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Jul 272014
 
Phil and Kaja Foglio, Emcees. Photo by Zoe Simsay.

Phil and Kaja Foglio, Emcees. Photo by Zoe Simsay.

by Gene Turnbow, station manager

Costume competitors can push their presentation toward the excellence of their costuming skills, or more towards cosplay in which the quality of their performance can count for more than the quality of the costume (or costumes themselves).  This year’s entries ranged the gamut. Standout costumes were an amazing Queen Amidala (which took two awards); a pair of Aliens (a la Ridley Scott); a glorious recreation of characters from Maleficent in Aurora’s Midsummer Night’s Dream made even better  by some truly breathtaking ballet; and Raiden, complete with motorized armor pieces.

Technical achievements were also in evidence.  There was a lovely ice fairy with working animatronic fairy wings which were operated by no control we could discern. There was also the Dragonborn from Skyrim, with choreography and swordsmanship that were both dazzling and thrilling. There were two version of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, both were over the top and remarkable interpretations, yet each very different.

Song and dance made the evening stellar, some with remarkably complex costumed song and dance numbers, and we were amazed at one woman who did five costume changes in five minutes on stage before our eyes.  Some acts depended on the element of surprise.  One act we loved was one called “Twelve”.  With the stage dark, the stage ninjas rolled out a TARDIS, and we expected a Matt Smith cosplay to step out.  We were shocked when out of the TARDIS poured not one Doctor, but twelve, which was the other interpretation of the title that we hadn’t considered!  Another was themed on kaiju, destroying cities – but when the lights came up the glowing eyes and gaping mouths turned out to be hats worn by a chorus line of lovely ladies dressed as all our favorite Japanese giant monsters!

Sometimes the performances were so good that they brought costuming that went with it from being merely great to being amazing. There was a most appealing performance with a rendition of Agatha Heterodyne from Girl Genius, much to the delight of the shows hosts, Phil & Kaja Foglio, but she was upstaged, surprisingly, by the audio animatronic Dingbot she’d created herself.

And sometimes the performances themselves were so good that they could have been wearing burlap and we’d still have loved what they did. The San Diego Comic-Con has been holding Masquerades now for 40 years, and it always attracts the most remarkable and skilled cosplayers and costumers fandom has to offer. This year the creators did not disappoint. Here’s the list of awards and winners; we’ve got exclusive photos for you in the slideshow below!

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Jul 222014
 

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by Alicia Glass, contributing writer

Welcome to the insanity known as San Diego Comic-Con 2014! Grab your sunscreen (I’m serious about this) and snacks, schedule and funds, and dive headlong with me!

Who doesn’t love the inevitable FREE STUFF? The question is, how much work are you willing to put in, in order to get it. Dead shoe leather and interminable lines, misdirections and new volunteers, and the inevitable “we’re out of that thing you just stood in line two hours for” aside, here is yet another way to the not-so-secret FREE STUFF.

ticketPanels as SDCC these days are legendary for their craziness, but don’t let that slow you down. As you’re sitting there watching Marvel or DC titans talk about their latest creation, Con volunteers will sometimes pass  these little faire-type tickets along the rows. Every person is, in theory, supposed to get one, but I have seen people who have empty seats in their rows take the leftover tickets for themselves: whatever. The tickets aren’t for a raffle at the end of the panel, they’re for the Fulfillment Room. Not every panel does these tickets, and it’s hard to guess which panels will have them –big or small, popular or not has little to do with it, as far as I can tell, it’s likely a matter of whether or not the group doing the advertising had the money to get several thousand free geegaws made. Your SDCC badge is usually a plastic sleeve with a paper insert; I store my tickets in the back of my badge and that has always worked for me.

What do I do with these tickets?

The next thing you need to know is where the Fulfillment Room is, and that is the first of a few minor issues with this funnery. Next to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and this is where the Fulfillment Room is located. Sadly, for some reason, the room is almost always put up in the farthest-from-the-front building of the Marriot, and signs or people indicating which way to go are usually posted only halfway along the route you’re supposed to take. Fortunately (sorta), these days quite a lot of people know about the Fulfillment Room, which means if you get lost, just follow the line of cosplayers to the right location.

marriot hotelOnce you’ve made it to the room itself, you’ll find booths set up with color-corresponding ticket posters on them. Break out the tickets you’ve managed to collect, match up the colors, hand them over to the volunteers, and get  free swag! In previous years, there have been Game of Thrones goodie bags that had freaking folding chairs, preview video games, pins and bracelets, bendable collectible toys, entire books that some movie or TV show was based on, and tons of other unique stuffs!

Be aware of a couple of very firm DON’Ts:

Don’t try talking the harried Con volunteer at the orange-ticket booth into giving you an extra Marvel Rubix cube or whatever – this can actually get them into serious trouble if they’re caught. The same Don’t applies to crying or screaming at the volunteer if/when they tell you they’re out of whatever geegaw this particular ticket is for. Running out is inevitable at SDCC, and regardless of whether you’re willing to go every day to the room for the free stuff, or hedged your bets on a last-day Sunday all-or-nothing ticket spree, there is very likely to be at least one ticket booth that is all out by the time you get there. Yes, even on Thursday, so be aware – forewarned is forearmed with yet more FREE STUFF!

We’d love to see your SDCC photos and photos of your awesome swag! Tag us on Instagram or Tumblr (#kryptonradio), or post up on our Facebook page! See you there!

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Jul 192014
 

BC birthdayby Alicia Glass, contributing writer

Like a great many of you, I AM SHERLOCKED. And who doesn’t adore that amazing British rumble of a voice as a Dragon? Oh, but Cumberbatch has been a great many other things. Edmund Talbot in the historical miniseries To The Ends of the Earth, loving husband William Carey in The Other Boleyn Girl, Vincent Van Gogh, a sympathetic slavemaster in 12 Years A Slave, Stephen Hawking himself, and even “Khaaaan!” in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Cumberbatch attending boarding schools since he was young, and majored in theater and drama. He volunteered during a gap year as an English teacher in a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India. He went back to acting training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, graduating with an MA in classical acting. Since then he’s gone on to star in a dizzying variety of stage plays, television shows and hugely popular movies. His unforgettable voice has lent its talents to numerous radio and narration spots, one of many highlights being the voice of the Angel Islington in the radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

Cumberbatch is known for his kind touches, especially to his numerous fans, who obligingly changed their names from “Cumberb*tches” to “CumberCollective” when he expressed his dismay with the original name. He is frequently known to donate his own paintings and sketches for charities and fundraisers like The Willow Foundation.

So what does everyone’s favorite from Baker street want for his birthday? Well perhaps not for his birthday, it may seem like a birthday for all the rest of us – rumor has it BC himself, live and in person, will be at San Diego Comic-Con 2014! He is, however, an official ambassador for the charity The Prince’s Trust, and I’m sure would be delighted of a donation in his name!

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