Sorry this Journal entry is so long... XD A lot happened over the pond!
Day 2 (Saturday):
We started off our day by going to Portobello Road, famous for it's weekend market and many antique stores. Judy arrived at our hotel to drop off her stuff around 11am and we bundled up against the cold (I was prepared this time, haHA!) and set off via the tube (Underground train system)!
To go off on a tangent - It truly is the only way to get around all of London, and is an experience in it's own right. I do love how you can name a local sight and it's within 5 min walking distance from a tube station. Meeting anyone in the city only requires a station name and a time, and just based on the universal map you can find your way there guaranteed.
My favorite part about taking the Underground is the people watching. You're not supposed to make eye contact with anyone lol, but it is fun to sneak glances at the many incredibly diverse people traveling together. Everyone is dressed fashionably and you overhear conversations in many different languages. I of course recognized the Germans and Chinese the most. It seems like every girl in London wears tights or leggings and boots, and gosh I just adore all the coats, hats and scarves. They have some NICE coats there, and why not, when most of the year's weather forces you to wear coats, you better have a collection of them.
Fashion-wise, this trip definitely inspired me to accessorize more. I came home with about 6 - 7 pairs of tights and 2 scarves lol.
Anyway, Portobello Road pics!
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful neighborhood.
Little streets with little sidewalks...
...with little cars parked around dainty lovely little houses and flat buildings. This one should belong to Judy!
Then the SEA of people overwhelmed us.
We had no idea that Portobello Market on a Saturday is where the entire tourist population seems to be flocking to. There were lines to walk into any of the antique stores. You were shoulder to shoulder walking down the road and frequently bumped into people. The stores had some very nice items and we managed to shop a little (I bought antique buttons!) but overall it was too crowded and crazy to truly enjoy the market.
Here's me and Judy at the Market, in a rare moment where people are not walking in front of your camera.
Then it was time to make our way to Piccadilly Circus, for we were meeting Emily, Jess (Grand Cosplay Ball organizers) and a number of UK cosplayers for lunch. It was really great to see some of them again, from last year and from Anime Expo, and we met some new friends as well. Delicious food was had at 16MM, Jess' favorite restaurant. Everyone was very excited about the Ball and we chatted about our performances and costume plans and such.
Then it was time to head to Tokyo Toys, the local anime store, and get ready for mine and Giorgia's signing. Judy and I made a detour to H & M (which is so much cooler than the US stores) to find some tights and a cute blazer for her outfit on Sunday, and I still arrived and changed into costume on time. Judy and I are totally on the same (breakneck) speed when traveling and shopping. I love it!
The signing was insanely crowded, which means success yay! Sadly the space inside the store was tiny and they even removed the check out counter to make room, so Giorgia and I were signing on bar chairs lol. She wore Kasumi and I was cosplaying Lei Fang in honor of Ball sponsors Koei/Tecmo! I brought some postcards and 8x12 prints and was surprised at how many people liked them. It was really sweet of everyone to stand in line and bear with the crowdedness. Sadly, somehow the stack of the Ball flyers with Giorgia's and my image was misplaced, but we took photos with people and the store printed out the photos for our signatures.
*I haven't found photos from the signing yet and I forgot my camera, derp.*
After the signing we went back to the hotel with Judy and Kelly in tow. The Ball asked me to bring Carmilla and reprise the performance Anna and I did at NYAF. Since Anna could not make it this year over the pond (sadness) they suggested asking a local UK cosplayer to be my bite victim and Kelly agreed to it! I thank her very much for making a costume on such short notice and practicing with me on the night before showtime. We styled Kelly's wig and listened to the music for a while, then took over the hotel's meeting room for a couple of hours. I forgot when we staggered off to bed lol.
Day 3 (Sunday):
Our big day! I got up way too early to put on the white face makeup for Carmilla. I thought it would be smart to do the face makeup in a well lit and warm hotel room. Down part of this decision being that I looked zombiefied by 11am already.
Naturally I had to hunt for breakfast.
We got to the venue around noon, the lovely Clapham Grand.
This is such a typical London neighborhood
It started drizzling and we made it inside just before it started truly raining (which lasted till late into the night). I continued to do Carmilla makeup and slowly got into the costume (after doing this just 7 days beforehand at Anime USA WAT). Why get into an elaborate costume so early when the event wasn't till 7pm? I was part of a larger group performance which went on after the Vampire Hunter D skit, so I would have to be ready in Carmilla when doors opened. Rehearsals were going through out the day and the only time I had to get dressed uninterruptedly was at the start of the day. So Judy and I took advantage of the wait time and did some photos inside the gorgeous venue.
See the photos she has taken in London and of the Ball here!
With some tribulations in the tech department, we eventually all manage to do run-throughs of our performances before opening the doors.
Here is me practicing my OTHER performance...
...while wearing Carmilla lol.
And here's our group rehearsing!
One of the stage:
I don't remember much of the VHD skit besides the fact that the stage was INSANELY small due to the band's equipment. Again, thank you Kelly for adjusting to such a situation and powering through the 2min+ with me. I found a couple of photos by DeadRingers on MySpace, thank you! I look super mean in this pic, while Kelly is doing an evasive maneuver. And in this pic I seem to want to eat the audience.
Johnny Lazer asked me a couple of questions after we got through with the skit, and I sounded retarded with the vampire teeth on. Also wish Kelly would have stayed on stage with me instead of running off! XD
I changed after that, into Mulan! For the huge Disney group performance Emily organized. It worked out perfectly that I could have white makeup and red lips for Carmilla AND Mulan in one night. Hohohoho. I hung out for a bit at my merchandise table and foolishly talked too much with friends over loud music, and realized that if I didn't stop yacking away, I'd blow my voice.
The Disney group performance was such a great idea - as we all dressed up as the characters and sung the songs in different languages. So "Be our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast was in French, I sung "Reflection" in Chinese, Katja as Sleeping Beauty sung in German etc. There were 7 songs in 7 languages total. At the end we came out and sung "Under the Sea" in the multitude of languages, and we got the bubble machine going!!! I loved the bubbles.
You can see a video of my part here.Definitely should have saved my voice more that night, and I was such a n00b and forgot that I had gum in my mouth so I totally sang the song with gum O_O;. You can see the other performances linked from that video, and "Under the Sea" is here. My mic totally didn't work .
After doing both stage performances, I was free to enjoy the evening! Danced quite a bit with Judy, Lex, Kelly, Jess and Nick and a few others. UK cosplay folk go bonkers for Bon Jovi and "Living on a Prayer" lol. We went bonkers whenever Lady Gaga came on. I probably broke the dress code by wearing jeans and furry boots under my Mulan dress but it sure was comfortable and I could dance like mad. Amber saved Brian's night by sitting at the merch table for him - we owe you so much, Amber!!! You were the best!
Mark and Pat took some great shots during the night!
With Jess as Sheryl <3
Drunken friends pic:
Have some pics of us dancing like maniacs (to Gaga no less):
Pat's shots of me as Mulan
With Emily as sexy Ariel!
And Brian managed to grab some pics as well:
With Hideki and Sam
A very happy Judy and Lex (in a gorgeous Rose Bride costume!)
With a incredibly well put together Captain Jack Sparrow and wench!
A group shot of us toward the end of the night, awww
Much too soon it was the Last Dance, which Choco beautifully sang, and then a whirlwind of packing and hunger and trying to get a cab in the rain back to the hotel. We all just grabbed some sandwiches and salads at the gas station by the hotel, wolfed them down and went to bed by 3am.