Curtain Call for Comic-Con 2016.

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Taking a break at Rhode Island Comic-Con 11/12/16

I’ve only been actively cosplaying at comic conventions for a couple of years now (in the years prior to that, I would just walk around in my every day clothes and admire everyone else’s costumes while simultaneously feeling too shy or not nearly talented enough to participate myself) but each time I do, and with every convention I go to- I personally feel like my work gets better and better and I get to meet more and more people who share the same interests and the same passions as I do while we all put our hard work and craftsmanship on display.

I love it. It’s fun- and I encourage anyone who has been on the fence about cosplaying and who might be feeling shy or self-conscious like I used to be to give it a try. Chances are, you’re going to feel right at home when you do. You don’t have to be a master metal fabricator or a whiz with a needle and thread to come up with something that looks great- trust me. It all comes down to proper time management and knowing when to ask for help if you need it. There’s a lot of really great resources and tutorials online, and plenty of places to shop for materials you may need without breaking your budget.

I digress. While 2014 saw me go above and beyond with Cheryl Blossom, Daryl Dixon AND Poison Ivy costumes for my first ever pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con, and 2015 was the year I put together a top notch Peggy Carter ensemble- 2016 was all about Negan from “The Walking Dead”. While I’ve mixed and matched my previous costumes in the past for different events- this year’s Negan costume was the one I wore to every. single. convention. I went to from Spring right up until this past weekend’s 2016 Comic-Con closer in Providence, Rhode Island.

And it was the perfect ending to a fun convention season- specifically because I got to meet Negan himself- Mr. Jeffrey Dean Morgan!

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Forgive the reflections and how FRIGGIN’ PALE I AM. OH MY GOD.

Now, I had never been to Rhode Island Comic-Con before this past weekend, and leading up to my stopping by on Saturday- I had heard a lot of mixed things about it. Overcrowding. Long lines. Rude and agitated staff- but having survived the general clusterfuckery of Wizard World a few years ago while I was in NYC- I didn’t think it could be any worse.

Boy, was I wrong.

The heads of the convention, having booked stars like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Millie Bobby Brown, and Stan Lee- did not take the limited size of the venue vs. the amount of people who would turn up into consideration and continued selling as many tickets and passes as they possibly could to make more money. As a result, the lines were long enough to (supposedly) catch the attention of the Fire Marshall since stairwells and exits were pretty much overflowing with people to the point where no one could move and it was extremely dangerous.

The lines for JDM were so full that he ended up staying later than he was supposed to in order to sign more autographs for the crowd. As a result, his scheduled photo op was delayed by a couple of hours- however none of the staff thought this was pertinent information to share with anyone and hundreds of us remained in line for the duration, waiting for it to start. When it came time to prepare for the actual photo, the volunteers herded us around like cattle in four different directions- screaming and shouting at us the entire time.

Picking up my photo was another nightmare in itself. Rather than having the photos ready on a table post-photo op the way other, more organized conventions do- the staff instead would stand on tables, hold up a photo- and scream over a sea of waiting people “IS THIS YOU? DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS?” like an auction. Thankfully, a woman in line recognized me in my photo and managed to grab it and pass it to me before it could get damaged while changing multiple hands- but it was enough to get me teetering on the edge of my patience and sanity.

Finally, after debating how much more I could take- I made my way back to JDM’s booth to see if I could get my Lucille replica signed. I had come that far, I reasoned with myself- so I could go a little further. The line was once again insanely long (and they were still selling tickets, mind you) while he finished up his designated photo op- consequently missing his scheduled panel and returning to his table nearly an hour before the convention closed for the day to meet fans and sign more autographs. There was looming fear that those of us near the back would be turned away come 7 p.m. if we didn’t make it up to his booth in time.

But I will say this: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a class act. Not only was he a sweetheart during our photo together, but he made it a point to stay late- well after convention hours wrapped up- to make sure each and every single one of us got a chance to have our things signed and talk to him. While the majority of us were exhausted, hungry, and maybe a little delirious (a security guard brought me peanut butter crackers when he saw me swaying where I stood in line shortly before I reached the front, and the people waiting around with me had the absolute best senses of humor- which helped keep everyone sane and help the time go by a little quicker, too)– but JDM was so kind, so funny, so humble- and just an overall decent guy who went above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate those of us who had been screwed over by the convention right alongside with him.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about what he did and how he managed to keep a genuine smile on his face even though we all knew how worn out he must have been. Celebrities should take note and follow his lead. He is a truly awesome person with the best sense of humor and I have all the respect in the world for him.

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Will I return to Rhode Island Comic-Con? I honestly don’t know. Considering I didn’t get to actually SEE the rest of the convention because I was stuck in multiple lines for hours at a time was a huge turn-off of going back again next year. Also knowing that this isn’t the first time this has happened per the convention’s social media (which was flooded with complaints from angry attendees who were encountering similar, if not the same issues that I did on Saturday) or that it wouldn’t be the last time it happened- since another uproar with “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot’s scheduled photo ops/autograph line unfolded on Sunday- I’m not exactly keen on willingly spending another day dealing with it.

Other popular, fairly new-to-the-scene conventions are able to get it together and keep things running smoothly. I have no idea what RICC is doing.

Oh well. At least JDM was fantastic and at least his kindness was the beacon of light in an otherwise stressful day. That’s my take away. That, and him yelling “you heard the lady- NO EXCEPTIONS!” in full-on Negan mode after I shouted that security was going to “shut that shit down” when people started getting antsy. So, so good.

There are no other conventions around here until Spring of 2017- which gives me enough time to prepare my next round of costumes: including an updated version of one of my favorite “Walking Dead” characters and a little something from my other AMC-based obsession- “Preacher”.

I’m excited to get started!

xx

October 2016: In a Nutshell.

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The Many Looks of Halloween 2016

The Many Looks of Halloween 2016

Good Morning and Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls (I’m going to miss typing that until next October!) I can’t believe my favorite month is coming to a close and the holiday season is upon us. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Halloween to get here for a while now, watching horror movies and dressing up in costumes- which isn’t really all that different than how I spend any other month out of the year, but still- in order to prepare for taking my niece Trick-Or-Treating when I get out of work and tonight’s last spooky hurrah with friends shortly after that.

In just a couple of weeks I’ll be getting ready for Thanksgiving, and then- Yikes– Christmas and New Years. Where does the time go?

While October is almost always a pretty busy month for me, anyway- these past few weeks have been nothing short of crazy. For starters, I hit the ground running- kicking off things in Vegas and then San Diego for a few days before I headed back home and immediately dove head-first into work and preparing for/budgeting a potential move to the West Coast in early-to-mid-2017. Also around that time, I began putting things into place for my annual Halloween giveaway while simultaneously adding the finishing touches on a series of Halloween costumes for multiple parties I’d been invited to near the end of this month.

DeLarge Family Reunion! Malcolm McDowell and I at Rock & Shock 2016.

DeLarge Family Reunion! Malcolm McDowell and I at Rock & Shock 2016.

Then, there was the Rock & Shock Horror Convention in my hometown a couple of weeks ago, getting things in order for the last Comic-Con I’ll be attending for 2017 in Rhode Island in early November, recovering from the psychological torture and despair from the recent season premiere of “The Walking Dead”- and fighting off both food poisoning and a relentless cold I’d picked up during a layover in Chicago on my way home from San Diego within mere days of each other.

And then, of course- there was my car. My 2010 Kia- which has been experiencing a multitude of issues for the better part of two years now due to the shoddy work and negligence of a local mechanic I won’t name publicly- finally died for good early last week- prompting me to take some time off in order to find a new vehicle in order to go about my daily routine and get me where I need to be at any given point. I finally decided on a 2016 Elantra which I’m scheduled to pick up either later on today or tomorrow. It’s my first brand new car that I’ve purchased entirely on my own- which was both a stressful and kind of terrifying experience- but I’m really excited to get it on the road and to have something I can drive where I WON’T feel like I’m constantly risking my life by simply starting the engine.

My new ride! I named it Glenn.

My new ride! I named it Glenn.

Such an unexpected and abrupt change definitely delayed things for me a bit. While I focused on finalizing details with the dealership, my agency, my insurance company, and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (a daunting task if there ever was one)– I fell behind on my blogging. My “Horrors of Netflix” series was short and bitterly sweet this year- which left me feeling rather disappointed in myself since I love writing those posts so much- and recipes/reviews/eerie photography trips I had every intention to take and make were postponed if not cancelled outright due to my schedule being jam packed while I had to travel to sign papers and make calls to push things along.

I’m hoping that now that the dust has settled and everything is sorted out for the time being- I can catch up on posts and be more prepared for next October- where I have every intention of going above and beyond with my blogging and horror movie reviews to make up for this year’s unplanned lapse in activity!

For November, prior to the usual holiday craziness- I’m hoping I can take a moment to just relax and catch my breath. I’d like to get caught up with everything: from something as small as personal e-mails all the way to the more important stuff like my workload at the office. I want to get organized and ready before things start getting a little more festive around here. I have plenty of posts planned that I’m looking forward to sharing and more than enough food I look forward to eating once Thanksgiving rolls around.

Thanks to everyone who regularly reads this blog for your patience while I dealt with a LOT this past month! It’s truly appreciated! Here’s hoping the last leg of 2016 is a bit more calm and forgiving for all of us!

Have a Spooky (2SPOOPY) Halloween!

xx

My Guide to Surviving Boston Comic-Con.

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Thanks to Rodney at Nerd Caliber (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/) for making me look tough at this year's 'Walker Stalker' Convention!

Thanks to Rodney at Nerd Caliber (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/) for making me look tough at this year’s ‘Walker Stalker’ Convention!

The very first genre-specific convention I ever attended was an annual horror-themed one, “Rock & Shock”, located in my hometown in Central Massachusetts when I was in my early twenties. I had gone for one very specific reason- to meet one of my favorite actors, Malcolm McDowell- and have him sign my very old and very beat up copy of “A Clockwork Orange” book.

I had never been to any type of comic convention before that. I was an avid fan of certain types of movies, video games, comics and books- but most conventions were far away- too far to get to- or seemed expensive. I discovered “Rock & Shock” completely by accident and can vividly remember excitedly heading over to my hometown’s event center after I had left work for the evening- clutching my book under my arm the entire time.

And it was there that a love affair was born- not between Malcolm McDowell and myself (although he really is the coolest)– but between myself and comic conventions and the people who attend them. While at “Rock & Shock” that night- I encountered so many passionate fans, incredible artists, fantastic cosplay- and way too much fun merchandise- that I knew right then and there I was hooked. I felt like I belonged- like I had a place where my enthusiasm for certain things and genres was not only welcomed- but matched by others, too.

I started attending “Rock & Shock” every year. Then I ventured out to Boston Comic-Con, Rhode Island Comic-Con, Super MegaFest, Walker Stalker, New York Comic-Con- and I even managed to make my way to mother of all conventions- San Diego Comic-Con- in 2014, where I tried my hand at cosplay for the first time and which was undoubtedly one of the most fun experiences of my life.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a seasoned veteran of the comic-convention circuits- I’m also by no means an amateur anymore. I cosplay regularly, I know where to go and what time to be there to get the best spots for panels/Q&As, and the typically stressful photo op process is now a breeze.

With Boston Comic-Con taking place over the course of this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday- I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks to getting through the weekend (relatively) unscathed- and share some of the more fun local events planned to coincide with the convention for those who don’t want to spend the entire weekend walking the floor of the Artists Alley or vendor booths.

PLAN AHEAD: This one sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often some people skip this step and find themselves scrambling around later on. Whether you’re making a costume or heading to the convention in your regular clothes- give yourself plenty of time to prepare so you’re not left frantically getting your things together the night before. Make sure you get your tickets in advance, set aside some time to work on any costumes/props so that they’re not just done in time- but completed early– and bookmark the convention’s official website. Not only that, but be sure to check the site regularly- since changes/cancellations/rules and regulations/and schedules can be posted and updated sporadically. HERE’S the schedule (for panels, contests and events) for this year’s BCC. Make a mental (or written) list of the things you definitely want to see- and get to the line early to snag yourself a seat.

Also, for the cosplayers- familiarize yourself with the rules for costumes/props. There’s nothing worse than working your ass off making something you’re really proud of, only to be denied entry to the convention because your costume/prop is made with the wrong type of material or doesn’t meet safety standards.

CONSIDER THE ELEMENTS: Regardless of whether or not you’re attending the convention in a costume- make sure to take the weather and temperature into consideration. Your Deadpool costume is awesome- but it’s also hotter than the surface of the sun that day. Or you spend hours perfecting your Daenerys Targaryen hair and makeup- but it’s pouring outside. Don’t risk heat stroke or ruining your stuff with water damage by not doing your research! The convention, from what I’ve seen over the years, is pretty lenient about letting people change/touch up in the bathrooms- so keep your wig in a plastic bag until you’re safely inside where it’s dry or keep your mask off until you’re within reach of air conditioning. Trust me- you’ll be happy you did and you’ll still look great.

One more from Nerd Caliber! (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/)

One more from Nerd Caliber! (http://www.nerdcaliber.com/)

EAT AHEAD OF TIME: You’ve worked overtime and you’ve put money aside for weeks leading up to the convention so you can buy some limited edition gear or memorabilia. So tell me why you’d blow some of that hard earned cash on $15 nachos or a $8 soda? Come on. It’s no secret that food vendors at any and all conventions put astronomical price tags on their snacks since they know they’ll make bank on hungry attendees who need to refuel. Save yourself some time and money and eat a decent (and filling) meal before you head over to the convention center. It’ll get you through the majority of your day. Need to hydrate? There are water fountains in the convention center and they work just fine.

SHOP AROUND: I love FUNKO figurines as much as the next person, and that Harley Quinn shirt is practically screaming my name- but what one booth charges $40 for, another booth across the convention center might be charging way less for the same exact product. While I have a few local companies I trust and shop with religiously- it never hurts to take a spin around the vendor area a couple of times- especially when you’re looking for items that aren’t necessarily hard to come by and aren’t considered limited edition or rare. Keep your eyes open and browse before you make a selection on merchandise.

REALIZE CELEBRITY PHOTO OPS ARE INSANELY FAST: I know doing an elaborate and fun pose with your favorite celebrity guest at a convention sounds almost too good to be true- but please keep in mind there’s going to be a long line of people thinking the same exact thing and that the guest, the staff, and the coordinators of the event have a pretty strict schedule to adhere to. Celebrity photo ops last about 5-10 seconds and you move right along so the next person can get their picture taken. The best thing you can do is smile and make sure you don’t blink or sneeze when the flash goes off so your 8 x 10 glossy print comes out fabulous.

Don’t get too discouraged, though. A lot of guests are really cool about posing for selfies/photos at their respective booths when they’re doing signings and meeting fans. You’ll also get more time to talk to them- but, you know- just don’t be clingy or anything.

BE RESPECTFUL OF COSPLAYERS – AND SPEAK UP IF YOU SEE ANYONE NOT BEING RESPECTFUL: There’s a lot of incredible handmade costumes/props to marvel at every year at various conventions- and you may want to take photos of some of those costumes/props- but please be sure to ask, first! Sometimes folks are heading to a panel or a photo op. Sometimes they’re trying to find some water or a restroom- and they may not have time to stop and pose. It’s always a polite and appreciated move to ask if you can take a photo, first (plus- they would probably want to pose so their stuff looks good in the picture- so give them a heads up!) rather than just snapping away when they’re unprepared or not interested.

And in a related note- always, always ALWAYS be respectful of the cosplayers. Be careful if you’re touching their stuff. Don’t gawk or grope. Don’t make inappropriate comments. Don’t behave like a pig, basically- and if you see someone acting like that- notify security immediately. People dress up for conventions for fun- not to be harassed or objectified. Stand up for them if you see anyone being less than courteous towards them.

FINALLY, HAVE FUN AND TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED ONE: I get it. You’ve been walking around- to and from panels, around the vendor booths, to the celebrity area, etc- and you’re exhausted. There are wall to wall people and you may start to feel a little overwhelmed. It’s okay! I’ve been there. Everyone has been there- and probably more than once, too. The point of a convention is to have a good time. Enjoy yourself! Don’t stress out about things too much. If you missed a panel, a Q&A, or couldn’t find that one artist you were trying to track down- it’s not the end of the world. You’re doing the best you can with the time you have in the convention center!

And if you need a break- take one. Don’t hesitate. There are plenty of places to sit down, cool off, and recharge without having to go outside or go home and risk not being allowed re-entry for the day/weekend. Find the designated resting spots and utilize them as much as you need to.

In addition to the scheduled events inside the convention center- there’s almost always things happening in and around the city to commemorate the weekend, too. Different bars and restaurants have deals (and additional discounts/specials for those of you who show up in costume!) so it’s always worth checking out Boston Comic-Con’s official FACEBOOK PAGE for info/active promotions.

One event in particular that’s going to be pretty great is the Star Trek/Boston Comic-Con themed night at Fenway Park on Friday. While the event is sold out at the moment, it doesn’t hurt to check out sites like StubHub for those last minute cancellations and freed up tickets.

From the MLB’s website for the event:

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek and the kick off of Boston Comic Con at Fenway Park on Friday, August 12th. The Boston Comic Con is the largest comic book and pop culture convention in New England (held from August 12-14th at The Seaport World Trade Center). Fans who purchase tickets through this special offer will receive this limited-edition Captain Kirk Red Sox figurine. Be sure to get here early to see the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, join us to throw out the first pitch, compliments of Boston Comic Con!

It may be hard to see the photo of the Captain Kirk figurine on the website, but seriously- how funny is this thing?

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That alone is worth heading down to Yawkey Way for.

With all that being said, I’m ready to grab my Lucille prop and strap on my leather boots to dress up like Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’ again. I’ll be popping in and out of the convention throughout the weekend- so if anyone sees me- come say hello! Don’t let the bat wrapped in barbed wire scare you away!

I hope those attending have a phenomenal time! Have fun and stay safe, everybody!

xx

WSCBoston: 2015!

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Good morning and Happy Monday (I’m actually drafting this on Sunday night and queuing it up to post while I’m at work- but Happy Monday regardless!) I’m still coming back to Earth after a whirlwind and ‘Walking Dead’-filled weekend, which seems appropriate considering last night marked the series premiere of TWD’s companion drama, ‘Fear The Walking Dead’. The new show, written and produced by the same masterminds as the original series, takes place in Los Angeles during the time frame between Rick Grimes’ falling into a coma and when he wakes up- so for those of you who haven’t been taking notes- we get to see how that pesky zombie apocalypse actually started and how things went from bad to worse by the time Rick came to in his hospital bed.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited.

This past Saturday, I headed down to the second annual “Walker Stalkers” convention at the Westin Hotel. Some of you may remember my weekend at the convention last year– and how much fun I had checking out the panels, posing for photos when I wasn’t taking so many of my own, and coveting all sorts of merchandise. This year was more of the same- although I couldn’t make it on Sunday and had to cram all the excitement into one day, instead.

This year, I snapped photos with a few people I missed jumping in front of a camera with at the 2014 WSCBoston event, including Chandler Riggs (who plays Carl, and who is now officially taller than I am. The last time I had a photo with him he barely came up to my shoulders,) Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), and Lennie James (Morgan)– who I admittedly had a fangirl moment with. He’s one of my favorite actors and was so incredibly kind- and funny- when I briefly went mute in his presence. I rarely get starstruck, but he made me forget how to speak for a minute or two!

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I also got to visit with one of my favorite cast members (and one of my favorite people overall, really,) the always fabulous and SUPER funny Josh McDermitt (he plays Eugene)– who I had run into earlier this year at a small convention in Marlborough, and who hijacked my phone to capture quite a few silly selfies- including the ones above. He’s truly the best. He completely and totally brightened my day (at a time when I was starting to get a little hungry and fatigued- so it was much appreciated!)

Eugene must be protected at all costs because we all need more Josh on our television screens. If Eugene dies- we riot.

While the layout of the convention was slightly different than last year, which led to some confusion at times (especially in the photo op. area where I saw more than one person get a little lost,) the staff and volunteers remained helpful, upbeat, and fun- which really set the tone for the whole day and kept everyone in good spirits. Once again, I had a wonderful time meeting and getting to know so many other fans of the franchise, seeing some incredible cosplay, and admiring the work of local artists who had set up booths throughout the hotel’s designated “Walker Stalkers” areas. I controlled myself when it came to purchasing merchandise this year (it wasn’t easy, trust me- but I’ve got a trip to California and Las Vegas to plan for), but I’ve definitely added some things to my wish list for next time.

The “Walker Stalkers” conventions have grown in size and popularity, adding dates in London and even creating a ‘Walking Dead’-themed cruise set to sail to the Bahamas next January- which is pretty amazing for something that is still pretty new in comparison to other conventions that have been around for years and years. I’m very happy and proud of everyone involved for the success- and again- I highly recommend checking one of these conventions out if you’re a fan of the comics/show(s)/video games/etc. It’s a blast and you won’t regret it!

xx

Comics, Cosplay, and Cheeseburgers

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Yesterday marked the third and final day of Boston’s annual Comic-Con. I had been unable to attend on Friday or Saturday due to prior commitments, but was able to stop by for a few hours in the afternoon in my Peggy Carter costume to browse the booths, admire other cosplayers’ ensembles and intricate props, pose for photos, and geek-out at the guests (like Stan Lee, who I caught a glimpse of as he passed through the photo op area with a coffee in hand and a smile on his face!)

I snapped a few photos with my cell phone, since it was more convenient than digging my big camera out of my bag over and over- and easier to hold while trying to simultaneously juggle my little toy pistol and my purse. There were so many fantastic costumes on display as I roamed the aisles (and quite a few other women dressed as Peggy Carter- all of who looked absolutely beautiful!) and even though my feet were killing me by the time I took my heels off- it was worth it.

Marvel Team!

Marvel Team!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from "Agent Carter" and she looked incredible!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from “Agent Carter” and she looked incredible!

Ms. Frizzle!

Ms. Frizzle!

Owen and Claire from "Jurassic World". I loved these two!

Owen and Claire from “Jurassic World”. I loved these two!

My ultimate fan-girl moment of the day came when I had the pleasure of meeting and posing for a photo with Peggy Carter herself, the absolutely stunning Miss Hayley Atwell. She’s so beautiful, and so sweet- and her complimenting my costume brought me enough joy to last me through this life and probably well into the afterlife, too. I was so completely elated. I think my huge smile in our photo speaks for itself, really:

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I swear I must have looked like the heart-eyes emoji for hours afterwards.

The best part of the day, though- was that my good friend Steven (who I only get to see once every year or so!) met up with me at the convention. We had so much catching up to do, and when my feet couldn’t take the heels anymore, we continued our conversation all the way to Harvard Square- where after changing into some flip-flops- I gave Steven his first tour of the grounds at Harvard University and stuffed my face with a double cheeseburger and fries at Charlie’s Kitchen. One of the perks of the Peggy Carter costume is that without the hat and the suit jacket, it looks like I’m just enjoying a break from a formal business meeting. It’s a lot more practical (and comfortable!) than my semi-itchy Poison Ivy costume from San Diego Comic-Con last year, for example!

We also caught an evening screening of ‘Ant-Man’ by Fenway, too- which seemed like the perfect way to end a beautiful afternoon of good, old fashioned geek-dom. I really, really enjoyed the movie- so much that I would happily see it again- and I all but clutched my chest at the post-credits scene (no spoilers!)

Tonight, I’m re-joining Steven at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street for his last night in town where he will be working his lighting magic for Brandon Flowers’ show. I’m so excited. I’ve been loving Brandon’s latest album and I’m looking forward to singing and dancing along.

I’ll be wearing more comfortable shoes for it, at least.

Steven and I post-convention!

Steven and I post-convention!

Dropping By New England’s Super MegaFest

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This past Saturday, I ventured out to Marlborough, Massachusetts to attend the New England Super MegaFest. In comparison to other comic conventions I’ve been to over the years, NESMF was considerably smaller in size and not particularly advertised as much- but the turnout seemed pretty impressive during the couple of hours I spent saying hello to old friends and perusing numerous merchandise booths and the artist gallery. NESMF was also the first convention I’ve been to in a while where I didn’t wear a costume and just showed up in comfortable casual wear.

I did splurge on a couple of items from artist and writer Drew Blank. The above prints, one of Alex from “A Clockwork Orange” and the other of The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon, were immediate favorites and are currently waiting for frames so that I can display them on my walls. I’ll definitely be purchasing more of these drawings in the future (as well as some of Drew’s dress designs,) because I think they’re absolutely adorable!

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While a good portion of the celebrity guests were former pro-wrestlers and 1970’s/80’s TV and film stars- I was beyond surprised (and thrilled) to see The Walking Dead’s Josh McDermitt on the roster. Eugene has been one of my favorite additions to the show, and every promotional appearance I’ve happened to catch that featured Josh has been entertaining. The guy is funny- really funny- and was so sweet and down to Earth. It was an absolute pleasure getting to meet him face-to-face and talk to him. He’s truly a gentleman and it was such a fantastic experience that made the drive to and from the convention worth it.

Josh was also kind enough to sign a photo for me to add to my “Walking Dead” memorabilia scrapbook (I have a book I’m putting together where one side is an autographed photograph of a cast member and the other is a photo of me with said cast member who signed it. It’s just a fun little hobby I started at a small convention a few years ago.)

I think his signed photo might be my favorite so far.

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Such a fun afternoon.

xx

A Visit to Boston Comic-Con ’14!

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I was actually getting ready to photograph the guy on the right when the guy on the left showed up. The two of them were so adorably excited that they had on the same costume. I had to snap a photo of them both!

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I ran into a little trouble in the Artists Alley.

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This guy right here.

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Wilfred!

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I found my twin, Daryl- and big brother Merle!

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SO. MANY. DEADPOOLS. This group just kept getting bigger and bigger with every Deadpool cosplayer that came into the mix. You can’t really see the bubble someone held above them, but it says “I hope no one has the same outfit.”

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The cutest little Sharknado ever.

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And the cutest little Harley!

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Sorry, Rick. No one ever knows where CAR-UHL is.

I thought for sure that after San Diego Comic-Con, I’d be convention’d out through October, at least- but yesterday afternoon I found myself once again donning my Daryl Dixon costume and heading down to check out Boston Comic-Con 2014 at the Seaport World Trade Center for a few hours. The photos above, some taken with my cell phone (it’s very difficult to juggle a cell phone, camera, and a crossbow all at once, by the way,) were some of my favorite cosplays and props that I saw while perusing the exhibitors hall. I ran into a couple of familiar faces- which is always a treat- and I met a lot of really fun people, too. Shout-outs to the other Walking Dead enthusiasts I got to pose with!

The convention was a lot busier than last year’s, which made stopping to shop around with such a large crowd milling about at any given time a little difficult. Ultimately, I didn’t take home anything save for a few pamphlets and flyers. I think it may have been for the best, anyway- since I already spent enough money in California.

There were some great guests in town for B.C.C. this year, including James Marsters, John Barrowman, and Jason Momoa- but the one I was most excited to see was none other than Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from Run D.M.C., who has his own comic book coming out later this year. With good timing on my part, I made it into Darryl’s panel, and with my knowledge of useless movie trivia- I answered a question correctly prior to the panel’s start-time and got to sit in the front row- as well as have a moment with the man himself backstage afterwards. The panel was a lot of fun, and Darryl is such a kind, sweet, down-to-Earth guy. Getting to see him was the highlight of my day.

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Darryl and Daryl.

I had such a great time, but with a fully-loaded work week ahead of me, I’ve got to hang up my angel winged vest (for now!) and get some much needed rest.

Notes from SDCC: Day 4.

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I am LOVING these 'Game of Thrones' pedicabs!

I am LOVING these ‘Game of Thrones’ pedicabs!

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It's blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.

It’s blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.

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I’m taking a break from packing up my suitcase for my return flight to recap the fourth and final day of San Diego Comic-Con. That’s right- the long weekend of costumes, panels, surprise guests, and very long lines- has come to a close!

I spent the first half of yesterday in the exhibitors hall, purchasing gifts for some of my family and friends back home and snapping photos of the amazing cosplays and props on display- before bringing my loot back to my hotel room and returning to the convention in my Daryl Dixon costume again (it just didn’t feel right to end the weekend not dressed up!)

So what can I say about the overall experience of SDCC? Well for starters, I had an incredible time. As crazy and as hectic as it was at certain moments- I’m so happy and so grateful I had the opportunity to come to this beautiful city I love so dearly and see and experience as much as I did. I met wonderful, talented, fun, and creative people from all over- some of whom I’ve since traded contact information with and hope to see again and possibly collaborate with at future conventions.

I got to participate in awesome panels and see exclusive snippets and sneak peeks of upcoming projects in movies, television, and video games. I’m so psyched for the movie “Air,” and for Marvel’s “Agent Carter,” just to name a few. I’m still reeling from the fact that I was sitting mere feet away from Robert Kirkman himself. It all feels so surreal!

I also got some really awesome merchandise- some of it limited edition- that I can’t wait to display and wear proudly once I’m back on the East Coast. But I’ll get to that in a bit…

Would I come back for a second round of San Diego Comic-Con next year? Absolutely- and I hope I get the chance to do so when the time for pre-registration comes around. I definitely learned some tips and tricks for 2015 if I am fortunate enough to score weekend badges again, and I think they’d be beneficial to anyone looking to attempt SDCC:

1. Carefully plan what panels you want to see, and then prioritize them from there based on what you absolutely must be in attendance for and what can be skipped and watched in a designated “replay room” later on. There’s a good chance you may have to sacrifice seeing one or two panels over the course of the weekend since many of them run so close together and the rooms may not be located close to one another for convenient access. You also have to take into consideration that many panels have lines- long ones- so you’ve got to be prepared to do some waiting and miss out on some things from time to time to see the stuff you REALLY want to be present for..

2. Be sure to eat. Since lines at SDCC aren’t just limited to panels and merchandise booths (ask any of us who wanted to get Starbucks throughout the days in the convention center,) I highly recommend eating before you arrive- not only to save yourself from yet more waiting around, but to avoid being so hungry/thirsty that you end up losing your place in line to run and get something to snack on. I made the mistake of not eating much before I showed up for the first couple of days of the convention- and by the time the afternoon rolled around- I was feeling woozy. Bring a snack with you to hold you over until you leave to get a real meal. Security is pretty lenient when it comes to food and beverages.

3. Unless you plan on camping outside Hall H at all hours of the night to get into one of the bigger, more popular panels (“The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” and Marvel, for example-) check out the designated replay rooms I mentioned earlier. Some of the nearby hotels offer screenings of re-plays following the biggest panels for those who couldn’t make it into Hall H. It’s less crowded and there are no sleeping bags required.

4. Explore your surroundings! I had mentioned when I first arrived here that SO many places in downtown San Diego get into the Comic-Con spirit and have special events, parties, and promotions. If you want a break from walking the convention center- do some digging and head to the Gaslamp District! You’ll never know what or who you’ll see. Plus, you may even score some cool stuff!

5. It’s crowded. Just remember to breathe. There are times, especially in the exhibitors hall- where it is wall to wall people and moving more than a few inches at a time feels like a daunting, maybe even impossible task- as people stop to snap pics, pose, stare at merchandise, or try to find the end of a line. If you get claustrophobic- just try to breathe and relax. You won’t be trapped in that same spot for the rest of eternity. I promise.

And with all that being said- let me show you the stuff I got! Not pictured are the gifts for my friends and family- since those are already carefully packed away. This stuff is alllllllllll mine.

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First up, from the Archie booth- I snagged a copy of “Afterlife with Archie” and “The Best of Betty and Veronica.” Afterlife, which briefly features my girl Cheryl Blossom, is a little dark and twisted- which is right up my alley- and the B&V book is a shot of nostalgia that I’ll probably be reading on the plane in a few hours.

Funko POP! Figurines hold a special place in my heart and around my place, mostly because of how friggin’ adorable they are- so when I saw this Alcide figurine from “True Blood,” complete with abs- I had to buy it. I mean, really- look at it:

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Way too adorable.

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From Skybound Entertainment, I snagged this adult-sized version of the wolf paw print t-shirt worn by Carl Grimes in “The Walking Dead.” I figure all I need is the oversized sheriff’s hat and I’m good to go.

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From Her Universe, the makers of my Captain America cardigan I love so very much- I picked up this Black Widow jacket to wear in the Fall. It fits perfectly and is so, so comfortable and cozy. Plus- I feel like a bad ass in it.

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And lastly, from Marvel- I couldn’t leave without getting some Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes love. This hoodie is MASSIVE on me- but I don’t even care. It looks cool and it’s really, really soft and warm. As much as I dislike the cold weather- I’m rather looking forward to wearing this out and about when the temperatures begin to drop.

And that’s everything! Getting it all into my suitcase has been surprisingly easy- although closing my suitcase and zipping it shut might be a whole other story- one best reserved for tomorrow morning after I’ve had a good night’s sleep under my belt.

So long, San Diego! See you all back on the East Coast!

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Notes from SDCC: Days 2 and 3.

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I can’t believe that another two days at San Diego Comic-Con have passed already! Be it the frenzy on the exhibit floor or the mad rush to get to panels- but it feels like it’s gone by so fast. I’m exhausted- definitely having a blast, no question- but exhausted just the same! As I’m writing this from my hotel room, I’ve got my feet up and am attempting to decompress from the whirlwind of the past couple of days before I try to get some sleep and prepare for the final day of SDCC.

Friday, the second day of the convention, saw me break out my Daryl Dixon cosplay- complete with (an unloaded) crossbow, tattered jeans, his signature angel wing vest, and a good amount of fake blood to give me that nice, dirty, post-apocalyptic bad ass look. I just FELT cooler when I had it all on, and some fellow TWD fans at the convention center really seemed to appreciate the effort, too- which was super exciting and made it all worth it.

Although I would have loved to have made it into the actual “Walking Dead” panel that morning, there was no way I was willing to camp outside Hall H at 3 a.m., and therefore I had to catch the replay at a nearby hotel following it’s recording. I did see the season five trailer, however- and once again- October can’t get here fast enough.

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Despite Hall H being filled to capacity pretty much 99.9% of the time, I did manage to catch some less cut-throat panels in Ballroom 20 that I had been really excited for on Friday. The first, a panel by Entertainment Weekly called “Brave New Warriors,” featured actors Jon Bernthal, Tom Mison, Theo Rossi, Freddie Highmore, and Brenton Thwaites. It was ridiculously funny (Tom Mison especially!) and was followed up by Marvel’s Television panel- which offered some information about the highly-anticipated second season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and a glimpse into their upcoming new series- which I CANNOT WAIT to see- “Agent Carter.”

I had seen the star of “Agent Carter,” Hayley Atwell, at the Marvel booth earlier that afternoon- and she’s so, so stunning.

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After the convention on Friday, I washed the fake blood off of myself and changed into something a little more appropriate to go see a comedy show/live episode of Comedy Central’s “@midnight” with Chris Hardwick at the Balboa Theatre. Although I’ve walked by the theater no less than a hundred thousand times during my stays in the city- I’d never actually been inside of it ’til I saw the show. It’s a beautiful building.

And @midnight? Hilarious, as usual. I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard- and the live tweet-a-thon that was projected on a screen in front of the crowd prior to the show was a nice touch. #butts

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Yesterday, the third day of San Diego Comic-Con, was also the day I wore the last of my three cosplay costumes. Probably the most intricate, difficult bodysuit to put together, what with all the leaves and hot glue gun burns it took to get it just right- I’m quite pleased with my Poison Ivy costume. Not pictured, since I couldn’t take photos/text/function with them on, were the leaf-covered gloves I carried with me around the convention center for photos:

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Just to give you all an idea of the amount of leaves this took!

I have to say, as someone who has never cosplayed before-  I really, truly enjoyed it- and I don’t think I did half-bad for a first-timer! I felt confident enough in each costume- and the responses I got from other attendees and staff was overwhelmingly positive! I’ll definitely be wearing these costumes again for future conventions- and have already started thinking of ways to improve them and am coming up with new ideas, as well.

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Yesterday was another morning through afternoon of posing and panels. There was one in particular I really wanted to see, as did a lot of other people- and to ensure I got a space- I took a lesson from Hall H and showed up a few hours early. It worked in my favor, though- not only because I got in and found myself a good seat- but because before my panel began, I got to see James Spader’s Q&A regarding the show “The Blacklist,” which I’ve heard good things about but have never seen. Everyone in the crowd was also given one of these fedoras, in the style worn by James Spader’s character, Reddington.

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So, what was the panel I had so patiently waited to see? Why, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment panel, of course! Robert Kirkman is a wonderful, yet evil mastermind- who has both improved/destroyed my life with his “Walking Dead” franchise, so it was such a treat to be able to be in the same room with him and David Alpert and listen to them discuss updates in other aspects of TWD world (i.e.- Telltale’s “Walking Dead” video game,) rather than just being limited to discussing the show.

Norman Reedus, forever my mancrush and still such a lovely human being- was also in attendance to discuss his upcoming movie with Skybound, entitled “Air.” We were shown a trailer- and it looks really, really intense. I’m excited to see it.

The panel was one of my favorites, and not just because of the content discussed or because Norman Reedus is very attractive- but because it was funny, moderated fantastically, and the questions some excited fans asked were a lot of fun to hear.

I had wanted to stick around the convention center for the “American Horror Story: Coven” panel shortly thereafter- but the line was insanely long and I needed to get my uncomfortable boots off. I begrudgingly made my way back to my hotel, which actually provided an unexpected surprise: I saw Orlando Bloom just hanging out.

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Wild!

Today is the last day of San Diego Comic-Con, and my full report and summary will be updated after that. Most of the panels are more family and children-oriented today, which means I’ll be roaming the convention center one final time (and not in costume) to snap photos of any exhibits or cosplays I didn’t get the chance to photograph over the past few days.

I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Notes from SDCC: Preview Night and Day 1.

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I have arrived! I’m here! And it feels like I hit the ground running the moment my plane landed this past Tuesday afternoon. Yes, I’ve reached the bustling center of all things fandom-related and I am right smack in the middle of San Diego Comic-Con! With three days left of the convention, I thought I’d use some of my downtime to unwind and recap my very first day (and night!) of SDCC before I dive head-first into what is shaping up to be a really busy second day.

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As stated previously in this post, I arrived in San Diego late Tuesday afternoon. My hotel, the same one I typically stay at whenever I’m in town, is right off the Gaslamp District- which in turn is literally minutes away from the convention center. As I approached my hotel via cab from the airport, it was clear to see that Comic-Con wasn’t just limited to the convention center- but had extended well into downtown San Diego, as well. So many of the buildings were decorated- some elaborately- to advertise shows, games, and movies that were being predominantly featured at the con. Come to find out, many local bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp District were and are having their own special promotions, contests, and previews for convention attendees and locals alike.

My hotel is also located right across the street from Petco Park, which just held a Nerdist-sponsored laser tag tournament and will be transformed into “The Walking Dead: Escape” today through Saturday. Literally EVERYWHERE is celebrating SDCC!

Wednesday, having most of the morning and afternoon freed up until the doors opened for attendees with consolidated admission (like mine,) to pick up their badges- I managed to have a lovely lunch and car ride around town with my good friend Duncan, who I haven’t seen since the last time I was in town in September 2013. I love him!

When it did eventually come time to pick up my badge, I was also provided with a detailed, elaborate guide to all events, panels, guests, artists, locations, times, etc. to the convention- a souvenir book- and a durable and oversized backpack to carry my stuff in. Since it clashes with my costumes, I’ve opted to use it to store my belongings I picked up at the convention for the flight home, instead.

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Batsuit nipples!

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With my consolidated weekend pass, I also had access to Wednesday night’s preview night- where I spent the majority of the evening within the exhibit hall- checking out different vendors and artists- and getting a head start on what I can only assume will be a bit of a weekend shopping spree (my collective haul will be shared in a later post!) While there were some panels going on, I think it was best for me to get my bearings in the exhibit room- which was packed in a matter of minutes- to sort of get used to the crowds and figure out where everything was. I also saw the first of many amazing cosplays!

My favorite part of the hall, however, had to be the re-creation of the tunnel leading to a replica of the Terminus shrine (and of course, it featured some very convincing walkers!) to promote the upcoming fifth season of “The Walking Dead.” It was so well done and so detailed!

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Now, with this being my first ever San Diego Comic-Con experience, I thought I’d make it a weekend of firsts and try my hand at cosplaying- a hobby I often enjoyed watching others participate in but had been too indecisive, and frankly- shy- to try myself.

With yesterday being the first official day of the convention- I decided to start slow, breaking in my Cheryl Blossom costume. Surprisingly enough- I got some love (especially from the folks at the Archie Comics booth!) and even had a few people stop me to take a photo with/of me- proving once again that the “Archie” series is still classic and that Cheryl is an awesome, recognizable, underrated character.

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This was made entirely out of Lego blocks!

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Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

Pam & Cheryl/Carol/Charlene!

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Again, being new to the SDCC scene- I took it slow yesterday, mapping out locations and even managing to catch a couple of panels from Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment before I stepped out to have a couple of beers with a friend.

Today I’ll be going into Daryl Dixon mode- and I can’t wait to snap a few photos once the costume is on and ready. I worked so hard on everything I brought with me to wear and display, and it feels so awesome to finally be able to do it! Also, now that I (sort of) have my bearings- I’m planning on making an attempt to catch a few panels I know for sure I don’t want to miss. There’s already a lot of people camped outside the coveted Hall H to establish their positions within the room- but we’ll see how it goes!

Stay tuned for more updates!