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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 recently attended the second in what will be a monthly series of Copslay Life Drawing Nights at the Stone Branch School of Art in Rockville, Maryland. (I wasn’t able to attend the first event due to scheduling conflicts.)
The school is located on the second level of this shopping center that has this really awesome donut shop known as Duck Donuts.
Like Krispy Kreme, Duck Donuts offers freshly baked warm donuts. But Duck Donuts takes it even further by offering donuts customized to your specifications. You fill out this checklist for each donut.
Then they serve your customized donut in this box.
I ordered a chocolate donut topped with crushed Oreos and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. My donut tasted very excellent. This store also sells rubber ducks in addition to donuts.
So I reached the Stone Branch School of Art. I found that it’s a really cool looking place. The next photo shows what the wall in one of the bathrooms looked like.
There were all kinds of neat artifacts that were obviously meant for drawing and painting classes.
I eventually reached the classroom where the cosplay drawing event took place. I saw a pair of artists doing some drawings of their own before the event began.
There were snacks available, including this cupcake with writing on it that came from Comic Cupcakes.
During breaks the models mingled among the artists while resting their bodies from striking poses in costumes.
Here are the drawings I did that night.
For the past few years I’ve been attending a party at a friend’s place on Halloween. This year was the first year that I actually shot photos.
My friend had installed red light bulbs in the lamps, which gave off this really spooky vibe. I shot a bunch of photos with the flash turned off, which led to some really creepy effects.
I took this next photo using a flash. That was the only time I used a flash that night.
There was also a bonfire in the backyard where I took these last three photos.
The night before I was at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland attending a Halloween dance dressed in my Rainbow Dash hoodie. The following morning I went to Sunday service but I decide to jettison the My Little Pony garb in favor of wearing a witch hat with a black cloak. (The hat was one that my then-husband bought for me years ago. The cloak was also something that he purchased for me at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival a few years before he left me.) I took a couple of selfies before I went to church.
Here is a Halloween pumpkin that my church displayed at the Sunday service. (The flaming chalice is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.)
After the service ended I decorated my trunk with a lot of small Halloween decorations that I brought from home.
Here are the other decorated trunks.
Here are a few photos of the Trunk or Treat participants.
As you can see, a good time was had by all! 🙂
Like I wrote in a previous post, I had a busy day the Saturday before Halloween. First I went to the Adult Trick or Treat event at Savage Mill. It was okay but I decided not to stay the entire night because I had already purchased tickets to my church’s Halloween dance, which was scheduled to begin that very night. I was glad I went to my church’s dance because I know people there, unlike Savage Mill where I was essentially in a place full of strangers. I continued wearing that same Rainbow Dash hoodie that I wore at Savage Mill.
I had a good time. Here are a few pictures I shot while I was there.
Here are the photos I shot at that dance.
This year Halloween fell on a Monday, which meant that there were a lot of Halloween celebrations the weekend before. I had recently gone to Savage Mill when I saw this sign announcing Adult Trick or Treat at Savage Mill on the Saturday before Halloween.
I was intrigued mainly because the last time I went trick or treating was when I was 13. I was in middle school at the time and I was having problems with bullies plus the girl whom I thought was my best friend decided to side with the bullies so I decided to end that friendship. (I run into her once every several years and she tries to be friendly but I tend to cut her overtures short because she had never attempted to apologize for her appalling abandonment of me in middle school. The last time I saw her was at Artscape a couple of years ago, which prompted my rant Two Bitches From Hell.) I remember I went on my own that last year but I didn’t have as much fun as previous years. While I still liked getting candy, the thrill was basically gone for me. The following year, when I was a high school freshman, I stayed home and helped give out candy to the trick or treaters who arrived at our place instead of dressing up in costume and going out myself. I did this all through my high school years. When I was at the University of Maryland I basically went to a few on campus Halloween parties. After I got married I resumed my annual tradition of giving treats out to the kids and I continued even after my divorce.
Since this event was billed as an adult trick or treat event, I thought it would be cool to try trick or treating again for old time’s sake.
My church had scheduled a Halloween dance on the same night and I already purchased a ticket but it was’t scheduled to start until 8 and the Savage Mill event started at 6 so I was able to do both. I pulled out my Rainbow Dash hoodie for that night while I wore a Rainbow Dash shirt underneath. Here are a few selfies I took.
About that Rainbow Dash bag in that last photo, I found it at Five Below for only 99 cents.
I arrived to Savage Mill a little bit early where I ate a light dinner of a hot dog, potato chips, and a diet soda. I also killed time walking around Savage Mill where I took these photos.
The Adult Trick or Treat began in earnest. The idea was to go from store to store. Except some of the stores either didn’t participate at all or they closed at the usual 6 p.m. closing time. There were whole wings of Savage Mill that were eerily empty, such as the photo below.
I would go to a participating store, say “Trick or Treat” and the store clerk would point to an area where the store had set out free refreshments. One of the store clerks admitted to me that this was the first year that Savage Mill had attempted something like this. I took a few photos of what some of the stores offered.
I saw a few adults wear costumes that were more elaborate than my simple hoodie.
The one store that had the most action was Family Game Store, a locally owned store that specializes in board games for the entire family. That store was holding its 11th anniversary that weekend, which included free cake.
Family Game Store was the one store that had the most people and many of them were in costume.
The cake they served resembled a crossword puzzle (or maybe a Scrabble board).
I tried a slice of the cake and I found it to be very delicious.
The Adult Trick or Treating was scheduled to end at 9 p.m. with more of the pre-Halloween festivities being held at Ram’s Head. I basically left around 7:30 since my church’s Halloween dance was scheduled to begin at 8. As I was leaving I saw a group gathering for one of its Ghost Tours, which is a series of weekly walking tours that Savage Mill is currently holding on weekend nights through the first weekend in December.
I had a relatively quiet Halloween this year due mainly to a combination of tight finances and my mother’s latest health battle. (She spent a few days in the hospital earlier this month for sepsis.) I purchased this interesting pack of marshmallow Peeps from Five Below because these Halloween Peeps looked pretty unusual. I’ve seen Halloween Peeps shaped like black cats, ghosts, jack o’lanterns, and gravestones but this was the first time I’ve seen Peeps shaped like Frankenstein’s head.
But that’s not all I found at Five Below. I also found pumpkin spice-flavored Peeps. These are the chicks that I usually see at Easter but I guess Just Born has decided that chicks aren’t just for Easter anymore.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the combination of marshmallow, white chocolate fudge, and pumpkin spice but I found that they were quite tasty.
Among the treats I gave out this year was Utz Bats & Jacks Pretzels. That pack usually gives out a free black and white Halloween decoration (which is basically the Utz girl dressed as a witch while being surrounded by bats).
The same decoration is given out each year. I know that the decoration is in black and white because it’s meant for children to color it using crayons or other media. I displayed it outside a couple of years ago in its uncolored state at the last minute before the first trick or treater arrived. This year I decided to take out some colored pencils and color it in.
I did the coloring Friday night. I displayed it in the trunk of my car at my church’s Trunk or Treat event yesterday (Sunday), which was held in the parking lot for the children at that congregation. I took some photos of the event, which I’ll write about later.
After the Trunk or Treat event I hung that same colored decoration on the door of my home alongside the ghost from the Scream movies (which I’ve owned for a number of years) and a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead decoration (which I purchased from Five Below just a couple of days ago for only 99 cents).
Like I wrote two weeks ago, I purchased this new bat to replace a previous bat that was stolen from the porch in 2014.
I have a Grim Reaper dangling from the bottom of my mailbox near my small coffin.
I also have some smaller Halloween items placed on the front porch near the coffin and Grim Reaper.
I deliberately didn’t cut down the dead Black-Eyed Susans and other dead foliage in order to have this dead plants effect (which is way cheaper than buying fake dead Halloween foliage in the stores). Safeway had a special “2 medium pumpkins for $10” sale so I bought two pumpkins and carved jack o’lantern faces on them then placed them among the dead plants. I kept the seeds and roasted them so I now have healthy snacks.
The next photos were taken in Glen Burnie earlier this month during one of the days I visited my mother in the hospital. After that visit I drove past a couple of homes where I saw those Donald Trump signs on the front lawn, which were the first homes I’ve ever seen anyone display anything that was pro-Trump. (It figures that I saw them in the town where I grew up from ages 5-19.) After I took photos of those two houses with the Trump signs, I decided to stop by Giant because I needed to buy a few things and I thought it would be easier to buy them at the Giant in Glen Burnie then drive straight home. I got out of that store just in time to enjoy this lovely sunset.
In the same shopping center as that particular Giant I saw that one of those Spirit of Halloween stores had set up its temporary shop there.
I went over to that store where I took these pictures documenting what’s considered “in” for Halloween 2016.
Of course since this is an election year, there would be opportunities for people to dress up as either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
There was a Bernie Sanders mask available for sale. It’s too bad that there were reports of primary election rigging in places like Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Arizona, New York, California, and Nevada since there were many poll results that stated that Bernie Sanders could’ve beaten Donald Trump by a much wider margin than the current narrow margin between Clinton and Trump. (Some recent polls say that Hillary Clinton has since come out way ahead but who knows what will go down on November 8.)
I didn’t buy anything at that store due to tight finances. Even if I could afford to shop there I don’t think I would buy very many items because I’m really not into large lawn displays and there are so many costumes and masks that I can really keep in my home before I get overrun with costumes and masks.
I spent the bulk of Halloween day going to the first of a two-day session on how to improve my job hunting skills that’s offered by the State of Maryland. It’s currently being held in its offices in Laurel, which is located next to Laurel Shopping Center. During one of the breaks I walked around the far end of that shopping center where I saw the place where a second-run movie theater used to operate (but it went out of business a few years ago). There’s currently a haunted house known as Laurel’s House of Horrors that’s operating there. I didn’t go inside at all mainly because the admission was $30 and I’m really not into spending that much money on something that’s only going to last one hour at the most. I have to admit that the exterior looked interesting.
I’ll finish this entry with this giant spider in the center of this giant spider web that’s currently displayed outside Makerspace 125.
Usually the third day of a convention tends to be relatively truncated because it falls on a Sunday and many people are rushing to travel back home so they can return to their real lives the next day. There were still a few events that encouraged me to go back out to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville for the third day in a row. I attended this panel discussion featuring Intervention Con founder Oni Harstein (on the right in the photo below) on how to market your work online. I took a lot of notes at that panel.
Afterwards I attended this talk where Craig W. Cobalt (on the right in the photo below) talking with actor René Auberjonois (left). It was a really highly spirited discussion because not only had Auberjonois appeared on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benson, and Boston Legal but his acting career goes back decades. He gave a really fascinating account on his experiences working with the legendary Katharine Hepburn. He should write his memoirs about his long acting career because his talk was so fascinating. He even finished his talk by singing this brief song (“Les Poissons”) he sang when he was the voice of Chef Louis in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.
After that presentation ended I stayed in the same room where I ate my lunch (which I brought with me from home) while listening to actress Alex Kingston (in pink ears below) speaking about her days as River Song on Doctor Who with Cat Smith (right side in below photo). She also gave a fascinating talk on what it was like to play River Song with three of the actors who portrayed the various regenerations of Doctor Who.
After that presentation ended I spent the rest of my time taking a few miscellaneous photographs.
The last photo I took at Intervention Con was this one of my program book and badge.
After I left Intervention Con I briefly stopped at the Micro Center store mainly because it was only located just a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have much money left after that weekend. (I spent the bulk of my money on the weekend pass. I didn’t buy anything in the Artists Alley this time around because of a lack of cash.) I ended up having far less money at the end of the month than usual but it was worth it. I got a lot of good advice regarding how to market my arts and crafts on social media and I intend to try to use it. I loved all of the panels and workshops I attended. The only letdown was that, unlike the previous Intervention Cons I attended in 2013 and 2014, there were no vintage arcade games this time around. I was mildly disappointed because I had fond memories of playing such games as Tetris and Wizards of Wor and they were all on free play, which was fantastic. (You can see the photos of those vintage arcade games that I took at a previous Intervention Con right here.) I missed those vintage arcade games. Otherwise I loved Intervention Con and I would love to go again next year.
The next day I did this quick sketchbook drawing showing how I usually feel about going to an event like Intervention Con. (LOL!)