Jetsetting in June.

Dear Summer,

I love you.

Let me count the ways.

1. Seeing Macbeth in New York with my fellow Rivers and lovely friend Jennifer.
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It was my first time in the concrete jungle, so I was glad to be with friends, to wander through the city and see the gorgeous architecture.

Also, Alex Kingston and Sir Kenneth Branagh performing the Bard’s glorious words 10 feet from our faces. (NO BIG DEAL.) We were divided into clans and walked the moors, were rained on and watched the actors unravel into madness. It was stunning. I don’t think I’ll ever see anything more amazing. That’s not an overstatement. It’s just the truth. Watching Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth floating across an altar, lighting candles in silence and praying to the gods. Seeing Branagh reach out into the dark as if to clutch a dagger. Richard Coyle making me sob when he gasped, “All my pretty ones?” The witches crawling up Stonehenge-esque rocks. Scottish warriors beating the boards and carrying their dead. It was extrodinary.

2. Geeks in New York.
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Cat set up a welcome party for us at The Way Station, and it was just the best. I drank too many Christopher Walken Deads and Stormageddons. Brooklyn is beautiful. Thank you to all that joined us!

3. Central Park.
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We parked at the Dakota and walked by the door where John Lennon was shot. One crosswalk later, we were in Starberry Fields, and people were singing Beatles songs and I was crying behind my sunglasses because there will always be things I will never understand about this terrifying world. Later, we took up a shady spot on the rocks and Cat taught me how to play Amanda Palmer’s Ukelele Anthem and the following verses just filled my whole heart:

Imagine there’s no music, imagine there are no songs
Imagine that John Lennon wasn’t shot in front of his apartment
Now imagine if John Lennon had composed “imagine” for the ukulele
Maybe people would have truly got the message

You may think my approach is simple-minded and naïve
Like if you want to change the world then why not quit and feed the hungry
But people for millennia have needed music to survive
And that is why I promised John that I will not feel guilty

Jennifer also took some amazing shots of us in the park, which you can see here.

My favorite?
“What kind of time do you call this?”
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So long, New York. Thank you for friends that serve you coffee in Twin Peaks cups and buy you Blue Velvet cake. Thank you for your neon and stone. I’ll be back again.
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4. HeroesCon! The Rivers parted ways, on their way to Philly Con. Jennifer and I flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, to meet our husbands. So much art. So many comics. My brain couldn’t take it. Thankfully, I did get to meet Terry Moore, creator of my favorite comic, Strangers in Paradise, and not be utterly tongue tied.
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I was too exhausted to cosplay, but thankfully Her Universe has the cutest Doctor Who dresses on the face of the planet. I was comfortable and geek chic.
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So, thank you, Summer. I love you. To the moon and back.

Love,
Raquel

221B + Gaga + TimeGate

The past month has been a blur of tea, glitter, confetti, no sleep, champange, dancing, all the sleep, and laughter. Pictures always speak louder than words, so:

221BCon #cluingforlooks

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Lady Gaga in Atlanta #pawsup

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TimeGate #fitzfaced #titanicon

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I wore a lot of different faces at TimeGate…I have to say they’re all my favorite.

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Geek Outfit of the Week: Sherlocked

There’s nothing like a two-year hiatus to bring Sherlockians out of their mourning for Sherlock’s tragic and mind blowing fall from St. Bart’s Hospital and out to the pub. Such was the case with PBS’s special screening of The Empty Hearse. A $10 ticket got you tea sandwiches and excellent pub quiz and drinks named after Sir Conan Doyle’s characters. I had a Watson — made with gin and nutmeg — after a nice glass of scotch. I’m a classy broad.

Anyway, me and the Mr. dressed up for the occasion, rustling up bits and bobs we wore to last year’s 221B Con. My outfit is actually inspired by the Series 2 promo shots of Irene Adler. She never wore this costume onscreen, but I love the retro black dress and choker combo.

Our pub quiz team – Watsonstache — came in second place. I nabbed some Post-Its and me and the Mr. listened to a fine Liberace cassette on the ride home.

#SherlockLives

[Dress: Vintage / Cameo necklace: Christmas gift from a friend, made by GeekCameosEtc / Sherlock coat: Custom made / Moriarty crown: Ritischka Studio]

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Geek Outfit of the Week: Fire Up the Quattro

It’s a new year, which means new geek-inspired outfits, and new convention adventures.

This week, my husband and I traveled back to 1983. Why?

Well, when your friends have a Quattro–even if it isn’t like the one the Guv drives in Ashes to Ashes–you dress appropriately. While I actually have cosplayed Series 3 Alex Drake, I thought putting together an geek-inspired outfit was in order. Since our Guv and Shaz aren’t local, I thought I’d wear some cowboy boots for that extra special Guv touch. The husband wore his vintage Ray Carling jacket and shades.

[Dress: Old Navy / Jacket: Rag & Bone / Necklace: Vintage / Alex Drake Pin: Specially made by a friend / Tights: Target]

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I think the saddest thing about Ashes to Ashes is no one knows about it stateside. Some people have seen Life on Mars, thanks to John Simm’s performance as the Master in Doctor Who. And while Ashes to Ashes is a direct sequel to Life on Mars, it truly feels like its own thing, and it’s a world I love to get lost in — from the awesome music, to the period clothing, to the set design [THE CEILING, THE RED PHONE], it’s just an 80s dream.  It’s a television show worth watching, especially if you love time travel — but with a twist. [If you do know about it, you are 2000 percent cooler automatically.]

Like Alex Drake, I’ll always be dreaming of the stars, and the weather vane, always searching for an answer.

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2013: The Year of The Raquel on the Run

 “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.”

“No, but I always took you where you needed to go.”  – The Doctor’s Wife, Neil Gaiman

As the end of the year approaches, I’m truly grateful for all the adventures I’ve had this year and all the people who I’ve met along the way.

+ Traveling. This year I traveled the east coast from West Virginia to Florida. Not all at once, of course, but that’s the scope of mileage I’ve put in this year.  I attended five fan conventions this year, multiple concerts, book signings, and hit the road to hang out with Whovians far and wide. From universities to Hogwarts, I’ve seen it all this year.

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+ Becoming a source. At my day job, I’m a regular Girl Friday, interviewing contacts, writing copy, and managing deadlines. Cosplay is what I do for fun. 2013 was the year that I was sought out for my expertise and opinion. Dear Anyone Who Asked Me To Do Anything This Year, I am seriously honored. Thank you for asking me to be a part of your convention or projects. I was a panelist at three conventions [Con Nooga, TimeGate, Hurricane Who],  was honored to be a part of Night at the Museum for the third year in a row, started blogging for Earth Station One, and joined the the awesome Whovians over at The Oncoming Storm podcast.

Myself and the husband were also featured in a Life feature over at our local paper. I was happy to set the record straight on what cosplay is — I’m side-eyeing you, Heroes of Cosplay.

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Other awesome spots I popped up this year included being a Fangirl of the Day over at Her Universe’s blog, and looking like the cat’s meow with a colleague over at The Great Gastby’s #GatsbyPics.

+ Saying thank you. It’s a simple gesture. But I got to tell two authors I greatly respect and who have changed my life for the better thank you this year. One was Neil Gaiman. The other was Peter S. Beagle. Both moments were beautiful and I’ll remember them as long as I live. Especially that one time I shared a link to my blog and Mr. Gaiman liked my words — instead of it being the other way round.

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+ Letting my hair do whatever it wants. I started the year with a crazy shaved undercut a la Miley Cryus [minus drama, teddy bears, and wrecking balls] and am ending the year with a shaggy bob peppered with greys and my honest-to-God natural hair color. That’s new. Silly faces remain a thing. God only knows what I’ll do with it next year.

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+ RSVP. You ladies rule my world.

0a3db882-ea37-42a9-b4bf-2b87183412b6_zpse5ca9b85+ TEAM QUATTRO. Right. Fire up the Quattro.

dc1e16b2-8098-4b22-8352-4d357b9f8772_zps1d442f43+ This guy right here. For being any and all Doctors and Sirius Black at a moment’s notice, but mainly for him being my husband.

1265109_10201809647703802_2054047061_o2014: NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE.

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Geek Outfit of the Week: Fire Walk With Me

October is my favorite time of the year. It’s before the breakdown-inducing holidays. It’s the calm before the storm, the weather is cool but not cold, and things feel beautiful but slightly creepy.

In my mind, I imagine it’s always fall in Twin Peaks. I always find myself rewatching the series or the prequel this time of year.

I discovered Twin Peaks in a sort of time warp backwards way. I read Laura Palmer’s diary first, saw the prequel, then the pilot, then the series. Somehow this is all Blockbuster’s fault.

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But that was that. I’ve been a David Lynch fan ever since. I’ve seen most everything twice, except for Inland Empire which was just too much.

My husband regularly joke that the city we live in has Twin Peaks vibes, with its safe suburbias and pockets of time-warp 1950s weirdness and the mountains.  I’d been wanting to do a Twin Peaks-inspired outfit for a while, and then one of our favorite musicians, Lance Whalen, brought his new band, The Blue Velvets to town. I knew it was time.

The outfit is simple. I’m the black/white lodge, if she was Audrey Horne dancing in the Double R diner.

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“Now it’s dark…into the night…”

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The Blue Velvets rocking out.

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Geek Outfit of the Week: On a Crusade

I have a confession to make. When I was a little girl, I had no idea Harrison Ford played Han Solo. I thought he was Indiana Jones, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the coolest thing ever.

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Thanks to HBO and VHS, I’ve watched the Indiana Jones trilogy more times than I can count, but the one that always gets me is The Last Crusade. I count it as the best for a long list of reasons including: Young Indiana, femme fatales, the grail diary, Nazis getting what for, Sean Connery as Henry Jones, and the quest for the grail itself. The three trials at the end of the film still give me chills because while cunning and intelligence are helpful, there’s a certain amount of faith that’s needed on Indiana’s part. Faith is tricky. It can’t be learned, it just has to be felt.

So many geeky activities take me out of my town, so I was delighted when a geeky opportunity presented itself downtown to see this film projected on the side of an old building, I was pretty stoked. The weather is just about to launch headfirst into fall, making it the perfect night to grab a blanket, have a beer, and hang out with friends. There was a band beforehand and free popcorn, with local food trucks serving up yummy treats.

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So in honor of fall and Indy, I pulled out my best sweater and boots.

[Distressed cross sweater: Forever21 / Jeans: Sam's Wholesale / Boots: Ecco / Necklace: JewelMint / Oversized belt: vintage/ Chunky bracelet: Gift from my aunt]

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Oh wait — that’s not the grail diary…seems my obsession with archaeologists with diaries has been festering since 1989.

“And what did you find, Dad?”

“Illumination.”

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Geek Outfit of the Week: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s A Mild-Mannered Reporter!

Like many children of the ’80s, I grew up with HBO, which meant a lot of comic book movies. I still count Batman Returns as one of the best films of all time, And Superman was always playing on a loop. Outside of Indiana Jones, Clark Kent/Superman was super swoon worthy, especially since he was Christopher Reeve in real life. (Rest in peace, kind sir.)

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I recently ordered a couple pairs of retro inspired frames from EyeBuyDirect, and when I saw the second pair, I knew they were special. They’re my Clark Kent glasses. I mean, there’s something to be said for being a mild-mannered copywriter, especially since my superhero power is making costumes. Enjoy this vintage trip back to the Daily Planet.

[Dress and loafers: vintage / Necklace: My Grandmother's / Glasses: EyeBuyDirect]

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Geek Outfit of the Week: #RiverSongDay

If you had told me five years ago today that my life would be changed for the better because of one episode of television, there’s a slight possibility I might not have believed you. However, considering how many things within the medium that is pop culture tend to rewire my brain in the best ways, there’s also the chance I’d believe you and want to know where in fact we were headed.

Five years ago today, the Doctor Who episode Silence in the Library premiered. A beautiful woman in a spacesuit walked through enormous library doors, took one look at David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and simply said “Hello Sweetie.”

I read that Steven Moffat based the concept of River Song on The Time Traveler’s Wife (excellent book, horrid film), and after Ten’s first meeting–and ultimately, River’s last–I was intrigued if she’d ever pop up again.

And then this happened:

And that was that. It was all over for me. I decided right then and there if I ever decided to grow up–what a terrible thing to do!–that I had to be River Song.

As her story unfolded and Moffat strung viewers along with who she was and what she meant to the Doctor, I fell in love with her fierceness, her ability to tackle any problem or mission with humor, grace, and intelligence, even if she has no idea what part of the timeline she’s dropped into. Even if she’s unsure of the Doctor or even herself. It makes her moments of weakness–when Ten doesn’t know her, when Eleven can’t say goodbye–that much more powerful. She’s like Breathless Mahoney meets Indiana Jones. Up for anything and absolute hell in high heels.

Is she the woman who murders or marries the Doctor? Since this is Moffat’s gig, she’s both–sort of. It’s timey wimey.

When the BBC announced today as River Song Day, I couldn’t have been happier. Her adventures with the Doctor have gotten me through a lot of bad times and helped me hang on, and allowed me to meet such wonderful souls who feel the same as me.

So, Moffat, and Alex Kingston, I salute you both. [Rumor has it Kate Winslet turned down this gig. All I can say about that is GIRL.]

And really, this person said it better:

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Today, I dusted off a few items from my costume closet and wore them in honor of the character I count as a source of inspiration and strength for me. River Song’s Zeeda dress is one of her most iconic looks. I think of it as her Han Solo outfit.

[Dress: Linen Lagenlook dress from eBay/ Sweater by Forever Woman / Belt: custom-made by Ritischka Studio / Sonic screwdriver earrings: Seafaring Steampunk / Tardis key (on vintage necklace): given to me by a late night congoer (my thanks forever) /Leggings: Target / Boots: Ecco]

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“You were expecting someone else?” : TimeGate 2013

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and TimeGate did something amazing: they brought a Doctor to the states. And not just any Doctor, the Sixth Doctor. Colorful, crazy, passionate — these are all words that could describe the sixth incarnation of the time lord, but for the actor underneath the rainbow-colored coat, Colin Baker, he was wonderful, generous, and kind. Baker is the second Doctor I’ve met (Sylvester McCoy was my first, and also wonderful and hilarious) and I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to see the people who were involved with the long-running show are as passionate about it as the fans themselves.

Speaking of passion, I spent most of my time as a panelist on the Cosworlds track, which accounts for a huge lack of pictures on my part. Friday night, on the first panel up I got to ask Steve Gostelow (a Classic Who era Cyberman) and Valerie Halverson (Stargate costume designer) what their toughest on-set challenges were and how they overcame them. I also shared my knowledge of New Who costuming, from finding alternatives to screen accurate items and getting the look just right. Case in point: this Donna Noble costume I put together for my friend Tonya. It’s not screen accurate by any means, but it’s close enough. The dress and sweater (which Tonya altered) cost under $10 dollars at Goodwill. Costuming can be inexpensive fun–it just depends on how far you want to go.

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Saturday, I showcased props I’ve made and touched on the importance of etiquette with interacting with other cosplayers and congoers alike. Doctor Who is very popular, but as a costumer, I find I’m constantly running into the same people or know of the same people, so it’s important to be respectful no matter how novice or experienced a cosplayer is. We’re all in this–and wearing silly costumes–together. Race and gender are also issues that arise and all I can say, if you love a character, cosplay him or her, and OWN IT. ENJOY IT.

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Here’s a few of my favorite photos from this weekend, showcasing all my cosplays.

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25e66178-2bc4-4493-b69d-0882076e0d7b_zps8a2bb57b179704_10201147034938897_1159921856_nSunday, my husband–who adores Colin Baker, as he considers him his Doctor–finally got to meet the man himself. “Well don’t be shy, come here,” he said, offering us a warm embrace before taking a photo with us. I think it shows on the husband’s face, just a little bit.

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Thank you Colin Baker–and thank you TimeGate for making this year so special. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for this fabulous fan convention!

And if you’d like to keep up with my upcoming cosplay projects, please Like All Back to Front!