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Before I die I want to.....

In the Fulton Mall in downtown Flatbush there is a wall that has been put up around an abandon building. But when you actually look at the wall you see writing on it. At first you think graffiti, but when you actually look at what’s written you notice the phrase “Before I die”. And underneath that phrase were the words of random people wrote their hopes and dreams on that same wall. Anyone can write something that they would like to do before they die no matter how silly or serious, no censorship. Chalk is made available and is waiting for anyone to write their thoughts, dreams, and desires down.
This isn’t the first wall to be done. In New Orleans, LA, the creator behind this, Candy Chang, got some friends together and stenciled a wall with the sentence: “Before I die I want to….” where residents can write on the wall and remember what is important to them. The reaction was such a positive reaction that more and more people in various cities also wanted to have their own wall. Such a simple project turned into such a major phenomenon that a tool kit was also made for anyone that wanted to create their own wall. You can purchase the tool kit here: http://civiccenter.cc/the-before-i-die-toolkit/
For anyone who doesn’t have a wall near by you can go online and write what you would like to do there: http://beforeidie.cc/dreams/

The Way Station

Ziggo Dent as The 10th Doctor

Being from Brooklyn I know plenty of great spots for certain things I need or want. Whether its to satisfy my hunger, hang out, drink, or shop I know where to go in Brooklyn. But surprisingly my friend, Leroy from the Bronx, found a place in Brooklyn that was just brilliant for any Whovian. The Way Station is a great place for you. Located at 683 Washington Ave between Prospect and St. Marks, The Way Station is a combination Steam Punk and Doctor Who bar. The atmosphere is just great, very warm and very friendly. You can sit at the bar or in a booth with friends this place can accommodate quite a large crowd. This is great for Birthdays, which my friend Leroy celebrated the day we went. Besides the great drinks named after very well known Dr. Who terms and people, besides the fact that they are willing play Dr. Who on their TV while you drink or eat, the fact that they have an actual TARDIS that is bigger on the inside I say it worth the trip. Granted its the bathroom, but still all the more awesome. The owner/bar tender Andy is one of the most hospitable persons you will meet. Big into Steam Punk and a Whovian himself, hence why the bar is the way it is, makes you wanting to not only come back, but makes you want to get to know the bar itself almost like his own personal TARDIS.

BATMAN LIVE: World Arena Tour

On July 20th, 2011, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), DC Entertainment and Nick Grace of Water Lane Productions Ltd introduced the world of Gotham City to the UK. Batman Live is an original story of the Batman mythos, following Dick Grayson on his path to becoming Robin, and of course teaming up with Batman to become the greatest crime fighting duo in Gotham City and comic book history. Unlike Spiderman Turn off the Dark, this multi-million dollar production was not hindered by as many injuries and poor management. They were a few set backs like the Batmobile created for this show crashed into the set. But since then it has been a green light from then on. Trapeze artists train for 45 minutes a day for three months, and it was designed to play for an audience as little as 4,000 to 10,000.

ConnectiCON 2011

The weekend of July 8th - 10th I attended the 2011 ConnectiCon for the first time. Taking place in Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center which is connected to the Hartford Marriott, the hotel of choice for the majority of attendees. If you were unable to drive or get a ride to Connecticut, getting there was a pretty easy coming from NY. A bus trip, which was pretty cheap round trip from NY to CT, or 2 trains and a cab would have gotten you there about 2-3hrs.

AnimeNEXT 2011

On the weekend of June 10th-12th I had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest anime conventions on the east coast, AnimeNext. Located in Somerset, NJ; AnimeNext gives both fans and newcomers an amazing anime experience. The convention center itself is surrounded by plenty of hotels, but the Double Tree is the one hotel connected to it. So if you were lucky enough to stay at the Double Tree that weekend you were greeted by wall to wall cosplayers as well as many special guests attending the convention. While there were many other hotels that surrounded the convention center, easy access to and from the hotel and the convention center was not available. Staying at the Marriott, I had to walk on the actual road and/or cut through parking lots. While the walk from the neighboring hotels may have been a bit of a pain, AnimeNext does make it worth it. There were a bevy of options food wise available at the con. You had of course the con food, the restaurant that was connected to whatever hotel you were staying at, and take out menus provided by the hotel. But for those looking to do a little grocery shopping or just spend less money, AnimeNext had food Shuttle buses available that took you to the Village Plaza Shopping Center. So if you were lucky enough to have a fridge and a microwave in your room, going grocery shopping was a great idea. Hell even if you didn’t it was still worth the trip to save some money.

Wizard World Philadelphia 2011

On June 18, 2011 Wizard World Philadelphia was in full effect. Taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, located near the China Town district and Philly's Capital building and surrounded by many accommodating hotels, bars aren't to far from the convention center and restaurants are around just be sure to have a map of the area which you can get from any of the hotels. My mistake for this trip was not getting a hotel before hand. Assuming that because there were so many hotels in the area it made finding one at a decent rate almost hard to find. Luckily the Marriott was better compared to other hotels and it also helped to split the room with somebody. The majority of the con goers, including myself, actually had to split rooms amongst 5 or more people. The influx of people at hotels also put a strain on the hotel's resources such as towels, roll-away beds, etc. There was no street parking, but there were plenty of parking garages that had decent overnight rates. Day or night the city was very beautiful, only problem was that a lot of places closed early, so if you wanted a late night dinner best bet was the hotel bar or if you did have a car take a drive further out from the area.

ConnectiCon's youngest performer: Aurora

The only child to participate in the Cosplay Masquerade at ConnectiCon, Aurora took the stage by herself and performed a ballet piece cosplaying as Princess Tutu from the anime. A beautifully well done performance, and a very beautiful cosplay, it was an inspiring sight to see such a young child show a crowd full of people her love for cosplay.

ConnectiCon Feature: I am a Nerd

The White Rabbit Katelynn Yvon
It takes a lot of skill, passion, and even a little courage to be a cosplayer. It takes those same attributes to also perform in the cosplay masquerade at any Anime or Comic Book convention. At the 2011 ConnectiCon, cosplayer Katelynn Yvon took those attributes to a higher level. At the ConnectiCon Cosplay Masquerade, cosplaying at the White Rabbit, Katelynn took the stage and performed her poem “I am a Nerd”. A poem about and for those who have ever felt like an outcast because of their love and passion for anything and everything geeky. She spoke passionately and proudly about being nerd, reference everything from Star Wars to old school Nintendo. How being normal isn’t being real, its hiding who you truly are. The same passion that we as nerds put into animes, comic books, and cosplays is the same passion we put into life and this young lady reminded everyone of that. Her words so powerful, that not a dry eye was left in the house, and ending with a standing ovation by everyone in attendance.

Orlando MEGACon 2011

On March 25th 2011, I had the pleasure of attending MegaCon in Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention center. The Orange County Convention Center is located technically a block away from International Drive. I say technically because there is a hotel complex that separates the convention from I-Drive. I was lucky enough to get a hotel that was about a 5 min walk to the convention. You would think that would make things easier, but http://www.perezstart.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=12505&action=editconsidering this was my first time at MegaCon, I didn't realize how huge the Orange County Convention really is. The OCCC takes up about 4 or 5 city blocks, has a north, south, east, and west wing. Basically I could fit both the San Diego and NY comic cons and still have plenty of room for Anime. Not really knowing that I ended up on the south wing of the convention and then had to make my way to the west wing. Besides it being a long walk from South to West, Florida is already having summer weather that was just killer. Once I got to the West Wing I still had a few more feet to travel before arriving at the "Welcome to MegaCon" banner.

Spring Festival Brooklyn 2011

On Saturday March 12, 2011 NYU's Polytechnic Anime Society held its Annual Spring Fest. A stones throw away from Fulton shopping center in Brooklyn, NY, the Annual festival celebrated Anime, Cosplaying, music/karaoke, and of course gaming. It was a free event, but in order to attend you must have registered online, and bring a print out of your registration. Surprisingly for a free event there was a limit as to how many people were able to attend and the week before the event all tickets were sold out. The Polytechnic Anime Society has been holding this event for the past 5yrs, this year they included a dealers area where artists and vendors could both sell merch.

It was an event that was made for families and had the basics of much larger Anime events. Filled with contests like the Ramune Drinking Contest and Anime Jeopardy. Panels such as "Subs vs. Dubs", Wig styling, and Otaku 101. Film screenings of Macross Frontier movie 1, Maid Cafe serving delicious treats, and gaming rooms filled with new and old school systems, and a Starcraft 2 LAN party tournament with a $3 buy in.Karaoke was of course performed by the guest hosts.

Castle Point Anime Convention 2011

On April 10, 2011 I attended the 3rd Annual Castle Point Anime Convention(CPAC). Started and run by the Stevens' Anime Club and student volunteers, It has been a yearly event since it started Spring 2008. Located in Hoboken, NJ the Stevens Institute of Technology plays host to this student run convention. Not too far from NY by car and is easily accessible by the PATH train, the NJ Transit, ferry and bus. Castle Point Anime Convention aims to promote all things anime, manga, and Japanese culture. And for a student run anime convention its run really well with the feel of a real convention but on a smaller scale. Very organized and for a big campus they really managed to keep everything within walking distance. From special guests like Uncle Yo, to Cosplay Masqurades, panels, and even a cosplay repair station CPAC has the makings of being the next big stop on the Anime convention circuit. The program guide even included a list of places to eat that were within walking distance of the Stevens Institute. Listing restaurants by name and giving a very comprehensive map of their general location. So finding someplace cheap to eat was not a problem.

MOCCA Fest 2011

MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, held its annual fundraiser MoCCA Fest at the Lexington Ave Armory in NY on April 9th, 2011. Whether its animation, anime, cartoons, comic books & comic strips, political illustrations, editorial cartoons, caricatures, graphic novels, sports related cartoons, or computer-generated art, MoCCA strives to preserve, study, and educate everyone on cartoon art. Promoting the understanding and appreciation of this medium as well as its cultural and historical impact has always been MoCCA's main mission. This year was the big 10th Anniversary for MoCCA, and to celebrate they invited over 10,000 guests to be a part of the celebration.

Just like the museum, MoCCA Fest is all about the artist and the art as opposed to the commercialism of bigger cons. MoCCA is mainly considered an indie con and the starting point for all cons in NY. This being my first MoCCA, it was amazing to see the amount of talent under one roof. It was the place to see up and coming artist as well as industry vets. While the same can be said about every artist alley at a comic con, you won’t find as much originality anywhere esle. Artist who aren’t published have a better environment to introduce to the public some amazing original ideas that would be overshadowed at regular comic book conventions. While some comic book stores do carry some indie titles, you can’t any more indie than MoCCA.

Interview with cosplayer Kitsune Dolly

Kitsune Dolly

On Thursday February 17, 2011, FIT held the Tokyo Fashion Festa at Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. A small fashion show with extraordinary cosplayers. One of whom I had to pleasure of meeting and working with, cosplayer Kitsune Dolly. Kistune who has been cosplaying for 5yrs now, began here start into cosplay world after attending her NYCC a few years back. She instantly fell in love with it after first seeing cosplayers in magazines and then in person at the con. Being a model and a cosplayer, Kitsune Dolly understands the hard work and effort needed to be put into a runway performance and the accuracy of a cosplay. Below is my interview with her.


What does cosplay mean to you?

Cosplay really means a lot to me. It's a way to express yourself and be able to be who you want to be.

What got you started cosplaying?

I've been into costuming my whole life so I instantly fell in love with it after seeing cosplayers in anime magazines. I started creating costumes after my first con (NYCC a few years ago) and never looked back since.

Cosplay for a Cause: GSTQ Fashions Interview

Cosplay for a Cause gathered over 15+ talented cosplayers from various parts of the world and created a calendar that when sold, 100% of all profits will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross to help out with the tragedy over in Japan. What makes the calendar so great is that the photos taken are exclusively for the calendar and each month will also come with a small illustration done by 1 of 4 pro comic book artists involved in the project. I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the many cosplayers involved, Catherine L. Jones of God Save the Queen Fashions. Born in FL but living in Georgia, this southern cosplayer got involved in cosplaying when she attended her first Anime convention. Even before that her boyfriend had been checking out the website and saw that a special guest cosplayer, Limebarb, was making a living off of making costumes. At Anime Weekend Atlanta, back in 2007, she was just blown away by the fact that people were dressed up as their favorite anime characters. She took that as opportunity to take her 2 favorite things, sewing and anime, and combine them into her new passion.

The Cosplay Fashion Show at the Sakura Matsuri Festival 2011

At the 2011 Sakura Matsuri Festival, we were treated to an amazing display of cosplay. A select few were chosen to participate in this final event of day 2 of the Cherry Blossom festival and the work on display was just amazing. Like a true fashion show, each cosplayer worked the runway like a true professional. As they walked that cat walk they truly embodied the characters they were portraying. From movements to facial expressions, these cosplayers are proving once again that cosplay is ever evolving to into something bigger than it already is. Some of the cosplayers that partcipated were: Mario Bueno, Mei Hoshi, Kitsune Dolly, The Twin Bees: Alex&Juli, and Felicia Cat

Tokyo Fashion Fest at F.I.T.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Lisa, Cathy, Youko, Lee Miller, Hi Toshi Fj, Angel Braizer, Nicole, Tara

On Thursday February 17, 2011 during fashion week, The Fashion Institute of Technology hosted the Tokyo Fashion Festa. That same night, for some odd reason, NY was blessed with some great 60 degree weather during a month of winter storms and freezing temps. It was a small showcase filled with lectures, make up demos, and of course cosplayers and designers. 

To start things off lecture of the history and origins of cosplay. It covered its beginnings as a sub culture in asia and its meteoric rise  in the states as pop culture. When cosplaying its more than just dressing up as your favorite character, its the ability to bring that character to life. Its a passion and a way of life for most. Through cosplay it allows one to gain an understanding of another culture. You go from an obsession with a certain character, to an obsession about the culture. Whether its cosplay or comic books, or even video games, it acts as a bridge between cultures to gain a better understanding. 

Immediately after the lecture the Cosplay showcase began. There were thirteen models all together, all who are students at FIT. The first 10 models' cosplays were inspired from anime, to gothic lolita, and punk gothic. Showing that not all cosplay is strictly anime related. It does range into the actual culture and sub culture. Each model cosplayed one outfit for the show, basically showing their best and their best is what we got. 

Exxxotica NJ 2010

On November 6, 2010 I had the pleasure, of attending Exxxotica in NJ at the New Jersey Expo Center. Exxxotica is the largest adult expo in the North East. We’re not talking sex ed classes or “girls gone wild”, we’re talking the industry’s hottest and sensuous adult film stars in and out of the country. It was a three day event, but since it was in Jersey, I could only attend one day. This was my first time attending and I must say that it was one hell of a good time. I was greeted by the girls of Sassy Assy Jeans as they passed by in their mini train and caboose. Jada Cheng and the girls of Sassy Assy Jeans: Danica Jordan, May Son, Jo Paik, Issii, Darling Darla, Lily Figuera, Sexi lexi, Charmaine Glock, Lily Lollipop, and Layla Lu, also had a booth at Exxxotica , signing autographs and selling some very sexy bikinis, lingerie, & of course shoes. Exxxotica was just getting underway, so not everyone was there, but the sexy go-go dancers were kind enough to greet us with smiles and some great dance moves. I was lucky enough to win 2 VIP tickets courtesy of Sextoys.com’s blog, so I was able to hook my friend Pat up, and save my money for food and merch.