Posted in Blog Posts, Convention Center, Geek Chic

Cosplay is not Consent

Or Cosplay Etiquette 101…

First of all: cosplay is not consent.

Secondly: nothing a person wears, no matter who revealing nor how buttoned up, is consent, EVER.

And thirdly: cosplay is NOT consent.

Now that we have that out of the way we can discuss some etiquette surrounding cosplay!!!

1. ALWAYS ask to take a photo. It’s super creepy when someone who is dressed up sees someone out of the corner of their eye taking photos. You aren’t hiding. We can see. It’s SUPER OBVIOUS. Just ask! We have dressed up for a reason!! We what to talk about our work.

2. When asking for a photo: Please be specific. Ask if you can take a photo OF someone, or WITH someone, or if they can do a specific pose, or if you can hold or touch something specific. We need to know what we are consenting to when we say yes.

PJ Gotham City Sirens with their love interests as stuffies! This cosplay was a combo of purchases and hand built items. Cosplay and studies built by Phoenix Rosalie Designs.

3. If we say yes to someone to take a picture with us: DO not touch ANYTHING we don’t say is ok! That includes but is not limited to… our body, our costume, our props, or anything that isn’t yours. Keep your grimy hands off. Because it’s insane how expensive and delicate some of this stuff is. And we don’t like being groped in public thank you very much!

4. When taking a photo please stand a respectable (but not too far) distance away unless invited to touch anything.

5. Thank us! And get our social media handle for when you put it up on the web. We love to see our work up.

Cosplayer sporting a Steampunk inspired Mario at Gen Con. Had a great chat about how he made his custom leather hat and killer awesome hammer. Cosplay and props built by Netherworlder.

6. Please ask questions! And tell us you love our look! Or gush with us and geek out about how cool the latest episode of that anime is… or how people are obsessed with the wrong romance… or commiserate in how few people are in the fandom! Ask us how we did something.. how much something cost… how difficult things were…

Couple at Disneyland celebrating Dapper Day as Anna and Kristoff (1950’s Spring outfit version). They were eventually featured on the Disney Style Blog. Cosplay built by Phoenix Rosalie Designs.

7. Post on social media as long as you have consent to! Use our hashtags and our social media tags! Talk about or cosplay… and how excited you were to see the character.

8. Do NOT body shame. Period. Sailor Moon can be black, Poison Ivy is crazy curvy and Elsa can totally be a guy. Cosplay is about the love of our characters. And honestly most of them are inhumanely impossible in real life. So please please please let people have fun!

My best friend and I rocking steampunk style Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy cosplay at Gen Con 50. Cosplay built by Phoenix Rosalie Designs and Ace (the Harley Quinn).

9. Cosplay is all about expression. Embrace that vintage or historical Alice in Wonderland or that PJ version of the Gotham City Sirens. Everyone has a different take. And it’s all cool.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is for you cosplayers out there. Everyone was a beginner at one point and there is no shame in the level of cosplay you are at. There is no shame in buying your cosplay (there are a lot of us that make our living building cool stuff!). There is no shame in bounding because you don’t have the money to build the full thing. And there is no shame in building something so complex and large you can’t get through the convention hall doors! You all rock!

Cosplay lite (also known as Bounding) at Harry Potter World in Hollywood, CA.

And as always… if you are feeling harassed at a convention or see it happening to someone else, SPEAK UP. Contact the convention staff and coordinators. Call the phone number on the Cosplay is not Consent signs throughout the hall. Step in and speak up for the person being harassed. The more we do these things the less common they will become.

Have fun out there. And remember, always get consent for everything.

Posted in Blog Posts, Convention Center

Conventions and Their Influence on Geek Culture

Such a loaded topic. And it’s mostly down to opinion. Which makes this a hotly debated topic.

It basically seems to boil down to this: would geek culture be as prevalent if conventions didn’t exist? Or would conventions exist if geek culture wasn’t as prevalent?

Kind of a chicken and egg dilemma here.

Some of the first conventions for all things we consider geek are actually still around today. Gen Con, San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con, Balticon, Wonder Con… all have been around for well over 30 years. Newer conventions have taken off too. PAX, New York Comic Con, Indiana Comic Con, FanWorks… the list is extensive.

And conventions have been happening in so many different fields. MAGIC Trade Show Los Vegas is one of the largest fashion conventions in the country and has been for over 90 years! VidCon opened in 2010 and has been growing ever since as the main source of information and networking for all you YouTubers and Social Media Stars out there. Home and garden shows, sales markets…jewelry and antiques. If you can geek out about it you can find a convention on it.

So what is the appeal? Why cram yourself in a convention center for four days with 50…60… 100,000 other people? What’s the draw?

Camaraderie.

It’s that simple.

We want to know we have found others that are like us.

And that is really the influence on geek culture.

Geeks came first. But it was the desire and longing to bring together like minded people that caused conventions to really take off.

From Gary Gygax creating Gen Con to the fashionistas of the Men’s Apparel Guild of California Imaging MAGIC to the thousands of small homegrown cons that happen around the country there is something for everyone.

And it’s because we all want to find a place to belong.

Geeks have long been stereotyped and ostracized in society. Having an obsession with anything make that a reality. No one around you really understands why you love something that much… and when you find people that do they usually are so far away. So what do you do?

Before the internet and social media age you would get together and celebrate or work. Conventions have been around for centuries. From the medieval jousts and fairs to the multi-media interest hubs they have become today

It’s how we get together and find our people. Our group. Our tribe.

Conventions are the epitome of geek culture and have helped it grow into the mainstream acceptance it has today. It’s no longer considered weird to walk down the street with your STARFLEET issued red shirt, while sipping a delicious beverage out of your Doctor Who tumbler and carrying a Bag of Holding full of comics, graphic novels and books.

What went from stereotypes of nerdy, uncool boys (and the rarely occasional girl) in their parents basements playing some unknown and intensive fantasy game has become part of mainstream culture. I mean Stranger Things anyone?!?

And I do think conventions are to blame. In the best way possible.

Board game sections in large stores have gone from your typical Parcheesi, Monopoly and dominos to having full on tabletop games like Settlers of Catan, Villianous, and Pandemic just in my lifetime! You can walk into a mall and see everything from the Disney Store to Box Lunch carrying products for kids and adults alike . Small game and comic book stores have expanded or even built second and third locations. Arcade Bars are a THING. Books and comics are being made into movies and tv shows that even the ungeekiest among our world enjoy.

It’s become accessible. Easy. Fun. And most of all: accepted.

With out the visionaries of people like Gary Gygax, Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger, John Bunnell, David Cody, Ed Kramer… and so many countless others (too many to individually name here) I truly believe that geek culture would not be the thing it is today.

And that, honestly, is thanks to the fact that they decided it would be amazing to bring all their friends together and spend a weekend celebrating what they loved.

All. Things. Geek.

Posted in Blog Posts, Convention Center

Gen Con

The Best Four Days In Gaming

So… though this is cancelled for in-person attendance this year we are all still celebrating this killer awesome weekend. Over 4000 events in 6 languages (including ASL) will be presented online this year due to Covid-19. We will be celebrating at home NEXT WEEKEND (July 30-August 2) within our social distancing circle and online with friends and all of you!!! But first a brief history of Gen Con and how things kicked off for this particular convention!

Gen Con is EPIC! From its beginning to its current iteration, this convention has so much going on that I don’t even think that anyone can truly do everything there is offered while having to sleep.

Originally called with “Lake Geneva Wargaming Convention”, the convention was created 1968 by the LEGENDARY Gary Gygax. This is the longest running tabletop gaming convention in the country.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, the convention had the highest attendance record in its history and consistently is the highest attended gaming convention in the US. The convention currently averages over 60,000 unique attendees EVERY YEAR!

When Gygax started the convention it was located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin… taking place IN HIS HOME and backyard in 1967 following an event for the International Federation of Wargaming (IFW) that many locals couldn’t get to. This would eventually become Gen Con 0. The following year Gygax rented the Horticultural Hall in Lake Geneva to hold a follow up event for the IFW. This would eventually become the Gen Con we know today. Horticulture Hall’s footprint was recreated at the 50th anniversary of the convention for current con goers to walk through. Boy was it tiny!

During its first few years the convention bounced to various locations in Wisconsin. During this time Gygax co-founded Dungeons and Dragons, one of the very first Roll Playing Games in history. The game would eventually become a staple at Gen Con. In 1985, the convention found its first permanent home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where it would remain until 2003.

Gen Con was started to celebrate the love of board games and miniatures wargames.

Around 100 people attended the official Gen Con 1. Which seems insanely small by our current standards but that was a lot of people for 1968! This convention was one of the biggest and was one of the first conventions for what are now known as tabletop games in the world. The first convention only cost $50 to rent the hall and Gygax and his friends sold hotdogs and other items they had purchased at the grocery to feed the hungry guests. This is a far cry from how much the convention now costs and brings in and feeds every single year.

Leading up to the relocation of Gen Con in 2003, there were several collaborative events held around the country. Gen Con West lasted for about 3 years in California while Gen Con South ran for 6 straight years in Florida. Gen Con East popped up for 2 years being hosted in New Jersey and then Pennsylvania.

While all of this was going on Gen Con continued to grow. Between the creation of more miniatures wargames and Gygax confounding Dungeons and Dragons, more and more people attended the convention each year. By 1985 when the convention moved to the Milwaukee Convention Center there were over 5000 attendants and they had more than outgrown their smaller locations throughout the area in Wisconsin.

1992 marked an incredible year. Over 18,000 attendants came which raised the small homespun convention to the largest US gaming convention in history. And this was ONLY the beginning.

Gen Con joined forces with Origins Game Fair (which we will also be talking about on the blog) and they ran as a single convention in 1988. Eventually they separated again and now are held on separate weekends, often attended by many of the same people!

Wizards of the Coast debuted Magic: the Gathering at the 1993 convention, selling out of the Cards they had produced for the WHOLE YEAR in 4 days… over 2.5 million cards. And it would not be the only company to use the convention platform to jump start and introduce a new game.

Having changed hands several times Gen Con was finally acquired by Wizards of the Coast (yes, the same company that makes Magic) and they made the decision to move the convention to its current home: The Indiana Convention Center, located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana and just south of my hometown.

This is where it has been for the last 17 years. And it’s only grown exponentially. For the last 3 years there have been over 60,000 unique attendees and it is only growing bigger. In fact it is now so HUGE that the convention center isn’t big enough to hold all the around the clock events and the convention has basically taken over Downtown Indianapolis for 4 days every year sometime in late July and/or early August

Events are extensive and overflow to local parks, hotel ballrooms, even Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts for any football fans out there). There are themed LARPs, miniatures competitions, cosplay seminars, writing groups, VR gaming, an artists alley, giant versions of games, and even a FULL BLOWN live Dungeons and Dragons inspired dungeon event.

I am so sad that we don’t get to be together this year because it isn’t safe. But this will just make next year all the sweeter. So, thank you Gen Con. For helping to keep us safe. And we will see you online next weekend!!!

All information was found on Gen Con’s official website or on their Wikipedia page which was linked on their official website as of the time of writing.

https://www.gencon.com

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gen_Con

Image found on Gen Con’s official website.

Posted in Blog Posts, Convention Center

San Diego Comic-Con

Where Film, TV, Comics and Pop-Culture combine!

San Diego Comic-Con (or SDCC) is arguable one of the most well known and largest multimedia convention in the world. Next weekend would have marked the 50th anniversary of the convention. But due to the current pandemic this is the first year in 50 years the convention will not be taking place in person in sunny San Diego.

Started in 1970 the convention was not always known as SDCC. Originally called the Golden State Comic Book Convention this incredible annual event had simple roots.

The event was founded by a small group of friends to celebrate comics, science-fiction and fantasy film and television, and other arts associated with these themes. The convention eventually grew into what it is today. Starting off as a one day convention, The Golden State Comic-Minicon was considered a “dry run” for a larger 3 day convention they hoped to host. Later that year the Golden State Comic-Con drew more than 300 people over the 3 days it ran. Over the last 50 years this tiny convention morphed into “the largest convention of its kind in the world”.

With over 130,000 unique attendees this event welcomes international guests as well as an extended multimedia and pop cultural spectacle that spills from the convention center into the surrounding city and brings in over $180 million in revenue for San Diego.

After parties, premiere parties, international debuts, secrets and teases for film and television, the coveted Hall H seats, out of control cosplays (I’ve seen some so big they DON’T FIT into the doors of the convention center), huge advertisements, rows and rows of books and comics, collectibles with SDCC exclusive items, meet and greets, book signings, private events, cosplay bingo, costume displays, a huge masquerade contest, even the drop of whole first episodes of new tv shows… this convention is out of this world.

There is something to do day and night for four days straight. You don’t even need tickets to enjoy the convention because so much happens in the street and Gaslamp district surrounding the convention center. But if you want to get into the coveted Hall H for one of the big reveals then be prepared to camp out, sit for hours, to miss panels and other events, even stay out on the street overnight to get in and hear some of the most incredible and astounding information of the convention while sitting in those seats. Nothing can compare with being in Hall H when Loki told the whole place to kneel and we did.

This is the kind of place Wade would have died to attend. And honestly so many of us are with him on that. Snagging a ticket to this once in a life time event is bonkers difficult even if you went the year before! There is so much to do and see that it is mind boggling.

I truly believe that it is events like SDCC which have brought geek culture from obscurity to the forefront of pop cultural awareness. And that are the jumping off point for things like the OASIS. Without these combinations of film, tv, written and illustrated works, toys, characters, cosplay and pop-culture we wouldn’t have incredible productions still going on today.

Writing and the arts are always essential but it is events like SDCC and many other conventions and charity events that we will continue to talk about throughout the blog that make things like the OASIS possible.

This year SDCC will be held online with thousands of panels, events and activities including a virtual Masquerade (which is one of the LARGEST cosplay contests in the country). Have a blast everyone who is attending from home during the convention: July 22-July 26, 2020.

All information about SDCC was found on either their official website or Wikipedia (which was linked on their site at the time of writing):

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Diego_Comic-Con

https://www.comic-con.org

Image found on Google as usual.