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This is the third year that a maker event took place in Greenbelt, Maryland. (It used to be known as the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire until this year, when the organizers decided against renewing the license with Make magazine, which holds the rights to the name “Maker Faire”. One of the reasons I heard is that the organizers of this event has always insisted on it being a non-commercial, non-profit community event which is the opposite of most Maker Faire events, which tend to have all kinds of corporate sponsorships.) After sitting out last year, I decided to return as a participating vendor with my own table.
Makerspace 125 is the main spearheader of this event. This is what it looked like on that day all decked out in balloons and hoops wrapped with yarn.
Someone draped the nearby Mother and Child statue with long strings of beads.
Here is my vending area at this year’s event.
A few days earlier I created a video slideshow of my sketchbook drawings I made over the years (I only admitted the ones that depicted partial or full nudity because this festival is an all-ages family-friendly event). I made a little brochure explaining about myself. I also offered free Oreo cookies.
This section shows the comic book coasters I made by cutting up the comic book collection that my ex-husband left behind. (I attempted to sell them but comic books are worth squat these days, especially if they were published after 1985.) I first debuted them at the 2015 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I still had a few left mainly because I haven’t worked as many art shows and craft fairs in recent years as before the economic meltdown of 2008.
Last, but not least, here is my Barbie doll section.
The one in the front is the Barbie that I customized into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (which I also documented in my four-part DIY video series).
The three other dolls in the back are ones I originally found in thrift stores and I converted them into fairy dolls.
Since this event took place the day before Easter Sunday, there were plenty of eggs on display this year.
Here are my photos of the rest of the festival. The day started off cloudy and cool but then the sun came out and it got progressively hotter until I took off my hooded sweatshirt and just walked around in a t-shirt instead. The cream in the middle of the Oreo cookies I was giving away started to ooze from the middle of each cookie. (I ultimately had to put the entire pack in the refrigerator when I returned home.)
Even though the weather was ideal, the event drew a smaller crowd this year than in previous years. I have a feeling that the fact that this event was scheduled on the day before Easter had something to do with it. I only made a total of $25 in sales throughout the entire six-hour event. I was sort of disappointed because I really wanted to get rid of some excess crafts that have been stored in my home for the past few years while earning extra money. Oh well. At least I got to see a lot of my friends at this event so that’s something.
I also shot a short video of some parts of the festival, which you can view below.
The week prior to Easter Sunday was an event held at Makerspace 125 known as Member Week. The STEM center was opened to the general public in an effort to get more members to join the makerspace, which had recently converted into a member-owned cooperative. While I was there a couple of nights that week, I only took pictures on Thursday, April 13, 2017, when there was a demonstration of the various electronics that the makerspace hopes to run workshops on in the future, including open source devices like Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
The decoration of the outside of Makerspace 125 was well underway that night but it was still a work in progress when I took these pictures.
Here is the electronics demonstration itself.
Member Week at Makerspace 125 ended with the 2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival, which was held on the day before Easter Sunday.
I was in Laurel because I was attending a morning workshop on the gig economy and how one can tap into and even thrive financially. It was a very well-attended workshop and I got a lot out of it. After the workshop ended at noon I decided to just stay in Laurel and make a full day of it. It was a sunny and warm spring day and I just wanted to decompress from that workshop. So I went to the nearby Giant where I purchased a sandwich, diet soda, and a few other lunch items, and drove to Riverfront Park. I ate my lunch outside on a park bench as I savored the natural beauty that was all around me. I also took a few photos while I was there.
The next shot was of the bathroom in Riverfront Park. While I thought the wall mural was intriguing, I was a little bit too grossed out by the toilet to actually use it.
I walked around the historic Main Street district, where I took a few more photos.
The front windows of Rainbow Florist was decorated for the upcoming Easter holiday.
Here’s the bull statue that’s located outside the entrance to the Laurel Meat Market.
One of the storefronts has a mural depicting the history of Laurel.
I really like the look of the building that houses the Laurel Post Office.
Here’s a sign announcing a new business that will soon open on Main Street.
I love this vintage ornate mailbox.
A family of sparrows have built a nest in a ledge overlooking The Crystal Fox store. I haven’t seen any baby birds in that nest but I’m sure they will come soon.
The next two photos show The Crystal Fox store windows.
Outback Leather specializes in selling horse saddles and other horse-related items (which makes sense since the Laurel Racetrack is located just a mile or two away).
I took one last picture before I left for home.
I went up to Dr. Sketchy’s in Baltimore for the first time in a few months. The really good thing about the days being longer is that I’m able to do some walking around the neighborhood after I finish eating dinner at the local Popeye’s (which has its awesome $5 chicken meal bargain that it only offers on Mondays and Tuesdays). Here are a few pictures I took, starting with a few store window shots.
The window in the next photo has words and letters written in white right on the glass itself.
Late last year I noticed that a new mural was painted on the wall between Red Emma’s and The Wind-Up Space, which replaced this one. I wasn’t able to take a picture until recently mainly because the days have grown longer with the arrival of spring.
Here’s an alleyway located near The Wind-Up Space and The Centre (where the Impact Hub is located).
Back in January I took some pictures of The Centre, including the Impact Hub and other windows at night. This time I took photos of the same building while it was still daylight.
This window had a cool looking mosaic. If you look close enough, you can read the words “GO TO COLLEGE.”
One of the windows still had a poster promoting the Johns Hopkins Film Festival, which had recently passed. I liked the design of this poster (including the position of the cigarette. LOL!)
I eventually made my way to The Wind-Up Space. Here’s a shot of some interesting art that was displayed behind the bar.
The last time I was at The Wind-Up Space, that place had a Christmas tree that was filled with Krampus ornaments. The Christmas tree was still up when I was there (even though Easter was just a few days away) but the Krampus ornaments were removed. There was a lampshade treetop, which was pretty hilarious.
The next photo shows one of the promo flyers for that night’s Dr. Sketchy’s Anti=Art School.
The rest of this post consists of the drawings I did that night. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Cherie Nuit. Some of the drawings are definitely NSFW.
I participated in two contests that evening. The first was where we had to somehow incorporate brunch. I drew Cherie lying on a pile of ice cubes at the bottom of a giant glass of mimosa. That drawing didn’t make it among the finalists.
The other contest I participated in was one where we had to somehow incorporate Peeps (in honor of the fact that Easter was just a few days away). My drawing made it among the finalists but it didn’t win.
I did one more drawing of Cherie Nuit before I decided to head back home.
April 8 was a pretty busy night. The local theater in Greenbelt, Maryland was among the numerous theaters nationwide who held a simultaneous screening of the film 1984. Before the movie began a group of local activists held a reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” in honor of the 50th anniversary of that speech. (Ironically MLK gave that speech exactly one year before his assassination.)
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.
I decided to check out this night networking event that was held at the UMBC Training Center in Columbia, Maryland. I decided to beat the rush hour traffic and head up to Columbia a few hours early. I hung around the Mall in Columbia for a bit since I haven’t been there in a very long time. Here’s a photo of the indoor carousel that’s located on the upper level of that mall.
I saw this incredibly colorful clown sculpture that was made from balloons.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Mall in Columbia, which is why there was a 50th birthday cake floating in the fountain. The cake was made from balloons so it wasn’t edible anyway.
The Disney Store had this huge display because it had recently released the live action remake of its 1990’s animated film Beauty and the Beast.
The next photo shows the official doll that was widely mocked on the Internet as being ugly and looking like Justin Bieber. The doll was supposed to resemble actress Emma Watson, who played Belle in the movie, but I personally thought that the results were less-than-thrilling. I agreed with the critics who said that the doll looked more like Justin Bieber wearing a long brown wig than Emma Watson. (By the way a doll artist named Noel Cruz took one of the dolls and did a total repaint job. The results resembled Emma Watson way better than the original doll faceup.)
The Disney Store sold a larger doll that was based on the 1990’s animated version. I thought that doll looked way better than the other one.
The Disney Store also sold this Moana doll that looked gorgeous. I’ll admit that I haven’t gotten around to see the movie yet but I totally adored that doll so much that I would’ve bought it if it weren’t for the fact that I’m still dealing with tight finances.
I ate an early dinner at the Mall in Columbia because I wasn’t sure about the food situation. I was glad I did because this event had mostly snacks. After dinner I drove straight to the UMBC Training Center where the Coaches’ Corner event took place. It was basically an event where we received free counseling in small groups from various career coaches coupled with networking and it ended with a panel discussion from all of the participating career coaches. The day before the event I received an email asking participants to take photos of the evening, upload them on social media, and give them various hashtags. Here are my two photos from the event. The next photo shows the networking that took place before the panel discussion.
The last photo shows the panel discussion from the career coaches.
I only took two pictures because I was more focused on getting advice on finding jobs than taking pictures. I got some pretty good advice from the career coaches, especially on using LinkedIn.
After enduring the massive Blizzard of 2016 last year, I was relieved that the area where I live was mostly spared from snow this winter, with one exception. An unusually late snowstorm was coming to our area and the weather forecasters were predicting that it would dump at least six inches and maybe higher. Since there was a 50% chance that I may be snowed in for at least a day and maybe even two days, I decided to go somewhere just so I can get out of the house for a few hours before the snow arrived.
I decided to go to the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda because I hadn’t been there in years. I basically walked around the mall just a few hours before the snow fell. Apparently a lot of people got the same idea because I found the mall to have plenty of people, which was unusual for a weekday afternoon. I took a few photos during my time there.
I stopped by Lolli & Pops and checked out the candy. I was amused by the line of Japanese imported Hello Kitty candy.
There were special chocolate Pokémon Easter eggs on sale.
Lolli & Pops had a line of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey cakes and candy.
There were three flavors of champaign-flavored gummi bears on sale. I purchased the sparkling light gummy bears and I found them to be quite tasty. I wanted to try the other two flavors but I didn’t have enough money on me.
Lolli & Pops have a variety of loose candy on sale and one could buy special jars and tins to put them in. In addition, one can bring back those same jars and tins for refills.
I also briefly checked out Build-A-Bear Workshop. Those bunnies in the windows indicated that Easter was coming soon despite the snow forecast that day.
There were actually teddy bears based on Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of its originally 1990’s animated Beauty & the Beast.
I loved the floral pattern on this teddy bear.
As I was heading out of the mall I took a photo of this tea and spice place known as Rumi. That’s because my Unitarian Universalist congregation has read poems from the Sufi mystic and one hymn our congregation frequently sings “Come, Come Wherever You Are” is based on one of Rumi’s poems. It’s kind of weird seeing his name being used as a tea and spice shop.
As for the snowstorm it dropped around four inches, which was enough to cancel schools and have many people stay home from work for one day. So I was stranded for only one day before I managed to dig my car out the day after the snowstorm went away. It was super-cold for the next few days as temperatures dipped into the low 20’s. Luckily that freezing weather was short-lived that it left our area. Right now spring is here, which means that the weather is getting increasingly warm each day.
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.