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It’s been two years since I last went to this annual event, which traditionally closes the weeks-long National Cherry Blossom Festival. The last time I was there, the Sakura Matsuri was held on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the Old Post Office Building (which was then undergoing renovation into the Trump International Hotel—you can see those giant blue TRUMP signs in the background of some of the photos I took during that event).
Since that time the event has been relocated. It is now held at the Navy Yards near Nationals Park. I don’t know if Donald Trump have had a hand in that festival’s relocation or not but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to see those Trump International Hotel signs.
Like previous Sakura Matsuri festivals, this one was a celebration of all aspects of Japanese culture including anime, J-pop, J-rock, kendo, and traditional Japanese crafts. There were also a lot of cosplayers walking around. Here are the photos I took of the Sakura Matsuri.
As I look back on this, I have to admit that I really pushed my body to the max. That was because the night before I went to Light City in Baltimore, where I waited outside in the cold for over two hours waiting for my animation, The March of Liberty, to finally show on the big screen. I was so stiff and sore the following day that I ended up skipping church.
I still pushed myself to check out the first annual Kamecon because I like seeing cosplayers all dressed up, I was attracted by the $3 admission fee, it was held on the campus of my alma mater (the University of Maryland at College Park), and it was held just three miles from my current home.
Compared to other anime conventions like Otakon and Katsucon, Kamecon is relatively small. The entire event was held in one of the ballrooms at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building. But the participants were pretty enthusiastic as they donned costumes and hung out. Here are some photos I took.
There was a line at the ticket office located next to the Hoff Theater but it wasn’t too bad. I think I may have spent about 15 minutes in line at the most.
I decided to bring my Canon Digital Rebel EOS camera with me to this event. Here’s a selfie I was able to take thanks to the restroom mirror. (Yes, I was wearing the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash hoodie in order to blend in a little bit with the cosplayers.)
Some people were waiting to have their photo professionally taken.
The entire convention took place in a ballroom, which included an indoor tent/lounge where people could chill.
There was a Jubeat video game that had a cool cube design. I didn’t see anyone play it mainly because it was directly imported from Japan and that machine required a 1 yen coin, which doesn’t do any good for the vast majority of Americans present.
There were other video games that people played.
I took a few shots of two cosplayers who were dancing alongside one of the dancing video games while it was playing Lady Gaga’s hit song “Poker Face.”
I even shot a short video of those two dancing cosplayers.
The ballroom was divided, with half of the room being reserved for Artists Alley. There was a photography ban of that area (unless the photographer gets permission from an Artists Alley participant) so I took only one wide shot of the entire area from the other side.
There were board games and card game packs available for attendees to play with.
Here are some more pictures of Kamecon, including cosplayers.
I also took a few pictures of the University of Maryland campus because it was such a lovely warm sunny spring day. But I didn’t take too many pictures because I was growing tired from both checking out Kamecon and Light City the night before. Here’s a long shot of the Jim Henson Memorial.
The cherry blossom trees on campus were in full bloom.
Here’s a shot of the Mall.
One of the terrapin statues that are located on campus.
March is Women’s History Month, which ended just two days earlier, but there was still this poster featuring the University of Maryland’s famous female alumni including Connie Chung, Dominique Dawes, Gayle King, Sarah Winnemucca, Judith Resnik, Adele H. Stamp, and Carolina Rojas Bahr.
I went to the Light City event in Baltimore on its second night, which fell on April Fool’s Day, but this event was definitely no joke. I wrote a previous post about that night where I wrote about what it was like to see my own animation, The March of Liberty, being shown on a giant screen at such a popular event like Light City while posting a reaction video I made. I’m finally getting around to sharing the rest of the photos. (I took a bunch of pictures that night so I ended up having to make decisions on which photos to use.)
I arrived before sunset because I wanted to find where the On Demand area was located. As you can see in the pictures, it was a very cloudy day.
I took a few pictures of Camden Yards when I was on my way to transferring from the Camden Yards light rail stop to the Charm City Circulator heading towards the Inner Harbor. Opening day would take place just a few days after I took these pictures.
Here’s a statue of Cal Ripken’s retired number.
Here’s a statue of famous baseball player Babe Ruth, who was born in Baltimore.
These painted baseballs on the sidewalk near the statue leads the way to the nearby Babe Ruth Museum.
The street banners proclaim that this year is the 25th anniversary of the day that the Baltimore Orioles began playing their home games at Camden Yards.
I ended up traveling way out to Pier 6 in the Inner Harbor. I took a few pictures while I was blundering around, starting with one of the Harborplace pavilions, which is currently undergoing remodeling and renovation.
Here is what one of the Light City art pieces looked like in broad daylight.
I walked past the Power Plant, where I noticed the guitar-themed railing that’s currently located outside of the Hard Rock Cafe.
Located opposite the Power Plant is a tropical-themed bar known as Dick’s Last Resort.
Some lights resembling birds roosting in trees outside of the Pier 5 Hotel.
A whimsical display that looks like something out of the film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory outside of an office building.
McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant at its Pier 5 location.
Three umbrella-filled boats floating in Baltimore Harbor.
I decided that I needed to take a break so I found a bench where I ate my dinner. (It was a fried chicken dinner with thick fries and a roll that I purchased at a Royal Farms store located in Linthicum before I took the light rail into Baltimore.) While I was eating this immigration rights protest march had arrived at the Pier 5 area of the Inner Harbor and the protesters walked right past the bench where I was eating my dinner. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.
The marchers made their way to the Inner Harbor Lighthouse, which was being used as a display area for a Light City exhibit about immigrants. A post-march rally was held next to that exhibit.
I finally found the On Demand area. I took a photo of the sign.
I even took a closeup of the area of the sign where my name was printed.
Here’s a shot of the On Demand screen, which was showing another video, along with a glimpse of the backs of the adirondack chairs that were provided for people to sit in before sunset.
Here’s another shot of the On Demand screen, showing a different video, at night.
Like I wrote in a prior entry, I waited outside in the cold for over two hours until my film was finally shown. When it finally appeared I got very enthusiastic. I shot a short reaction video. I also shot stills of my film being on screen. Maybe I shot too many stills but it was such a rare opportunity to see my video being shown in a public venue like this that I felt like I had to document it from all angles (including some shots of people sitting in the chairs) so I can prove to other people that one of my videos was actually shown in public like this.
As for how the people who were there responded to my video, I wasn’t able to get any kind of an accurate gauge as to whether people liked it or not. I didn’t get any boos. But I also didn’t hear any cheers. I saw a few people sitting in chairs watching it when I was there. By the way, you can view that animation, The March of Liberty, right here.
After my film was shown, I left the On Demand area. I had sat in the cold for so long that my body felt stiff. I also had to start making a move towards the nearest light rail station so I can catch one of the last trains out of the city. I managed to take a few more pictures of the other Light City exhibits as I made my way back to the light rail station while wading my way through the massive crowds at the same time. (Yes, the second annual Light City was just as crowded as the first year was.)
Even a few Baltimore police officers blended in with Light City.
Here is one of the bar tents that were set up at the event. As you can see in the picture below, it drew a lot of people.
The last photo shows one of the Light City exhibits being reflected in the back of a bus stop terminal.
There were more to Light City that what I shot but between fatigue and trying to make the light rail, I wasn’t able to see it all. I had planned to making one return trip but the first night I had scheduled—which was two nights before the final night—rained very heavily. So I put it off until the following night, which was the night before the final night, only to have a very cold front with heavy winds replace that heavy rainstorm. I wasn’t able to make it the last night because I went to the annual Sakura Matsuri festival in Washington, DC and I really couldn’t physically handle two festivals on the same day.
After taking a year off last year, I’m going to be back working at the annual Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival (formerly known as the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire). It will be held this coming Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. I plan on having the coasters that I made with my ex-husband’s comic book collection on display. I will also have some of my thrift shop Barbies that I refurbished as fairy dolls on display along with the Barbie I used to make this video tutorial series on how to customize a Barbie into the Marvel superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
Everything I have will be available for sale. Click here for details and directions to the festival.
Last night, which was April Fool’s Day, I headed up to Baltimore where I checked out this year’s Light City event. I was there because I wanted to see my own animation, The March of Liberty, being shown on the big screen. It took a while for me to find the screen that was showing it but I finally found it at Pier 5 in the Inner Harbor, which is located on the outermost edge of Light City.
The area was a big screen that had a few plastic adirondack chairs around so I picked a chair and I sat down in it at 7:30 p.m. I waited and waited as I saw other people’s videos and as the sun set and the temperature dipped to 50 degrees. Even though I had a jacket on, I was still chilly because I wasn’t moving. I waited and waited. At one point the end credits were showing and I saw my name on it and it was also how I found out I had started watching the middle of the videos. The videos automatically rewinded back to the first videos so I kept on waiting and hoping that my video was showing soon.
One hour passed. Then another 30 minutes passed. I began to get concerned because I had taken the light rail into the city and I didn’t have the luxury to wait until Light City’s official Saturday night midnight closing time. (The last Light Rail was scheduled to leave Baltimore at 11:30 p.m.) I also continued to freeze as I waited.
Finally at around 9:35 p.m. my video was shown. I waited a little over two hours in the cold outdoors for my video to finally be shown. I took out my smartphone and shot this short reaction video to actually seeing my animation being shown on the large screen.
It was incredible thrilling thing for me to see my work being shown like that. After I saw my animation, I left the On Demand area and gradually made my way through the crowds (yes, Light City was just as crowded as last year) while seeing the other light exhibits on my way back to the Convention Center light rail stop so I could take one of the last light rails to North Linthicum, where my car was parked.
I woke up the next morning feeling very stiff and sore. I ended up skipping church this morning. But it was worth it because I had the rare privilege of having my work shown to a potential wide audience. I took a bunch of pictures during my time at Light City but they will have to wait for another post because I’m a bit on the tired side right about now.
If you’re curious about my animation, you can see The March of Liberty in its entirety below.
By the way, Light City will continue into next week in Baltimore. I highly recommend it not only for the chance to see my video being shown on a giant screen along with the others but also for seeing so many creative works of art all done in lights. Click here for more information about this event.
A few months ago I submitted this animation I made for the regular Sunday afternoon animation meetup that’s held in Makerspace 125 to the second annual Light City event in Baltimore after I saw a call for entries notice in my Facebook feed. It was accepted! Now that it’s a done deal, I can announce this event in my blog.
My animation, The March of Liberty, will be among the other short videos that will be shown on the side of a building during Light City as part of the On Demand area, which is located on one of the piers.(It’s number 45 on this map.) Light City will be held each night from March 31-April 8 starting at 7 p.m. For more information, see the Light City website.
I attended a reception for a new art exhibit that’s currently being held at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland. It’s called Resist and it features art that was inspired by the new Trump Administration. The parking lot in the back of ReCreative Spaces features this really impressive mural that says “Deport Trump.”
I returned to that mural a couple of days later to photograph it in daylight.
Here are some more art pieces from that same show that are currently being displayed indoors.
The opening festivities included a coloring event where we could color this page with three raised fists.
The person who ran that activity had posted examples of how we could color our pages by drawing patterns that looked like what I’ve seen in Zentangle. So I decided to follow suit by drawing patterns in my coloring page. I used TanglePatterns.net for pattern ideas. Here is my colored page.
Studio SoHy is a relatively new art gallery that opened its doors in Hyattsville, Maryland. On February 18, 2017 it held a reception for its newest exhibit, which was done in partnership with the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and Soul & Ink. The exhibit is based on the recent Women’s March on Washington and it’s also being done in conjunction with the many follow-up events that are being held all over the U.S. that coincides with the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.
Studio SoHy is a small gallery that’s located next to the Vigilante Coffee Company.
Here is the entrance to Studio SoHy itself.
The gallery is small so it didn’t take too many people to fill it up.
The exhibit consisted of protest signs, some of which were actually carried in the march itself while others were created more recently.
Wine was served among the protest signs.
Soul & Ink were printing out posters and t-shirts for sale that said “Resist Hate, Assist Love.”
As part of the reception, visitors were encouraged to write postcards to elected officials.
There were two main focus of this postcard writing campaign. One was for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan asking him to oppose President Trump’s immigration ban. The other was for the Office of Government Ethics asking that they release all information about any conflicts of interests regarding President Trump’s business holdings.
Here is one of the postcards that I wrote while I was at the event.
January 6 was both the last day of the Christmas holiday season (a.k.a. Feast of the Epiphany, Little Christmas, Three Kings Day, and Twelfth Night) and the seventh anniversary of the day I wrote my first post in this blog. I spent the evening of this day attending this artist networking event known as the First Friday, which was held at the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center in North Brentwood, Maryland.
I have never been to that museum before so it was an opportunity to visit it, especially since it’s located so close to my home. It’s a small museum but it’s full of interesting artifacts. Thanks to that museum, I now know that North Brentwood was a town that was originally settled by African Americans veterans of the Civil War and it is still majority African Americans. Here are just a few of the artifacts that I saw in that museum.
Here’s a tennis racket that was once owned by the legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe.
The entertainment included a deejay and a rapper along with some speeches by museum officials.
Basically everyone present (including myself) networked among each other while viewing what the museum had on display at the time.
It was a nice event and I think this museum makes a nice compliment to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture located downtown (which I haven’t visited yet) that has just opened last year.
Back in May I took part in the Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour, where I braved the rainy weather to see some wonderful art made by local artists. There was recently another Open Studio Tour. This time there was no rain but it was pretty cold outside since it took place in December. I managed to cover more ground on this Open Studio Tour than I was able to back in May.
I started at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier, Maryland, where I not only saw a small arts and crafts show on the lower level but I even saw some of the resident artists who were working on their latest masterpieces.
Next I went to the Otis Street Arts Project, where I took these photographs.
I also visited the Washington Glass School, which is located in the same complex as the Otis Street Arts Project. As you can guess from the name, this place specializes in glass art.
After that visit, I got in my car and I drove to nearby Hyattsville. I was only able to briefly check out the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center before the Open Studio Tour officially ended for the day.
I stepped outside the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center just in time to see this moon rising over Route 1 in Hyattsville at twilight.
I ended my day by crossing Route 1 over to Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store, where I saw their Christmas windows.
I did some browsing in the General Store part of Franklins before I decided to call it a day and head back home.