the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

Event: Anime North 2010 (Toronto)

Started in 1997 and attracting only 800 attendees at that time, Anime North has since grown into one of the larger North American fan-run conventions for all things anime/manga-related. It now draws approximately 15,000 attendees over the course of each year’s 3-day run.

Actually, in all honesty, I hadn’t planned to go.

But as things would have it, I happened to be free and in the area during this year’s event, so I decided to drop by and roam the show.

The Dealer’s Room was crowded, hot, and uninteresting for me, so for the most part, I ended up wandering the venues (note to organizers: spreading programming across 3 non-connected locations != good idea) and snapping photos of various cosplayers and random hall-costumes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the whole Masquerade on Saturday, but I did manage to make it in time for the last few entries.

On the whole, there were a fair number of decent costumes and cosplayers, a few excellent ones, and the usual collection of total fail (which we’ll all agree to pretend we didn’t see). All things considered, I’d rate AN2010 a “B-” for its overall costuming/cosplay experience. And while I’m pretty certain I didn’t catch all the costumes and cosplaying that was going on — such is the nature of convention-crowd Brownian motion — I’m confident I saw enough of a sampling to consider my assessment generally accurate to within the standard margin of error.

The weather was undeniably stellar, and it ended up being a rather pleasant stress-free weekend (my not being tied up with work for a change certainly didn’t hurt). I caught up with a few friends I hadn’t seen in years, and made the new acquaintance of several nice folks during my many walkabouts.

I took so many photographs over the weekend that I’m just going to dump the pictures into the gallery in no particular order and with the barest of post-processing (correcting only for color, exposure, and red-eye). If you happen to be one of the people I took a photo of and would like a larger (high-resolution) copy of the picture, please feel free to drop me a note and I’d be most happy to oblige.

Lions and tigers and 15,000 anime fans…oh my.

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Event: Nuit Blanche (Paris)

In October 2007, I had the extreme good fortune of having work that brought me to Paris that coincided with the evening of Nuit Blanche.

Nuit Blanche (literally White Night or All-Nighter) is an annual all-night arts festival first launched in Paris in 2002; the concept now encompasses events and installations in over 120 cities across the world.

Somehow, Paris still manages to do it the best.

Maybe it’s the fact that the art installations take place against the historic backdrop of the city. There’s something to be said about taking part in an exhibit on a footbridge crossing the Seine, or experiencing performance art in the shadow of the Louvre. Je ne sais quois.

The pinnacle of that 2007 evening for me was the giant installation of fire and sculpture at the Jardin des Tuileries. Company Carabosse transformed the sprawling formal garden into a playground of flame, with charcoal heaters and heated benches distributed throughout the park so visitors could enjoy the spectacle despite the night-time chill.

I do regret not having had a better camera with me at the time than the craptastic one in my Motorola cell phone. But at least I managed to capture a few shots of the magnificent display.

Me likes fire.

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