Halloween isn’t just for the wicked, it’s basically a holiday for geeks and cosplayers to get their geek on with full approval and even celebration. And this Halloween, some classic Storm is out in full force! And who can blame ’em, a Storm costume is the perfect way to get geeky and stay classy.
These classy and sassy Storms would make the lightning goddess have a little chat with her designer….
In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh‘s hands Storm goes natural diva:
This fashionably geeky article comes from the fashion & make-up guru The Seventh Sphinx, whom I stole away to geek out with me at the Museum of Fine Arts specifically for geek-out over the awesome Sumarai exhibit, but as you’ll see there was an unexpected treat for Sphinx too! For a closer look at some of the outfits hit up The Seventh Sphinx.com or check out a couple of selections below
Last week I went to the MFA with GeekOutsider to see the Samurai exhibit (which was very cool, and inspiring style-wise in its own way). Imagine my delight when I realized there was a concurrent exhibit on 60s and 70s fashion, Hippie Chic.
I found this so inspiring. Here are some highlights.
OK, what do we take away?
a lot more color (both in the sense of great riots of color in a single piece and of a single bold solid color for a piece, ex. the solid red buttoned dress)
feathers, somehow (that massive blue coat is Marabou feathers – YES)
nontraditional suits for men and women (are you seeing that olive and black skirt suit??), but especially men
renaissance homages (the yellow renaissance dress with the embroidery and the gorgeous draping has to be my favorite)
hooded cloaks (the gray and black cloak was another I loved)
awesome boots (with the stars?!!) – awesome boots are timeless (this was GeekOutsider’s favorite look, in the teardrop swing with the casual corsetry)
imposing collars and cuffs (that red Russian coat with the black fur trim…)
style fusion – take anything you want from anywhere in history. I was amazed by the Louis XIV get-up, which is to me completely cute and desirable. Those little calf-length pants with diamond edging! I could wear those. I could wear those right now. Current fashion incorporates features from many eras, it’s true, but I think almost always in a very small, minor or diluted way. Returning to these eras in an undiluted form can be extremely refreshing – not incorporating them entirely, which is the realm of costume (though it can be a fine line, between costume and attire, and one it is fun to blur), but incorporating them in a way definitely and authentically; truly balanced fusion.
The exhibit is up until mid-November, and a general admission ticket gets you in. You can go for free on Wednesdays after 4pm….
Director John Laner, a self-proclaimed geek, is a newcomer to the scene, both the cosplay scene and the documentary film scene, with only one other film under his belt – a 2010 documentary called Wastings and Pain, and up-close look that the poverty-stricken Downtown East neighborhood of Vancouver.
In his nerdy new documentary, Laner takes a look at another marginal group – cosplayers.
Many geeky activities get tagged as escapism. And indeed it is often the case that we read about demon warlords in order to escape our own demons and wars, or we slay virtual dragons because we can’t fight the real fiery circumstances in our real lives. But for some the fantasy can be far truer than reality. Passionate cosplayers spend hours before a convention applying makeup and untangling wigs, and before that they dedicate months to design, needlework, and sculpting, toiling away like mad scientists in order to bring the characters of their fantasies to life .
For people like Lucas (aka TwinFools), Danae (aka Rifa), and Lilly (aka SecretAttire), the dedicated cosplayers that My Other Mefollows through a year of conventions, cosplay is more than just a hobby. It’s a lifestyle.
Over the course of the film we get an intimate view of these three cosplayers lives, from the hours Danae commits to designing the costumes that she scrapes a living from, to Lilly’s anxiety at her first con, to Lucas’s physical struggles through hormone therapy and Male-to-Female surgery.
At first you think you’ve got them pegged; it seems obvious why they cosplay – Lilly is shy, Danae is worried about making a living, Lucas struggles with his trans identity. But along the way the costumes gradually strip away to reveal that cosplay isn’t just an escape for these youths; perhaps it began as a fantasy land, but cosplay has significantly changed each of their lives. It solidified Lilly’s relationship with her estranged mother. Danae found a loving relationship she can count on, Lucas, who began by cosplaying primarily male characters, found a stage where he could safely perform the masculine identity he felt inside his previously female body. But neither, of course, does that capture it all.
Thankfully the reasons why cosplay speaks to certain people and why it spoke to these individuals in particular is beautifully unboxable. What is evident is that it has become an important part of their lives and at the end of the day it’s just play, it’s fun, and it comes with an arms-wide-open community. And, like other geeky pastimes, that’s why they’re into it.
As cool as the costumes are, the personal stories are certainly the strongest part of the film, especially the focus on the families and friends who support the main characters’s cosplay. However, while Laner is a green documentary director, and there are a few moments where this is evident, the less stylized approach he takes in My Other Me is perfect for the topic.
The film really digs in, sometimes getting too personal even for the subjects, like the questioning of Danae’s cosplaying best friend Mana about his gender identity. But this directness and probing also led to some of the most interesting notes in the film – how cosplay allows marginalized individuals or social outcasts to perform the identities they yearn to make real for themselves.
Tackling transgender identity, non-traditional families, and LGBTQ love, My Other Me is a unique look at a world of wigs, masks, and cardboard swords and how outsiders find a home in the geeky community of costume cons.
Check out some of the footage from an earlier trailer that didn’t make it into the film… More costumes!
My girl Meghan over at The Seventh Sphinx borrowed a couple issues of Alan Moore’s Fashion Beast comic from me, and, a fashion beast herself, she naturally fell in love with it and spewed some nice fashionable wisdom on it over at her dope fashion blog The Seventh Sphinx… For the geeky Alan Moore fans among us, Fashion Beast(Avatar Press)was originally supposed to be a movie, which Moore had been working on back in 1985 right around the time he was raking in fame and dollars for The Watchmen. But the screenplay was never filmed, and thirty years later he turned this freaky stylish Beauty and the Beast adaptation into a pretty stunning comic… Read on for more on the story!
CPL was quick to recommend Alan Moore’s recent offering from Avatar Press, Fashion Beast, and lent me the first 8 of 10 issues. A graphic novel all about the power of fashion? Spot on with that recommendation. Opening issues: Mysterious designer auditioning humans as living mannequins with nuclear winter on the horizon. Yes thanks.
Fashion Beast is so my new epithet.
This text gets into the philosophy of fashion, the power of appearance and therefore of transformation. In this case, clothes are king, and appearance trumps all. I don’t think fashion has to be viewed from a serious or philosophical standpoint but it certainly can be (yet another lens through which to survey existence, yours, mine, and ours), and when it is, some very interesting things begin to happen. At least, to me. Namely, I pay more attention, I become more careful in my choices, I become that which I am always striving to be: a creature who does things on purpose.
That is not to say I know why exactly, or know what I am doing*, just…that I chose it, from an array of other choices I deemed inferior or less appealing.
*DEFinitely not saying that.
“Our clothes are bigger than we are, are beyond the petty lusts and difficulties of the creatures that inhabit them.”
A brand new single from Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu dropped last night… and it’s killer. Q.U.E.E.N is the first single released from Monae’s upcoming album The Electric Lady:
It’s funky, electric, and smooth – a fly combination of the two singers’ unique musical styles. Try not to move to this.
Their musical styles might be vastly different, but the lyrics touch on some of their shared experiences as Black women, as unique musical artists, and as otherworldly stylists. It’s about being weird and offbeat and oh-so-cool for it.
For both Badu and Monae, their fashion styles are as prominent and flavorful as their music. They’re known by it, it’s flashy, it’s wild, it’s weirdly so cool. They’re both fashion geeks! Stylistas who break all the rules of what it means to be fashionable.
Monae with her classy suit and tie and that hair, which she true-to-form designates “The Monae”, emphasizing her dedication to a totally personal style.
Several times the song calls on both ladies’ incomparable fashion sense to talk about bigger issues of “strangeness”…:
“They call us dirty ‘cuz we break all your rules down”…
“Say is it weird to like the way she wear her tights? And is it rude to wear my shades?”
“Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven? Say will your God accept me in my black and white? Will he approve the way I’m made? Or should I reprogram the programming and get down?…
Baby, we in tuxedo groove
Monae and E. Badu
Crazy in the black and white
to social inequality…
“Are we a lost generation of our people? Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal. She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel. So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal? They keep us underground working hard for the greedy, But when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy. My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City.
“Even if it makes others uncomfortable I wanna love who I am Even if it makes other uncomfortable I will love who I am”
In their own individual music both women speak to all of these things, and this team-up is like a the beginnings of a Black Superheroine team! A solidarity between Black women that seems all too rare in the days of Beyonce- Minaj face-offs and Real Housewives drama.
Together Badu and Monae use their music and their fashion to bust all sorts of myths about Black women — that there’s only one way to be Black, that there is a persistent animosity between Black women, that women can’t wear suits, that Black isn’t beautiful, that Black ladies ain’t the cooolest, smoothest, funkiest game in town. You’ve had a listen, now take a look…
The Hair. The Hair!
Janelle Monae rockin’ “The Monae”
Erykah Badu unleashing her hair from her iconic hairwarp
Album art for Monae’s debut solo album Metropolis
Promo art for Badu’s 2010 album New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)
Janelle Monae on the cover of 944 Magazine’s 2010 music issue
Erykah Badu backstage at 2010 Lollapalooza
Monae in veil and collar, from singersroom.com
Badu photoshoot from erykah-badu.com
Monae in 2008 Essence magazine spread
Badu in photoshoot, from erykah-badu.com
regal cover art for the second part of Janelle Monae’s Metropolis album – The Archandroid
Erykah Badu looking regal at The Grammy’s
The Quintessential Weird-Cool-Awesome.
Janelle Monae in Interview magazine (photo by Daniel Jackson)
Massive nerdery exploded on the harbor yesterday. Packs of gamer geeks from across the U.S. descended upon the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, armed with backpacks to load up with swag, laptops to plug into LAN parties, and decks to dominate at the tabletop tournaments.
Since the Con sold out early, I only managed to nab a badge for Friday, but SO worth it, if only just to marvel at the only place in the world where there is no line for the women’s restrooms. That said, women were pretty well represented on the fan side of things. And the Tomb Raider panel showed that there are incredible women on the development side turning out some really awesome stuff.
There was even a little (very little) brown-folk representation, at a booth featuring Independent Game Festival award winner Guacamelee(DrinkBox Studios), a combat game inspired by Mexican folklore and traditional Mexican culture.
With a name like Guacamelee, it definitely deserves a skeptical eyebrow raise and hesitant side-eye. But maybe it’s a beautiful work that celebrates an often under- and mis- represented culture in geek world. We’ll see…
In the meantime, the rest of the Con was a bombardment of everything from the big corps and online games to tabletop tournaments, Nerdcore jams, indie RPGs and MMOs, cosplay geniuses, and even a geeky furniture design business.
Here’s a couple of highlights:
Wildstar, a new MMORPG by Carbine Studios out in Beta this year
The Elder Scrolls Online (Bethesda)
Contrast by Compulsion Games
WildStar looks like it’s going to be amazing. Graphics look great, and the story is fun – clashes between races from across the galaxy ensue when a dreamy planet called Nexus is discovered and hordes of galactic beings descend upon it, some to colonize, some to protect and defend it, some exiled and looking for a new home, and some are just there to wreak general havoc for the shit of it. Definitely signed up for the beta on this one.
With the Beta for The Elder Scrolls Online out this month, it’s no surprise that there was a 2-3 hour long line of fans at the Bethesda booth, where the insanely awesome trailer was booming on loop entrancing and tempting Elder Scrolls fans into their secreted gameplay section.
Another one that grabbed my eye, purely by it’s beautiful design was Contrast by Compulsion Games. It’s quite the departure from the shoot-em-up battles, galactic space wars, and zombie frenzy survivalist games flashing on the screens around the rest of the Exhibit Hall. This game is set around a cabaret and a little girl named Didi. The player plays Didi’s invisible friend Dawn, who can literally become her own shadow for stealth purposes, etc. It’s an interesting idea that makes for a spectacular design, but I wonder if the concept is strong enough to hold action, story, and strategy… I might give it a try just to find out and look at all the pretty.
…if you’re into quirky survivalist, gather/collect games that show no mercy: Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment)
…if you’re into significantly *less* quirky survivalist zombie games that scare the bejeezus out of you: The Last of Us
I’d do a whole feature on it, but it’s been done better over at Kotaku.
I will however, add to the love for Amy Demicco’s supercrazyawesome battle dress made out of Magic cards.
Over at the Geek Chic booth, a cadre of very fashionable geeks were opening our nerdy eyes to the possibilities of furniture for your gaming habit. You don’t have to settle for long boxes for your comics or the coffee table you commandeered from your parents for your Friday night Dungeons and Dragons parties.
Anyone who hasn’t seen Beyonce’s newest music video (clip) for her song “Bow Down“, go ahead and fill two minutes of your life with stunning originality. Go ahead…
Right?! What is she wearing?!? And why can’t I wear that to work every single day??
Okay, so Beyonce has gotten a lot of flak for this new song, but we don’t care about that. Just look at that outfit? The Queen B has worn her share of outrageous, eye-full-of-skin combos, and she’s been praised and damned for her fashion choices, but I’m gonna have to step aside from the boos and yays and give her a gleefully geeky nod for her very public affection for cosplay.
Yup. You heard right. Cosplay. Beyonce Knowles-Carter is a cosplayer – cosplaya if you will (her style is a little too fly for that final ‘r’). And it’s not just her latest foray into what I can only call steampunk-inspired Elizabethan Funk. Indeed, Beyonce has been cosplaying ever since she let it out that she had an alter ego who takes over her body to wreak rhythmic havoc on stage – Sasha Fierce.
Sasha Fierce wears diamond clad jumps suits (a la Dazzler, if you ask me). Her magical powers? Entrancing dance and singing abilities, a staggeringly unchecked confidence, and bullwhip hair.
Beyonce has also cosplayed as various other characters of her own invention, including the Sauran-esque android in “Single Ladies” who’s recruited two cloned henchmen on a quest for a special ring, an animorphing warrior queen, and now a mythical Black Elizabethan royal, who can apparently bend the space-time continuum, reigning over a court of hip-hop jesters and funky courtiers (we can get into her reclamation of the (literally) powdery white regality of this era in future post).
Beyonce has taken cosplay to a whole new level, creating characters of her own, dressing the part, and performing their stories on-stage and on-screen. Just because she’s famous and super hot doesn’t mean she isn’t a super geeky role player. Her styled performances are a solid nod to cosplay, steampunk, maybe even larping… not to mention the sci-fi and historical play she ropes into her costumed affairs, like “Single Ladies” and “Bow Down”.
Admit it B, you’re just a big nerdy geeky geekface. And it look good on ya.
Beyonce’s not the only one, however. Music and costumed performance are basically kissing cousins, and many contemporary and historical music artists take full advantage of the opportunity to play. Madonna, Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga, Nikki Minaj, and even Gene Chandler, who logged a stunning performance as Duke of Earl in the 50’s… which is exactly what I’ll leave you with. Cosplay in the mainstream? Let’s call it popcosplay.