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Ota-cool incoming: Dressed to impress

February 4th, 2016
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Cosplay doesn't exist in a vacuum. As much as we'd like to twitch our noses and *poof* a lovely costume of Sailor Moon or Tuxedo Mask into existence a la Samantha in Bewitched (note: this is what I'm talking about, for those of you who may not be old enough to remember Bewitched), the truth is that it takes a lot of work to craft a costume that turns heads at conventions and other special events.

One of the tools of the trade that cosplayers use is the dress form. Think of it as a mannequin torso on a stand; here's a selection of what's available on Amazon. Of course, getting a dress form means spending more money, something that may be in short supply when taking into account all the other supplies one needs to create a high-quality costume.

That's where a workshop happening this weekend at Aiea Public Library comes in.

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Representatives from Anime Matsuri Hawaii will be on hand to show workshop attendees how to create their own dress forms without having to order the real thing; apparently all you need is some duct tape, some plastic wrap and a willing victim partner. They'll provide the tape, wrap and some fabric that can be used to stuff mannequins or for other crafts and cosplay; you can bring your own partner, as well as a T-shirt that you don't mind cutting up to make a complete dress form.

Interested? The workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It's free, but be sure to RSVP to cosplay@animematsuri.com if you're interested so the workshop organizers can bring enough supplies. Aiea Library's at 99-374 Pohai Place, where there's still plenty of parking as well as a certain Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) who's on the final stretch to hitting max-level 16 in the game (in spite of Enlightened efforts to slow her down, too, *sigh*). Call 483-7333.

Elsewhere around town

Kawaii Kon / Comic Con Honolulu volunteer staff meetings: The third session for Kawaii Kon volunteers and the second for Comic Con Honolulu volunteers are coming up, a checkpoint worth noting for those of you interested in helping take care of all the behind-the-scenes things that keep the two events running smoothly every year. Prospective volunteers have to attend a minimum of two staff meetings to qualify for work, after all, and the clock's ticking ... louder for Kawaii Kon in particular, of course, but ticking nonetheless. For more details on volunteering (as well as an enrollment form for anyone joining the party), visit kawaiikon.com/volunteering/volunteer-rules-faqs or comicconhonolulu.com/volunteer/volunteer-rules-requirements. Saturday at the Ala Moana Hotel Plumeria Room; 1:30 p.m. for Kawaii Kon, 3 p.m. for Comic Con Honolulu.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center. Yes, there are other things going on on Sunday -- the 50th Superb Owl will be overseeing some panthers and horses playing sportsball on one channel, puppies will be romping around on another channel, and it's the only day of the year when people actually want to watch commercials. If none of those catch your fancy, though, perhaps some drawing is in order. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Downtown section of the mall.

TJ Fernandez services set for February

January 21st, 2016
By



TJ at AHCC (by Stella)

(Hat tip to Stella Marie Jacang Kepo'o for sharing this picture of TJ Fernandez at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con last year on my Facebook timeline.)

A few updates on memorial plans for Tristan "TJ" Fernandez, the teen I talked about in my last post:

  • Earlier today, Jaret Fernandez, TJ's father, posted information on the Celebration of Life Services. They will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28, at Mililani Memorial Park and Mortuary in Central Oahu (take the H-2 Freeway to the Waipio exit, then turn right if you're coming from the south or left from the north, then follow the road all the way to the end), mauka chapel. On Feb. 27, visitation starts at 5:30 p.m., with services at 6:30 p.m.; visitation on Feb. 28 starts at 10 a.m., with the celebration of life at 11 a.m. Casual attire.
  • The University of Hawaii men's basketball team was a big part of last year's Fundraiser for TJ, showing up to give him autographed memorabilia and inviting him to be an honorary coach at the team's final home game in early March. A tweet from our intrepid hoops reporter / Court Sense blogger Brian McInnis noted that the team plans a tribute to TJ at an upcoming game.

One final thought: On Wednesday, Jaret Fernandez shared something TJ posted on Facebook on May 4, 2013, something to make us all cherish life a bit more every day:

"When you think that your life is worthless think again you were born in this world for a reason you may not no what that reason is yet but there is a reason you just have to find it by walking your own path."

Rest in peace, TJ

January 19th, 2016
By



TJ with 501st

There's no easy way for me to write this, so if this post seems a little more rambling than normal, I apologize. But I'm sad to report that Tristan "TJ" Fernandez, the teen diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in October 2014 and subsequently was the guest of honor at a benefit mini-con organized on his behalf last February, died this morning.

From a Facebook post by Jaret Fernandez, Tristan's dad:

It's with a heavy heart that we regret to say after a very hard fought battle with a brain stem tumor; TJ passed away this morning.
TJ was at home among close friends and family which was his final wish.
We wanted to thank all of you for your prayers this past year and will let you know about funeral services later this week.
God Bless...

I took the photo above, of TJ with members of the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion, at that fundraiser last year. Shared it in a post soon after the event, too. To see the local fan community rally around this ailing teen and offer him support, comfort and joy — both at the event and a tribute site, Wish for TJ (wishfortj.com), which remains up to this day — was truly inspiring. Equally inspiring was the word I got during Amazing Hawaii Comic Con in September, that TJ was able to make it out to attend that convention for a few hours.

An article by our Rob Shikina (subscription only) noted that when TJ got his cancer diagnosis, he was given one to three months to live.

He ended up living for 15 months.

Nineteen days into this new year, there have already been a number of notable deaths -- David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Lemmy Kilmister, Glenn Frey. Not gonna lie … this one hurts the most. My condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Fernandez family.

Ota-cool Incoming: Comic night for ladies, comic day for Hilo

January 15th, 2016
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This week's showcase events in the Ota-cool Incoming roundup will, I confess, appeal/apply to only a fraction of you reading this post, namely:

  • Women and girls who can make it to a comic store in Mililani Mauka Saturday night
  • People living in or near Hilo or can make it out there Jan. 24

If neither of those interest you, please feel free to skip down to the "Elsewhere around town" section below, which is already filling up with a number of events in the next few weeks (and I'm already working hard on the Con-a-thon 2016 previews, to boot!). For those of you who are still around, though, there are a pair of comic-centric events worth noting.

ladies night

Out in Mililani Mauka, Dragon's Lair -- the best little comic and collectibles store in Central Oahu, according to me and cartoonist Jon Murakami's Instagram feed (seriously! all those pictures of cool things he posts! *grabby hands*) -- will be hosting its second Ladies Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Ladies, expect a night full of special discounts, snacks, gift bags and just a good time of hanging out with fellow geeky gals like yourself. Guys, Starbucks, McDonald's, Wing Stop and Taps & Apps are all available for your gathering purposes. Dragon's Lair is at 95-1840 Meheula Parkway, space E-10; call 597-6981 or visit facebook.com/dragonslaircomics.

enjoy comics flyer

Meanwhile, Hilo -- already home to tasty mochi, loco mocos, a candy store managed by an Ingress Resistance agent and awesomely cute Life is Wabi-Sabi cats -- now has its own comic store. Enjoy Comics has been open since late November, but they'll finally be hosting a formal grand opening on Sunday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The aforementioned Jon Murakami will join fellow local artists Bryan Makana Revell (The Unseen), Christopher Caravalho (Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii) and DJ Keawekane (Exillion: Creed of the Knightenhawke) to sign their books and do sketches. There will also be giveaways and food, and probably special sales and other surprises, too. Enjoy Comics is at 45 Pohaku St., suite 201; call 955-3534 or visit enjoycomicshilo.club.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (This month, the "friends" part will likely be Fairy Tail.) Lately, she's just sent me this sticker in Google Hangouts.

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I'll keep trying, folks. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where, yes, there's still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Competition preliminary round #1: So you think you can sing, and you're planning to go to Kawaii Kon this year? Give the annual Karaoke Competition a try. This year, all three preliminary rounds will be held at Nocturna Lounge, the video game/karaoke bar just downstairs from our editorial/advertising offices here at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row. Top three singers from each preliminary round move on to the semifinals at the convention itself. The first-round fun starts at 3 p.m. Sunday; full details on what you need to do to prepare are available at kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke-kompetition/

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

 

Ohana (Festival) means we're launching another year

January 8th, 2016
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Yup, I'm finally back in the saddle again. Why it's taken so long between posts is a story best told some other time (preferably in one of the other posts that's been sitting in the queue for far too long), because the kickoff to what's promising to be another looooooooong year full of otaku-flavored events is coming up: the 23rd annual New Year's Ohana Festival at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

All the usual elements that have made the festival such a big community draw in past years are back again this year: activities, food (love those KC Waffle Dogs!), craft vendors, cultural demonstrations and entertainment on two stages, divided between the center itself (at 2454 S. Beretania St.) and nearby Moiliili Field. Some of the highlights for our purposes:

  • Kawaii Kon representatives will be selling three-day passes for their convention April 4-6 (the first stop for Con-a-thon 2016!) at prices cheaper than what's currently available online -- $50 general admission, $40 children ages 5-12, a savings of $5.
  • After going on hiatus for ... umm ... a while now, Oahu Anime Explorer is making its public return this year! Yay! They'll be screening anime and hosting a photo booth for cosplayers and various activities.
  • Anime Matsuri Hawaii representatives will be hosting dress form demonstrations at their table in the Manoa Grand Ballroom at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. It'll be a preview of a longer workshop they'll be hosting in February. They'll also be bringing a stack of masks of Saitama, the bald-headed hero of One Punch Man, to color and take home. One Punch Man, of course, is the hottest current otaku property not involving either an unhinged wisecracking assassin or Daisy Ridley.

Admission is free; parking is available for a fee at the University of Hawaii at Manoa lower campus parking structure, with a free shuttle running between the structure and the festival. Questions? Call 945-7633.

Elsewhere around town

jellys

Closeout sale at Jelly's Aiea: Back in 2001, Jelly's, that bastion of local retail that's been selling comics, books, music, games and collectibles in some form since 1983, opened a branch at the Harbor Center in Aiea, right behind Cutter Ford. Times change and good things eventually end, and it's with that thought in mind that we're bidding farewell to that store in less than two weeks. (A store in Kakaako will remain open for the time being.) They're going out with a pretty big bang, though: Almost everything in the store (except for the guitar equipment, anything priced at $2 or below, and anything marked as being on consignment) is 50 percent off the price marked. There was still quite a bit of stuff there when I went on Wednesday, including a fair amount of manga and graphic novels, so go check it out while you still can.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; it looks like they're aiming for a Jan. 17 closing date, if everything doesn't go out sooner. Point your GPS-enabled device at 98-023 Hekaha St., suite 9; call 484-4413.