One of my favorite things to do at conventions is attend panels especially voice actor ones as I love learning about the audition process, and inspiration for characters. While I had the opportunity to see both the creator, voice actor for Deku and All Might at SDCC in 2019 (Post Here), Anime Los Angeles brought the full star studded My Hero Academia cast (!!!) for the weekended and included an autograph session for all attendees. The weekend was far from short of My Hero Academia cosplays (post here) and the voice actors who brought their character’s voices to life including Justin Briner (Izuku Midoriya), Clifford Chapin (Katsuki Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Momo Yaoyorozu) , Eric Vale (Tomura Shigaraki), Morgan Berry (Thirteen), and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa) all participated in both individual and group panels. I was lucky to snag a front row seat in the group panel and got selfies with my two favorite voice actors Coleen Clinkenbeard (Momo) and David Matranga (Shot Todoroki)! I had a great time seeing these voice actors and loved that I got to converse with them in this more intimate convention. A few of the voice actors even complimented my spikes and were really impressed with my cosplay. I’m planning to continue working on it and who knows maybe at AX Momo will have even more refined details 🙂
Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero?
I love trying new exotic restaurant when I travel and on my recent trip to Pomona I visited Ashiwad The Blessing(post here) and had an amazing experience. Yet, some of my friends aren’t nearly as adventurous so finding a familiar alternative without compromising flavor and taste ranked on top of my list. I found Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe with a perfect 5 star Yelp rating and thought I’d see if this classic diner was going to be a home-run.
The menu was simple and focused on few items as they pride themselves in making their burgers fresh and hand picking their produce daily! Naturally, my friend and I ordered a classic cheeseburger and a side of crinkle cut french fries. The burger was delicious, my friend demolished his and soon after I as well. The cheese was melted perfectly and the patty is cooked medium rare keeping it juicy, but the real star was the bread. Oh lord! That bun was a little denser and chewier which really heightened my eating experience. The owner later informed me that they use a potato bun, which differentiates them from other burger joints.
The diner evoked American charm coupled with the rockin’ burger I definitely get this restaurant two thumbs up!
Geek conventions are a great place to buy merchandise, watch panels, and see amazing cosplay! But one thing that differentiates Anime Los Angeles (ALA) from the other nerd gatherings is ribbon trading, an activity where you complete a task or trivial and in exchange get a ribbon to add to your badge.
Anyone can participate in the ribbon trading and there are certain groups of individuals who work collectively to make the ribbon trading activity a scavenger hunt. One of the best groups is the Pokemon Group and this year they focused on Team Rocket Recruitment. Attendees would checkin at the “Pokemon Center” and be given a starter Pokemon (their first Pokemon ribbon). I started with Larvitar, a Rock/Ground Pokemon and needed to find other Gym Leaders (individuals with the Red and White Pokemon Button) to “battle” and collect more ribbons.
Once you collect at least 14 of the 18 Pokemon types, you can see “The Boss” and collect the last badge – Pokemon 2019 Champion! It’s a fun activity to take part-in and it’s makes for a really cool souvenir.
When I was researching restaurants in the Inland Empire, I read rave reviews about Ashiwad The Blessing. This vegetarian restaurant had a 4.5 star rating on yelp and with a “eating healthy” new years resolution I was curious to see what it was all about. Additionally, it had dinner hours that extended in the late evening (9pm), which also contributed to my trip plans.
Located in an unassuming strip mall, my friend and I wandered in to the simple, but clean restaurant. We were seated prompted and our waiter educated us about the diverse menu option. After thoughtful consideration we started the evening with the Sev Khamni ($4.99), a steamed chick pea. This gluten-free appetizer came with a sweet and spicy sauce accompaniment and was beautifully presented. The portion was very generous as a starter and served as a great introduction for our enormous entree.
To share my friend and I ordered the Thali ($14.99) – A complete meal with your choice of vegetables (we opted for a seasonal eggplants and sweet potatoe mix), soup, rotis, rice, raita, snack, and dessert (fried donut). This picture doesn’t do it justice in the size of the offering, and the taste was just was full and robust. There were so many complex flavors that I couldn’t help myself but mixing and matching the items. Everything tasted so earthy and there was no meat! Our total for two came out to about $20ish dollars which is so inexpensive considering the portion and taste. I loved it!
I love meat as much as the next person, but after eating this meal I didn’t miss it. I’m not likely to go full blown vegetarian, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating a meal like this into my routine.
As one of the first conventions of the new year, many cosplayers use this convention to debut new outfits. Personally, I spent my winter break sewing my belt and styling my wig and was happy to share my finished project. There were well over 200 cosplayers at the meetup and while I knew there would be an abundance of Deku, Shoto, and Bakugos, I was most surprised by the number of attendees who dressed as Deku’s mom!
It’s always great to see others dress up as your favorite characters and I can appreciate the care and craftsmanship that goes behind the design.
Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero? Villian?
Disney has been a big part of my life growing up so when I debuted my Violet Parr cosplay at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC post) this past summer, I was excited about all the upcoming Disney gathering and photo shoots since I’ve mainly done DC characters.
LACC seemed like forever ago (See Marvel post, and Street Fighter post), but a few photographers posted some shots of my Violet Parr cosplay and I was reached out by Kids Can Cosplay, a nonprofit organization to portray her in an upcoming holiday meet-and-greet event benefiting at-risk kids. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog about it since it’s a private event and I’d want to be sensitive about minors and their financial status, but we shall see if I can do the adult cosplayers!
I’ve always so impressed by the Disney cosplayers and the Princess group always seemed so much fun, so… for 2019 I’m going to debut a NEW Disney cosplay and it’s going to be a Disney Princess!! *gasp*
Can you guess which Disney princess I’m working on? I’ll give you a hint, she’s sassy and will have a live action movie coming up! Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?
I always have a blast at LA Comic Con and Saturday’s event was particularly special because I got to debut a new cosplay and join my first Marvel group – The X-men! Woo-hoo! I spent most of my Friday (LACC 2018) exploring the floor, and making purchases, so Saturday was dedicated to photo and videoshoots! and let me tell you the cosplays on Saturday were really on point! It’s like seeing characters from the TV show and movies pop right off the screen! and I definitely commend all the dedicated cosplayers who painted their entire body blue (props to you Mystique, Nightcrawler, and Beast!)!!
During the morning our X-men group met with photographers to take individual and group shots including class photos, all girls, all guys, 90s animated, all telepaths etc. There were quite a few cosplayers who did genderbend versions of their characters and color me impressed- they pulled it off really well!
We reconvened at the official Marvel shoot outside the convention and I was surprised that we got to be a part of a unveiling of a new wheelchair! The Magic Wheelchair, an non-profit organization that transformed wheelchairs to amazing functional costumed vehicles, debuted a Venom inspired one. Seeing the kid’s face light up was the cherry on top and everyone in the Marvel shoot cheered for our newest hero.
In the early evening, my friends and I returned to the conventions Main Stage to support cosplay friends competing for cash prizes. Everyone did a great job and while I was beyond exhausted at the end of the day, I was so glad that I got to spend time with my geeky pals and make great memories with my cosfam.
Did you watch Xmen growing up? Who was your favorite character?
Convention season has slowed down greatly; however, the Los Angeles Comic Con is one that I always look forward to in the Fall. Perhaps it’s in part because it’s so close to Halloween and the cosplay scene is always impressive (LACC 2017). I took the day off work on Friday to check-out the floor as Chun Li and I’m sure glad I did because there were so many vendors!
I rolled in around 3pm to pick up my weekend badge and was able to explore the floor in no time. Took me roughly 3 hours to see every aisle. There were prints from Artist’s Alley, stuffed animals from Bellzi, along with comics, toys, and other misc merchandise. There’s something for everyone although if you were interested in purchasing one of the LACC exclusive pops it looked like it was at least an hour wait or more to purchase. Yet, I was incredibly impressed with the cosplay scene and many guests had what I figured were pro level cosplays. I mean just look at the details!
Later in the evening Jack Black came on the Main Stage to do a Q/A about his career and projects. He took audience questions and the guests enjoyed a 15 minute inspiration video.
Will you be dressing up for Halloween? If yes, who will you be?
California has an incredibly rich history in the arts and recently the LA Philharmonic celebrated 100 years with a grand event. They partnered with CicLAvia to encompass both healthy and cultured program. During the day pedestrians were encouraged to walk, bike or take public transit to one of the six hubs (read about it here). Later in the evening individuals were given tickets by a lottery system to attend the Centennial Performance at the Bowl. My friend was lucky to score two tickets and invited to me come along.
The evening program started with a dual collaboration with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and was led by the current Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The performance was seamless and I could see the smiles beaming off on the aspiring musicians as they played alongside some of Los Angeles’s most talented artists. The young took a bow and the the LA Philharmonic continued with another piece, followed by performances from Kali Uchis, Herbie Hancock, and Katy Perry.
Katy’s performed three pieces – her version of “I want to ride my Bicycle” (by Queen), Roar, and Firework (with a dazzling display in the background.) While we anticipated a closing song from Katy Perry, but we was pleasantly surprised when Gustavo Dudamel invited former Artistic Director John Williams to conduct the Star Wars theme song. The nerd inside me wanted so badly to bust out my light sabor to “A New Hope.”
Who would you want to watch perform live with the LA Philharmonic?
Earlier this month Cal Poly Pomona hosted their annual weekend Pumpkin Festival, which featured a corn maze, pony rides, produce vendors and of course their pumpkin patch! Coincidentally that was the same weekend (and LAST weekend) The Donut Man‘s Famous Strawberry Donut were going to be sold. I’ve never had the Alton Brown approved treats, so I knew I had to make it a priority. 🙂
My friends and I arrived at the event in the mid-afternoon to be greeted by hundreds of other enthusiastic guests. (*Note – go early in the morning 1) It’s much cooler 2) Parking is more available.) There were also tons of different Cal Poly Pomona student groups selling merchandise, food and drinks, in addition to food trucks and other vendors. Admission was $5 a person, and for an additional $5 guests could roam the pumpkin patch and pick their favorite pumpkin (any size!). There were definitely a lot of choices and I saw a number of families roll away with several large pumpkins in their little red wagon.
After spending an hour or so to pick my perfect pumpkin, my friends and I took a short trip up to Glendora to try California’s best donut – the strawberry donut from The Donut Man. I typically don’t eat donuts, but had heard so many wonderful things from friends who had eaten there in the past. Suffice to say, this donut is really good and I had to stop myself from finishing the whole thing. After all I wouldn’t’ want to spoil dinner at the Palms Family Restaurant. I mean look how much food they give!!
Now with my perfect pumpkin and Oct 31st just around the corner, I now need to figure out what I’m going to be for Halloween! I love playing dress-up and while I’ve been many different characters at different conventions (SDCC 2018, Power Morphin Con 2018, and LACC 2017) I still have no idea who I’m going to be! Classic #cosplayerproblems.