NYCC 2017 Recap!

An October tradition for my friends and me is attending New York Comic Con (NYCC).  This is a time when I, and my fellow geeks from the metro area, can escape reality for a few days! The merchandise and cosplays at this year’s New York Comic Con didn’t miss a beat.

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I dug The Big Lebowski and The Professional cosplays the most! Cosplayers dressing up as 90s movie icons? Oh the 90s nostalgia!

A few of my fellow geek gals participated in a ClulessXHarryPotter mashup (shouts to Chavon of Geeky & Creepy for the idea). It was awesome! Yes, that is me being the only Slytherin (a lovable Slytherin) in the group.  The blazer is killah, snagging it on Esty along with the Harry Potter Patch bag from Hot Topic.  I predict there will be more group cosplays in the future for me, including a repeat of this one :) 

ROLLCALL!   Che : Ravenclaw, Kos: Slytherin,  Arkieda : Ravenclaw,  Robyn : Gryffindor,  Isake : Ravenclaw, Christina: Gryffindor,  Akua : Ravenclaw

ROLLCALL! Che: Ravenclaw, Kos: Slytherin, Arkieda: Ravenclaw, Robyn: Gryffindor, Isake: Ravenclaw, Christina: Gryffindor, Akua: Ravenclaw

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Since I’ve been attending regional comic cons recently, I have become stoked about the panels!  Connecting with fellow geeks on topics that matter: mental health, diversity, and geek journalism, this year at NYCC they didn’t disappoint. A highlight for many was “Fashioning Fiction: The Aesthetics of Fantasy Worlds” panel, which included Geek Girl Brunch co-founder Yissel Ayala. Yissel along with 6 panelists broke down what makes fashion fantastical and how they find inspiration in the real world to clothe the denizens of their imaginary realms.

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Yissel is a visual merchandiser and has a BFA in Women’s Sportswear from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT Alum Woot Woot), she’s has been mentored by Carolina Herrera and studied knitwear at Politecnico Di Milano in Milan, Italy   

I had the opportunity to speak with YIssel after the panel, check it out:
O.C.O: What led you submit for the panel

Y.A: My friend and cheerleader Erica Shultz encouraged me. We'd gotten to know each other through me moderating her panels at New Jersey Comic Expo, so she knew I was beyond capable.  Actually, "encouraged," is an understatement.  She'd regularly e-mail and text me reminders to brainstorm ideas and the panel submission deadline. Ha! She really pushed for me to do this, and for that, I am forever grateful.  

Soon after, I visited my friend Melissa Grey to get her take and bounce ideas off of her over wine (like you do). I knew I had to do something around fashion. Around design  - A subject I'm passionate about, knowledgeable, have credibility in. But, what else? Well, I love books.... It was Melissa that suggested the aesthetics of fantasy worlds. It was pretty perfect. Here I was talking to my published author best friend, so I knew I'd at least have one guaranteed panelist onboard. 

I went home and drafted out some copy, came up with the name, "Fashioning Fiction", had Melissa reply to my e-mail with even better copy, sought out potential panelists with her help, and the panel was born. 

O.C.O: What did you want to teach/accomplish with the panel?

Y.A:  I wanted to talk about fashion for an hour without it becoming as superficial as red carpet coverage before a major awards show.  

When people think of literature, what words spring to mind? Smart. Profound. Classic. How does the average person view fashion? Is it fun? Well, you and I know that. But then there are people who think: "superficial," who don't realize that, "smart," "profound," and, "classic," are all terms that apply to fashion too. 

It was important for me to be able to celebrate fashion as a crucial world-building tool. So, I put a lot of thought and care into my questions and presentation as a whole. Through PowerPoint I created a visual narrative. I told an easy to follow story, first on Literature’s contributions to fashion, citing prominent literary works and designer achievements, which allowed me to dive into the heart of my panel, fashion's very necessary contribution to storytelling. My approach worked. It really fucking worked. 

O.C.O: How'd you come to know your panel mates?

Y.A: They're my friends, and friends of friends. I find already knowing someone makes asking them to be on your panel way easier!

O.C.O: If you could have a follow up panel to this one, what would it focus on?

Y.A: I think I may just do a round 2 of this panel, as I already have some interested parties. It's more than I could've hoped for.

I do like the idea of discussing the great style icons of literature and their influence on modern fashion. Maybe I'll attempt that at BookCon? We'll see!

Follow Yissel on Instagram and Twitter @Thedesignergeek

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As I left New York Comic Con, I could not help but notice the increased attendance from last year!  I learned later that attendance rose to over  200,000 to be exact!!  How awesome is that?!  New York Comic Con continues to get better and better.  I started going in 2013.  Each year I leave the con more confident, inspired, and creative. Until next year!



Jared Rinaldi–the eclectic artist

Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.-Colin Wright

Balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; in the long run, it actually increases productivity and success.  I am striving to have more balance despite having 100 ideas I want executed in my head. We all have been there, so many creative projects can make taking a "break" not easy to do. 

It made me think and wonder the following:


I don’t have the answer to that but I want to use the blog as a platform for folks to read different ways many people do on top of my WCW posts.

I had the opportunity to interview my friend Jared Rinaldi a few weeks ago.  Jared is a triple threat  as a fantasy writer, actor, and musician. Similar to a few creatives that we know that carry many hats!

His first book THE UNDEAD KING, caught my attention as it has elements of post-apocalyptic politics seen in fantasy and zombie horror.  Check out the blurb:

In a post-apocalyptic future, where humankind has descended back into the dark ages, a young swordsman and his small band of allies must stand against the Undead King and his army of ravenous zombies.

There is a war brewing in the Green Lands. East versus west, might versus mind, brother versus brother…

While this battle over power and resources consumes the land, the Undead King is clandestinely marching north. At his command are an army of ravenous corpses, their appetite for living flesh insatiable. In the king’s possession is a sceptre of great power, forged in white fire by the monks of Jai Lin…

Mercer Crane is a young wanderer who has lost everything and means to make a name for himself in the war. He has come into possession of a sword, its edges lined with dark matter. This blade is special, as is the man who wields it, for together, they are the only thing that can stop… THE UNDEAD KING.

Being a writer myself that is not easy to combine (kudos Jared! It is a true mix of GoT and The Walking Dead as you described it!)

Peep our Q & A:

O.C.O: Tell us more about your new book you are working on called Sprocket Knights. How is it different from THE UNDEAD KING?

J.R: Sprocket Knights is actually the title of an entire five book series, of which the Undead King was book one, until I made some serious revisions and then changed the title to "The Sword of Jai Lin." The stories follow the same trajectory; the main difference between the two books is in the details.

O.C.O: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

J.R: Currently, I'm working on a series of five books that are all interconnected. I'm trying to build an entire world with its own history. But I also write screenplays and short stories which have nothing to do with Sprocket Knights at all, and look forward to writing books not in that world.

O.C.O: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

J.R: I'd have to say a sort of large jungle cat, like a tiger or leopard. Writing is a very solitary craft and requires me to be in full control, at the top of the food-chain if you will. Oftentimes I'm stalking the story relentlessly until I can pounce and tear it to shreds. I have a very violent process.

O.C.O: What Does Your Band Name “Kitari” Mean?

J.R:  Kitari actually didn't mean anything when I came up with the name. We were calling ourselves Annakari for a few days, which is a Japanese demon, but then I blanked on the name when a hotshot casting director asked me my band's name and I just blurted out "Kitari." We stuck with it. We came to find out that "Kitari" actually translates to guitar in Slovenian, so that's pretty accurate.

O.C.O: Describe Kitari's sound?

J.R: Kitari's sound is, of course, grounded in rock music with traditional rock instrumentation, but my ultimate focus has always been on writing the best songs I can. To me, that means that my songs should have compelling and introspective lyrics, memorable hooks and effective movement throughout the different parts. I think it gives our music and live performance an emotional weight that not a lot of other bands have. I count myself fortunate to play with some really amazing players, with backgrounds in genres as varied as jazz, punk, classical, hardcore and drum n' bass. Their styles certainly influence how the songs are performed. But as far as tying up our sound in a neat little bow? I'd say we're a psychedelic indie-rock band.

O.C.O: Do you write out your lyrics? Do you ever change a song’s lyrics in live sets?

J.R:  Yes, I wrote about 90% of the lyrics, with our former guitarist having written the remainder. And yes, I forget lyrics live a lot. I've gotten quite good at freestyling new lyrics though.

O.C.O: What creative individual would you have lunch with (can be dead or alive). Where would you go, what would you ask?

J.R: Hmmm it would be a toss-up between Jimi Hendrix and Ernest Hemingway. It would have to be a boozey lunch somewhere, and I'd ask them both basically the same thing: where else is there to go with art? What areas need to be explored today? What adventures need to be taken?

O.C.O: What embarrassing songs might I find on your IPhone now?

J.R: Oh god, let me look. There's definitely some bad ones on here. How's Kevin Lyttle, "Turn Me On?" Oh, the Scissor Sisters. That's funny.

O.C.O: What advice would you give someone when balancing different creative endeavors?

J.R: ·  In finding balance, I really try to structure my day. It may sound intuitive and like a "no duh" kind of concept, but you'd be surprised with how many people just let the day drive them from task to task. You need to drive the day. I'm not saying to just sit in your little hermit's cave away from the world or to fight tooth and nail against any sort of change. You should still remain flexible and capable of being influenced and inspired by everything around you.

But to intentionally structure your day, to work at accomplishing tasks as opposed to just getting through them, is a way to achieve balance. Once I'm done with something, once I've accomplished it, I can move on to the next task. Some tasks take longer than others - like writing a book, for instance - so I set smaller goals for myself and when I accomplish them, I feel like I can shift my attention over to another project. Time also forces me to find balance. There are only so many minutes in a day, after all.

O.C.O: Anything you would like share? (This where you direct folks to social media pages for the band and links to your books)

J.R:  All my band's material, including music, videos and pics can be found at A quick search on Amazon of "Jared Rinaldi" will turn up the books I've written. Kitari has some a shows coming up: Saturday August 5th at Mercury Lounge and Thursday August 24th at Bar Matchless.

Follow Kitari on FB friend’s:

Hope everyone is finding their own balance while creating something rad this summer :)