Archive | July, 2012

Otakon Ahoy!

26 Jul

Sorry, no events for this weekend. Be at Otakon, or be square!

Time for some BASS CANNON!

And please message me @iSaunter on Twitter if you’re there. I’d love to meet my readers!

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Being Social: the Weekend of 7.20.12

20 Jul

What’s going on this weekend… hmm…

A Steampunk ballet? Sure! At the Capital Fringe Festival, everything happens! Flights of Fancy will be shown at Gala Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square. Showtimes include 4:45 pm Saturday, July 14 12 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, 11 p.m. Saturday, July 21, 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26. [WaPo]

Friday

6:30pm

Here’s something different, and right up my alley! Japanese Ink Painting & Wine will explore the subtle art. Tickets are $59. [WUSA9]

I think I want to learn this style…

Saturday

6-9pm

Whole Foods Market is having a Best Butcher Contest and Rooftop Party at their P street location. Food and drink will be served, and tickets are $20 (with profit going to the DC central kitchen).

_

Heads up, foodies! Make your reservations now for:

July 14-21

July 16–22

August 15th-21st

August 17–26

——

Ongoing Geekdom:

  • Iwo Jima Sunset Parades are Tuesdays until August 14th, from 7-8pm.
  • The National Gallery of Art has once more begun its ‘Jazz in the Garden’ series.  This has jazz bands that play in the Sculpture Gardens and is quite the relaxing and entertaining affair.  Check it out if you get a chance!  It will be held every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30, through August 31st.
  • The Art of Video Games, which exhibits video games voted on by fans, is open at the American Art Museum through September 30th.  It starts with lectures by famous developers (many are sold out, though they will be livestreamed!), a GameFest, and video game movies like King of Kong.  If you haven’t seen it, go.  It’s so dorkfully win.

—-

Geek Look Ahead:

July

  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

August

  • Love LEGOs? Then check out the Brick Fair August 4-5 at the Dulles Expo Center. It’s America’s largest LEGO con! The theme is FIRE! And I’m sure some of the sculptures there will actually look real. Sick! [theDistrict]
  • August 11-12 – Geekgirlcon will be in Seattle, WA

September

October

  • Taste of DC‘s main event will be on Pennsylvania Ave on October 6-8.

November

  • NekoCon is November 2-4.  Apparently it starts on the 2th.  I love the Japanese.
  • 9-11 November will be Anime USA here in the District. It’s by the zoo, so totally accessible. I’ve already pre-reg’d!

Being Social: Restaurant Weeks update!

17 Jul

I found yet another restaurant week going on, so an update is called for:

Courtesy of my Volt meal, March 2010

July 14-21

July 16–22

August 15th-21st

August 17–26

Being Social: the Weekend of 7.13.12

13 Jul

Another weekend nears!  Tonight, Truckeroo will again be serving awesome food until 11pm, and have live music and games at the Navy Yard Metro (Half and M Street SE).

And for us this weekend, the controversial Capital Fringe Festival will begin!  It runs July 12-29. This annual performing arts festival will feature more than 140 unique performances in 20 venues around Washington, DC. [DC.about.com]

Want something else fringe? On Saturday night, there’s one of those crazy sushi tastings where you eat it off a ‘model’.  Apparently that art is called Nyotaimori. 18+ [wusa9]

Another event this weekend is the celebration of French Independence!  Of note is the Bastille Day Gala Celebration at the French Embassy – a grand French feast of music, art, cuisine wine and dance! Of course, tix are $100+ so you might want to just wear your whites and go to one of many French restaurants in the DC/Georgetown area.  For example, on Saturday at Paul’s Pennsylvasian Ave location, they will be having a Bastille Day Baguette Relay Race.  Entrants are asked to pre-register. [TheDistrict]

At L’enfant café and grill, they will also host a Bastille Day street party & French Maid relay.  Tickets are $5

Also on Saturday from 7-11pm, Adult Recess at the National Harbor will host 80’s to 90’s music, have booze, and have games like Monopoly, Twister, Connect Four, Battleship, Uno, Chutes And Ladders, Nintendo Wii, And Many More.  Tickets are $10.  Rooms are $99 if you want to imbibe safely.

The DC Rollergirls will be having another derby on Sunday at 3pm, which is sadly their final home bout of the summer. Be sure to bring your own chair. Tickets are $12. [DCist]

Belgian waffles count, right?

Finally, Belgian restaurant week has begun, and there are many neat activities and cheaper beer deals to be found.  A good guide is at huffingtonpost.

And as we’re heading into the next wave of restaurant weeks, heads up, foodies! Make your reservations now for:

——

Ongoing Geekdom:

  • Iwo Jima Sunset Parades are Tuesdays until August 14th, from 7-8pm.
  • The National Gallery of Art has once more begun its ‘Jazz in the Garden’ series.  This has jazz bands that play in the Sculpture Gardens and is quite the relaxing and entertaining affair.  Check it out if you get a chance!  It will be held every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30, through August 31st.
  • The Art of Video Games, which exhibits video games voted on by fans, is open at the American Art Museum through September 30th.  It starts with lectures by famous developers (many are sold out, though they will be livestreamed!), a GameFest, and video game movies like King of Kong.  If you haven’t seen it, go.  It’s so dorkfully win.

—-

Geek Look Ahead:

July

  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

August

September

October

  • Taste of DC‘s main event will be on Pennsylvania Ave on October 6-8.

November

  • NekoCon is November 2-4.  Apparently it starts on the 2th.  I love the Japanese.
  • 9-11 November will be Anime USA here in the District. It’s by the zoo, so totally accessible. I’ve already pre-reg’d!

DistrictGeek’s Bronycon Report

10 Jul

Preface: If you don’t know what a brony is, I recommend you reading at least the preface and first chapter of my e-book: My Little Brony: Our Fandom is Magic.

In the words of Rainbow Dash, this was the best con ever!

It started six months ago.  I skipped the winter Bronycon because I was far too busy during the holidays.  When they announced the next Bronycon was moving to a bigger venue, it was tempting enough for me to commit to going.  The commitment was shaky; I was disappointed when BroNYCon was moved to BroNJcon (they changed venues to the Meadowlands in New Jersey).  This was a damper for many – those in prior attendance claimed that it was much more fun to be in the heart of New York City with fellow bronies.  Still, I have been to enough anime and science fiction conventions to know when one looks good, and I bought in.

While all conventions take volunteers (which provides free admission), I had never volunteered for Otakon because of its sheer size. To volunteer would be taking too much time away from attempting to see everything (which I am never successful with at Otakon).  Bronycon seemed small enough that I could put in a few hours and still manage to see everything I wanted to. Further solidifying my commitment, I accepted a position in registration and was even approved to wear a costume while working.

Tada~

I am a massive fan of costumes. Hallowe’en is my favourite holiday, and conventions are an awesome excuse to dress up at other times.  If you have knowledge of anime costumes, then you should know that they are often known for their candy-coloured wigs and odd outfits, which are based off the animation designs.  However, in My Little Pony most ponies don’t wear clothes.  As such, it requires creative license to make costumes.  They fall into three general categories:

  • Fursuits – making costumes that look like the actual ponies
  • Anthropomorphic cosplay – Wearing ears, horns, wings, and a tail, so you look like a human/pony hybrid
  • Human cosplay – Wearing outfits and wigs to look like the pony, but if the character was in human form

While I enjoy neko (cat anthropomorphism), I’m not too big into wearing a horn on my head, so I have made all my pony costumes as human.  And yes, it is already costumes plural.  I have made four cosplays thus far, to varying degrees of difficulty.  Some are just taking a wig and making outfits, as seen above.

This red and blue beauty was fully made-from-scratch.  I am proud of it; this is the most difficult costume I had made to date.  I was hoping to enter this into the Bronycon and Otakon costume contests.  These contests typically judge outfits based on craftsmanship.   Unfortunately, Otakon does not allow original costumes made for characters – those entering the costume contest must be exact replicas of the cartoon character.  That means only Fursuits can enter the Otakon contest.  And Bronycon’s costume contest… well, let’s just say that their inexperience showed.  There were no registrations or qualifications and I literally had to hunt down a pass to enter the contest.

I didn’t get to keep it though T_____T

While you may not have a clue why these costumes are My Little Pony themed, I’ll tell you the secret: Each pony has a mark on their flank, called a “cutie mark”.  Having this symbol on your person will show which character you are meant to be, even if the outfit is difficult to interpret.  For example, in the blue-haired costume, the joined eighth notes are the cutie mark for the DJ Vinyl Scratch.  In the fancy “steampunk” outfit, my handbag is one of the cutie marks of the Flim Flam brothers.

Hm, a collage of ponies’ marks

But enough about what I wore, let’s get back to the con!

In addition to spending a ton of time making my FlimFlam costume, I also decided to sell some of the pony sundries that I had been making as gifts and for my Etsy.  This turned into sharing a sales table with a fellow DC brony.  Which turned into me wanting to make as much as possible to sell.  This insured that the two weeks prior to the convention were rushed and contained very little time for sleep.

But so many Discords to sell!

Suffice it to say that when we all met to carpool up to Jersey at 7am Friday morning, the four of us were hyped up on lack of sleep, eustress, and adrenaline.  I had the responsibility of riding shotgun, and conversation flowed freely on the 4+ hour drive.  I also have the responsibility of running the DC bronies Twitter account, and there were more than enough excited tweets to retweet and spread the hype on the way up.

We arrived a little after noon, and in the parking garage we began to see My Little Pony stickers adorning cars.  In the hotel lobby, we automatically began greeting everyone warmly.  If they were not bronies, they’d just shrug and leave, but bronies stood and welcomed each other. Many were wearing pony shirts, making for easy identification.  I quickly realized that one such person I welcomed was a Dutch brony that had a high-powered laser in his luggage.  In the world of bronies, he’s known as Laser Pon3.  I gave him a sticker that I made, and thus began the exchange of friendship with strangers who became incredibly close friends by the end of the weekend.

For SCIENCE!

As I volunteered to work pre-registration, I dropped my bags, tossed on my Vinyl Scratch costume and went over to the Meadowlands Exposition Center.  This weekend, it would be known as Bronycon.

Also note the massive truck that had screens on both sides and played pony episodes and pony music nonstop!

Besides the massive sign out front, the first thing we noticed was that there was an impressive set of stairs where bronies were gathering.  This turned out to be ground zero for bronies when the con wasn’t open.

For a young con (I might say this a lot), registration wasn’t too confusing, although I had to get two badges – one for vending, one for volunteering. (Thankfully, I didn’t need my general admission badge, too!)  In less than an hour, I set up a display rack for my sales table and was trained to register.

Then I was up and running, greeting attendees both famous and not, from near and far.  I made it a game to ask where folks were from (Massachusetts and Ottawa were quite common), their mode of transport, their hotel.  Everyone was nice, although some were quite shy.  It’s for those shy folks that I put in the extra effort.  I am so glad that the Bronies can welcome and accept folks that may enjoy it, but not yet know how to express themselves yet.  Lord knows I was a wallflower throughout my grade school years, and many attendees were of that age.  They ranged from under 10 to a man who I believe was 70+ and carried the “oldest Brony” sign with him as a mark of honour.  I hope I’m that cool when I grow up.

One such character ended up being the “Master of Ceremonies”!

I began to feel woozy at 8pm.  Running on 4 hours of sleep and adrenaline, my body was giving in.  Thankfully, I recognized the signals and redoubled my effort to have fun and chat up everyone that passed my gaze, using those good feelings to keep me awake.  It was tough, but I made it to 10pm and then immediately passed out at the hotel.  The sleep was badly needed.

At 7am Saturday I woke up and sneaked into the con using my vendors’ badge.  It was a bit of a disappointment not to wait in line to enter – that is a tradition at Otakon that has become expected.  As vendors, we also got first dibs at others’ works, and I was still shopping around when the floodgates opened.  (Unfortunately, people were let in 15 minutes before opening, so I had to fight to get my last items from vendors that were now swamped with bronies throwing their money around.)

My booth was much quieter, and while I did manage to sell the full dozen of my Discord figures within three hours, my gloves, charms, and stickers did not sell well.  I was not disappointed, however.  I counted myself as one of many vendors who sold out before the day was over, and the lack of continued sales lent us time to be able to enjoy the con activities.

So… Much… Pony… (and my sales partner, Door)

There were very few panels that I wanted to see, with the exception of the first Voice Actors panel.  Everything that I attended I could barely hear – a combination of poor acoustics, poor audio engineering, and  the chatter of 4,000 bronies.  Thankfully, Everfree Radio recorded the panels and the sound was slightly better on playback after the con.  Panels that occurred, but I did not participate in, include Twitter roleplay, musicians, podcasters, pony music videos, artists, and fan fiction.

Perhaps the most enjoyable event was watching the premiere of the newest episode of the fan parody, Friendship is Witchcraft.  When I’m watching episodes with other bronies, I feel a sense of connectedness, and when we all laugh and applaud and cheer on the show, it is exhilarating.

Photo by XyroTR1 Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution 3.0. Link to MASSIVE pic.

Three major guests elicited the same response.  The first was Lauren Faust, creator and mastermind of the rebooted series.  The second is John De Lancie, also known as Q from Star Trek, who played a Q-like villain on the show. Finally, Tara Strong, the voice actress for the main character (Twilight Sparkle) is known as “queen of the Bronies” due to her massive trolling campaign on Twitter.  While only De Lancie may be normally treated as royalty, these three all were treated like rock stars at Bronycon.  The bronies were unrelenting in their cheers, gifts, requests for autographs, and praise-rain.  I did not partake in these activities. While they are great, I did not have a spare $30 an autograph to meet these famous contributors face to face.  But from what I saw of them, they all seemed like genuinely good people.

Beware the crowd of bronies! Security!

De Lancie also had in his tow a documentary crew of over 20 people who were filming the con for Bronycon: The Documentary, which is meant to shed positive light on the fandom.  Sadly, many that don’t take the time to learn about bronies still think that we are all are gay, or worse, pedophiles.  Let me say: if there are bad bronies, none were at Bronycon.  Not only was there was nothing bad going down at the con, most didn’t even drink.  We were all high on happiness and friendship, as cheesy as it sounds.

With LASERS!

I was definitely on cloud nine at what was called “BronyPalooza”, a rave which featured only music done by Brony musicians.  They have made music of every genre – from dubstep to rap to eurobeat, so it wasn’t hard to put together a two hour long music marathon.

Yes, there were even fursuits.  Photo by XyroTR1 Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution 3.0

My buddy Laser Pon3 even put on a show, and it was so beautiful, in combination with sharing the moment with so many other bronies, that I had an existential moment – I was so amazed and glad to be watching this, but also wished I could remember it forever, even after I was gone.  But I blinked away my fears and immersed myself in the moment.  There was epic dancing, glowsticks everywhere, and even a few of the guests of honor got up on stage and danced!

Also Meetup’s pic, not mine.

During the rave, folks moshed, grinded, even crowd surfed!  And to end it all, the final performer, Mic the Microphone, stage dived into the crowd.  I have never witnessed such a willing crowd surge toward a common goal.  It was insane.

Best of the glowey things! (My blue-haired character) Links to slayerdarkcross on DA.

No one wanted to sleep after that.  Unfortunately, my group was unable to find a hopping party, so we parted ways and tried to get some sleep.

I dreamed about bronies.

I woke unable to speak, my body aching, reminding me of the epic night.  The DC brony group was giving gifts to the major guests in the morning, and I joined the group in line – the second of two massive lines needed just to get an autograph, averaging 2-5 hours total.  When we were nearing the head of the line, we saw near the center of the main forum a fire dripping from one of the lights.  The panelists told everyone to evacuate, but instead the crowd just tweeted and took pictures.

For Example.

I looked behind us, found the emergency exit, told folks of its existence, and then also began to tweet.  Everyone stood around, clueless.  It was hilarious.  Judging by the location of the fire, I think it may have been started due to a rogue glow-necklace that was thrown up there the night before.  Either way, we eventually evacuated, and ended up giving gift 1 of 2 to Tara strong outside.

Ignore the male Fluttershy in the foreground 😛

Then it was back to waiting in line, another hour before we could wave from a distance to Faust as our representative delivered our gift to her.  It was anticlimactic, to say the least.

I ran off to enter the costume contest, and it was disappointing.  There were no categories – handmade got no better marks than store bought.  Skill and age meant nothing.  The only thing they did was separate group costumes from single entrants.  I am upset about it because I wanted my craftsmanship judged against others of my skill, but again, it is a young con and I bet they didn’t know any better.  Hopefully next year they change the rules…

…though there were still awesome costumes!

We skipped out on closing ceremonies, since they are always a bore, and had our first real hot meal of the weekend at the Outback Steakhouse attached to our hotel.  Once full, the DCbronies simply met up and watched Dr. Horrible and some pony music videos before finally succumbing to convention fatigue.

For me, the entire two day convention was epic! Any shorter or longer, and I might have had different feelings.  I was also expecting the intensity of the convention to rub some of my pony obsession off, but that did not work.  I’m still addicted to the brony community.  Seeing so many people, going to a convention with my brony friends, experiencing such a positive, open, and uplifting community on a massive scale has only served to reinforce how awesome it is to be a brony.

So, while I’m still your loving District Geek, there will still be more pony in your future.  Heads up.

Of course, having seen many successful and well-aged conventions, on the drive back we brainstormed ways it can be improved.  When I applied as a volunteer, the staff did ask if I wanted to be an administrative assistant, but due to work commitments, I had to turn that down. Now, of course I am tempted to take up that torch.  Confound these, ponies!  They drive me not only to co-lead the Washington, DC group, but also perhaps the East Coast’s largest Brony meetup?  We shall see…

Being Social: the Weekend of 7.7.12

7 Jul

There isn’t much to do this weekend, since everyone was partying on Wednesday. It’s meant to be record-breaking heat out there, so it might be a good idea to stay indoors and play a video game. And if you do, please tell me which one(s) you end up playing!

Mass Effect - the Xbox 360 original

I may be playing this for the first time…

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is ongoing, but bring a lot of water if you go! And, if I’m not mistaken, you can legally drink water on the metro due to the heat this weekend, too!

“Chef José Andrés and his team at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (401 Seventh Street NW) are offering a unique menu to celebrate the birthday of one of Mexico’s most famous artists, Frida Kahlo. Starting tonight, Kahlo’s birthday, to July 13, Oyamel will showcase a unique menu inspired by a birthday dinner she made for herself in 1942 at her home “La Casa Azul” in Coyoacán, a neighborhood of Mexico City. The special menu items and cocktails inspired by her birthday will be available for one week, and the restaurant with showcase an altar dedicated to this legend.” [DCist]

via Virtual Gourmet

If you want to do something, Saturday there will be the Alexandria Birthday and Independence Day Fireworks
July 7, 2012, Oronoco Bay Park. The annual event includes children’s activities, a concert performed by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, birthday cake and a fireworks extravaganza. [DC.about.com]

Also Saturday evening at 8pm, music of John Williams will be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap. Included will be music from films such as “Harry Potter,” “E.T.”, “Star Wars”, and “Jaws”. [WaPo]

Finally, Sunday will play host to a discussion by six comic strip creators “Comics in the District: A Discussion with Local Creators” at Curls Studio (1529 16th Street NW) at 515pm. [DCist]

——

Ongoing Geekdom:

  • The Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall has started up again, and will run through July 8th.  It always includes a bunch of exhibits, as well as fair foods. This year features a massive AIDS memorial quilt (nearly 48,000 panels), the USDA, Anacostia River arts, as well as a Chuck Brown Tribute Day.
  • Iwo Jima Sunset Parades are Tuesdays until August 14th, from 7-8pm.
  • The National Gallery of Art has once more begun its ‘Jazz in the Garden’ series.  This has jazz bands that play in the Sculpture Gardens and is quite the relaxing and entertaining affair.  Check it out if you get a chance!  It will be held every Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:30, through August 31st.
  • The Art of Video Games, which exhibits video games voted on by fans, is open at the American Art Museum through September 30th.  It starts with lectures by famous developers (many are sold out, though they will be livestreamed!), a GameFest, and video game movies like King of Kong.  If you haven’t seen it, go.  It’s so dorkfully win.

—-

Geek Look Ahead:

July

  • Brew at the Zoo will again be held by FONZ on July 12 from 6-9pm. They will have beer from more than 40 microbreweries, and proceeds go towards animal care and education at the National Zoo. Tickets are $50 for FONZ Members, $65 Nonmembers. Tickets include a commemorative beer mug, and the booze.
  • Otakon July 27-29: Become by friend now and we can split a room in this Baltimore-based anime extravaganza!

August

September

October

  • Taste of DC‘s main event will be on Pennsylvania Ave on October 6-8.

November

  • NekoCon is November 2-4.  Apparently it starts on the 2th.  I love the Japanese.
  • 9-11 November will be Anime USA here in the District. It’s by the zoo, so totally accessible. I’ve already pre-reg’d!