Our Epic Summer!

We Are Cosplay has had an amazing summer thanks to our all of our awesome partners and members.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 8.12.56 PMWe spent a lot of time with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital including attending their Superhero Week and hosting our first Free Comic Book day at the hospital thanks to the kind donations from Dark Tower Comics.  Make-a-Wish Foundation reached out to us to help delivery C2E2 tickets to Eric DellaTorre. We are super excited to be assisting with his super fantastic wish and our currently working with one of our members to create a very special costume for him. Join us to cheer him on.

Summer is also a great time for movies! We had lots of great meet and greets at Hollywood Palms including Age of Ultron 3D (video), Ant-Man (video), and Fantastic Four. Stay tuned for some VERY exciting end of year movie meet and greets.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 8.16.07 PMHope everyone got their summer reading in! We partnered with some new libraries this year and visited some old friends. You may have caught us at Indian Trails Library, Gail Borden Library, and Orland Park Public Library. We also did an really fun event in Tinley Park where we paired up with artist painting comic book themed benches! And of course, we hung out with our friend Boomer at the Schaumburg Boomer’s stadium for Superhero night.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 7.20.17 PMWe wrapped up our summer at Lake Count-i-Con, where we hosted a gameshow stage all weekend long. It was great to see all the very talented cosplayers (images) out. We had a wonderful time.

 

We’re gearing up for Fall which means lots of costume fun, preparing for this year’s Cospys, and of course STAR WARS!

 

 

New Series: Coffee with Cosplayers

During our first year as a brand, we highlighted a handful of Featured Members and told yoScreen Shot 2015-05-25 at 6.21.32 PMu a bit about them via a posted interview. This year we wanted to kick it up a notch and provide some more in-depth on camera time with our featured members. We are so excited to launch our first episode, featuring Chrystine Shelton. We met Chrystine at the Wicker Park shop, Wormhole. The space is littered with retro toys and blasts from the past. We learned a lot about Chrystine and had an amazing time. Thanks to Wormhole for letting us crash!

Check out the first episode here.

Behind the Scenes Photos.

 

 

Chi-Fi 2015 Recap

This year we were invited to get involved with Chicago’s own Chi-Fi convention. Along with our usual booth triage we participated in judging the costume contest as well as hosted Saturday’s after party event. It was great to see the Chicago sci-fi and fantasy community get together to support this local event and we had a lot of fun.

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Moderator Paul Heid and We Are Cosplay members Toby Markham,Zadok Manny Camacho, Stever Schertz, and Ronald Ladao participated in our Men of Cosplay: Midwest panel.

 

 

 

11076795_670946186344757_1236885616804433048_oModerator Angelique Starr Rickhoff and We Are Cosplay members Casey Renee, Jen Greeley, Margaret Musiel, and Jenny Prado discussed the Midwest Cosplay scene from the female perspective as part of our Women of Cosplay: Midwest panel.

 

10505225_670949113011131_7984309438046160246_oOur Party at the End of the Universe had an amazing turn out.  DJ Fishdick [aka Brian Graupner of The Gothsicles (official)] provided music for the evening and performances by Acrobatica Infiniti Circus: The Nerd Circus! combined circus, cosplay, and genre fiction for fans to kept us all entertained. Your We Are Cosplay admins guest bartended special cocktails to fundraise for the group every hour.

Check out our album for more photos. See you at Chi-Fi 2015!

2015 Off to a Great Start!

DSC_0771_15997758414_mWe are so excited to be 2 months into our second year as a brand. Already we’ve had three events including a Costume Karaoke Party to promote Northwest Indiana Con,  Adler After Dark: Revenge of Geek Chic at the Adler Planetarium, and one of our all time favorite events the Chicago Dance Marathon to benefit Lurie Children’s Hospital.

It is our goal this year to again provide a variety of opportunities for our members and so far so good!

Be sure to check out our galleries for Adler After Dark and Chicago Dance Marathon.

 

Adler After Dark Cast

Amanda Lopez Captain Malcolm Reynolds
Casey Welsch Tauriel
Claire Rogoski Princess Boba Fett
Clayton Faits Fox Mulder
David J. Carvelli Obi Wan Kenobi
Harrison Kuras The Doctor (10th)
Jessica Lynn Cwik Sister of Battle
Katrin Frendreis Andorian
Kenneth Seli Russel (special request to include balloons)
Kimberly Schure Loki
Lauren Faits Dana Scully
Luis Humgerto Marquez Barf
Luisa Gonzalez Mystique
Marc Nabke Daft Punk “Bangalter”
Matthew Rzepka The Doctor (9th)
Paul Heid Skeletor
Sanlea Salkic Xena
Steve Schertz King Sombra
Toby Markham Star-Lord
Valerie R Romack Daft Punk “de Homem-Christo”
Angelique Rickhoff Social Media Director
Nyq Bonaventura Media Director

 

Chicago Dance Marathon Cast

Paul Heid Spider-Man
John E Kohler Batman
Albert Capoccia Robin
Amanda Roark Queen Elsa
Jayme King Princess Anna
Zadok Camacho Olaf
Toby Markham Star-Lord
June J Rivas Gamora
Scott Whipple Superman
 Angelique Rickhoff  Social Media Director
 Nyq Bonaventura  Media Director

 

We Are Cosplay Returns to Chicago Dance Marathon!

We Are Cosplay is deeply honored to be invited back by our sponsors, Solstice Mobile, and welcomed by the families, friends, and staff of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Here’s 2 minutes out of the 786 we spent at last year’s event!

Please visit our fundraising page and help us surpass our modest goal.

 

 

A Year in Review

We had an amazing first year here at We Are Cosplay with 20!! events under our belt to show for it. We could not have done it without the support of our 485!! members. A special thank you to all the organizers, partners, and sponsors for making it all happen. We’re excited to do it all again this year, but even bigger and better.

As a token of our appreciated, we decided to host a member appreciation night. Everyone looked fabulous as they celebrated the achievements of their peers. Check out the album to see the photos from that night. Congrats to all our nominees and winners.

 Watch the whole night here!

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Daniel went home with not one but two Cospys!

The Winners! 

Best Prop – Daniel He Xi
Best Makeup – Bevan Sukowaty
Most Charitable – Jayme Lee
Best Photo – Jonnie Lee
Most Supportive – Stvo Jay
Most Accurate Replica – Kyra Wulfgar
Best Original Character – Daniel He Xi
Most Events – Zadok Manny Camacho
Most Dynamic Duo – John Quade & Char Lee
Best Performance – Luis Marquez

 

Thank Yous!

Thanks to our sponsors- Solstice Mobile, C2E2, and Lake Count.I.Con, thank you.

Thanks to our hosting venue, Hollywood Palms Cinema, thank you.

Thanks to our presenters and featured members, Ryan Green, Bevan Sukowaty, Jonathan Onopa, Ronald Ladao, and Margaret Musiel, thank you.

 

 

Featured Cosplayer: Margaret Musiel

Margaret Musiel

This Halloween season we challenged the We Are Cosplay community to post their costumes with the hashtag #wearehalloweenplay, for a chance to be the next randomly chosen featured member. I was personally excited to see the selection as I think the toyline is a fantastic alternative to the traditional options, and we really love the aesthetic of Dia de los Muertos!

Skulls off to Margaret Musiel, for bringing the gorgeous Skelita Calaveras of Monster High fame to life! Now let’s get to know a little more about her… “Muggy” that is.


Skelita

Character wise, who’s on your “done it” list? Who’s the favorite?

“My done list is pretty extensive [laughs]. But to list a few I have done- Skuld (Ah! My Goddess!), Rena (Higurashi), Asuna (Negima), Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid), Ame Comi Harley Quinn (Batman), Ragyo (Kill La Kill), Stephanie Brown Robin (Batman), and Sakura (Tsubasa & Cardcaptors). Most recently Skelita (Monster High). My favorites so far have been Ragyo, Skelita, Robin, and Harley because of the experiences I have had with others while wearing them, but my favorites to make so far have been all my Sakura’s.

*How could she forget to mention one of our favorites, San of Princess Mononoke?! 🙂

San of Princess Mononoke by Margaret Musiel

“Now where did I park my Moro?” – photo by Ron Ladao

 

Your must read/play/watch at the moment?

“I am completley in love with Fox’s new Gotham right now. I can’t miss episodes. I had to emergency drive home just to DVR the latest one so I wouldn’t miss it! Besides that the other shows I have been heavily following right now are American Horror Story, and Gravity Falls. I also recently DVR’d Cartoon Networks, Over the Garden Wall. I hope it’s good!!!”

Who are your favorite artists/writers/publishers/game studio/whatever?

“Many of my favorite artists have been [fashion] designers, such as h. Naoto, and the late, Alexander McQueen. Their designs always push me to go a little bit further out there with the costumes I choose to make and do, and to be a little more creative with my own designs. I am drawn to the more ‘out there’ pieces.”

What got you into costuming/cosplay/propmaking/fx/photography/etc.?

“My mom took me to comic cons at a very young age. I had broken my arm and as a pick-me-up she brought me to Wizard World so I could indulge in my current obsession (Paul Dini’s Harley Quinn). I had started a small collection of items for her such as some figures and the comics that had started to be released. She had heard about the con and thought I’d love it. Boy was she right. Cosplay at that point was pretty underground. There was maybe only a small handful there at the time in costume but I knew the next time I went I needed to make a costume. I self taught myself and started doing as much as I could. I later ran ‘costume crew’ in my high school’s theater, and majored in Fashion in college. I am so in love with the hobby. It’s become a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you think is an important issue in the pop culture sphere today?

“Oh boy. That’s a loaded one. If i had to choose a major one I personally had issues with, it would be, ‘Cosplay is Not Consent’. I am so glad they are pushing for more strict guidelines and have more firm anti-harassment policies in play and in writing at cons. I am glad it has been getting media attention. Because I have seen all different kinds of people at conventions of all sexualities, genders, and races experience harassment. It’s an important issue that I really hope continues to be put in the spotlight.”

What’s your typical process when taking on a new project?

“I normally think about it for a very long time. I gather as many referance images as I can and start plotting out how each part will be done. Then I’ll make a list of everything I need. I normally rely on mental notes, although I mean to write them down for tutorial purposes later. Once I start on something, It just kind of takes a mind of its own. Once I start something I have trouble putting it down for breaks. I just love seeing the finished product.

Have you met any of the artists/writers/filmmakers/etc. Who’s work your costume is based?

Ah My Goddess

Heaven, Hell, and Earth wait for no man… except Hiroaki Gōda. – ACen 2003

“Yes actually! It was really exciting! We had our Ah! My Goddess! Group at a con one year and the director of the film was there! We waited hours in line to see him only to be told by his handler when we reached near the front that we needed to buy a voucher, which were sold out. We sadly left the line but the director left his table to chase us down for a photo with us! It was probably one of the biggest compliments we’d ever gotten.”

Are your aliases known to everyone, and how do they feel about it?

“I have a cosplay nickname- ‘Muggy’, but its actually pretty common knowledge to everyone. I have the nickname purely because I enjoy it, but not to separate my cosplay from myself. I have been pretty fortunate that work and family enjoy seeing what I make and I even bring in photos. I understand why others need to have the fun and work separated, but I am so glad that I am allowed to be open about something that is a huge part of who I am.”

Most interesting Con story?Harley Quinn

“Oh man. I will go with a safe one [laughs]. My most interesting con story has to be last C2E2, as Harley Quinn. No one was ever inappropriate towards me, but one guy stood out to me. He came up to me saying that his friend had ditched him and decided not to go, but that it would make him so jealous to send him a picture of himself with said friends, “love of his life”, Harley. So he sent him a picture of me holding him in a headlock [laughs].

As I was typing that I remembered the other good Harley one!!! A man, with a baby girl and an older son, walked up to me and told me that he named his daughter after me… Harley, and to ask his son. I looked over to the mortified kid nodding his head ‘Yes’. Kids are priceless.

What Con are you most excited to one day attend, or return to?

DragonCon!!!! I want to go! Someday!!! I always hear such great things!!! Until then, Colossalcon!!!”

What do you like to do when you’re not costuming… other hobbies?

“I LOVE Lolita fashion and ball-joint dolls. I am a huge collector of toys, but Lolita fashion and the dolls are a huge portion of what I enjoy outside of cosplay. But additionally, I also enjoy making plush toys. All of my hobbies involve sewing or dress up in some way.”

Costume groups, or solo- which do you prefer?

“I like the ‘no pressure’ of solo cosplay. But if a group happens to appear, and work out, I am the most excited person! I am very guilty of ‘geeking out’ at other related cosplayers I see at conventions. So, if I ever see you as Batman or Robin while I am Stephanie Brown, prepare yourself because pictures will be needed!”

What’s next? Dream project?

“Pepper Pots’ Rescue suit. It needs to happen. I love attending childrens events, and I want the suit as a more recognizable face for them. I love Pepper and Iron Man, and it’s just a huge dream cosplay for me. Soon.”

Rescue

See what else “Muggy” is up to at her facebook community- Love You Sew, catch her teaming up with friends at Fandem Tandem, or connect with her via the We Are Cosplay facebook community.

Night of the Living Dead: Recap

 

We love Halloween! Go figure, right? So we kicked off the month with a Night of the Living Dead! Everyone crawled out of their graves in their best rotting flesh, or other horror movie cosplay and joined us at Hollywood Palms in Naperville!

Check out the gallery for more photos!

Special thanks to all the members who joined us! You looked amazing.

Albert Capoccia
Bevan Sukowaty
Carole M. Brown
Christopher English
Cliff Karrow
Jayme Lee King
Jennifer Greeley
Jerry S Gonzalez
Jonathan Lee
Josef Lim
Joseph Flores
Joseph Liss
Joshua Vigor
June J Rivas
Luis Humgerto Marquez
Luisa M Gonzalez
Maurice Castillejo
Mimi Guido
Neal Haze
Robert Castro
Ronald Ladao
Sandra Iordanov

I Know What We Did This Summer: A Recap

We Are Cosplay’s first summer was very eventful (no pun intended). We were extremely excited to be part of the very first Lake Count-i-Con, participate in our first library event, Comic Book Mania! at Gail Borden Library, our first museum event at Adler Planetarium’s After Dark, the first of many events at Hollywood Palms for Marvel Weekend, and Bartlett’s National Night Out. Good news is our members rocked it so hard, we have been invited back AND it has opened doors for some of our upcoming events as well.

Enjoy some highlights on our gallery page and on our video page!

Thanks to the following members for getting involved this summer! Hope to see you, along with some new faces for the fourth quarter of the year.

Aaron Brigman
Amanda Burke
Zadok Manny Camacho**
Maurice Castillejo
Mary Jo Charbasz
Sean Cho
Terrance David**
Sonya Dombrowski*
Joseph Flores
Katie Frendreis
Bryan Gomez
Mallorie Gomez
Luisa Gonzalez
Jennifer Greeley*
Amanda Hamil
Neal Haze
Xi He
Jamie Hersh
Moe Hunt
Meryle Idzerda
Steve Janes
Cliff Karrow
Jayme King*
John Kohler**
Ron Ladao*
Jonnie Lee
Josef Lim*
Joe Liss*
Toby Markham*
Luis Marquez
Margaret Musiel
Jonathon Onopa
Tania Ortiz***
Pearl Paramadilok
Daniel Phelan*
Jenny Prado
John Quade*
June Rivas*
Mike Rizzuto
Val Romack
Sanela Salkic
Steve Schertz
Amy Svalenka
Anthony Vernon*
Trevor Walmer*
Casey Welsch*
Joshua Winchester
John Zachary
Amie Zimmerman
Joe Zuniga

* (more than one event)

Featured Photographer: Ronald Ladao

Ronald Ladao

Summer’s come and gone, and it’s been a little while since our last featured member. Back in August we polled the We Are Cosplay community to tell us what their favorite event appearance was to date. From the many who responded, we randomly selected a member to feature. This time, it happened to be one of our non-cosplaying creatives, photographer and selfie enthusiast, Ronald Ladao. Here’s what he voted for…

My personal pick [has] to go to St. Patrick’s [Day] parade… just getting the pics that regular cosplay photographers couldn’t get made it worth noting for me. Yet, I wish I could say Adler After Dark, and Boomers… but I didn’t go to those.”

We caught up with Ron, aka “SoulCrash” while he had a little down time from hunting Oreo flavors like they were Pokemon.

On Location

Abandoned Warehouse shoot – Ramencon 2014; photo by Ang Espiritu

What type of work do you shoot? What’s your specialty?

“Almost anything. But [I] specialize in event, action, documentary, candid photos. Most of the time, it’s usually cosplay photoshoots that I get asked to do.”

Your must read comic/book, or videogame/tabletop, or show/film at the moment?

“Ummmmm, comic/book-wise… the last time I read a comic from start to finish was the Battle Royale Manga. Video Gaming, last thing I remember playing was Saints Row 4. But TV show-wise, totally hooked on Chicago P.D. as of right now.”

Who are your favorite artists/writers/publishers/game studio/whatever?

“Tough one, cause you said artists/writers/publishers/game studio, but since you said whatever, I’ll go pick a few cosplayers that I really respect. Not cause they make costumes and wear them, they take it to the next level and do good with it by doing community service and charity events. So I gotta make a shout out to Scott Whipple, Dustin Dorough, Ryan Green, and Paul Heid (I’m being honest!).”

What got you into photography/costuming/cosplay/propmaking/fx/etc.?

“What, more like ‘how’ I got into the convention/cosplay scene is ’cause of my sister. She attended Anime Central 1998, recorded their cosplay contest, and I watched the video she captured. It made me want to go the following year, and record the cosplay contest. Back then, we had AOL (America Online) message board, there was someone requesting a copy of the cosplay contest. I just replied back about that, and that’s the start of my convention rep.

As for the photography part, it was from various sources. Like, I got part of it when I joined my high school’s yearbook club, then from my cousin Jon, and from the anime side of cosplay community. It didn’t really kick in until I joined Scion Evolution Car Club. Since I was their media nerd, why not do photography as well? So I picked up a Nikon D60, and took pics with that camera with my car club. And the rest was history.

What do you think is an important issue in the pop culture-sphere today?

“I kind of flip between how conventions price out their badges and their additional content (like Wizard World cons), to the cosplay community, to the over sex-up in (non canon) cosplays and how unnecessary it can be. It’s hard for me to pick which one is more important, but those are the ones that stick out for me.”

What’s your typical process when taking on a new project?

“What I usually go through is, who’s asking me to do this for them. It’s usually people who I know. If the project has a lot of pressure in doing it, like a wedding with a couple that I don’t know, I won’t accept it. But if the wedding has some kind of a geek theme, or if it’s with someone I know, I’ll give them a quote, and take on their request.

I get some requests and just do a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on what they’re asking for. So there’s not much of a process that I go through.

Who would you like to work with regarding a shoot? This doesn’t have to be confined to model/subject, but can also include other photographers/artists.

“The people or cosplayers who I like to work with, are the kind of people who know how to have FUN, and be bad ass about it. I have a lot of confidence when a cosplayer has a prop weapon, or a fighting pose. So I can help them pose them, and make them feel uber bad ass about it.”

Do you feature your own brand or studio?

“Ummmm… does ‘Ronald Ladao, Freelance Photographer’ count as a brand? I don’t get why people want to cosplay as me, and like oreos and stuff like that. That’s kind of weird, but I’m cool with it. I just don’t promote it as much. I just mention myself in a third person perspective.”

Most interesting Con story?

“I was just thinking about this just now, and it’s a funny one. This happened a few years back at YoumaCon in Detroit, Michigan.

YoumaconI was just wandering the con floor, and I saw my friend Joe hanging with some dude. I said ‘Hi’ to Joe, and asked if that’s his dad. And Joe was like, ‘Nope, that’s Jon St. John’… the voice of Duke Nukem! I did a double take, and man I felt like an ass. We had a good laugh, and I took a selfie with him afterwards. One of my greatest con memories in my 15 years of convention going.

Do I really need to talk about DashCon here???????”

What Con are you most excited to one day attend, or return to?

“If I have to be honest, it’d be ScrewAttack Gaming Convention. That con back in 2010 REALLY hit the right notes in my standards of liking [a] con. Not much con drama, not much big lines, the BEST congoers EVER, best staff ever, awesome guest EVER! It was just all win across the board. I HOPE I can make a return to that con in 2015.”

What do you like to do when you’re not behind the lens… other hobbies?

“I’ll go exploring. From urban exploration, to nature walks. Looking for the next location to take photos in. When not exploring, I’ll just go on my computer, make a post on a topic to talk about some issues in the community that we can discuss about.”

Costume groups or solo; hallway, studio, or location- which do you prefer?

“Well it depends, like I prefer hallways to help generate the fan like count on my fanpage. But studio and location if I want to show my quality in my work. But costuming groups or solo… I think I prefer solo most of the time cause it’s simple to direct.”

What’s next? Dream project?

“My Dream Project… to have a full crew cosplay as the cast of Valkyria Chronicles, and get a photoshoot of the group in Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. That park has a tank museum, which is perfect for this shoot!

Valkyria Chronicles

Aside from following your projects via We Are Cosplay, where can fans see your work and reach you to arrange a private shoot?

“You can check me out on my Ronald Ladao, Freelance Photographer page.

And You can contact me [on] my fanpage, or personal facebook page. Feel free to add me, cause I usually accept anyways.”

Also check out some of Ron’s work as a member of the We Are Cosplay Media Team in our Gallery.