Monday, November 30, 2015

Con-Man: Cosplay Expo & Designer Con

I'm a week late on these bad boys but the year of Cons keeps on trucking! It was a double event weekend as we attended the inaugural Cosplay Expo in Van Nuys at the Japanese Garden last Saturday then trekked to Pasadena for Designer Con on Sunday. Friend and photographer extraordinaire Jeremy Rafanan was holding a workshop on photography for the Cosplay set and I moderated for him. I had no clue the Japanese Garden existed right off the 405 north of Los Angeles but it was beautiful. The organizers are to be commended for setting up such a well run show in such a memorable location. There was free parking, food trucks and shuttles at the bottom of the hill, a few vendors out front of the gates and episodes of anime playing inside the administration building. We caught a few minutes of Free! a random yet surprisingly interesting show about a high school swim club where chicks dig muscular forearms. We did a lap around the Garden with it's beautiful ponds filled with fish and graveled paths next to well manicured trees and shrubs. Jeremy's workshop was located in the tea house where he talked all things photography like how he got into snapping pics, equipment he uses, navigating shows big and small, the differences between say a convention and a movie premiere and working with cosplayers. It was a fantastic show and great to a friend sharing his knowledge and experience. Down at the food trucks I opted for a burger and loaded fries from a truck I can't recall the name of...good stuff but the fries could have been a little crispier since they were covered with so much.

On Sunday we made it to Pasadena in seemingly record time for Designer Con, a decent sized show I've never heard of that's been going strong for several years. Like an expanded Artist Alley, DCon was basically set up to showcase custom art, sculptures, toys and clothing. A lot of it was based on existing brands like Disney, Marvel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or He-Man but there was an abundance of original characters and very unique offerings. In the lobby was a Back to the Future themed art show along with a stage for panels. There were 300+ exhibitors on site and I was amazed at the range of items on display and for sale from prints to custom action figures. One of my favorites was comic book covers recreated using Legos and another that was TMNT-centric from the film and original comic strip by Eastman and Laird. I rounded a corner and noticed a giant Captain Power display before realizing it was a booth from Gary Goddard's company! Of course I had just worked with Gary and Roger during the Masters of the Universe celebration so it was a terrific surprise to catch up with filmmaker Roger Lay, Jr. The Goddard Group is known for their theater and theme park attractions but they're now boosting their original content with new takes on Captain Power and Skeleton Warriors in the works.With two more shows, I think my tally is 21 for the year, phew!

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