AwesomeCon 2017 – Day 2

Last time on AwesomeCon 2017, I cosplayed as Blue Dress Ariel and spent a lot of time walking the Exhibit Hall, enjoying my first-ever convention experience.

Saturday was a really incredible, dare I saw awesome, day.

I was breaking out Sailor Mars again, fulfilling my costume dreams AND my convention cosplay dreams, and I was pretty dang psyched about it! Because this was my first convention and I’ve had red hair for all of 2017 (and have natural brown hair vs. the black-violet hair that Sailor Mars has), I decided I’d attempt what I failed over Halloween:

I would wear a wig.

Spoiler alert: I left the convention center not wearing my wig.

In fact, I didn’t make it very far at all with my wig. Because my Mars cosplay includes heels and is much more clearly a costume versus my Blue Dress Ariel outfit, Ben had us Lyft into DC rather than take the metro. As we pulled up to the convention center, I could feel the wig start to slip. You see, with the wig being quite long in the back, it was back-heavy, and I didn’t really have it particularly well-secured to my head.

Diana, Princess of the Amazons, and Sailor Mars... wigless...
Diana, Princess of the Amazons, and Sailor Mars… wigless…

Even as I was stepping out of the Lyft, people were recognizing me as Sailor Mars and stopping me for photos. Those are probably some of the worst photos of me, as my wig was slipping and I think it was fairly obvious that it was! (Folks were so kind, though, and told me that I looked just like the character. Except I’m pretty sure Rei’s hair was never falling off her head, revealing different-colored hair underneath.) We walked in, went through security, and immediately went to wait in line to see David Tennant talk about space and time travel. While I was realizing that the very friendly young girl in line with me was not the child of the couple next to her and was just standing there by herself talking about Doctor Who to whoever would listen, I came to a terrible realization:

My wig was straight up just falling off my head.

The wig was already making my head hot, but this realization made me break out into a full sweat. People were still trying to compliment my costume when I made the executive decision to take off my wig and go to the bathroom to try to secure it to my head better. (We had a very long line ahead of us so I wasn’t too worried there.) In the bathroom, women and girls were still telling me that Sailor Mars was their favorite or how much they loved watching Sailor Moon, which was so lovely to hear. Regrettably, I was not as cordial in the bathroom as I was outside or even as I usually am in a bathroom because I had bobby pins in my mouth and was furious combing through my wig, still sweating from just how anxious the situation was making me feel. When I finally got my wig back on, I realized my face was starting to get a bit shiny from my makeup trying to contain the stress-sweat.

David Tennant Explores Time and Space was really great, though! I often forget what his natural accent sounds like, and he’s just a very charming man, so the session really energized the completely PACKED Main Stage hall. It was so cool to hear a beloved actor talk to scientists Dr. Grant Tremblay and Dr. Matt Shindell about time travel and what could be possible. David Tennant had some interesting insights on the matter, along with some great stories about acting and being on Doctor Who.


He asked the cameras to zoooooom in on his shoes because they were a very, very ratty pair of trainers. The story behind his strange shoe choice is that he wore his absolute worst shoes to DC under the assumption that he’d be purchasing a new pair of shoes at the airport and be able to finally say goodbye to those terrible shoes. Unfortunately, this did not play out as he expected, and the timing gods deemed that David Tennant would make his public appearance wearing literally his oldest and grossest shoes. He also admitted that he didn’t have a lot of advice for aspiring actors other than:

Don’t be late. Learn your lines. And don’t be an arsehole.

“I already know what your question is going to be.” “Are you my mummy?”
The younger brother of “Are you my mummy” was also very cute

This was my first Main Stage event and it wouldn’t be my last, and I was so so excited to be able to see David Tennant in person! With my wig panic mostly subsided and a really great first event down, I was so ready for the rest of this convention! Next up: the Felicia Day Q&A.

Felicia Day & her ASL interpreter

One of the biggest sources of confusion during this con was how Felicia Day was in a small panel room rather than on the Main Stage. (And Wil Wheaton, too!) She is a HUGE figure in nerd culture, so seeing how many people were lined up early and crammed into the room (and turned away as well!) made me really wonder why she wasn’t a Main Stage celebrity guest. Her Q&A was really great (and I heard that even at other panels she was moderating, many fans directed questions to her) because she’s a really eloquent speaker, she is very kind to her fans, and she’s just an all-around awesome lady. Plus she recently had a baby and published a book, so it’s a very exciting time to be Felicia Day… or a Felicia Day fan, I suppose!

Before the panel started, I was admiring a girl in front of me who had a fantastic costume and a bright true-yellow wig that seemed secure and not trying to leap off of her head. While I was staring at her wig, she turned around and complimented my costume, asking if she could get a photo after the Q&A was over. I said of course but lost her in the hubbub of leaving the small panel room. And I started to feel some slipping…

No time for wig slipping! We needed to eat lunch or we wouldn’t be able to eat for several hours because of certain schedule constraints we had. We headed to one of the food areas where Ben and I waited in line to get food when I felt more and more slipping. I could feel my wig panic seeping back in and as my panic-induced sweat started beading up on my forehead, the wig only slipped more and more. There I was, standing in the middle of several lines of people AGAIN, and I had to do something.

I ripped off my wig in the middle of waiting in line and shoved it into Ben’s backpack.

I didn’t know what else to do! My hair was a COMPLETE mess at this point and a lot of people (and children, I’m so sorry children!) just watched Sailor Mars take off all of her hair in a flustered fit. At least I later had a turn of good luck when I was able to snag a little table for Ben and I to enjoy our sandwiches at, because I really need to just sit and wallow in my shame for a bit.

I was bested by my wig. I would not try it again. I admitted complete defeat.

As I was eating and waiting for Ben to come back with his food, someone came up to me and asked for my photo. Oh no. Ohhhhh nooooo. I said “Sure, of course!” and then proceeded to wipe all the whatever was on my face off, try to make my hair behave, and put my gloves back on for this photo:

Sailor Mars cosplay
Thank you so much to @the_markfuentes for this photo! I’m sorry for how flustered I was when you caught me.

In any case, my wig panic had me very flustered and needing to just sit and recover for a while, but I was ultimately very relieved to have lost my battle with the wig. It meant I didn’t have to worry about it anymore, even if my hair was now less accurate to the character than it was before.

From there, it was off to the Exhibit Hall. Earlier, we were in the wrong line for the Main Stage and had accidentally found ourselves in the Exhibit Hall line. Luckily, we were able to stroll in, although it was SIGNIFICANTLY more crowded than Friday. There was some bumper-to-bumper pedestrian traffic and a lot more cosplayers sitting on the floor trying to catch a moment’s rest.

Finally found a Sailor Moon!
This amazing cosplay made me immediately shout out “EMMA FROST” and beg for a photo. He was so gracious and so glamorous, I still think about this one, often.
Yates and Holtzmann from the new Ghostbusters
Superman facing off with a Dalek (was very scared for this boy)
I recognized this amazing cosplay while I was there but I can’t think of where she is from right now – help?
Two Doctors, two sonic screwdrivers
Lil Joker flirting with two Harley Quinns
INCREDIBLE Disney Princess-Star Wars crossover group with Jedi and Sith princesses (and a T-Rex in the background)
Ninja Pink Ranger from the Power Rangers movie (that I own on VHS)
Leelo and Ruby Rhod from Fifth Element, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year

Before long, it was time for us to get into the only celebrity meet-and-greet-type line we would wait in at all, because I was one of the lucky fans who got tickets to an Edgar Wright autograph session, along with my friend Annie! Even though I had just asked him a question at his Q&A at the Baby Driver screening, I was really excited to be able to meet him up close. He signed another Baby Driver poster for me (the same one I got after the screening) and I was able to thank him again for coming to DC and answering my question on Thursday.

Baby Driver poster, signed by director Edgar Wright
“E. Wright – 2017” Thank you Edgar Wright for this autograph and for this really fun movie!

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to spend much more time in the Exhibit Hall as it was off to see the Jason David Frank Q&A at the Main Stage. Growing up, I was an ENORMOUS Power Rangers fan. As one of many young girls who wanted to be the Pink Ranger, Tommy had a special place in my heart, so I was thrilled to see him in person.

Jason David Frank at AwesomeCon
Jason David Frank aka JDF aka Tommy aka Green Ranger aka White Ranger aka childhood hero to many

Jason David Frank was… not quite what I was expecting him to be. He had so much energy but not in the way that other celebrities that we had seen and would see did. As soon as he walked on stage, he had his phone and was interacting with a Facebook Live audience. Do not let anyone tell you that JDF is not dedicated to his fans, because he is. He frequently mentioned Facebook Live during his Q&A and even had a giveaway for those fans that he prioritized over a giveaway he did for the people asking him questions. But what worried me wasn’t this steadfast love for his fans, but just… attempting to follow his thought pattern. His answers were all over the place and I felt a little concerned for my Green Ranger! I remember in particular that a fan had asked about security at these conventions, because Jason David Frank was actually the target of an assassination attempt at another convention earlier this year. I didn’t know this, but his answer about having security guards that didn’t do anything being the reason that the attempt happened was strange, second only to his proposed solution that security pretend they are doing something and act busy. “Act busy!” he repeated over and over, pantomiming things that security could do to feign security-ness. In any case, I think he is finding some great success with his new gig playing Bloodshot and I wish him the best! As disorienting as his Q&A session was, it was still super cool to see him in person after idolizing him for so much of my childhood.

After debriefing with Annie and Ben to confirm that we were all concerned about the Green Ranger, Annie split off to go to the Wil Wheaton Q&A while we circled back in the line to see the John Barrowman Q&A. I felt guilty dragging Ben to this because he had no clue who John Barrowman was, having never seen a single thing he’s been in, but John Barrowman is something of a legend at these geek conventions and knows how to put on a wonderful show for everyone. He strutted out in heels and a TARDIS onesie (or as someone exclaimed gleefully, a romphim) and was everything any fan could hope for him to be: loud, suggestive, funny, charming, supportive of the 17-year-old girl who covered the depiction of bisexuality in the media…

John Barrowman!
Hamming it up for the camera… and the cameraman

He told us a funny story about his in-laws (it involved his husband’s unexpected appearance during a livestream) and reveled in how his ASL interpreter signed the phrase “hung like a donkey”. We learned that it’s tough being recognizable when you have “old man hair” in real life and are accused of looking like someone famous… but way older! He wrapped up the Q&A singing Frank Sinatra for us and I left feeling so giddy and energetic. Even Ben perked up significantly after being very confused by the Jason David Frank session and despite not knowing who John Barrowman was. By the time that panel had ended, we were ready to go back to the Exhibit Hall and maybe, finally, purchase some items that we were contemplating the day before.

Strutting his stuff in a pair of pumps
With husband, Scott, in his Captain Jack Harkness jacket

Unfortunately, the Exhibit Hall was closed already! It closed a lot earlier on Saturday than it did on Friday, and we were pretty disappointed. We had no choice but to turn back and go to the video game parlor, where Ben completely destroyed some kids at Halo. Lemme tell you something: Ben may not have played Halo in a long time, but that game raised him when he was in middle school. He has clocked more hours as Master Chief than I can even fathom. So despite “going easy” on the tweens with the other controllers… they really didn’t stand a sliver of a chance.

While we were gaming, we regrouped with one of my co-workers, Joe, who I was able to persuade to attend AwesomeCon by telling him that David Hayter was going to be there. As a huge Metal Gear Solid fan, Joe essentially came out just to see David Hayder, who voiced his favorite game and whose voice acting is actually an aspiration of Joe’s! (Later, Ben commented that Joe had an excellent voice before I told him that he did some amateur voiceover work on the side.)

Codex, from The Guild, with Diana, from Themyscira
Awesome Yondu who was REALLY tall
So delighted to find Cortana, especially with Ben being the big Halo fan he is
Belle and Star Lord lounging on the steps
This wee Deadpool was running up and down the steps for a looooong time
Indiana Jones and Mars tried to switch poses

After catching up on our AweseomeCon adventures, we met up with Annie and Connie to grab dinner. It was Joe’s first time having poké AND his first time trying mochi ice cream, and it was very delicious. I imagine that passerbys who saw Sailor Mars in the window eating poké were a little confused, but I had an awesome time with my friends, cosplaying, and seeing these great celebrities. I was only sad to think that there was only one day left of this convention. I didn’t want the fun to ever end.

Who are your favorite cosplays in this batch?  I have already professed my love for the glitter-bearded Emma Frost and the awesome group crossover cosplay.

Have you ever been surprised by how a celebrity acted in real life?
Have you ever gotten to see a celebrity and s/he was everything you thought s/he’d be?

One more day of AwesomeCon recapping left!

Baby Driver (2017) + Edgar Wright Q&A

Thanks to Sony Screenings for allowing me to see Baby Driver before its release and to Edgar Wright for a great Q&A session afterwards!

Movie poster for Baby Driver starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a really special advanced screening for Edgar Wright‘s latest film, Baby Driver, made special because the director himself was available afterward to answer questions! I’ll go into more detail about the Q&A after I talk about the movie itself (spoiler alert: Jake Tapper moderated!) so let’s get right into it!

Honestly, the reason this movie was on my radar was because I follow Ansel Elgort on Instagram and he promoted the movie. When Ben and I first saw the trailer, I was like “???” and Ben was very interested until the title appeared on the screen, at which point he went, “Aw, what, the title is Baby Driver are you serious I wanted to watch this movie, too…”

Baby Driver is about a getaway driver named… Baby, and he’s played by Ansel Elgort, whose incredible charm I had somehow underestimated despite following him on social media. (The boy has a great smile.) He listens to music on a variety of iPods virtually constantly because the car accident that killed his parents also left him with debilitating tinnitus – the permanent ringing in the ears that, in some people, can drive folks mad. He helps Kevin Spacey‘s Doc drive in his various heists because he owes Doc money from stealing from him in the past. The other members of the heist crews always change, leading Baby to meet characters like Bats (Jamie Foxx), the batsh*t crazy one eager for a fight, Buddy (Jon Hamm), the cool and easy-going one who is in love with Darling (Eiza González), the beautiful and troublemaking member of the lovebird duo.


I’ll just say outright that the story and its progression are just okay, but it is very easy to forgive because this movie is not a movie.
It is an incredibly fun, nearly 2-hour-long, beautifully-styled music video.

Baby getting ready to drive in Baby Driver

The movie does not exist without the soundtrack. We listen to whatever Baby is listening to and that frames our experience of the film, just as it frames Baby’s experience. There’s a great one-take long-shot of Baby walking down the street to get coffee while listening to music, but of course, and the sounds in the background begin to sync up with the instrumentals and beat of Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle”. During the Q&A, I actually learned that this scene is a bit of a lyric video, where the lyrics of the song playing can be seen in the background! I hadn’t noticed at all, but there is graffiti that shows the lyrics, and when Baby walks back over, the graffiti has already changed to reflect the new lyrics.


That’s the way the entire movie feels. It is how the movie was written in fact: Edgar Wright listened to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” and imagined a car chase scene every time he listened to it, praying for years and years that it wouldn’t be used in a car chase scene by another director before he could use it as the soundtrack for the opening heist scene.

Awesome car chase scene

The moments of the movie hit the beats of the songs. High-action moments come with high-action beats, and slower, more intimate moments are accompanied by slower jams.

So don’t get caught up in the dialogue. Don’t get caught up in “why would they do that”? Don’t get caught up in the things that usually break a movie.

This isn’t just a movie. It’s a highly-stylized, super fun series of music videos that tell a large story. And it was so much fun. And it was so well-done.

Baby and Debora tapping their feet listening to a song
You’re free to attempt to not do this while watching, but it’s much more enjoyable if you let yourself have fun.

Baby Driver is in theaters June 28. I’ll talk about the great Q&A session with Edgar Wright and Jake Tapper after the trailer.

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