the head of the ICG >_> oops/yay?
On Sunday Little Stark and I both dressed up as Ghostbusters, though sadly we didn’t get to actually spend a lot of time together clearing the hotel of spooks and spectres. I stopped by the Future Fashion Folio to see what people had made, and then took my Cersei dress and belt to the masquerade show and tell panel (where I got to hear praise from the judges so that was nice), and after that the rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for my stencil demo in the last panel time slot of the day.
As for that demo… we started late because the panel ahead ran long, and I’ve never tried to do a stencil in an hour before (the fastest I have done *without* teaching/answering questions is 90 min) so I tried to have as much pre-traced and pre-cut as possible. And while only half the shirt actually got painted I think that I effectively demonstrated the technique, and with minimal derailment. Unfortunately, I hadn’t actually downloaded my photo references to my computer and poor Kurumasha was left with the futile task of trying to get my laptop to connect to the hotel wifi so I could show other examples… and it never did. I felt worse knowing that the wifi had been working right outside the room in the hallway as I did my prep work. In any case, big props to her for trying anyways and helping out where she could. The demo had a full room and everyone seemed to take something away from it.
After that the evening was chill - I watched the Historical Masquerade for the first time and was happy to cheer on my friends who went on stage! I’m also glad to have a much better idea of what is expected of a Historical Masquerade entry now, just in case I ever decide to finish my “in progress” period costume and want to compete at CC38, (which will be in Montreal, as was announced after the show Sunday night! Yes, I have already bought my membership). The night wrapped up with a late but delicious sushi dinner and discussions about fandom, con-running, life, the universe, and everything late into the night.
I didn't get up to any convention activities on Monday - just packing up and saying our goodbyes and being unsure as to how I accumulated so many ribbons over <72 hours.
Kitchener Comic Con was an unusual experience - I was going as handler and assistant to Stark Reality, who was a guest again this year. Instead, Because of course this is how things go, I ended up supervising the kids LEGO activity table for most of saturday and hanging out at the Cosplay dance party corner with Iron Girl on Sunday (which was great until my feet remembered that they hate my ghostbusting boots). But I did get to see some friends, both KW locals and others who drove in, and even got to see one of Mr Stark’s panels (because that never happens)!
As usual, here’s photos from the event ^_^
... and also as usual, I'll wrap things up with a few nice shots that friends nabbed at the con.
I spent the weekend at TCC this year similarly to how I spent many of the conventions in 2016 - working with the costume contest. This time, however, I was working with a different team of people on a different type of contest. Comicon doesn’t offer a masquerade-style contest, instead it’s a “Craftsmanship Contest” which gives entrants a few minutes each to talk to the judges and show off their costumes up-close. My job was the same as usual though, taking entrant info, answering questions, and generally herding cats. While the contest kept me quite busy all weekend, I was fortunate to have been visited at the table by many of my friends, and of course the rest of the contest team are all great people! Being busy meant that I only took a few photos but let’s face it, I’m always terrible at remembering to do that.
While I didn’t do any shoots, I did have fun with my weekend cosplay (especially coordinating with Rikkuriffic on Fri and Sat), and the reactions to Holtzmann were heart-warming ^_^. Sadly, almost nobody seemed to recognize our Rat Queens characters >_>
However, I got to meet and hang out with lots of cool new people and old friends, between cosplayers stopping by the contest table and chatting with the neighbouring tables/booths. And if you want to check out the results of the Craftsmanship Contest, all the photos are over on their facebook gallery. I had a surprisingly great time at the convention this year, and I'm hoping that I can do the same again next time!
I wasn't planning to be at ConBravo! this year, because of the convention-burnout from all my spring events. But the masquerade put out a call for volunteers and since I can't resist the siren call of working for a masq (and I could allow myself to have a day off from my sewing projects) I ended up there for Saturday afternoon and evening anyways ^_^
I wanted to wear something comfy, easy to change out of (since I needed to be a ninja for the masq), and "new", so I elaborated a little on my makeup test from the winter and dressed as Luci from The Wicked and The Divine. I love the look of the Devil Herself, and had a lot of fun trying to look like a badass all afternoon XD. I spent most of my time hanging around the Cosplay for a Cure room or shoving my camera in friends' faces until It was time for the masquerade, when I changed and shifted to ninja-mode. I got the "interactive" ninja jobs, which was fun, and there were lots of beautiful costumes entered! However, as a masquerade vetran, I think that Bravo might want to consider reducing the time limit for entries, or we need to bring back the "Masquerade 101" panels. Or Featherweight's tip-sheet handouts. Something to remind entrants that 2-3 minutes on stage is a very long time.
The night wrapped up with spending some time at the dance (it's been years since I went to a con dance!) and hangouts with friends because I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to everyone yet. Thank you to all my friends and the ConBravo! masquerade and events staff who made it a really fun day ^_^
As usual, I'm going to toss in a plug for The Video Ninja's coverage, including the full masquerade, retrospective, and interviews: ConBravo! 2016 playlist
So what's next? Fan Expo! I'll be there with Cosplay for a Cure this year, looking forward to that and the masquerade and cosplaying with friends. Gotta spend the next couple weeks getting my costumes finished though!!!
YetiCon was a treat at the end of the spring - a reward almost for 3 months of conventions and events every other weekend. In other words, it was the vacation that it deserved to be instead of the usual chaos that conventions usually are for me. As a result, I'm not quite sure how to write about it - I mean, I had a great hotel room with lovely roommates, wore comfy and fun costumes every day, and did a couple photo shoots... but I didn't participate much in the rest of the convention activities.
Due to a large oversight on my part, Cersei wasn't ready to enter in the costume contest like I planned, and because I spent all of Thursday night working away on that dress, I spent most of Friday at the con tired and trying to unwind. Saturday Kurumasha and I watched the costumes contest and cheered on our friends, poked our heads in on a couple of panels, and spent the evening in the pool and hot tub. Sunday was the "adventure" day - I was channeling Flash while riding the Ridge Runner coaster in my sloth kigu and riding the gondola to the top of the mountain, and we also spent some time at the magical tea party where we met a miniature unicorn XD
I didn't carry my camera with me for most of the weekend and so I took very few photos, but I've collected a few below.
Dream Land took some cute photos of my "Chihiro", which I have added to my Spirited Away gallery. I also shot Chihiro with PPhoto (first time shooting with her; so excited to see the results!), and Kurumasha and I shot out Rat Queens elves with Elemental (like, the millionth time shooting with her - total fave). Both those shoots will be posted at a later date ^_^
Once again, Anime North happened. Once again, I was there.
I stopped by Thursday to pick up my badge and take advantage of the hotel being mostly empty to do a shoot with Dream Land Photography: another Kate Bishop-inspired outfit, this time because Lelola had given me an appropriate dress to use ^_^
Friday I wore my Flashback Tizzie (for the first time with the right necklace!!) and even though it was disgustingly hot, Dream Land once again made sure I look awesome in his photos. Once Kurumasha arrived we snagged some Rat Queens pics together at Cosplay for a Cure, and spent the rest of the evening wansing around the con looking for (and finding) friends.
Saturday I was very glad that I hadn’t planned to wear a wig with my Spirited Away costume because I probably would have ended up with heat stroke. I really have no idea how anyone in a big or elaborate costume survived the weekend! Walking back and forth between the hotel and the North building for the masq was hell. On the positive side, the bathhouse costumes that Kurumasha is 100% responsible for were great greenroom staff uniforms - she did an amazing job. The greenroom ran about as smoothly as it could this year, which was awesome. I hope we can only improve on that experience again next year! It was great getting to interact with the Novice competitors as I took them to workmanship judging; so proud of each and every one!
Sunday didn’t go as originally planned: I decided not to wear my wig with Alice because it was just too hot (only threw it on for a few photos), ended up behind the table at Cosplay for a Cure for a little while, lost the friends I was supposed to meet because my phone had no signal, etc. But I did at least manage to catch the masquerade awards to cheer on my friends and the novices that I met in the green room as they accepted their awards.
Overall it was a very, very positive weekend. In spite of the heat, in spite of a severe lack of sleep, in spite of sore feet and legs most of the time; I had a lot of fun seeing so many friends and so many good costumes. I pretty much got to spend the weekend with all my best friends (except for Mr Stark </3) and doing one of my favourite “jobs” working the greenroom. Even managed to get at least one shoot of each of my costumes this year, which is an accomplishment itself. Wish I had more time to shoot with people and socialize more, but the heat and my lack of phone signal really hurt that.
Selfie-con photos below - most are mine and the ones that aren't are noted ^_^
See you all again next year!
Assorted AN videos I snuck into!
And finally, I've updated my galleries with photos from Anime North: Hawkeye, Tizzie, Spirited Away, and Alice!