January 13, 2015

Cosplay, Anyone?

Spiderman, Super Mario, Darth Vader,Wolverine, Dr. Who, Jack Sparrow, and a few ninja guys. And me.  I sure didn't expect to find what I did when I agreed to go at the last minute to this cosplay event.

cosplay (costume + play) -- dressing up like a specific character and role playing a short skit or dance related to that character; most commonly selected from pop culture personalities, anime, comic books, cartoons, movies, video games, or television.
No, this isn't REALLY the mythbusters guy, but
pretty close, huh? For the record, I went dressed as
Arrow, the greenish arrow-wielding hero of comics
and a new TV series, but I couldn't handle the
over-100 and high-humidity temperatures,
so no more costume. 
I didn't expect to meet so many young people who are involved in this subculture, to have so many opportunities to explain why we live in Paraguay, and to invite all these new friends to The Bridge.  I expected a few people to show up on this terribly hot day in the middle of summer, at the event being hosted a few blocks from our apartment. Walking in the door, I realized I'd grossly underestimated how many people love this hobby. I'm betting you already know folks who do it, they just haven't told you yet. ;)

At this particular event, not everyone came dressed up. Many were curious fans or have some sort of business connected to these characters.  There were booths for karaoke, for playing video game tournaments, for admiring or buying handmade statues of the characters or their props (think Thor's hammer), for picking up a sticker or t-shirt of your favorite cartoon show.  And then in the evening, various cosplayers took to the stage for role playing. Some acted out a scene from a show or movie, some sang a song, and some just jumped around on stage fighting "bad guys". The point is for these "cosplayers" to make a costume at home from basic things you'd find around the house.  A 2-liter bottle spray-painted and decorated to look like an oxygen tank is valued much more than a store-bought prop.  So these kids got to really show off their creativity, not only in fabricating their outfits, but in staging a skit to demonstrate who they were representing.

Now those of you who know me know that I'm not very creative, but I greatly value creativity.  I think it's one of those things we've somehow stifled over the years in the Christian community, but I fully support redeeming the arts and chipping away at the misconception that only those who draw pictures of Jesus on the cross or coming back in the clouds are valid artists. I don't go with the thought that only those who sing praise and worship are using their talents for the Lord, and all others are wasting what they've been given. I think God has given us some crazy-cool abilities and we haven't begun to tap into all the ways they can bring Him glory.

So, yeah, off my soapbox and back to my story. One of the folks I met is a young man who just opened a comics store here in town. Of course, I invited him to visit us, and he showed up a few days later. We ended up joining forces with him to have a friendly trivia day at The Bridge.  The pictures below give you some idea of the fun we had that day, when 50 teens and young adults showed up, many of them for the first time.

trivia contest with cool prizes

new friends who learned what The Bridge is all about

a little time in between games for some music by one of our "regulars" at The Bridge, Jake

camp and youth-group fave "Clang That Thang"

Since the event, we've gained a whole new group of young people that come quite regularly to The Bridge. These are exactly the kids we've been looking for and feeling called towards. They don't fit into the little boxes society tries to put them in, have more questions than answers, and don't have it totally together yet--what a privilege to get to be part of their lives at this stage of their "figuring it out," all because of the fun of cosplay. 

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