The art of cosplay is not the art of getting hit on
Yaya Han, left, cosplaying as Mulan and Riki cosplaying as Snow White.
November 3rd, 2011
04:16 PM ET

The art of cosplay is not the art of getting hit on

Cosplay is a mainstay of the modern fan convention. In popular culture, it is practically a synonym for "fan convention."

Eye-popping, physics-defying costumes thrill and amaze fans of Japanese video games, anime and manga by bringing their favorite characters to life, and is itself the ultimate expression of fandom, according to Yaya Han, an Atlanta-based cosplayer who has had a high profile in the cosplay comunity for the last 12 years.

"To me it's an unlimited creative outlet," Han said. "Before I was a cosplayer, I was a fan artist. I would draw my favorite characters and sell the pieces at art auctions."

"But once I discovered cosplay, it was like, 'I don't have to draw my favorite characters, I can become my favorite characters.'"

The cosplay community, by and large, create their own costumes, she said. Developing sewing, painting, sculpting, jewelry-making and wig-styling skills is part of this fan-base homage to Japanese entertainment.

And yet, when seen outside the context of fandom, cosplay is not always seen as the result of skilled craftsmanship. Han said that many reporters have asked her questions that confuse her practice with LARPing. Recently, cosplay has been portrayed in the media as being more about cleavage and snagging dates with wide-eyed fanboys. FULL POST

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Filed under: Otaku
'Phantom Tollbooth' anniversary doc in the works
November 3rd, 2011
01:21 PM ET

'Phantom Tollbooth' anniversary doc in the works

Children’s classic “The Phantom Tollbooth” is turning 50, and a documentary is being prepared for the occasion.

Brooklyn filmmaker Hannah Jayanti and her team are working with author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer on the film, which details the beloved book’s beginnings.

“We follow Norton and Jules as they return to the house in Brooklyn Heights where Norton began writing a little story ‘to get his mind off of what he had to do,’” reads the doc’s website.

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It's not 'Star Trek,' but NASA wants a 'tractor beam'
November 3rd, 2011
12:51 PM ET

It's not 'Star Trek,' but NASA wants a 'tractor beam'

The Death Star in "Star Wars" reeled in space ships with "tractor beams." So did Captain Kirk's USS Enterprise on "Star Trek."

Now NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, aims to develop a real tractor beam, but on a much smaller scale.

Here's the concept: Unmanned space probes might use laser beam technology to catch tiny particles several meters away and pull them into the probe for analysis.

Technically, the idea isn't called a "tractor beam" – scientists know it as "optical trapping." Its beginnings date back to the 1970s, according to NASA's Paul Stysley and Barry Coyle. They, along with colleague Demetrios Poulios, have been given $100,000 to begin the first phase toward developing the technology.

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Filed under: Brainiac • Fandom