Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ottawa Pop Expo Con Report!

Hello world, Happy New Year! I know, I vanished for a little while, half because I'm a slacker, and half because I've been busy. Really busy.  Like, stressed out over Gaige, bought a house, spent two weeks with family for Christmas and New Years, oh, and worked on making a human being.  That's a lot of hard work all at the same time ladies and gents! But more on that later... in the meantime, I just have to say thank you! In spite of a complete lack of posting on my part, there have been people visiting on a regular basis, to the point that this lil ol' blog is well over 4500 pageviews - awesome! I hope my work helps other cosplayers or aspiring cosplayers out there, or at least exposes curious parties to just how much work is involved in what cosplayers do (hint: one heck of a lot!).

Alright, so I worked my butt off on Gaige over the entire month of November, but I kept being knocked on my backside by some mystery illness (which turned out to be "morning" sickness, which should really be called any damn time of day sickness) and found it SO hard to concentrate and get work done when I wasn't feeling well.  I DID get a lot of work finished, but at the end of the road, I found myself with more things left to do than time to do it in.  It was heart crushing (especially as I knew I wouldn't get another chance to wear Gaige for a LONG time... Like, probably NEXT Pop Expo) but as of 6:00 pm the night before the convention when I had to meet my partner in crime at the venue and set up our table in Artist's Alley, I was forced to admit defeat. Even if I worked all night, I STILL wouldn't have finished, and even if I did, I wouldn't be happy with the quality of work - so I set to work getting Moxxi back to con-ready. I'll share my Gaige progress next post.
New buttons and MORE new buttons!

I really didn't have much time, so I wasn't able to address every issue I meant to, so I fixed what I COULD address. I made new buttons to replace those which had fallen off over Comiccon, and made eight MORE more buttons for the spats, moved the under-buttons on the jacket up, and glued the lot on with e6000, which was a resounding success, and I didn't lose a single button this wear. Also, the bias tape had pulled away from the fabric a little over the zipper on the front of the jacket, so I undid the stitching and sewed it back in place. Finally, I reinforced the closure over the cleavage with velcro, because while the snaps DID work, they didn't hold everything in place tightly enough, and in some pics could even be seen - the velcro was MUCH more secure.  Another aspect which was much more secure on this wear was the hair, which I chopped off at Halloween, making the curling process much easier and with the nice, dry, crisp December weather, the curl held no problem!

So - Ottawa Pop Expo! This was my second ever convention, and the first where I had a table in
Meghan and I at our table!
Artist's Alley. Having an artist's pass was nice, as it gave me early admission, though it also meant I was glued to our table most of the day. Overall the general set-up and atmosphere was the same as Ottawa Comiccon, which is unsurprising considering it's run by the same people. The main differences were that it was meant to both be a smaller con, and to have a broader focus than Comiccon. The "smaller" meant the celebrities booked were notably more "B List" than Comiccon - still a lot of good names on the bill (Tom Felton, Sylvester McCoy and Norman Reedus were the biggest draw as far as I could tell), but fewer "big" stars. The only thing that I really saw showing a "broader focus" was the inclusion of WWE wrestlers on the celeb bill (Brett Hart and Honkey Tonk Man), and the addition of a wrestling ring where Capital City Championship Combat had fights going throughout the weekend, scaring the crap out of anyone who couldn't see the ring with loud thumps and bangs at irregular intervals. We had the dubious pleasure of being able to hear the proceedings clearly, but weren't actually able to see what was going on - the first few bangs were somewhat distressing, from there it just became annoying.

Creative shot at the table by a photographer at a local paper
Having a table meant I spent a LOT less time wandering and checking things out, and a lot more time tied to the table, but I did make sure to get out SOME of the time, as what fun is looking fab if no one gets to see you? I wore Moxxi on the Saturday, and had a grand old time wandering about, garnering quite a bit of attention along the way. Sadly, I only found two other Borderlands cosplayers all weekend - a Maya I had seen at Comiccon on the Saturday, and a female psycho on the Sunday. My big goal for
A fabulous Maya and I!
the day was to be a little more "Moxxiish" in any photo ops, as at Comiccon, I had a tendency to pose pretty well like I would for normal, costume free photos, complete with big fat grin.  This time I tried to execute the signature Moxxi half-smile, and her one hand on the waist, hip popped stance.  It didn't work every time (some of the photos were a little less than flattering) but I ended up with some pretty awesome photos out of those I found! Oh, and the hubby decided NOT to dress up this time, so he just wandered around in gaming shirts all weekend. On Sunday I really didn't feel like putting the time into getting gussied up, so I just wore my Robin costume.  It didn't have nearly the attention draw that Moxxi does (it's much less elaborate, and...uh.. doesn't show off my assets in the same way), but I did get a few photo requests along the way!

Lovely shot from Geek Chic Elite!
Another addition to my weekend was actually bringing my big fancy expensive camera, and taking pictures of people with it! I didn't cart it around the con the whole time (I don't like having to hide it during photos) but having the option to take pictures at the table at least was great!  I didn't take nearly as many as I thought I would, but I did stop the odd cosplayer as they passed the table, and took some pics during panels and the masquerade. For the full album, pop on over to my Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/crankypantscosplay

Something I actually took the time to do this go around was check out a few panels! There wasn't as much variety as there was for Comiccon, but a couple DID catch my eye, namely those concerning Cosplay! The first one I checked out was "Prop Building for Beginners" which promised to give tips for both beginners and more seasoned cosplayers, as well as discussing budgeting and pitfalls to avoid. What the brochure failed to
Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee's panel!
mention, was that this panel was being put on by the Capital City Garrison of the 501st, meaning it was really Star Wars Costuming 101. I'll admit, it was VERY interesting, and I learned a lot, but as I'm not planning on doing any Star Wars costumes any time soon (if ever) it would have been nice to know what I was getting into in advance.  The second panel I checked out was a Cosplay Tips panel with "celebrity cosplayers" Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee.  As I assumed beforehand it was less a panel and more a Q&A session, it was nice to actually hear these ladies speak in person (you never know what to think with the editing that goes into TV appearances), and it was nice to be able to ask a question or two.

The retail offerings were very similar to Comiccon, though a few of the larger traveling retailers like the Tower of T-Shirts were absent, there was still a lot of swag to be had.  That said, I spent a grand total of $3 on non-food purchases, $1 on a super-cute prinny magnet for my sisters, and $2 on a set of three buttons, two Fallout related, one Zelda related. The hubby pulled in a much larger haul on the other hand, picking up a set of Battlestar Galactica coasters, two Zelda Shirts, an Office shirt, and a full set of the "Batman - A Death In The Family" story arc comics.

The Masquerade was pretty awesome, I'm not sure if it was just because Heroes of Cosplay crew were going to be there filming, but there seemed to be a lot more entries that fit into the top end of the spectrum than there were at Ottawa Comiccon - huge, intricate, beautiful costumes, and not just from the "Heroes." Having the film crew on scene only caused a little bit of disturbance in the the overall show - first, when the whole thing had to be re-started after filming didn't catch the intros correctly, and then at the end, when everyone was implored to stick around for an extra 20 min or so in order for the judges to deliberate and for the "big prize" winners to be announced that night.  The silence was filled in by a bit of a Dr. Who sideshow with various Daleks and a Doctor taking the stage along with the ninjas for much mayhem and more than a little extermination. The following day I took the time to chat with one of the judges, who assured me that even backstage everything went pretty smoothly with the Heroes crew, and the only disturbances were from the camera crew wanting to do multiple takes of their people from time to time on their way through the green room.

Speaking of Heroes of Cosplay, not only were their masquerade costumes fantastic (small surprise... it's pretty well their job) but I ran into Jesse Lagers out and about around closing time on Sunday.  I'd seen him earlier that day, but wasn't interested in chatting with him while the camera crew was in tow.  I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the show (mostly due to the added drama) but I have a lot of respect for the skills of the cosplayers involved, and Jesse is one of my favourites, so it was great to get a chance to chat with him! He was super down to earth, and more than willing to answer all my silly questions about how the show operates behind the scenes and niggly little cosplay construction details - bonus, he says they at least spent more time filming construction stuff so far this season, so hopefully we'll get to see some more of the good stuff!
Ermahgerd! Jersseh Lergers! Such a chill guy!

Overall, Pop Expo was a great experience, both as an "Artist," and as an attendee.  There was some grumbling from other exhibitors about the size of the crowd (markedly smaller than Comiccon) and suggestions that the con organizers were stripping all the attendees of their spending cash by offering photo ops etc. right at the door, but really I had a decent weekend in spite of the fact that I didn't take the time I really should have to make more geeky jewelry as I had planned to in the run up to the con (I was too busy panicking about getting Gaige finished), so I'm sure it wasn't a systematic ploy on behalf of the organizers. I had a great time wearing Moxxi again, and catching up with the cosplay contacts I had made at/after Comiccon. I still regret not finishing Gaige in time, but I guess it's just a lesson in time management - starting early is great, but spending months on props won't do any good if you don't finish the actual costume.

Next time, I'll talk about the work I DID get done on Gaige, and I'll share my plans for Ottawa Comiccon, which I will be attending while 7 months pregnant - I'm SUPER stoked to get started on this costume, guys! Until next time, you stay classy, internet!

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