LARPy-LARP: Acting Lessons & Photography Play

17 May

WHERE DID APRIL GO?! Eh, I’ve been a bad kid with some internet issues for the past month… so let’s post “ALL THE ARTICLES”  I’ve wrote for the past month in one day! Huzzah!

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It is an understatement to say Termariel is a pretty enthusiastic LARPer in the NEPA region (North East PA).

She used to LARP when she was younger, but in the past year and a half she really started to pick up this hobby.

She’s asked all of her friends, family, and any stranger that she comes across if they’d join her. After her brother told her he’d go for Christmas as an Elf… a Christmas elf… she stopped asking him (though his second choice was Indiana Jones-hahahahaha).  I don’t understand why Termariel didn’t enjoy these ideas 😉

I know she really enjoyed LARPing, especially since her forte is acting in character (and of course hot glue costuming), so I told her I’d take her LARPing to one of her events for her Birthday.

“SO WHAT IS LARP?”, I asked myself. I jumped to Wikipedia to find it defined as…

live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules, or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called gamemasters decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate play.

The first LARPs were run in the late 1970s, inspired by tabletop role-playing games and genre fiction. The activity spread internationally during the 1980s, and has diversified into a wide variety of styles. Play may be very game-like, or may be more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression. Events can also be designed to achieve educational or political goals. The fictional genres used vary greatly, from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic eras. Production values are sometimes minimal, but can involve elaborate venues and costumes. LARPs range in size from small private events lasting a few hours to large public events with thousands of players lasting for days.

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(Termariel (top Left) and two other “Wild Elves”. Bottom photo is Termariel and a Ratkin. All photos are from the Nov 2011 Event, except for the slide show which is April 2012. Photos are Copyright of Wyvren Rising, The Players, and I)

I didn’t know what to expect, the Wikipedia article only gave a general overview of what COULD happen. Termariel told me it would be like when I cosplayed in character or acted/performed at Ren Faires, except with more fantasy & fighting. Her character doesn’t fight much, but is heavy on Role Play- getting drunk at the tavern, telling stories by the firelight, playing a song on her flute to cheer up the town folk.

She said it was somewhat like D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). I’ve never played D&D before, but I’m guessing it’s not like 8bit D&D. ^_^

I won’t lie, I was a bit worried how this whole thing would go. I was really stepping out of my comfort zone, but I knew it would make Termariel happy; so I went all in. Actually, what really scared me most though, was how I would react to the woods with all of my allergies. I had a pretty rough summer when I went camping, and I wasn’t sure about how it would be in the fall.

Termariel suggested I be a Reptilian-Human race as they are more middle eastern & East Asian influenced, as well as I had an excuse to cover myself head to toe in reptile print cloth (They suggest green face/body paint, but I would break out if I wore it). The species/races they also have include humans, Human-Birds, Orcs, (two types of) Elves, Dwarves, and primitive humans as playable character races.

(One Female Dwarf, and a HUNGRY Barbarian)

Termariel invited me to Wyvren Rising,  I’m not sure what the term/type of LARP it is (I know it’s not a “war LARP”, but it does have combat. I heard it called a “Boffer LARP” before). I found out in the world of LARP, there are tons of classification with intricate systems! Yeesh! It’s much more popular in Europe, but is gaining in popularity in the States!

Before I went, I spent a couple hours for a couple days reading rules for my “trade/skill path” (you could be Rouge, Cleric, Fighter, Mage, or Craftsmen), what happens when you “die” or “faint”, armor evaluation, etc etc etc. I won’t lie, that part was very fun. It reminded me of preparing to schedule for high school and college classes seeing what classes I could take to fill up the time slots perfectly.

(Traditional “Healing” Cleric (Left), “Fighting” Cleric (Right))

When I actually got there, I was not prepared for how interesting and complex the fighting world Wyvren has: all of the spells, prayers, & skills on top of knowing what to “swing for” (how much damage you can hit someone with, depends on the weapon type). I had spent more time on the RPing part, since it was Termariel forte. Luckily the older characters and staff were SUPER friendly and patient with me- even though I had to stop and ask questions “Out of Game” (OoG) all the time.

After the first event I attended I noticed very few people took photos, and uploaded them to the website. I thought, “I have a nice camera… I want to practice taking photos…

These people have cool costumes… They seem patient enough…” and -poof!- I found out Termariel was actually in charge of the flickr page (Thought it just got downgraded a few days ago, and they’re looking into upgrading or moving to photo bucket).

The next event I got to attend (mid-November, season finale) I dragged many people out to get their photos taken. I was super happy the way they turned out ^_^ The photos you see above are all from the Nov 2011 event!  I even had some chosen to be on Wyvern Rising’s Front Page 😀 huzzah!

Those photos gave me the courage to take my camera again to this past event; In early April I went for my 3rd time! It was fun to see all the friends I had made 6 months prior. I still ask a ton of questions, but I have started to get the understanding of how the world of Wyvern Rising works and how my character works. It was nice to meet new characters, and take new photos!

Sadly, since I didn’t want to seem like a “chicken” and step “Out of Game” (OoG) every time a fight happened, I got just a few “action shots”. I did get some cool poses. Below is a sneak peak of the photos I took, I have about 450 photos to go through (I never said I wasn’t trigger happy); but here are my “TOP 20 of APRIL 2012” (or at least some that caught my eye).

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Cheers,

Ayla

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EGGS! GET YOUR EGGS HERE! R2-D2?

12 Apr

Star Wars Eggs? Yes Please.

My cousin from Australia/Hong Kong is studying abroad at my mum & father’s house. I went home for the weekend to see her, Merika, and the rents (slang for parent).

I ended up doing the stereotypical things when most “children” go home: had my dad look at my car with me, went shopping for a spring dress with my mum, helped my younger cousing study for the SATs and ACTs (mmm, math)… and went to Jo-ann’s with Merika to buy some cloth & flowers for the upcoming Penn State Belly Dance Club’s Hafla.

The best part though, was buying all the materials to dye eggs; a fun activity “meant for my younger cousin” (really Merika and me). Sadly, by the time we finished all the errands Saturday night, we were too tired to make the eggs! Haha! But I did end up making this one instead on Friday (a bit of Saturday).

Photo Credits Here

In high school my friend Angie showed us seed bead eggs. They were so pretty, my other two friends Booboo, Lolo, decided to hop on the train. Booboo’s mom, Lisa, was excited that her daughter & friends were about to take on a tedious craft- meaning no more running around screaming. I think she actually drove us to the store, and paid for some of the materials! Haha! It’s actually quite simple to make, all you need is:

*A hollow Egg

*Glue

*Paper plate

*Seed beads

*Tooth pick

*Time

First, you need a hallow egg. You can either make two small holes on each end and blow out the yoke, or you can use a syringe to hollow it out. You can buy one on Amazon for 6$- well worth it (I’d pay 25$ for this little tool, it’s so useful in making a single egg or dozens!).

Next, you can either look at a photo of the design you want, OR you can lightly sketch in pencil on the egg.

Afterwards, you put some glue on a paper plate. You then “paint” with the tooth pick a very light layer of glue on one end of the egg. You then can pick up some beads with the same tooth pick, and place them on top. Make sure they lay flat, ie that you can see all of the centers/holes of the beads.

TIP: You will want to make a “honey comb” pattern with the beads as this fills in the blanks best. This might skew lines a bit.

TIP: You will want to start on an end of the egg, as this will cause the whole chunk of beads to stop shifting as much.

Then, you just keep beading away! I like to pick up multiple beads at once with my tooth pick, put them on the egg, and then push them around into place. The glue dries clear, so why not? (other than you might add more glue than needed?). I used this technique and made my egg in prolly ½ the time Angie and Lolo did.

Booboo on the other hand used a different technique after a few hours- she just dumped a whole bunch of glue and beads into a bowl and rolled the egg around. Haha, done. She then made ballon/string/glue baskets with Merika- that was a hot mess.

The R2-D2 is the 3rd egg I have done (one was a PSU paw print, the other was a set of crosses). It took me about 6-8 hours(?), I’m sure with a simpler design I could get it down to less. My first egg, the paw print, I think took me 2-3 days since I was putting one bead on at a time for most of the time. It was also a simpler design.

The other eggs I made did look “more filled in” as we used “expensive” Japanese seed beads from a Hobby Lobby, they were all even in size. The ones that I used for R2-D2 were from walmart, and the sizes varied (why some shapes are skewed).

TIP: So instead of buying the $1.50 beads, go for the $3.00 beads and you’ll prolly like the look better- unless it’s just the backside anyways!

I was hopping of making a Totoro, the Triforce, Companion Cube, DOMO 😀 The list is endless.

Thanks for Reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

P.S. Like Cute things? Check out THE EGG SONG. mmmmm, hot springs eggs! Just like Japan?

English version of the Original Korean Site: http://www.iloveegg.com/eng_index.htm

WDC Highlights: The Cherry Blossoms Festival & Art Of Video Games Exhibit

7 Apr

MMMMMM… Cherry Blossom & Video Games

Irish-Domo likes Cherry Blossoms too

                This past weekend we had a little “Antipode” meeting in DC for the 100 year anniversary of the Cherry Blossoms & to see the new “Art of Video Games” exhibit in the American Art Museum Smithsonian.

Some friends, Merika Lo, Reni aka Cooking Mama 1, and I met up for Dim-sum Saturday morning at the 7 corners intersection. Next we hoped on the subway to downtown for the blooms first, but sadly “the peak” was a little less than 2 weeks ago- and it rained since then. There were a few here and there, but we did see tons of tourists next to the bright pink & white dog wood trees taking photos. (hehehehe) A few years ago when Termariel and I went to Japan, we did get to see some starting to bloom in Kyoto and Tokyo.

Termariel in Tokyo (left) and Kyoto (right)

Japan can still be super chilly in mid-March. Surprisingly in Akihabira (Tokyo) they were more in bloom than at Nijō Castle (二条城, Nijō-jō). One, if not the, favorite animal of  Termariel  is the elephant, and she was ESTATIC to see this guy. If I get to go back to Japan, I hope to go around the time of the Cherry Blossoms blooms again. I heard, if you plan it right, you can start in the south, and slowly work your way North to hit all the “peak days”. I’d love to photograph the blooms, as well as Cosplay in the blooms- Including Kimonos, Anime Costumes, Video Game Costumes, and maybe even a Sakura Belly Dance Costume. The gardens Yes, Ayla DID have blue hair ^_^                                         & cities in Japan all very picturesque.


We wanted to wear our Kimonos this past weekend, but the weather called for rain & we also were given heads up about the blooms being gone.

We did see many girls wearing fake sakura/cherry blossoms & pins. Turns out we go the last 3 pins from the ranger station- they had over 74,000 !_! Merika did find this little guy though 

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The American Art Museum/Smithsonian in Chinatown is now holding the “The Art of Video Game” Exhibit. It’s an interesting take how the “art” is not just the game but also the story & interaction the player creates with the game.

It was SUPER busy there (it opened mid-March), but it’s running all the way to September (I’m going to go back). 😀 They had times lines displaying games from each era and how the games & concepts have evolved through out the years.

If you want to be part of the exhibit or support the museum, you can donate 10$ (or more) and get your name placed on their “Extra Credit!” list.

Of course I had to represent as soon as I heard about it last year.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

Belly Dance Super Stars: Club Bellydance in Albany!

30 Mar

Club Belly Dance in Albany, with the Belly Dance Super Stars!

(Habibia & some of The Belly Dance Super Stars)

This past Saturday Habibia hosted the Belly Dance Super Stars for their “Club Belly Dance” performance. It featured Sabah, Moria, Stefanya, Sabrina, Lauren… and surprise guest Petite Jamilla as well as a slew of local troupes. I was a bit sad that they didn’t have time for another dancer (myself-hahahaha) to join in, but I won’t lie- it was a VERY full first half show. I think the local dancers took about 1.5 hours, while the “pros” only had a 45min spot. Besides, many of the troupes had excellent dancers I would have missed out on! It was nice to have a “look” at all of the Albany/Saratoga local dancers, and take a peek at who would be best to take workshops or lessons from (or what troupe to try to join, hehehe).

Interestingly enough, I found out there is a local Romani Dancer (well local as in her and her teacher are an hour north), and a very cool hip-hop-tribal-fusion group (Nataraja), as well as Tempeststarii Tribal that I’ve heard of before. I also met a lovely girl (Bug Eye Photography) who showed me some trick for photography- and a lovely crew of beginners. I told them about Rakkasah East 🙂 I left my information with Habibia, hopefully she will give me heads up of the next local hafla; Maybe then I can get my feet wet and show them my stuff 😉 (Good or bad, hahahahaha!)

I was surprise most of the cabaret dancers from BDSS were doing more Baladi Style dance for their solos, but I was happy Lauren danced to Fakerni (Hafia Wehebe, makes my heart jump… This song was the first Lebanese piece I ever danced to <3)! They also danced to Adir Adirim in a playful style of Cabaret Vs Tribal Fusion “battle”, of course with Romani moves (yum!).

The most interesting piece, to me, was “A On A Igra” which I personally thought had a modern Egyptian and Spanish flare to it. Why was it so interesting? I like those styles MUCH less than say Turkish Oryantal, Folkloric Egyptian, American Cabaret, or Tribal Fusion! I loved every minuet of it.

Watching these inspiring, crisp, and clean performances makes me what to advance my dance to the next level! I got a fire lit under my bum, and I will practice practice practice so I can make my dance look that good!

Poor Sabah suffered from a mild allergy attack, but luckily my keychain Zyrtec container was able to help her out. I took one too, that room was full or perfume! I never understood why women dump the stuff on them, I don’t think anyone can smell you dance from the stage! haha! ^_~ Belly Dancers Bonding over Meds? Haha, I’m just pleased she’s down to earth enough to ask me my name and to thank me formally for the meds!

Habibia (Top Left),  Sabah and I (Above)

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

Firefly Bellydance: Kaylee Costume sans Belt

22 Mar

As I mentioned in the last post Katie Montella, a fellow dancer and friend, took some AMAZING PHOTOS this past weekend! Sadly, my Lappy was not happy this past weekend and I wasn’t able to get many of the photos. 😦 Through, Katie then promised I could get them at a latter date- and she’d color balance them for me! (what ever that means! Huzzah/ I should really learn more about photography since it’s such a cool hobby!) Hopefully I’ll be able to commission Darling Stewie to make a banner and some cute backgrounds for me ^_^ Yea! Her work & style is so SHINY! and cute, and she’s super nice in person 😀

My Kaylee Coverall Costume against a regular Grey wall (Note how I distinguish “coveralls” in this one, since I have her “cake” dress too! hahahahahahaha!)

(unfinished) Kaylee Belly Dance Costume, taken by Katie Montella in awesome lighting and background!


I bought THE teddy bear patch, some hearts and flower patches, some Chinese Characters patches (that match her “Kanji”/Chinese Characters), the Firefly/serenity logo patch, and some shiny sequin Strawberries. I’m debating on putting the patches directly on the pants, or if I should make a belt: like a tool/utility belt, with patches, and add some Yarn Tassels or Fringe. I don’t know, but it’s not SHINY! enough (yet)! Any suggestions?

Oh on another note, one of the dancers at the photo shoot said “Oooo… I could see you as a river”. This was at the time I had my long hair flipped every where… BWAHAHAHA! Reference of me in any likeness to Summer Glau? I’ll still take it! 😀

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Ayla

Weak Weekend? Broken Lappy, Saidi Cane, & Photos

22 Mar

Oh noes! So this past weekend my Lappy’s Power Jack broke on me, and sadly I could not post 😦 But today, through the wonders of Amazon, I received a new USB/WIFI/PowerJack/”Daughter Board”! Huzzah! I’ve never ripped apart a laptop (just standard towers), but luckily youtube and google has wonderful photo instructions. It was so SUPER EASY, I’m surprised the manufacture wanted to charge me 358$ vs the 1hour & 57$ I spent! I know they have to run a business, but sheesh!

—————– SUBJECT CHANGE —————–

So what happened this past weekend?  Antipode had their main practice before The Penn State Belly Dance Club’s Hafla (sponsored byPennState’s Late Night). Even though it’s a month away, we want to make sure everything works out! We will perform the same pieces (and more) at Rakkasah Spring Caravan, 2 weeks later. Hint for the pieces: I recently bought a Levi Stick/ Flow wand from Flowtoys. Check out this cool vid:

I hope to be able to dance with it as a Saidi Cane Dance (Raks Assaya), but let’s see how much practice I can get in before the performance… and how well it can be seen from stage.

So what is Saidi? Well it’s pronounced Sah-EE-dee, and can be spelled  Sa’idi, Saiidi, Sayyidi, and Saeedi.

The Saidi dance is a folkloric dance from the Sa’id/Said region, or Southren Egypt. (aka Upper Egypt, since it’s further up on the Nile). I really enjoy this dance since it’s bouncy, sassy, energetic, playful, earthy… and interestingly enough, it can be performed by both men and women! The men tend to have more of a martial arts feel, while the women is more light & flirty (almost making fun of the men) & their canes have a crook. For females, Saidi dancing with a cane is called: Raks Assaya, Raks Al Assaya, or Rakset Assaya. (Raks = Dance, Assaya= cane/stick)

Here is Karim Nagi performing Tahtib (Male Saidi Dance)- the 2 min mark is where it feels more martial arts like. At 3 mins he uses 2!

Here is Aziza Performing Saidi (Female, but w/o cane). She’s amazing!

I wanted to take this idea to “ Belly Dance Nationals Competition”, but the website made it sound like there will NOT be the standard competition this year. 😦 Nationals and Belly Dancer of the Universe are the only two competitions I know of that have a prop-centric category- “Proptastic”. In 2009 Valentina won for hooping- that video IS CRAZY! Oh well, I will still make it rock out on video, at Rak, or maybe a competition at a later time. ^_^ I bet there are more out there >_>

Coincidently enough I taught (via youtube) another Saidi Cane Piece to Hakim’s popular song Haboussou. If you don’t know Hakim… he’s an EXTREMELY popular folkloric Egyptian male singer. You know how Justin Timberlake had every song released as a #1 hit? Well  that’s Hakim’s status but even more (I think he has 11 albums, or more!). He’s more of a “man of the people” type singer- lot’s of love songs. It’s also who you will probably hear blasted from every speaker on every corner in Cairo. 😀 No qualms there.

Here are some of my gals and I dancing to Haboussou at their Hafla in 2010. My sis made all those Dresses!

Anyways, I got to clean Haboussou this past weekend, but sadly didn’t get to clean a beginner song I choreographed: “Zombie Nation”- a “Zombelly”-stylized dance (No I am not witty enough to come up with “Zombelly” myself). Nor did I get my cues for Adele’s “Set fire to the Rain” (I was asked to perform Double Veil). ^_^;;

Whoops.

What did we do instead? PHOTOS of course!

I don’t have a huge amount of professional photos of myself- let alone Antipode. Katie (Katie Montella), a fellow dancer and friend, took some photos preparing for the Penn State Hafla. She lent her services for some awesome group shots of Antipode. I had a hard time trying to get them, so I will wait patiently (or crying) till the next time I see her. I did however get 2 shots of myself in my Kaylee Cosplay, and my (not finished) Kaylee Belly Dance Cosplay. More on that in the next post!

Photo Taken By Katie Montella (at InterventionCon Sept 2011)

Yes this weekend was “weak” and full or “1st world problems”- haha! I had fun!

Thanks for your reading & your time!

Cheers,

Ayla

Kanzashi & Dice Jewelry

13 Mar

Disclaimer: Taken from iPhone…

According to Wiki: “Kanzashi (簪) are hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. Some believe they may also have been used for defence in an emergency.

In the English-speaking world, the term “kanzashi” is sometimes applied to the folded cloth flowers that traditionally adorned tsumami kanzashi, or to the technique used to make those flowers.”

I actually found out about them at Otakon a few years ago in their artist ally (by another Penn State Alumni)- ever since I always wanted to make a 3-D cherry blossom belly dance costume.

With a deep bright pink (more like a fuchsia) base color, paring a brown chiffon underskirt would pop. I’d have a matching brown “Branch” running across one of the cups, along my stomach, and to my hips to create the belt; I think it could be made (without looking campy). They would have to be small, but white and lighter pink Kanzashi could be placed all along the costume (with crystals & gems as the center pieces!). Bhuz.com had an interesting discussion about Silk Flowers on Belly dance costumes- but I like Kanzashi more!

I thought about having the famous Turkish Costume Maker, Bella, make me one, but that would run- oh about 1000-1500 USD. O_O

This past weekend Ty-Ty & I decided to try an experiment, with using Cut-Out-And-Keep Tutorial

Her’s looks super nice… I accidentally made some of mine backwards… eh. So I will have to make more before I post my creations. >_< Patience is what I need to learn.  ^_^;;

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Also on a cool note, Sam has decided to try experimenting with Chain Mail and die/dice Jewelry Tyler & I wanted him to be crafty with us. Unless it involved some power tools, Sam wasn’t really biting. I mentioned I had a bunch of Dice (at home) and that I wanted to make a huge necklace to go with it- I bought the Costume inCairo2 years ago, with it already having D8’s on it. I needed to add in D20’s, D4’s, etc to make it complete! He had some extra dice lying around, and after a trip to Michaels, Home Depot, and the Pizza Parlor he came up with the earrings in a few mins.

When I got home from Connecticut he sent me a photo of his 1st necklace.


This is Sam’s first necklace that he made… AND DIDN’T COPY ANY ONE! O_O Just looked at standard Victorian Jewelry, but didn’t copy a single piece. Why can’t I make something that shiny!? I showed him a few techniques I picked up from Father Dunn’s when I did some website/Jewelry repair work for him- BUT HE TOOK THEM AND SPRINTED WITH IT!

I think he should open a store on ETSY- or become my personal smith. 😀 I’m sure all the LARP girls will want this.

Thanks for Reading.

Cheers,

AYLA