The SoCal Cosplay Spring Gathering took place on May 9, 2009 at Mason Regional Park in Irvine. Scarlet Rhapsody's press coverage team (Traveling: Deb, Jared, Victoria, and Stan) were present at the event. This was the 4th spring gathering by SoCal Cosplay Gatherings. The event has a considerable turn out and remains Southern California's largest, independently run fan gathering of its kind. While other gatherings in Southern California come and go, this gathering still remains strong by the hundreds.
However, the organizers of this gathering ran into a few problems with the Mason Regional Park officials. Despite having their event on site for the past few years, the rangers advised the gathering comittee that they could not accept any donations or any registration money. Originally, there was a $10 at the door fee ($8 if you pre-paid) to cover the expenses used for the gathering. Because of this limitation, the gathering became a free event. However, if you are interested in showing your support for SoCal Cosplay Gatherings, please visit their site and find out how you can donate to help keep these events running.
Take me to the gathering on time! Though Stan had a few delays getting to the park, we were able to make it by noon. We had to stop by a Walgreens to grab some supplies: mirror, scissors, and facial wipes. For the gathering, Stan and Deb decided to Bleach it up. After a year of resisting, I finally decided to dress up like a Pokemon gijinka, Persian. Though Becky was admiring my classy cat strut, I think this would be the last time I wear a formal gown to an outdoor park.
After securing a decent parking space, I helped out Stan with his make up for Shuuhei. I saw my buddies Becky and Captain Gundam park right by us. I decided to help them take their popcorn maker over to the gathering spot.
Site #6 was the same space as last year. Unlike last year, the weather was a nice and breezy 75 degrees. I nearly passed out last year wearing Grandis from Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water. There were already long lines for spicy BBQ burgers and hot dogs. The gathering was alive and kicking once we arrived.
I ran into my Pacific Media Expo buddies Paula and Megawa (Gijinka Eevee cosplayer). I was glad to see that people were still doing Pokemon Gijinka cosplay. Though there were more cosplayer friends that did gijinka style pocket monsters, it was nice to know that I was not the only one at the gathering as a gijinka. More importantly, I ran into Jared cosplaying as Giovanni (Pokemon Fire Red variant). Because what's a Giovanni without a Persian?
The SoCal Cosplay organizers decided to Disney it up. During a group photo, I requested if they could do the Disney parade wave. Here's a clip. (Thanks for participating in the pose request!)
SoCal Cosplay Spring Gathering had a few furry attendees. Literally. As two fursuiters were passing out flyers for a furry event in Southern California, cosplayers brought their furred friends to the event. There were a few dogs - Bailey and Dexter, but the most unusual pet at the event was a Link cosplayer's pet goat.
Like any other anime event, the inevitable "anime dances" ("Hare Hare Yukai," Lucky Star opening, and "Caramelldansen") appeared out of nowhere. Of course, you had your line of Caramelldansen-ers. That's typical. However, Maguma and the /CGL crew invaded the "Caramelldansen" group later in the afternoon by counter attacking with the robot. One circle just played music and started to dance to their American top 40 music.
And then this random gathering happened on top of the hill. I honestly had no idea if it was the "Everyone Loves Maguma" gathering, /CGL gathering, Idiots of the World, or "We're in Costume, Take the Damn Picture" gathering, but a photo op is a photo op. The SoCal Cosplay Spring Gathering had a variety of people attending. Those in it for the sheer spontaneity were the best people to hang out with.
While waiting in line for food, I ran into Dakota. Though Christmas was not until several months away, Dakota had a gift perfect for any occassion. "I swear, this is not going to get old for a while," said Stan. Just what I needed before grabbing burgers as the event cooks were roasting weenies over an open fire.
After a calm lunch, I took a few more photos of cosplayers at the gathering. Jared and I also went for a nice walk to the lake.
What's cosplay without some heavy duty competition? After all, now that drama is a huge part of the cosplay community, cosplay is now labled as a contact sport. Aside from getting photo shoots, cosplayers at the gathering enjoyed playing frisbee, football, and volleyball.
There was also a video setup so people can play Rock Band. For the most part, Stan and Deb were rockin' out as shinigami.
Of course, there was the traditional group photo. As the cosplayers gathered around for the massive group shot of all the attendees, the photographers grabbed their cameras out. A few people from the group started singing "Never Gonna Give You Up" followed by "Bohemian Rhapsody." I could have gone for a few more songs off Rick Astley's Whenever You Need Somebody album.
Once the group shot broke, I took this opportunity to take individual shots of cosplayers that I have missed during the day. As the 5PM hour was approaching, a few people started to take off and go.
Jared and I also took this opportunity to take photos with fellow Gijinka Pokemon people. I did find it amusing that Dakota keeps his Sudowudo in his box (among other phallic objects).
As the day was coming to an end, it was the perfect time to take glamour shots by the lake. The 5PM hour made the area much clearer to use rocks by the lake. I took a few shots of Becky as Chie from Persona 4. She was brave enough to stand on the rock that was on the lake!
And then we had Jared as Giovanni.
And yours truly as Gijinka Persian. A few bystanders from another picnic were making a few comments about our shoot.
Luckily, we had our photographer friend Ted (Spooky Electric) take a few photos of Jared and I as Team Rocket's other famous pairing. Thanks to Stan and Deb for taking a few shots with my camera. Sometimes, getting the right angles makes all the difference.
I also took a few shots of Stan and Deb in their Bleach costumes. Originally, Stan had issues with his double scythe props. However, he brought them out for the photo shoot. Deb also had Stan's Kuroneko plushie to stand in for Yoruichi in her cat form.
And Deb was also using my cigarette holder while impersonating the Penguin from Batman.
Of course, there were the last minute antics. Stan and his buddies were doing the WRY pose from JoJo's Bizarre Adventures. Memo to Hanyaan: JoJo AIDS (tm) is alive and well in Southern California. Photographers were still running shoots around the park. The gathering was slowly coming to a close.
Jared and I left our stuff at the Anime Los Angeles camp site. They were located not very far from Site #6. It was very nice to have fresh lemonade to keep us hydrated. It's nice to have something sweet every now and then. The fruits snacks box at the SoCal Cosplay Spring Gathering table looked oh so tempting to take! Yet, Anime Los Angeles' camp site had cookies, soda, and lemonade - a little something extra for the road.
After much delaying, I gave Chaz my payment for Anime Los Angeles 2010. Chaz was also giving away gallons of lemonade. Jared and I each had our fill to take back home. After saying "bye bye"'s and "see you next event!" to friends, we hit the road to Jared's house to relax before going out to Jared's birthday dinner at Downtown Disney.
By the end of the day, we were exhausted. All of us needed a nice hot bath and a warm bed. I got home just a little bit before midnight. Though the next morning, I ended up getting "Con SARS" (aka a case of the sniffles), I was happy that I got a gallon of pink lemonade to get the vitamin C level up.
But this is not the end of the report! We still have The Infamous Quote Page: For (Im)Mature Audiences Only and SoCal Spring Gathering Final Thoughts.
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