Sewing is not for the faint of heart, or any other body part.
There's an incredible potential in fabric. It's easy to dream up beautiful possibilities for a few yards of alluring fabric. But, as soon as you press the foot pedal on the sewing machine, an irrevocable commitment has been made. At that point you can easily ruin the fabric and all that potential. And you can injure yourself doing it.
In total, I started with 22 yards of fabric and a pile of rabbit fur scraps that I was going to turn into the outfit of a Heian-era Japanese fox demon. And anything could go wrong.
In the frenzy of stitching together long swaths of the costume's robes, I could accidentally catch my finger in the path of the sewing machine's needle (something of an ultimate fear for every person I know who sews). Or the sewing needle could hit one of the hundreds of straight pins holding yards and yards of fabric together, break and fly off God-knows-where, poking someone's eye out. There was a good chance I could end up bleeding all over this costume.
Luckily, the worst thing to happen was stepped on a pin. It hurt, and now I have a small, bruised battle scar near the arch of my left foot to remind me of Dragon*Con 2012 and Tamamo no Mae.
As I started working on my costume, I made no assumptions about my ability to actually create the version of the costume that exists in my head: A Heian era (the period of Japanese history that lasted from 794 – 1185AD) court lady with nine red-tipped fox tails emerging from the train of her robes.
Check out iReporters' Dragon*Con costumes
I know how to use a sewing machine and follow a pattern, but I am far from a seamstress. I know what historic Japanese fabrics look like, but I also know there are no modern recreations of those silks and linens available at the local Hancock Fabrics. I know that an accurate version of a Heian era outfit consists of 12 large robes, layered on top of each other, with an undergarment robe and pants, to boot; but I also know that Atlanta, Georgia, is not the best place to wear 12 robes in the summer.
There were bound to be people on the internet who've been in similar circumstances, I hoped. So I took to Google to find their stories and figure out how to maximize my comfort and the finished product. FULL POST
Atlanta (CNN) - Angie Dowling attended her first Dragon*Con with her father when she was 5 years old. Now, more than 20 years later, she’s the parent squeezing her children through the crowds to secure a prime viewing spot for the parade of science-fiction and fantasy characters.
“Getting to experience the parade with them is even more incredible because they’re looking at it through fresh eyes with that youthful excitement,” said the 29-year-old English teacher from Marietta, Georgia. “They absolutely love it. They give themselves over completely to the experience.”
From Chewbacca and the Hunger Games to quarians and steampunk dogs, there was something for nearly every fandom on Saturday at Atlanta’s annual Dragon*Con parade, one of the most kid-friendly events of the year’s biggest fan convention in the southeastern United States. About 14,000 spectators attended last year’s parade, and organizers expect that number to grow this year.
Regarded among many as a more fan-oriented alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con has grown since its inception in 1987, taking over more of downtown Atlanta each year as organizers add panels to accommodate growing interest in all things fan-related. While Dragon*Con’s panels and parties attract fans of television, film, video game and comic-inspired subcultures from all over the country, the parade is open to the public free of charge, drawing families from all around metro Atlanta who wouldn’t necessarily identify as nerds or pony up for weekend passes that run as high as $140. FULL POST
If there's one thing any self-respecting Dragon*Con attendee does not want to do, it's "Halloween it."
Dragon*Con, the Southeast's largest fantasy and sci-fi fan convention, has long been a venue for impressive costuming. But as cosplayers, costumers and artists continue to develop sophisticated fabrication techniques, the bar for an awesome costume is set higher at Dragon*Con than at any other fan convention in the country.
Dragon*Con attendees don't just put on a costume: they sculpt gravity-defying wigs, they vacuum-mold armor, they airbrush their entire bodies.
The costumes of Dragon*Con send a complicated message of commiseration, appreciation and imagination.
Costuming, in the nerd community, can be a deeply soulful thing. The choice to display a persona, well-known or mystifyingly niche, at once communicates what media you consume, (video games? anime? comic books?), what attributes you value (are villains more interesting?), your artistic ability and aesthetic, as well as the fact that you are part of the tribe of fans that admire a particular franchise or idea.
In essence, costumes are a nerd calling card.
So those wearing only store-bought fright wigs and fairy wings will likely not win over the crowds when more than 50,000 people descend on Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend to attend Dragon*Con
If you could bare your soul with a costume, what would you say? This year, I've chosen to broadcast my interest in Japanese mythology. FULL POST
Editor's note: Danica Davidson is a writer whose articles have appeared on MTV.com, Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. She also writes English adaptations of Japanese graphic novels. She has recently finished her first young adult novel.
I’ve heard many women talk about different forms of prejudice they’ve faced in the comics world. As a journalist I've always found myself the only woman out of the who-knows-how-many journalists, publishers and writers participating in phone conferences to talk about new comic books.
Sometimes the men on these calls seem uncomfortable and not sure what to make of me.
But at anime conventions, I feel right at home beside other female manga fans. Attending these conventions, I’ve never gotten a sense of “You’re a woman so you don’t really belong here.”
After hearing so much about San Diego Comic-Con, you may be considering attending next year. If so, here are a few helpful pointers:
Start planning early - like, now:
No trip to Comic-Con can be spur of the moment. Tickets go on sale months ahead of time–and usually sell out instantaneously. Once you have those tickets, you will want to lay out your plan of attack for the time you're there, not to mention figure out your accommodations, a separate battle.
Lines, lines, everywhere a line:
The lines at Comic-Con, especially for Hall H, make theme park lines seem like a breeze. This year, the line-to-line-up for Hall H serpentined past the convention center and around the back of the gigantic hotel next door - at 6 a.m. People sleep out there. Unless you have no interest in any major panels, you will wait in line seemingly endlessly. See this as a chance to get to know your fellow Con-goers.
Bring along a Con-veteran:
It can be a tremendous help if you have a friend with you who has been there and done that. It can get difficult flying blind. Especially with rumors of crowds pushing the 200,000 mark, if you don't know where you're going you may have no choice about where you end up.
Plan your day wisely:
"Never do anything before 11," said Geek and Sundry's Felicia Day. "And make sure you have dinner with the people you really want to catch up with. You can go from thing to thing and be so frenzied about it. Make your Con about things you really love, because there's so much to distract you."
Stake out specific panels:
The nichiest of niche panels exist at Comic-Con, such as the "Ball Jointed Doll Collectors Group" or "The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics 'Zombies' Panel." Look hard enough and you may find one for you, with a much shorter line to get in.
Prepare to geek out:
"You get to meet your heroes. It doesn't matter if you're here or if you're Peter Jackson," remarked "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith. "I bet Peter Jackson saw someone and said, 'Wow, you're here, too. Cool.' "
Whether it's going to a panel for something you like or finding a toy or comic book you've been looking for, prepare to squee.
See you at Comic-Con 2013!
It takes one to know one. When it comes to topics of interest to nerds, geeks, and superfans, we know how true that is. Geek Out! features stories from a nerd's perspective that you can still share with your "normal" friends and family.