Girl Gone Lolita

geek_girl_brunch_jamila_lolita_DSC03317

This past April was Geek Girl Brunch NYC’s annual Lolita Picnic at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens! Before I get in too deep, let me explain what Lolita Fashion is for those who think I’m talking about the Nabokov kind. Lolita is a Japanese street style and subculture that is heavily inspired by the Rococo and Victorian eras, but also has some influences from current fashion trends.

geek-girl-brunch-roshi-2-lolita

What I love most is that there are lots of Lolita sub-styles so you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for you. For more info check out the post I wrote for Geek Girl Brunch, Lolita Fashion 101.

Being a Lolita is expensive, which is probably why I only seem to get a new coord (coordinate/outfit) once a year. You not only need a dress or blouse and skirt, but a petticoat, shoes, purse and accessories. You can also level up and get a wig and circle contacts for baby doll eyes. I did not level up.

geek_girl_brunch_jamila_lolita_DSC03332-2

If you plan to wear the Chanels of the Lolita world like Angelic Pretty or Baby the Stars Shine Bright, dresses can cost you anywhere from $140-$500. Since I’m not ‘bout that “brand” life I’ve only worn “off-brand” clothing, which is still cute af and much more affordable. I suggest Etsy, Bodyline and My Lolita Dress for some amazing off-brand Lolita fashion.

With 14 or so Lolita sub-styles it was tough to figure out which one best represented me. I love how ridiculously cute Sweet Lolitas are, but also couldn’t deny that I wear an awful lot of black so maybe I was more of a Gothic Lolita…

In the end, I went for a Classic Lolita look with a touch of Garden Party to go with the Cherry Blossom Festival. I really wanted to wear rocking horse shoes and after an embarrassing amount of hours I found the perfect floral skirt on My Lolita Dress. My favorite piece however was the beautiful vintage hat from the 1960’s that I got from Age of Mint.

geek_girl_brunch_jamila_lolita_DSC03316

My Coord:

geek_girl_brunch_jamila_lolita_DSC033071

The GGB Lolita picnic was so much fun! Everyone came in their Lolita and Garden Party best. I love wearing Lolita because I feel super cute and always get showered with compliments. One little girl thought I was a princess and another asked if I was a butterfly. I just about died. There’s nothing wrong with a confidence boost!

The Lolita Brunch was extra special because I reunited with GGB NYC after being in Germany since December. I surprised Yissel and Rachel (my fellow GGB co-founders) with a commission of us three in Lolita made by the AMAZING Crown Maiden​! Check out the details of the art here

Geek Girl Brunch has grown so much in one year and we currently have 57 chapters worldwide! Join Geek Girl Brunch to get in on the geek girl fun. If you want to start a chapter in your city, email us

The Beautiful Stuttgart Library

Libraries are cool, and the Stuttgart Library in Germany is one of the coolest. Seriously guys, the entire time I was like, “Ohmygodthisissocool!” I bet I was so annoying but I don’t care. When beautiful books are encased by a beautiful building it’s like cool squared (wow that was corny I apologize).

When I stepped inside the library I felt like a kid. I wanted to squeal I was so excited… Or rather squee because it sounds cuter and less pig-like. You know when you’re playing Pokemon and your Pokemon enters a battle and sometimes does a little shake and wiggle because it’s excited to whoop some ass. I wanted to do that kind of shake and wiggle inside the Stuttgart Library.

The building’s dad is a Korean-born, Germany-based architect Eun Young Yi. The design for the the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart was influenced by the ancient pantheon. It was born October 2011.

Click photos to enlarge and view slideshow. Hover for captions (not all photos have them).

The Outside

The Labyrinth-Like Staircase

I kept expecting to see Jareth, the Goblin King and his bulge walking upside-down on these stairs.

The Heart

This was when I questioned if this library was just a front for a museum.

The Inside

Some pictures of books for proof this is an actual library.

Children’s Floor

Prequels & Predictions

Prequels (2014)

Launched Geek Girl Brunch

Sakura Matsuri @ Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Lolita Brunch at the Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Last year Rachel, Yissel and I officially launched Geek Girl Brunch. It’s meetup group of geeky gals who usually meet over brunch. But GGB isn’t just about meeting up, talking about our favorite fandoms and eating bacon. We hope to create a safe environment where identifying geek girls can be themselves to give voice, network, create friendships, inspire each other and hang out. Each brunch got bigger and better and we even threw a kickass New York Comic Con after party called Fan Girls Night Out with our homies the Geek Girl Pen Pals and a sexy space event called Brunch 9 from Outer Space with our friends Wasabassco Burlesque.

 

NYCC: Women of Color in Comics Panel & Cosplay

Sonic Eclectic39 8.43.42 AM

I still can’t believe this happened. I was on a panel at New York Comic Con about women of color in comics. Like what?! I was so so nervous! I literally thought I was going to throw up on stage. The room was filled with over 700 people, and somehow I managed to not embarrass myself and say some pretty important things about women of color in comics. When I started my blog in 2010 I would have never imagined I’d be on a panel at NYCC. I started Girl Gone Geek with the hope that some people would read it and enjoy it and yet somehow all of these amazing opportunities keep happening. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t ever stop.

girlgonegeek_nycc_cosplay

New York Comic Con was a big highlight for me this year. Slowly but surely my cosplay game is getting a bit better at every con. This year I did a (lazy) Space Dandy cosplay and Sailor Goon (a gangster version of Sailor Moon) and my old genderbent Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. What I love about cosplay is there are no rules. You can create an exact copy of the character’s costume or remix it and come up with your own version. Since I’m not exactly crafty, remixing costumes helps. I’m really happy with how my cosplay came out and it gave me the courage to continue creating fun costumes in the future.

 

I Couldn’t See the Stars

nge

I lived in NYC for 9 years. I went to college upstate and went to grad school in the city. Being a military brat, I had to move every few years. Thankfully, both my parents are from the Bronx so that’s what I considered my “hometown” despite not growing up in it. I thought I’d live in NYC forever. I thought it was the coolest city ever, and I still do. More importantly, I was tired of moving all the time and was happy that I didn’t have to anymore. I had (and still do) an amazing group of friends that I can’t imagine life without and I didn’t want to leave them. I grew up always moving away from my friends or vise versa because of the military. I was happy I didn’t have to do that anymore.

But (because you know there’s going to be a “but”) living in New York City started to have a negative effect on me. I realized, or rather finally accepted that I wasn’t happy in NYC. I developed anxiety for various reasons. I dreaded walking down the street because of street harassment. New York City is like the Street Harassment capital of the US. It happened to me almost every day. The rent is too damn high and gets higher every year. Cops keep unjustly killing black people with no consequences (but that’s just not exclusive to NYC). Gentrification continues to kill the culture of the city. I was unemployed for half of the year and still am. I saw a dead body being taken out of the subway and wasn’t phased. Which scared me more than the body. I was officially a jaded New Yorker.

I missed nature and the outdoors, like the real outdoors not Central Park, which is a lovely oasis surrounded by concrete. A park you don’t dare go into at night for fear of being raped or bit by a rabid raccoon. I spent 8 years in Hawaii, 4 years in the Mojave Dessert and another 3 living next to the Black Forest in Germany. After years of being engulfed by tall buildings, I realized how necessary nature was for me.

Another thing that NYC doesn’t have that I needed was the stars. You can’t see the stars in NYC because of the light pollution. I quite literally forgot they existed because I never saw them. I stopped looking up. That’s bad. I think it fucks with the psyche of New Yorkers somehow. You forget that you’re part of this infinite, amazing and beautiful universe. Instead, skyscrapers replaced the stars and the 5 boroughs became my universe.

I was also going through some personal stuff for years that I tried to ignore and compartmentalize it but last year it refused to be ignored. I fell into depression. It felt like I created this dam in my head that was holding back the depression for years but it broke and it was overwhelming. They say if you put a lobster into a pot of water and slowly turn up the heat it doesn’t realize it’s boiling to death. I was that lobster.

Despite all of what I’ve said and experienced, I still think NYC is the best city in the world and there are so many great reasons to live in it… if you can afford it. But it’s not the city for me, and I’m cool with that. So, in December I moved. I came back to Germany where I’ll be for at least three months, maybe longer. Then after that, who knows? But I know I’ll be happier and that’s all that really matters.

 

Predictions (2015)

Geek Girl Brunch: Bigger & Better

geekgirlbrunch_marvel_brunch34

Geek Girl Brunch: Marvel Brunch

Last year we launched Geek Girl Brunch in NYC. This year we’re launching chapters all over the world starting with Washington D.C. this month. Geek Girl Brunch is going to do big things in 2015 and I’m proud to be apart of it. You can be apart of it too by joining here.

 

Write Something

bakuman_manga

I’ve always wanted to write fiction but never started because I thought (and still kinda think) I’d be terrible at it. But that’s really stupid because I haven’t given it a real shot. I even blogged about Overcoming Self-Doubt. So this year I’m going to practice what I preach. I’m going to start writing fiction and comics even if I don’t share it publicly for a while. I hope it’s not absolutely dreadful.

 

See The Stars

Art by Moebius

Art by Moebius

This year is starting off with a lot of things up in the air. I don’t know where I’ll be living in a few months. I could end up having to go back in NYC, but I hope not. I do want to end up in California. But then again, I’d love to live in Japan or another country. It’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time. I don’t know and I don’t really care where I end up, I just want to be able to see the stars.

NYCC 2014: Cosplay Roundup

Every year I attend New York Comic Con more and more fans cosplay. It’s tough picking favorites but the ones that made me squee the most were Death from East of West and Steven Universe and his mom as Garnet. Oh and here’s my post about my Sailor Moon (aka Sailor Goon), Space Dandy and Spike Spiegel cosplay.

Anime/Manga

Comics

Movies & TV & Video Games & Podcasts

 

NYCC 2014: Women of Color in Comics

jamila-rowser-girl-gone-geek-blog-nycc-2014-women-of-color-in-comics-panel_9

I was on a panel at New York Comic Con. I still can’t believe it happened. It has always been a secret dream of mine ever since I did my first panel about Women in Comics last year. Coincidentally enough, the same person who ran my first panel, Regine L. Sawyer, asked me to be on the NYCC panel. So everything has come full circle. I immediately said yes of course because it was the opportunity of a lifetime. But right after I said yes, the nerves hit me. I’m not used to a lot of irl attention because what I do (blog) lives on the Internet. So when I get asked to be on panels I’m always very excited and grateful and extremely nervous. NYCC was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I literally thought I was going to throw up. I tried to calm down by telling myself that it’s just my opinions, there’s no right or wrong answer. I’m not giving a dissertation on metaphysics. I’m talking about what I know, which is comics, women and race.
Sonic Eclectic39 8.43.42 AMThe panel was called Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book MediumIt was moderated by Regine L. Sawyer of Lockett Down Productions and the panelist included artist Alice Meichi Li, comic book artist Alitha Martinez, writer and cartoonist Barbara Brandon-Croft, cosplayer Geisha Vi, writer Juliana ‘Jewels’ Smith, writer and actor Vanessa Verduga and myself. I didn’t throw up so as far as that goes the panel was a success. But aside from the low bar I set for myself, the panel actually was a huge success. The room was almost filled to capacity, I heard there were over 700 people in attendance.

The description of the panel was, “Diversity. Women in Comics. Both subjects are hot button topics in the comic book industry. However, it isn’t often that both issues collide…” In all of my years attending NYCC, I’ve noticed a lack of people of color focused panels and PoC on panels in general. Despite the fact that NYC is probably the most culturally diverse city on the planet and the NYCC crowd reflects that. As the years went on there were more “The Women of ____” panels, but those panels often lacked women of color. So a panel like ‘Women of Color in Comics’ is something that’s not only necessary but should be regarded as essential.

The very existence of the panel showed two things, the growth of WoC comic fans and creators, but also the need for more representation and accurate representation in comics. Because we all know there’s a lot of misrepresentation of women in comics, but a majority of those women are white. So, we (WoC) are barely in comics to be apart of that misrepresentation. We have not only sexism to fight, but racism as well. This is especially important in regards to science fiction. Sci-fi often depicts worlds that are supposed to be our actual future, and if people of color are not there then they’re writing us out. They wrote us out of the past and now they’re writing us out of the future. I want women and men to understand that equality includes everybody. You can’t ignore the needs of women of color and call it feminism. 

The importance of diversity in comics should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand its significance. When a person doesn’t see characters that look like them, they begin to feel like they don’t belong. Young girls of color may stop reading comics because they feel like it isn’t for them, which stops them from becoming creators in the future. It’s cyclical. I do believe it’s important for creators of all backgrounds, straight white men included, to be responsible and make sure their stories are as diverse as their readers and the world. However, I think it’s much more important for people of color to create the stories we want to see. We shouldn’t wait for change we should make it.

The most important takeaway was what we can do to make the comic book industry a more diverse one. Coming from a fan’s perspective there are two things that are essential to promoting change and that’s using your voice and your money. Support diverse mainstream creators and comics and diverse indie creators and comics. The fact that there are so many young women who are reading comics now proves that our voice is bigger. We can affect change in the industry because we’re becoming such a large percentage of it. Use your voice to promote these diverse stories, characters and creators whether it’s in person or online. If you’re a creator, don’t be discouraged by the current climate of the industry. It will be tough to break into mainstream comics as a woman of color, but one of the best ways to make sure change in mainstream comics is to be apart it.

Forty-five minutes flew by and it wasn’t nearly enough time to cover everything about women of color in comics, but it was a start. Although the panel was over, the conversation doesn’t have to end. Blog, tweet, post, talk about these issues to help promote diversity.

Shout out to Mass AppealPC Mag (twice) and Flavorwire and Indiewire for covering the Women of Color in Comics panel.

 

 

NYCC 2014 Cosplay & Coords: Sailor Moon, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop & More

girlgonegeek_nycc_cosplay

It was only a year ago when I posted “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” and look how far I’ve come! Now I know I’m not building Tali armor from scratch like my friend and cosplay sensei @DarthRachel, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless.

Sailor Goon

I introduce to you, Sailor Goon; my gangsta take on Sailor Moon. I was Sailor Moon and my friend Roshi was Black Lady. People at the con said we were cute and creepy so mission accomplished basically.

I was inspired by Asiey Barbie’s Sailor Gang art on tumblr. I tagged her on Instagram and Twitter and her reaction was, “O.M.G. yasss, this is EXCELLENT!” and “I am SLAYED. absolute perfection.” She reblogged my post on Tumblr which is probably why it’s getting so many notes and said “YOU GUYS LOOK AT THIS FLAWLESSNESS”. So of course that made my day!

Artist Babs Tarr was also a big influence on this cosplay design. Her Bōsōzoku Sailor Scouts helped us come up with accessories like the denim jacket, patches and ripped nylon stockings. Babs was at NYCC this weekend so I was lucky enough to meet her and get a gorgeous Bōsōzoku Sailor Moon print and my Batgirl #1 signed. She is super sweet and LOVED our cosplay. She took a photo of us and gave us some of her stickers I actually planned on buying anyway!

As you can probably tell, Sailor Goon was my favorite cosplay of the weekend. The fun part was coming up with ways I could change Usagi’s regular costume from Moon to Goon. And my friend Roshi was giving some Black Moon realness with her Black Lady cosplay. Surprisingly, Sailor Goon was the first woman I’ve cosplayed. Up until now I’ve Rule 63’ed my favorite male characters like the Eleventh Doctor, Spike Spiegel and Space Dandy.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is amazing… and weird. But that WTFness of Dandy is why I love it so much. I remember how excited I was hearing that the GAWD Shinichirō Watanabe of (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) was going to be the chief director of a new anime called Space Dandy. I admit, I had to adjust to the randomness of the show. Although Dandy is a bounty hunter in space, it’s nothing like Cowboy Bebop. Once I got that through my head, I fully enjoyed each episode. The finale was mind-blowing. Maybe I’ll blog about it at some point.

I’m not a crafty person at all, but I managed to make some Dandy accessories and I’m really proud myself, even though these are nothing compared to other stuff people make. It’s my first time “crafting” so give me a break! I made the necklace out of poster paper and paint marker, but it doesn’t look that bad as it sounds. It’s kind of like a Monet and looks better the further away you are. I hope my kanji isn’t too embarrassing; it was my first time writing that as well. The jacket is from Csddlink and I made Dandy’s belt buckle out of foam which I painted gold. Since I decided to go with high-waisted leggings, I turned the buckle into a pin. The items that are missing are his hair, bracelet and shoes. So this is kinda a half-assed cosplay. But now that I have most of his costume, I’ll give the rest my best effort next year.

I made a Space Dandy playlist because the music is so good. Shake your booty while reading this blog post, baby. It’s the Dandy way!

 

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop 

If this looks familiar it’s because I did this female Spike last year. I loved it so much I had to do it again! Nothing new added to this except I’m channelling Faye Valentine with my purple hair. It’s been a year and I still haven’t gotten a good Spike wig. I’m the worst you guys I’m so sorry.

Kawaii Street Style

girlgonegeek_nycc_ootd

I wasn’t always dressing up as someone else at NYCC. These last two additions aren’t cosplay but some pretty cute coords if I do say so myself.

On Friday I wore my new favorite sweater from Omo-Cat called ‘Toast Girl’. I was going for kawaii street style and did cult party kei makeup which is hard to notice because… you know… I’m black.

Subtle Princess Serenity 

*Queue magical girl transformation* I went from Sailor Goon by day, to Subtle Princess Serenity by night (with an emphasis on “subtle”). I wore this to the Fan Girls’ Night Out Party hosted by Geek Girl Brunch (that org I co-founded). There are tons of galaxy prints out there but the Shadowplay NYC shop on Etsy has some of the best I’ve seen. Better than Black Milk (yeah I said it!). I ordered two dresses from them and wore the Mystic Mountain Jersey Dress to FGNO. It features a Hubble Print of the Mystic Mountain, a Pillar in the Carina Nebula. I kept the space theme going and paired my Nebula dress with Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon accessories. I got so many compliments!

Well, that’s a wrap for my New York Comic Con cosplay and coords! Stay tuned to see if I get better at cosplay crafting next year. Spoiler: I probably won’t. I already have my eyes set on Leatherface Joker, Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolian and a a young Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Arise (all featured in my Cosplay Bucket List post).

Dedicated to the Impossible Girl (And The Doctor Who World Tour)

doctorwhoworldtour

Although I met Alison only briefly at The Doctor Who World Tour, it’s a moment that I will remember forever… The thing is, I wasn’t even supposed to be at the #DWWorldTour in NYC. I was one of many who couldn’t get tickets. Then the day before the event, my friend Yissel asked if I wanted to go in her place. Her friend Christina had an extra ticket and Yissel couldn’t make it. I mean, why would I not want to go? Doctor Who is my favorite thing in all of time and space. I was lucky enough to meet Matt Smith and the crew not once but twice a few years ago. Now I get to see Peter Capaldi in the flesh! 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo Thursday afternoon I put on a bunch of TARDISes and set off to see the Doctor and the companion and the Moff hosted by Chris Hardwick of the Nerdist. I met the golden ticket holder,Christina, in line at around 2pm and we instantly hit it off. The event wasn’t until 7PM but Whovains were in line since 1AM the night before. As usual with line cons (line con: (noun) the very long lines geeks wait in at geeky events and conventions) we made friends with the Whovians around us. (Shout out to Monica and Tatiana!) There were constant bursts of cheers going on during the line con, mostly because BBC America kept asking us to cheer for footage. They even interviewed me and my new Who friends, but only time will tell if I’ll make the final cut. We passed the time by talking about favorite Doctors and companions, crazy DW theories and other geeky things. Time seemed to fly by up until the last hour, or should I say the Eleventh hour, which seemed the longest. Legs were hurting and caffeine was needed. (Let’s see how many Doctor Who puns I can fit in this post.)

AnyWHO at about 7:30PM they finally let us in and me and my Who crew got pretty close to the front. They played the U.S. premier of season eight and it was awesome. I laughed a lot. I almost cried. Typical Doctor Who feels. I can’t tell you any more because of *River Song voice* spoilers.

Peter Capaldi was all I really cared about though. Here in my face was this new 12th Doctor face. But oh man, he was amazing in the first episode. He really really was. You’re gonna love him I’m sure of it. Then Q&A happened which was also very cool but I don’t remember a lot of it because I kept staring at Capaldi. And his eyebrows. Oh and Neil Gaiman was there! How could I forget?!… Oh yeah because I didn’t see him. He tweeted he was there which spread like wildfire on the line con but I didn’t see him. But I felt his presence (jk not really). 

Chris Hardwick, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat

Chris Hardwick, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat

So now on to the best and most important part of the whole entire day. As I was being ushered out of the theater a lady whovian named Alison came up to me, (bet you were wondering when I’d bring her up again) and said something like, “Hi Jamila, I am a fan of your blog.” And I’m like omgwut? First off, I don’t usually meet people in person who are fans of my blog. So when I do meet GGG readers I usually think they are mistaking me with someone else. Some other blog with “girl”and “geek” in the title, which is probably quite a few. So then Alison continued to tell me all of these kind things about my blog and myself and what a great job she thinks I am doing and I was hit with wave after wave of emotions. Shock. Happiness. Confusion. ME? All of this is about me? What?! Then of course in true Jamila fashion, those tears that almost came out during the Doctor Who episode came back.

The thing is, I was having a pretty shitty week personally. Then that shittiness was multiplied by Ferguson and Robin Williams. I had cried a few times earlier that week about sad stuff, so to cry about something happy when I needed it the most is something I’ll never forget. I just blog into the void not knowing who is reading my blog, let alone cares about it. So to meet someone like Alison is something I still can’t even comprehend. I still get emotional thinking about it. I’m forever grateful for that. 

Let’s end on a quote from the Doctor,

“What’s the point of being happy now if they’re going to be sad later? The answer is of course- because they are going to be sad later.”