To Boldly Go…out for coffee? Cosplay on the street, at the Corner Cafe

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.

photo courtesy of a cosplay site. – love the look on the face of that guy in the background!

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.

Next Gen Vulcan with cropped jacket

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?

Red’s website: Red Tash
Follow the blog book tour posts at BlogBookTours.

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?


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “To Boldly Go…out for coffee? Cosplay on the street, at the Corner Cafe

  1. Helen Ginger

    June 11, 2012 at 7:08am

    I was a huge Star Trek fan – Star Wars, as well. Never dressed up, but I loved the show and movies. After a long lapse of nothingness, there is Star Trails. Yay.

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 11, 2012 at 8:58am

      I remember the original show with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. THAT one will always be “Star Trek” to me, although I love what I’ve seen of the others. I never dressed up, either, but I’ve written my share of fan fiction! (See for proof.)

      • Red Tash

        June 11, 2012 at 9:09am

        I really liked most of the spin-offs, Next Gen, in particular, but for the first few years? No. I wouldn’t watch it. It felt against my religion.

  2. Maryann Miller

    June 11, 2012 at 9:40am

    I loved your story in the collection, Red. I, too, am a Star Trek fan, although I probably have a milder form of the disease than others. LOL I actually liked the movies more than the series. I caught the parallel between Star Trails and Star Trek and thought that was quite clever.

  3. Dani G.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:29am

    My first husband was a Trekkie and had pointed ears. Do I get extra points for that? 😉 Hey, I just tried to tweet about you and can’t get live @s for your handles. Are you two following me back? Or is the birdie sick today?

  4. Robyn Campbell

    June 11, 2012 at 2:17pm

    *Waving* Hey Leslea! Your story down at The Corner Cafe is bodacious. I do NOT watch the spinoffs. The series has my heart. Dr. Spock is just so cool. I just watch reruns. Over and over and over.

    • Red Tash

      June 11, 2012 at 7:31pm

      Hey, Robyn!

      What thee are about to see comes down from the time of the beginning, without change. This is the Vulcan heart. This is the Vulcan soul. This is our way. ~T’Pau

  5. Dani G.

    June 11, 2012 at 2:34pm

    I thought Spock was kind of hunky. I’m not the only one? ‘Fess up!

  6. Patricia Stoltey

    June 11, 2012 at 4:25pm

    Thanks for hosting Red today, Marian. It’s so nice to learn more about The Corner Cafe authors.

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      June 11, 2012 at 6:09pm

      Thanks for visiting, Patricia. I’m enjoying visiting all the stops on the tour. 🙂

  7. Bob Sanchez

    June 11, 2012 at 6:36pm

    As to your prompt: I’d cosplay Steve Carella, a homicide detective in the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain. He’s decent, intelligent, persistent, but not especially cool.

  8. Bodie P

    June 11, 2012 at 7:32pm

    I once dressed up as Generic Pioneer Woman at a Rendezvous in Washington State. Does that count? Am I a cosplayer? I don’t really care much for any of the shows that feature pioneer garb (except for Happy Canyon, but let’s not pick off THAT scab), but does the fact that they exist qualify me? And my son used to use bath towels to make Superman capes. Was he a cosplayer? (I use the past tense, because he’s grown considerably and bath towels-around-the-neck no longer have the same effect.) I feel like a cosplaying hypochondriac. There needs to be a “Are you a Cosplayer?” questionnaire somewhere that I can take and know if my symptoms indicate cosplaying, or just a tumor.

    • Red Tash

      June 12, 2012 at 10:32am

      Bodie, LOL!!! I think reenactment counts as cosplay (bigtime!), but not sure the SuperMan towel does, unless you wear it out in public. Hrm. Let’s see if we can find a quiz…

  9. Dani G.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:19pm

    @Red Tash – I would hate if only parts of you were following me. Body parts on Twitter… ewwwww! 😀

  10. W.S. Gager

    June 11, 2012 at 9:52pm

    I dressed up like a duck once for Halloween. Does that count? Red, I laughed when I read your story It took me a moment to get the play on trek words because I watched them BC (before children) and never seen any of the other series. I am a William Shatner and Leondard Nimoy fan. They are still hunks and in my space never age, just like me. LOL. Great post!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

    • Red Tash

      June 12, 2012 at 10:34am

      Yes, Wendy, dressing up like a duck counts!

      So glad you enjoyed Living Well. 😉

      Live well & tidily, all!

  11. Stephen Tremp

    June 13, 2012 at 1:23pm

    We’re going to ComiCon in San Diego and it will be fun to see people dressed up as their favorite characters. I’ve never tried it, but if I have enough beer, who knows?

  12. Scooby Costumes

    July 15, 2012 at 9:12am

    Cosplay simply mean costume play. However it is not wrong to ask on something you don’t know. Cheers peeps!

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 15, 2012 at 9:49am

      Thanks, Scooby! I agree that people should never lose a child’s willingness to admit lack of knowledge and to ask for answers. 🙂

  13. John

    January 11, 2015 at 8:09am

    I remember the original show with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. THAT one will always be “Star Trek” to me, although I love what I’ve seen of the others. I never dressed up, either, but I’ve written my share of fan fiction!

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 11, 2015 at 8:24am

      Hi, John! I grew up on “The Old Show”, too, and it’s “The Real One” to me. 🙂 Our #4 Daughter showed me some episodes of TNG, and I got a girl crush on Hello Kitty — I mean Deanna Troi. I’m too cheap and lazy to do cosplay, me, but I enjoy other people’s success at it. And coffee? That’s a big 10-4!

  14. Claire

    March 4, 2016 at 4:44am

    Oh! I love cosplays and cosplayers! I think they bring manga and anime characters to life. And I appreciate the fact that they had to spend a lot of time, money and effort to be able to copy the look of a certain character. I have high respect for cosplayers, may it be children or adults alike. So if you want to be one of them, go for it! Who cares about what other people think, anyway!

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 4, 2016 at 8:37am

      I can’t be a cosplayer, myself. Too cheap and too lazy. I’m doing well enough pretending to be a responsible adult. heh

  15. Ally

    April 20, 2016 at 7:40pm

    I’m a young girl, but I watched the older Star Trek episodes as well – and I do confess I also find William Shatner attractive. :p

    • Author
  16. Vulcan Hart Parts

    August 3, 2016 at 7:04am

    Marian Allen We’re going to ComiCon in San Diego and it will be fun to see people dressed up as their favorite characters. I’ve never tried it, but going to make this year.

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 3, 2016 at 8:15am

      I think you’ll enjoy it. I just got back from Fandom Fest in Louisville, and I suspect it was more like ComiCon than it has been in the past. In previous years, there was a heavy horror element that creeped me out, but this year was skewed away from that, so I was happy. 🙂

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 3, 2016 at 8:17am

      With a name like Vulcan Hart Parts, you’ll be a natural at science fiction conventions. 😀

  17. Bob Lee

    October 12, 2016 at 1:05pm

    It’s pretty crazy to see how far cosplay has gotten. Now they cover the more advanced video games as well as television and movies.

    Down here in LA, it’s always a fun time to watch them walk around. It does cause some problems for the “superheroes” who are trying to make a living by panhandling though! LOL

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 14, 2016 at 8:31am

      OMG, I would love to see a photo of superheroes panhandling! I mean, it’s WRONG of me to think it’s funny for anybody to feel the need to panhandle, but the visual just struck me funny.

      Fandom Fest is always full of cosplayers I have to ask about. Thanks to Youngest Grandson, I can recognize some of the video game cosplayers, but I usually need to ask somebody else. If anybody ever dressed as Juan Valdez, I’d know who THAT was!

  18. Lili Overmars

    March 10, 2017 at 12:39pm

    Thank you Marian for a good read. I am going to dress up and run around with a huge cup of coffee :)) Going to visit Fandom fest.

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