Thursday 23 May 2013

Ottawa Comiccon 2013 video post wrap-up!

Here it is, ladies and gents: our Ottawa Comiccon 2013 video post! Enjoy the fun interviews with Steampunk Canada, Marvel artist Nick Bradshaw, The Comic Book Shoppe's Rob Spittall, and even our 'show stealer of the con' award winner, Akumu Ink! I heartily recommend watching 'til the very end, when a wookie from the 501st Legion Capital City Garrison scares the daylights out of me. But my favourite is the Batman unicorn bit. You'll see.

And yes, the count is off on the Star Wars poll: Episode V had the most votes.

Of course, I took tons of pictures and I'm going to have to upload some later on (so check back for updates) because I'm currently on the road to Anime North, a major Anime convention in Toronto, Ontario. But here are a few of my favourites:

Thanks again to the Ottawa Comiccon for having us there as official press and giving us great access to all aspects of the event. We can't wait to geek out at the next one! And don't forget to become an instant member of the Capital Geek Girls fanclub (our very own geek fanclub, with posts right here) on Facebook today. Boys, girls, and everyone invited.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Geek Girl Review: Star Trek, Into Darkness

This Capital Geek Girl movie review is by Geek Girl MJ, my best friend and easily the biggest girl geek I've ever met. She got to see the new Star Trek movie before me and had a lot to say, so I asked her to share her thoughts in a review; here it is. 



I need to say first off that I absolutely acknowledge that my Star Trek knowledge is not as vast as so many others out there.  I’ve always been a Star Wars kid; that being said, I do love my Trek.  

When I went to the screening of Iron Man 3 last month, I thought to myself, ‘Man, that is setting the bar pretty high for the other summer movie competition!’. Well, J.J. Abrams took that bar, set fire to it, used it to draw a line in the sand and then dropped it like a mic. Abrams out.

I want to avoid any spoilers because no one likes those. If they did they’d be called “Information Gifts” instead of spoilers.  I purposely avoided trailers so I could go in with a totally open mind and let the movie unfold and try to take me along with it.  Into Darkness had me completely immersed within the first 5 minutes and I stayed there, right on board the Enterprise for the whole 127 minutes.  The movie moved at a good pace and didn’t feel like it was dragging me anywhere.  There were solid performances given by all of the main crew, with fairly good performances by Peter Weller and Alice Eve.  Benedict Cumberbatch created a stellar character as a top-notch  villain and disappoints no one.  Indeed all of the awesome you love about him as Sherlock Holmes [from the BBC series, Sherlock] is here with so much more awesome added on top of that.

Surprising to no one is that it was visually stunning, lens flare and all!  I made the choice to not see it in 3D or IMAX (my preference, nothing against) but I do fully intend to go again and see it in all the glory that these formats offer moviegoers.   I feel like it could only add to the experience.

The reason I mentioned my lack of Star Trek knowledge is this: Many fans may indeed take issue with jumps in story arcs or a re-writing of some of the history.  A couple of times I raised my eyebrow (only one because that’s what Spock would do...WWSD), and then realized that the first film plot was what made that a possibility and think that the Star Trek universe is only richer for it.  I also mentioned my deep love for Star Wars and can tell you this: after watching Into Darkness I would like to write George Lucas a thank you letter for releasing his iron grip on the Wars franchise and giving the opportunity to have J.J. Abrams be in charge.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.


Monday 13 May 2013

Ball of twine adventures at Ottawa Comiccon: Julie Newmar & Nathan Fillion!

Soon I'll be doing a full wrap-up post about Ottawa Comiccon 2013, but for right now, I just gotta show you something:

That's Julie Newmar with a ball of twine, people.

Me, Julie Newmar, and MJ. 
Yes, the original (and finest) Catwoman is holding a ball of twine.

If you don't know why Ms Newmar has twine, you may not be a reader of The Bloggess, and you may have missed my earlier post about going to Comiccon armed with twine for a photo with Wil Wheaton. But long story short: Jenny Lawson, blogger of the Bloggess, has a growing collection of celebrities doing mundane things like holding balls of twine. And because I adore the Bloggess, I set out to hit the Con and try to get her one specific ungettable shot: Nathan Fillion with a ball of twine. Which I kinda did, too: so here you go, Jenny: it's the best I could do:

Nathan Fillion with a ball of twine. Sorta.

That's me, but dressed as Jenny Sparks from The Authority. And Nathan Fillion in the background.

My other goal had been to get Wil Wheaton to do a twine photo with me, but first *I* was too busy, then *he* was too busy, and basically when you try to get an overstimulated, attention-deficit blogger to remember that she's gotta stop playing with nerd stuff and go track down Wil Wheaton, you may end up with the blogger forgetting to do that. We just got so busy interviewing costumed fans (video to come) that I kinda forgot about Wil. Sorry, Wil. I came back on Sunday specifically just to see if I could grab him for an interview, but the PR team politely told me to frack off, because I should've asked yesterday. So I was just about to wander off and go sulk somewhere when I noticed that Julie Newmar had a lull, and there was no at her autograph booth.

I ran back to my bestie MJ, who was working at a booth, and grabbed her by the arms. "Julie Newmar is taking photos and there's no line," I said. MJ's eyes grew giant and she said, "Are we really doing this?!" In response, I clutched her elbow and began dragging her, full-speed, through the crowds. 

A little context here: MJ and I are big admirers of classic film and television actresses. And when it comes to elegance and beauty, Ms Newmar is top rank. And, aside from being one of the original Catwoman actresses, she was also in To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.A movie we both love and MJ has always wanted an autograph just like that. So yeah: we ran.

We ran up the rows of railing and stood behind another girl who’d gone up to meet Ms Newmar. While we waited, I could see how overwhelmed MJ was, and with giant eyes she murmured that she’d maybe like an autograph. Then it was our turn, and I basically had to drag MJ forward by the elbow, she was so frozen.

The wonderful, blessed thing about other people panicking is that it makes me less panicky. So, despite my own tendency to be struck dumb by the presence of celebrity, I kept it together for the sake of MJ. And she did great. She told Julie Newmar how lovely she thinks she is, and how much she admires her. I definitely mumbled something along the same lines. The two of us, though, did spend a lot of time just staring at Ms Newmar while Ms Newmar stared expectantly back at us. Then she looked at my hands, where I had my giant ball of twine clutched in front of me, reached out one long catlike finger to tap it, and said, “What’s this?”

And basically what came out of my mouth was a classic Jordan string of words said so fast, they sound like one long blur: “It’s-a-ball-of-twine, you-see, my-friend-has-a-blog [‘friend’ being Jenny Lawson, of course, and ‘friend’ being ‘someone I hope I meet one day and don’t throw up on’], and-she-has-this-crazy-collection-of-photos, you know, of-celebrities-with-balls-of-twine-and-other-stuff.” Ms Newmar just stared at me, perhaps wondering if I was mentally well, and I felt something more needed to be said, so I added, “She’s friends with Wil Wheaton.” Because that obviously was proof that none of us over on this side of the autograph table are insane.

Anyway, she said, “Well, that’s the most peculiar thing I’ve ever heard,” and then we asked for a photo with her, and she said yes, and then I asked if she’d consider holding the twine, and she said yes, and then they took the photo and now I’ve got a photo with my best friend, Julie Newmar, and a ball of twine symbolic of the funniest living woman writer I know. So it’s like four levels of girl power awesomeness.

Oh yeah: and MJ managed to turn the twine thing to her advantage, because after the photo she asked for an autograph but said she wanted something specific, and that it may sound like a strange request, but would she sign like she did in To Wong Foo? And of course, after the ball of twine, this seemed totally normal. So she did it.

I was so happy. I had set out to get a really cool celebrity shot with a ball of twine; and MJ had been dreaming about a ‘thanks for everything’ signature from Julie Newmar for all the years I’ve known her. And we both got our wishes. And so then I did something utterly ridiculous: I cried. I cried all the way walking back through the convention centre. I should note that this crying fit happened literally 20 minutes after I’d just rolled my eyes at another poor sod who’d been so excited to meet Nathan Fillion, she’d puked. I mean, at least I didn’t puke...but I know Ms Newmar saw the tears starting in my eyes, and I don’t even mind.

Anyway, Jenny Lawson, if you read this: you were represented, in spirit, at the Ottawa Comiccon this weekend. I didn’t actually mention the web address of your blog because a) Julie Newmar doesn’t strike me as an online reader, and b) I couldn’t bring myself to recommend a blog with taxidermied costumed rodents and a lot of vaginal humour to a woman who wears a fascinator to a comic book convention. Maybe next year I'll do this again, though...same bat time, same bat channel.

POST SCRIPT: And then THIS happened...

And I saw the tweet after a particularly sweet and lovely date with Alan, and generally was in such a happy place that I think I might have turned into a ball of happy orange light and imploded. But I'm still here this morning, so I guess I've got more work to do.

Friday 10 May 2013

Ottawa Comiccon 2013 Begins!

Nananananananana nanananananana Batmobile!

The Ottawa Comiccon kicked off yesterday afternoon with a short press conference and the appearance of the Adam West-era Batmobile down at City Hall. Mayor Jim Watson sat in the car looking spiffy.

Throughout the weekend, I'll be tweeting and facebooking about the con, and there'll be a post to wrap-up, too. If you're missing this year's comiccon, people, I think you're missing something special. But if you really can't make it, there's this crazy sale running on Saturday night at our Geek Girls HQ, the Comic Book Shoppe, that runs from 9pm-midnight. So you can make your own mini-con.

Be sure to check out all the info on the event on the Ottawa Comiccon official site!

Various City Councillors looking giddy as schoolgirls.

CTV's Kurt Stoodley Emcee'ing

It's Friday night of the Con, and I just had to add a few things here:

The Force is strong with this one!

The display for the 501st

Precious handmade treasures from Liebchen Designs.

My new favourite tee maker, Akumu Ink

Smart cookies this year: shelter for the long lines!

AND a very special video clip of the four Daleks:

Thursday 9 May 2013

Handmade Harvest: May 2013 in Review

The most wonderful time of the year

Handmade Harvest is one of my favourite craft shows in all of the Ottawa Valley. I blogged about this year's Harvest before the show, and I wanted to write a quick wrap-up, too, because this year was a good one.

Handmade Harvest has a good number of standard crafters who appear at almost every show, and these artisans make up the backbone of the event; it's nice to know you're going to find the soap you like, the bags you love, and the jewellery your mom wants, all in one place every year. But this year it was the newbies who really stole the show.

Show stealers this year

Winged Beast Outfitters was there, a favourite of mine from the former monthly Urban Craft shows held at the GCTC in central Ottawa. Sterling's designs are cute yet edgy, and I finally went home with one of his awesome 'raptor riding a whale' dresses. Look for Sterling this summer as he makes his way around town with a cart strapped onto his bike, offering his clothing line at festivals and more. Winged Beast offers postcards and buttons, too, so there's something for every price range.

My new Winged Beast Outfitters dress!

Another new crafter, Pip Robins, brought fabulous leather and metal belt buckles, printed with awesomeness. These look and feel very pro, and are an easy gift idea because the belts can be bought separately at any length. I will be looking for her next show to grab myself a new buckle! Maybe she'll have a T-Rex one and make my day. Buckles were in the $30 range and were well worth it.

The Best In Show, in my opinion, was the absolutely brand-spanking-new Rekindled Lighting

Rekindled Lighting is a brand new artisan, crafting lamps out of old found objects. My two favourites were a lamp made from a vintage eggbeater perched on a pile of books, followed closely by one made from a two-reel film projector. This lovely crafter can also make a light fixture out of any item you have at home; maybe there's something you've got that doesn't have a function, but is great to look at? Give it new life by commissioning a custom lamp. The price point was a bit high for the usual Handmade Harvest crew--lamps were between $100-$200 for the most part, with some below and some of the larger ones above--but now that we know she's around, I think she'll be the talk of the town. Just imagine what a neat wedding gift one of these would be for a funky young couple this summer.

The show, as always for the spring, was held in the Almonte Agriculture Building, which is one of the prettiest venues for a craft show I've found. The show was a definite success this year, albeit a little heavy on the fabric-wrapped hair accessories and repurposed spoon trinkets/jewellery; but I still had a hard time choosing between a half-dozen potential purchases. As always, I waited in line for the swag bags that are given out to the first 50 keeners, and I wasn't disappointed: the bags this year were handmade by the organizers and held a plethora of tiny crafts, though perhaps more fridge magnets and keychains than I'd expected. 

The lineup for swag bags started before I got there, at 8:30am

Perhaps the best part of Handmade Harvest is that it's such a community-built event; because the owner of Doree's Habit is one of the organizers, there's a real connection to the town, and because Almonte is such a small town, after the show you can easily walk to several shops that offer an even wider array of artisanal treasures, many from the same artists--so your drive to the show becomes a walking tour of adorable local shops. 

Uniq Boutiq has neat art you can take home and personalize.

Mossfeathers offers mossy terrariums; hugely popular!
Lovable faerie houses from Faerie CeCe

Handmade Harvest runs again in the fall, and you can keep in touch with them over Facebook.

Thanks for the great show, ladies!

Saturday 4 May 2013

Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show: a magical time trip!

Last weekend, I went to the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show; I’d never been before, despite the enthusiasm of  many friends, and now that I’ve gone…I’m kicking myself for not going sooner.

The show ran at the Ottawa Convention Centre (attached to the Rideau Centre, for those who know the city), and while it didn’t take up a huge amount of floor space, this is definitely one of those shows with a lot packed into a little area. Vintage clothing dealers and second-hand shops from all over Eastern Ontario were there, selling everything from costume jewellery to full-out tuxes with tails.

I fawned over a few piano shawls—something I’ve been desperately desiring yet can’t bring myself to spend the money on—and was enthralled by the endless amounts of hand-embroidered handkerchiefs and handmade doilies. Several dresses from the 60s and 70s caught my eye, and some fabulous hats from every possible era were also on display.

Prices varied, with many of things I coveted most ranging around the $300 mark; handmade beaded clutches seemed pricey, as did the shawls. But there were endless affordable scarves and dresses. My only regret was not budgeting more money; if I’d realized how many pieces I’d find that were totally wearable, I’d have planned to spend my spring wardrobe money all in this one place.

Sizing was also impressive; if you’re familiar with vintage clothes, you know they tend to run small. But the show had something for every body size and girls of every girth were leaving with smiles on their faces. But the show wasn’t just for the gals! My roommate Bruce left with a killer leather jacket, a steal at $75 and comparable, new, for at least $300.

I left with two prairie skirts myself, being a huge fan and never knowing (before this) where to find them. With the other few I’ve managed to gather over time, I can now spend the entire summer looking exactly like my mother in her teens.

I think what struck me the most about the show was not the prices, nor the timelessness of the fashions, those these were worth noting; it was the way I felt when I’d hold up a piece of clothing from another time and found myself lost in thought imagining the woman who owned it originally. What did she look like? Did she love this piece? Did she have children? Host dinner for her husband’s boss? Was she a showgirl? What was she wearing now, in her golden years? I felt a strange sense of connection with generations past, and it made the entire show into a reverent journey through time.

I’ll be back for the show in the fall, and I encourage you to come, too. Just keep your hands off the prairie skirts and piano shawls; I’m coming armed with a fat wallet next time.

I SO shoulda bought this.

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