Take Your Daughter To See The Nutcracker And The Four Realms. Now.

p_incredible_hero_nutcracker_89197251

It takes a lot to be a dancer.
After almost a decade of ballet, you could say I was pretty hooked. I loved the tulle skirts, the toe shoes and the high buns. In fact, if you see me today I still wear my hair in a high bun more often than not. It just feels right. Although I stopped taking ballet when I was a teenager, I’ve always especially associated it with the holidays. And it’s no wonder since Seattle is home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet company, one of the best spots in the PNW to see The Nutcracker.

To be honest I was a little bit worried when I heard that there was going to be a movie released about the Nutcracker. Would they keep it traditional? Would they make it too contemporary? How would they reach younger audiences and still share the magic on screen.

Well, this week I found out. Sitting snuggly behind a row of fifth grade girls, my mom and I went to do what we always do around this time of year-we went to see The Nutcracker…only this time it was in a different kind of theater. To be honest I loved every minute of the movie. I don’t think I took my eyes off the screen for more than a minute, and mostly it was to see the glowing faces of the girls sitting in front of us, as they saw the story unfold. Why was this movie so good? Here’s just a taste:

Clara’s all about STEM

Something I didn’t expect, but that I was MORE than a little happy about was that this film made the main heroine Clara a woman interested in science and invention and it in no way made her “nerdy” or any other kind of stereotype. I loved it. I think it’s really important to include female characters that are multi-dimensional. Just because we like science doesn’t mean we don’t also like fashion and have a mean left hook.

Image result for nutcracker movie, clara egg

The costumes are STUNNING

As I was watching this movie my creative mind was absolutely bubbling to the brim with ideas of how to execute the costumes. The women’s costumes of course were beautiful, but that doesn’t disregard the impeccable tailoring of the suits. My absolute favorite was the battle outfit Clara wore during the last half of the movie.

Related image

 

The story line was exciting and fresh

When I was going into this movie I fully expected it to be dumbed down for a child audience, but I actually found it very engaging the entire time. There was a beautiful balance of action, moments for connecting with the characters and beautiful storytelling. One of my favorite things about this story was the balance between characters. Nobody felt belittled. They all had their role to play and each was acknowledged as their brave, endearing, or ridiculous selves.

Related image

There’s actual diversity

My first thought when they showed the first ballet portion was “Where was this when I was a kid?” I’m so happy that there are steps being made to include more diverse casts. Obviously there’s lots of work to do but I’m so happy that there’s finally representation. Basically all of the ballet solos were danced by a ballerina of color and I thought that was so perfectly enchanting. This was the best possible answer to my initial question about how this movie would make itself relevant to 2018. Thank you Misty Copeland.

Related image

The moral of the story

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover
  • Hear all sides of a story
  • It’s okay to hurt
  • Everything you need is inside you
  • You can do more than you thinkNeed I go on?

Image result for the nutcracker 2018 nutcracker

Bechdel test-it passed!

Something I really loved about this movie was the diversity of female characters. They weren’t all good, they weren’t all bad. They weren’t all in dresses. They weren’t all young. They weren’t all sweet. I loved it. And they had conversations about who they were, how they felt about things, and I was so here for it. Who knew, women can talk!?
Image result for nutcracker movie, clara

In short I really loved this movie and I would definitely recommend going to see it. I definitely want to look more into it just from a costume perspective. It’s the perfect film to get you in the holiday spirit and I couldn’t be happier with how it all came together.

Have you already seen it? What did you think?! 

I Played Spider-Man For 10 Minutes, Here’s What I Thought

I am not a superhero, so becoming one is something I try to make happen as often as possible. Sometimes this means dressing up in cosplay, other times it means playing one of the most anticipated games of the year: Spider-Man.

I’m primarily a PC gamer with a NES, Sega, and Xbox One hanging around for when I’m in the mood. But amazingly I don’t own a PlayStation of any generation, despite it being one of the consoles I grew up on. Not to brag…but I’ve beaten every Spyro game.

This past weekend I was super excited to get in a little early to PAX West, a perk of my job. Day one I headed to the Nintendo Switch booth to try out Super Smash Bros Ultimate before the insanely long line developed, and the second day I made my way over to the PlayStation booth. TBH I hadn’t really looked into Spider-Man despite hearing the buzz on social media. I don’t have a PS4 so I knew I wasn’t going to get to play it once it was released (curse you PlayStation gods). But a booth with no line is pretty irresistible so I made my way into the setup of black screens and noise canceling headsets and picked up the PlayStation controller; probably the first time I had picked one up in 15 years. Don’t judge me.

The music was immediately immersive, and I couldn’t help but notice the clarity of the graphics as “Spider-Man” flashed across the screen. My inner 13 year old Toby McGuire loving Spider-fan was instantly awakened (yes, I’ve seen the newer movies but THAT was the first time I saw Spider-Man on screen). I’m not gonna lie, it took me a minute to get my grasp on the controller. I definitely ran into NPCs, knocking them down on the sidewalk, for a solid 3/10 minutes. But once I figured out how to swing from buildings. Lemme tell you.

Magic.

I remember at one point stopping, while spidey-stuck to the side of a skyscraper, using my right scroll to see the world around me. The sunset was beautifully reflecting off the cityscape and I smiled the same way you do during a beautiful thematic love scene. Except I was playing PS4 next to two sweaty guys in sweats…so a little different. The agency to make the moment happen, though, was pretty empowering. But that’s why we play, right?

Another memorable part of the game was fighting against bad guys. Speaking as someone who has never been in a fight in my life, unless you count slapping the guy who tried to kiss me in second grade, it was more than a little awesome to be giving an ass-whooping to some bad guys. I guess one question I had was WHAT bad things these men had done? But…who cares? The important thing was to kick their butts. From flips to web-pulling garbage cans to smash in their faces, I would say it was a day well saved. I probably could have played that portion of the game for the solid ten minutes.

Overall the experience was pretty inspiring and I left with as stupid grin pasted to my face. I’m not a die hard Spider-Man fan anymore but I was more than a little glad I got a chance to demo. The graphics were crisp, the soundtrack pulled me into the game (which for someone with ADHD is a big deal), and the abilities that playing the character granted me was next-level awesome. Like I said, I don’t own a PlayStation so I have no idea when or how I’ll get to play this game again. But what I do know is that I enjoyed every minute.

Why Gamers Dye Their Hair And Other Universal Mysteries

You may have noticed that a lot of gamers have less than natural looking hair. Hell, I have less than natural looking hair. And by that I mean blonde. Which is actually a perfectly natural hair color, but the polar opposite of my own naturally almost-black colored hair. The question of why people dye their hair has stumped scientists and horrified parents for time immemorial. I mean seriously, can’t you just imagine a teenage Egyptian getting yelled at for using henna to dye their hair? Okay, that’s not historically based at all, but stick with me.

There are obviously as many reasons for dying one’s hair as there are for people who have dyed hair, but I’ve put together this little list based off of personal experience and complete nonsense I’ve construed in my own mind…also shit from people I’ve talked to who have hair that’s different from their natural color. Reminder when reading: It’s not the color of hair that makes a gamer…unless you’re Ninja. In which case it very well might be.

1. We want to look like someone we admire

girl pink GIF

I like to think of option number one as parallel to why people cosplay. I cosplay because the characters I dress up as are bad-ass and share attributes that I admire. It’s not about putting on a costume. Cosplay is about embodying some part of yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. That’s also why cosplayers are so much more intense than buying a costume off Amazon. It really is a passion project. Think of hair in the same way, it’s a love of something you weren’t born with that you still want to embody as a part of your identity.

2. We don’t feel like we belong anyway

the sword in the stone disney GIF

A lot of people in the sci-fi/fantasy/gaming communities feel an “otherness” and that’s why they connect so deeply to these genres. I can definitely relate on this front because I was raised in a community where I never saw anyone who looked like me. I seriously felt like some kind of alien, and I distinctly remember seeing Spock for the first time and relating so deeply. I was like him. We both were a part of two different cultures and felt torn between them. I felt like I identified more with a fictional character than I ever did with a real-life person. I’m not saying this to be sad, but to emphasize how important these communities are. If we’re going to stand out, why not change our hair color? I think people who have never felt like they fit in (even when they’re ‘normal’) have a lot fewer shits to give when they’re thinking about changing something like hair color.

3. It’s personal expression

green hair model GIF
Now here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s just self-expression plain and simple? Hair, like any other kind of body art, is just that …art. Hair stylists are artists. Whether you’re going all pink or getting a glorious rainbow dye job, hair is just another way of telling people who you are and who you want to be. It’s a way of building out an internal identity that you identify with. It’s a way of making you, more you.

4. Yes, it actually is about rebelling

hair rainbow GIF

Hands up if you were raised conservatively! I happen to know that a lot of people with dyed hair would have probably been disowned if they had come within 5 miles of their hair with dye, before their 18th birthday. So when it came time to “grow up” we did exactly what we were never allowed to do when we were kids. It’s kind of like buying all the toys you never were allowed to get when you were a kid. Now we’re the boss and we’ve got 18 years worth of rebellion to make up for.

5. Absolutely no reason.

21 Annoying Things You’ll Only Understand If You Have A Crazy Hair Color

You know, some people dye their hair for absolutely no reason. True story. It just seems like a good idea, and that’s it. I would venture to say that usually, these are one-timers, not people who keep up with their hair dying, but there are exceptions to every rule, so you really never know!

In the end, it really doesn’t matter why people dye their hair. For a lot of gamers, it’s a way to feel more in touch with a personal identity and a community they love. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful and amazing. Keep being yourself, lovelies.

 

5 Games E3 Got Me Pumped About

I wasn’t able to make it to E3 this year, but that didn’t keep me from staying glued to my computer checking updates and watching trailers. What did keep me a little bit farther than I would have liked was getting a kitten last Tuesday. So this list is a little bit later than I would have liked, but life happens. And kittens are worth the slight delay. After finally getting caught up, here’s what I’m super pumped to play:

1. Ori and the Will of the Whips

This game really has everything I want in a game. The fantasy heavy design, the soundtrack, and the overall gameplay is just definitively me. I’ve just started playing Ori and the Blind Forest so I know the second installment is going to be just fantastic. I can’t wait!

2. Dreams

So usually I’m not really a Playstation girl, but when I heard about this game I had to check it out. I really love the possibilities of being able to create your own animated game or short…or really anything you want, with the swing of a game controller. I love this demo because it shows you just how much you can do in 20 minutes. It really is amazing. As an artist, I think this tool is great both for people who are already creatively inclined and also for people who aren’t so much. There are endless possibilities and I just love the creativity of this existing!

3. Cuphead DLC

This is kind of my wildcard because I’m usually really particular about the graphics that I like and what I don’t like. I either like fantasy heavy illustrations or IRL-type graphics. BUT Cuphead taps into another side of my personality that I honestly didn’t think I needed. But I do. And yes I know there is already a Cuphead game out, and I plan on tapping into that one before the release of the newest version. I just love the vintage feel and the overall idea that this game not only exists but is a thriving part of the gaming community.

4. Cyberpunk 2077

My initial reaction to this trailer: “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!” I’ve watched some demo videos from E3 and I’m pretty excited for getting my hands on this game. Take my money. Not only does this game have amazing visuals, and what appears to be a badass storyline, but there’s car-racing and we all know how I feel about that *swoon*. Also, I want this trailer soundtrack. Okay, thanks.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

I’ve been a fan of Assassin’s Creed for a few years now and I’m super excited for the latest installation coming out. Right now I’m playing through Origins and the storytelling and gameplay are just so great that I can’t wait for what’s next. A couple things that stand out about this trailer are the graphics, which look crisp and delicious. I’m also really jazzed about the underwater capabilities and how they’re going to potentially build that out.

What E3 games are you excited about? Let me know in the comments! 

PAX West: A N00B’s Predictions

It surprises a lot of people that I’ve never been to PAX West. I mean, I live in Seattle. It’s basically down the street. But here’s a fun fact: I’ve actually only been going to conventions for four years. I started going when I lived in France because conventions were some of the few places I felt like I belonged. It’s always fascinated me that no matter what language you speak you can connect with others based off of your nerd knowledge. Fandom is a lot like music in that it connects with so many different kinds of people.

When I eventually moved back to Seattle in 2015 I was determined to keep attending conventions…and to cosplay. That was the first time I went to Geek Girl Con, and then I went to Emerald City Comic Con for the first time. It was bliss. Last year I would have loved to go to PAX but I completely missed the train on tickets. This year I had a ticket buddy who let me know as soon as they went on sale and FINALLY, I’m going. PAX is pretty expensive, so I’m only going 2/4 days but I’m still so excited!

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but here’s what I have a feeling PAX will be like:

1. The lines are going to be insane

Image result for waiting in line gif

One thing everyone has confirmed is that the game lines at PAX West are worst than a school’s-out day at Disneyland. Knowing that I’m kind of okay with the fact that I’m going on two of the less popular days. Being around people can also be extremely draining for my little introvert soul, so it’s probably for the best that I’m going for only a couple of days.

2. The people are going to be awesome

Image result for instant friends gif

Something I really love is the people I meet at conventions. It’s one of the best feelings to be around people who are of the same mindset. People who don’t think gaming is for 40-year-old men who still live in their parent’s basement. People who own just as many Funko POP figurines as you do…and don’t judge you for buying more. Since the other two conventions I go to are later in the year it’s going to be super fun to have something coming up sooner. I can’t wait until September.

3. There’s going to be some insane cosplay happening

Okay, so I have no idea if this is a thing at PAX as much as it is at Comic Con but I sure as hell hope that I’m going to see some jaw-dropping cosplay happening. I need it for my soul. I will be cosplaying for PAX…but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to go as, yet. Since I really like Overwatch I’m thinking I’m going to do a gender bend of one of those characters, but who knows!?

Image result for mccree gif

4. I’ll buy too much merch

Related imageThis is pretty much a given because my self-control for spending gets thrown out the window when I walk into a convention. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure of so many people being around or just a comfortability in the space, but I love finding merch that I would never have otherwise known existed (AND BUYING IT ALL). Since I’m actually not sure about the setup of PAX I don’t know if there will be as much from local artists etc. but I’m looking forward to finding out!

5. I’ll make some new friends

Related imageI’m not an extremely social person. I like the people I like, and I’m pretty good with that handful of people. Conventions are awesome because they’re usually a safe space where people can connect easier. I’ve met some of my best friends at conventions and I’m pretty excited to be back in that space again! Cheers to making nerdy friends who connect with you on what you’re passionate about!

Have you been to PAX West (or any other PAX for that matter)? What was it like? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments! 

Geek’s Guide to Seattle during PAX West

So you’ve bought your passes, packed your suitcase, and you’re ready for PAX West! But while you’re in Seattle, what else are you gonna do?

One of the largest U.S. gaming events, PAX West is something you’ve probably looked forward to for months…if not years. Personally I’m pretty pumped for the event and I’m a Seattle native. I can’t imagine how much excitement there would be if you’re riding, flying, or driving into town for this event. The good is that the wait is almost over! And even better, you’re coming to one of the nerdiest cities this country has to offer. Even beyond PAX West there’s a whole ton to do here while in between events, or if you just want to get away from the crowds for a bit. Here are some of my favorites!

MoPop Museum

Right now the Marvel exhibit is being shown at the Museum of Pop Culture and it is absolutely to die for. Not only does it feature first edition comics and original costumes from all of your favorite Marvel movies, but it’s more extensive than you might think. Another feature of the MoPop is their Indie video games lab and sci-fi/fantasy exhibits. I’m actually a member of this museum I go so often. It really is the best.

Add-a-Ball Arcade

This gem can be found a block away from the Lenin statue and across the street from Theo Chocolate (which gives chocolate factory tours FYI). The spot is jam-packed with arcade games, pinball machines and all kinds of nerd goodness. It is a bar, so this is not a kid friendly establishment, but if you’re looking for one of those you can try out Full Tilt in Ballard.

Pink Gorilla

This retro game spot has drained quite a bit of my savings on their rad retro games and gaming systems. They have just about everything you could wish for with retro gaming and even some newer games/gaming systems. Word on the street is that they might have a booth at PAX West but, just in case, you can find them in the University District.

Pinball Museum

Still looking for some fun? Check out the Pinball Museum on on the south side of downtown with the Pinball Museum! With systems dating back to 1934, the Pinball museum is a great way to keep the nerdom alive in between events.

Archie McPhee

This is a joke…shop. This store is packed to the brim with practical joke merchandise, and is a fun spot to grab a souvenir more impactful than a magnet. You’ll find this haha spot in Wallingford.

Columbia Tower

While most may point you in the direction of the Space Needle, you can save your dough and get some pretty spectacular (weather permitting) views from the Columbia Tower. Hop in and take the elevator to the 73rd floor for the observation deck! You won’t regret it.

Outsider Comics and Boutique

This little shop is pretty awesome and you’ll find them at a lot of geek events around Seattle. You can find all of your fav comics and game pieces here as well as jewelry, clothing and events.

Food place

Since there a are quite a few food places that you could/should stop by in Seattle I’ve added some great ones here with links to their pages. Pick your poison.

Happy Con, everyone!