My guest today is the fabulous Red Tash, fellow contributor to THE CORNER CAFE and fellow Star Trek fan. Like me, she particularly likes Counselor Troi from The Next Generation. Unlike me, she does NOT refer to the counselor as “Hello Kitty”. Possibly she, unlike me, didn’t first see the character with a big bow in her hair and her eyes wide and frightened. Troi will always be Hello Kitty to me.
At any rate, here is Red’s delightful post about cosplay, or playing dress-up for adults. And, if you’re going, “How childish!” or something equally fustian, remember what my dear old gray-headed Granny used to say, “If you ain’t tried it, don’t knock it.”
To Boldly Go…out for coffee? Cosplay on the street, at the Corner Cafe.
By Red Tash
“What is cosplay?” A fellow writer asked me this question recently. Despite the over 31 million results Google returns for the term “cosplay,” you’ve got to dig a little to find a strict dictionary definition. The Oxford Dictionaries define cosplay as “the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime.”
That definition vexes me a little, because here in the United States where I live, manga still hasn’t really swept the nation. Sure, it has its share of fans, and its influence is broad, but when you think of people dressing up in costumes, what do you think of? Halloween? Sure. Clowns? Okay, if you must. Anything else? If you know even one nerd in your life, I’d be willing to bet you know someone with a Star Fleet uniform in his closet. Star Trek fans have been cosplaying since cosplay wasn’t cool. And, hey—maybe it still isn’t cool, but since when have Trekkers cared about that?
I’m not a cosplayer, but I admire people who are. I haven’t been to many conventions, but I envy those who have. To boldly throw oneself into the physical reenactment of one’s favorite characters? That’s going where most humans haven’t the courage to go. I think that kind of fandom is lovely.
For what it’s worth, it’s not that I’m afraid to do it. I’d dress up as Deanna Troi in a heartbeat if I could 1.) find enough reinforced Spanx in the world to contain my non-Troi-ish physique, and 2.) attend anything without children clinging to me 24/7. Chasing kids around tends to detract from the magic of reenactment, I presume. No, cosplay isn’t for me right now.
So, how do cosplayers deal with real world situations while in character? I had the opportunity to explore that question when the BBT Cafe group decided to gather short stories set in the mythos of the Corner Cafe. Why, I had a place called The Corner in This Brilliant Darkness, and it was, indeed, a cafe! A cafe/bookstore, but, still. What better setting than on Halloween night, the evening of Bloomington, Indiana’s annual Star Trails parade?
Wait, what? Okay, allow me to back up a second. In my book This Brilliant Darkness, there is a Star Trek parody subplot. I decided not to be sued by Roddenberry’s people, so the show isn’t Star Trek, it’s Star Trails. My characters aren’t Vulcans, they’re FullCons. They don’t live long and prosper, either—they live well and tidily. I threw in glowing ET hearts just for good measure, because why not? FullCons aren’t the end of the story, either. They’re one of many species that populate the fictionalized version of this wacky college town for one special night each year. If you’ve visited or lived in the real Bloomington, home of Indiana University, you know the scenario isn’t all that far-fetched. It’s a magical place filled with good-humored folks, where virtually anything can and does happen, eventually.
Every time I visit Bloomington, I find inspiration. The same thing can be said of The Corner Cafe, fictional though it may be. I simply never know what characters will be waiting—in the case of this particular story, that was never more true! Living Well at the Corner Cafe poured out like a hot cuppa joe. The first few drafts burned, but were so sweet to write. Whether dealing with loose ears, hot coffee, interfering blondes, or jealous lovers, my cosplayers were in for a difficult walk on their way to what was supposed to be great fun—and it was fascinating to write. I hope you’ll give it a read.
Thanks once again to Marian for having me as her guest today as part of the blog tour to kick off the book. Fun! If you haven’t sampled from the menu yet, one of our reviewers says “I recommend you grab yourself a big cup of coffee, slice of pie, and dive into the tales of the Corner Cafe!” I’ll be taking that advice, how about you? See you in Ten Forward?
Thanks for the visit, Red! Enjoy Ten Forward — I’ll be on the holodeck playing Firefly! lol
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: If you had the nerve, the money, and friends with the right attitude, what cosplay would you do? How about your main character? Your villain?