just plain sara: May 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Valerie Jarrett, Desirée Rogers and Susan Rice Strike a Pose

As well as the article below, I also discovered this article in the current issue of Washington, D.C.'s Capitol File magazine. Valerie Jarrett is President Obama's senior advisor (I'm sure you saw photos of her all over the country during the campaign) and Desirée Rogers is of course the White House's Social Secretary. Click here for full interview and more pics.

Below is Susan Rice. The current, and third youngest ever, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Rice is featured in the June 2009 issue of Vogue. You can click here for the full interview and more pics, but below is just a snippet. I don't know about you but I love reading about all these successful women, including Michelle Obama!

At 44, Rice is, in fact, the second-youngest U.S. ambassador to the United Nations since its inception in 1945. (Donald McHenry, appointed in 1979 by Jimmy Carter, was a hair younger.) But Rice is used to being the youngest person at the table. As someone who went to high school with her puts it, "She was always highly respected by adults and seen as a future force to be reckoned with." A Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in international relations at Oxford University, Rice joined President Clinton's National Security Council staff in 1993, at the tender age of 28. Within a few years she catapulted over several more senior staffers to become, at 32, the youngest-ever assistant secretary of State. Her accelerated résumé notwithstanding, she seems to be at the beginning of the public phase of what may very well turn out to be one of the more substantial careers in politics.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Desirée Rogers Covers Wall Street Journal Magazine

Desirée Rogers, the White House Social Secretary, covers the latest issue of Wall Street Journal Magazine. For those who don't know, she organizes all the social events at the White House - what an amazing job! She's an old time friend of the Obamas and has had some pretty high profile jobs prior to this one including Chief Marketing Officer for Peoples Energy (now Integrys Energy Group); President of both Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas; and she serves on several Boards. Click here to read the full interview and see photos from her first 100 days at the White House.

Desirée Glapion Rogers is the descendant of a Creole voodoo priestess named Marie Laveau Glapion. The first time I meet her, she welcomes me into her East Wing lair—a rhythm and blues tune plays on a white iPod, a potted white orchid perches between two windows, fresh flowers sit on a heavy wooden desk. This is a woman who never sees a wilted bloom. The 49-year-old turns on just enough Southern charm to camouflage an aura of self-assuredness typically reserved for runway models or first ladies. Wearing a crisp white shirt, black patent flats and high-waisted navy slacks that would look terrible on almost anyone else, Rogers talks about her job as White House social secretary.

If there’s one thing Desirée Rogers and Desirée Rogers’ staff want you to know—and will keep reminding you until you get it—it’s that the president and Michelle Obama plan to open up the White House and once again make it the “people’s house.” They want to create an environment where average Americans might stop by and catch the first lady serving homemade huckleberry cobbler and caramel ice cream to students, tending to the vegetable garden on the South Lawn or watching the romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You” with her girlfriends. The president is, of course, meeting with foreign dignitaries. In one of the most visible roles in the Obama administration, Rogers is out to solidify the first family as one of the most memorable in presidential history, and the Ivy League–educated first lady, in particular, as the most popular mom-in-chief. [Read more]
Above: Rogers works down the hall from Michelle Obama, her friend of nearly 20 years, in the East Wing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Off The Runway: Iman & Ubah

Just a quick post today. I wanted to share this video of Iman talking with emerging model Ubah Hassan about their home country and the role race plays in fashion. Share your thoughts after watching.

Change to Saturday's Appearance

Mr. J has had a family emergency so he and Harley won't come out to play in Flemington until June 13th at the car show! Instead I'll appear solo this Saturday but probably as Firestar.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Saturday Appearance

I will be signing "autographs" this Saturday for the opening of the Flemington car shows as Harley Quinn if you feel like coming out to something. It's something like 5-8pm. I'll be at Comic Fusion and should be accompanied by Harley's darling Joker/"Mr. J."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Joy Bryant

Joy Bryant attends the Earth Day event on the Mall on April 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.
During a recent appearance at the "Earth Day" festival, Joy Bryant went au natural and channeled her inner bohemian. Joy isn't afraid to experiment with her style and I love the way she attends high profile events make-up free. Don't be a slave to Hollywood, Ms. Bryant! For tips on how to steal her look scroll below...

Steal Joy's Style

Dress: Paisley Tunic Dress, $44.50, www.alloy.com
Boots: Minnetonka Moccasin, $80, www.piperlime.com
Belt: Jewel & Stud Trim Belt, $15.80, www.forever21.com
Necklace: Faux Pearl Cluster Necklace, $8.80, www.forever21.com
Jacket: Twill 3Q Jacket, $22.80, www.forever21.com

Though the bohemian-gypsy look isn't my thing, Joy has inspired me to try it out. While I may not be able to incorporate Ugg boots into my summer wardrobe (especially here in D.C.), the paisley dresses and hipster belts are doable. If you really want to take this look to a new level wear at least three different lengthed necklaces for a "I just don't care" vibe.

Best of the Rest...

Left to right: Oasis Paisley Print Dress, $78.15, www.asos.com; Pansy Print Corset Dress, $100, www.topshop.com; Ashley Floral Woven Dress, $24.80, www.forever21.com

These floral paisley dresses are perfect for summer and can be dressed up and down. Wear with heels, gladiator sandals or slouchy boots for three completly different looks. My favorite is the Corset Dress from Topshop. So chic!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Get 'Em Girls: Cocktails & Conversation

New York ladies join the Get 'em Girls and Michaela Angela Davis for the launch of "The Get 'Em Girls Guide to the Perfect Get Together". If you love hosting events for your friends and/or family, this book is full of perfect ideas. During the event, conversation, food and of course cocktails will be available in abundance. Visit www.getemgirls.com for more details.

When: Monday, May 18th
Time: 7:30pm
Where: Borders Books & Music, Columbus Circle, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kids' Day America

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from today's event. More are in my myspace gallery.

Of course by this point, you'll notice the lack of belt. Yep, I have lost count how many times my red belt has fallen apart. I shall be finding a real belt to alter/paint and then affixing a resin buckle instead. I'm just shocked that epoxy and gorilla glue were not strong enough to hold the silicone buckle piece on.

I got to play with real firemen on the fire truck! Yay!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Costumed Crime Fighters? I don't think so.

It pains me to think that something which has become a major part of my life, comics and costuming, has gone down a dark road with a lot of potential for people to get hurt. I'm talking about this phenomenon called Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH) where average people dress up in their costumes and patrol the streets of their cities. I have so many problems with this that my head is about to explode thinking about it. You are not the Twilight Guardian, Batman or Captain America. You are a regular human being with limitations.

Is it a noble idea to want to better your community? Sure it is. However, this is not a comic book, People. This is real life where you do not have Batman's superior martial arts skills and intelligence. You do not possess the protection of a rock hard exterior like Thing. You can't phase through a wall like Shadowcat.

Let me express that I do completely support using a superhero identity to help with charity events (I do plenty of this myself), school programs, reading programs at libraries, and all of the options that exist where no one is in harm's way. I come from a family that is very community-minded. I think it is extremely important for everyone to do what they can to make their neighborhoods better.

However, there are professionals in law enforcement that you have to consider and for everyone's sake, I hope you do. Picture a cop coming upon a scene that was only described by Dispatch as being a disturbance or fight. He gets to the scene and sees someone with a covered face and a tactical belt filled with unknown items. That person is going toe to toe with a guy wearing jeans, a tank top and has a bandana on his head. The cop has no idea that Lord Darkity Dark of Justice is "the good guy." If that cop has to deal with the distraction of a costumed "hero" that takes focus of the other individual. Now if you take the worst case scenario, where the cop draws a gun and someone gets shot - well, that will ruin his life in terms of guilt, desk duty, years of therapy, and a possible loss of income not to mention being sued (which happens all the time) for not using his best judgment.

The following is an excerpt taken from the worldwide registry of these so called superheroes who post every bit of media attention on their website:

The gang hits the streets of New York to help less fortunate people by Vanessa Tyler, wpix.com Staff reporter - May 14, 2009) The “Dark Guardian” has made it his mission to rid Washington Square Park of drug dealers and some have even confronted him. He says, “We’ve had people flash a gun at us. But I’m not backing down.”

To illustrate my point, these "superheroes" claim that they only tote what they are legally allowed within the law and for some that includes devices like pepper spray. Let me explain something: real criminals don't care about your legal pepper spray when they have illegal firearms and possibly a large gang to back them up. People who are like this Dark Guardian or another called Nyx (NJ) who carries mace, a tazer and a baton, are looking for a thrill and looking to get hurt. They are purposefully endangering themselves and causing problems for law enforcement. There are others in this worldwide registry who are recognize the potential for physical danger and limit their activities to delivering goods to the homeless and helping with fundraising for local charities.

What other problems is this fad causing? There is talk that more anti-mask laws will be passed. Yep, just like the comics. Most schools and plenty of businesses already have rules in place prohibiting the wearing of face coverings and carrying anything that could be considered a weapon. The Metropolitan Museum of Art wouldn't even allow fans to don their costumes during the Superheroes exhibit they had in 2008 because of the security issues of masks and (fake) weaponry. For another example, the Halloween Parade at my nieces' elementary school has so many rules that it's not even fun; family members are not allowed near their children; the children are herded through a fenced area and parade around the baseball field; no fake weapons, ropes or props are allowed. We live in a time where we are surveilled constantly. Security forces need to identify people for the safety of others and the businesses they work for. While I don't agree with this much surveillance, I certainly do not want the government to remove yet another freedom and one as silly as how a person chooses to dress with the passing of anti-mask laws. Many states have anti-mask laws instituted already, though not well known, because of the times during the civil rights movement and the harmful measures of the KKK.

New York has had such a law since 1965 and it has been modified and currently reads:
  • An assemblage in public houses or other places of three or more persons disguised by having their faces painted, discolored, colored or concealed, is unlawful, and every individual so disguised, present thereat, is guilty of a misdemeanor; but nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any peaceful assemblage for a masquerade or fancy dress ball or entertainment, or any assemblage therefor of persons masked, or as prohibiting the wearing of masks, fancy dresses, or other disguise by persons on their way to or returning from such ball or other entertainment; if, when such masquerade, fancy dress ball or entertainment is held in any of the cities of this state, permission is first obtained from the police authorities in such cities respectively for the holding or giving thereof, under such regulations as may be prescribed by such police authorities.

If you are one of these individuals that claims to be a hero, please take some more time to examine what it is you are doing. If you are helping the homeless, teaching kids to read through the use of comics as a medium, or drawing attention at a charity event, then I applaud you and thank you. If you like helping through first aid, then join a volunteer rescue squad or fire department. If you want to fight criminals, go to the academy, get a badge and kevlar and do the job right. If you just like seeking thrills, then go bungie jumping instead and wear your costume as you jump off the bridge. You'll still make the headlines you so obviously desire.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great new gear

D30 is described as Spiderman meets Robocop. This futuristic material is flexible and absorbs shock then "intelligently" braces for a rigid protective armor when hit with impact. Squidoo.com has the facts briefly explained. This material is primarily being used in all sorts of sporting gear from goaltender gloves to protective leg padding. The product has been integrated into Spyder sports gear.

Check out d30's site for more details and begin planning those super suit upgrades!

Facebook Costume Contest: X-Men theme

Lisa Hager-Duncan is up to the next challenge in launching her series of Facebook Comic-Con Costume Contests. The current contest is for X-Men characters (either movie, comic or cartoon). Deadline is June 3rd.

Be sure to read all the rules. You have to register that you are "attending" the virtual con and upload your pic. Usually you have to be holding a sign to show that it's you and not an old con photo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Costuming Forums are launched

There's a new message board dedicated to assembling costumes found at The Superhero Costume Forum (SCF). This may be seen as somewhat of a spin-off from the successful League of Heroes boards since most of us are registered there also but, the owners & mods are removing some of the LoH restrictions allowing for more mature (while still safe) content.

I'm the mod of the Superheroines Only section - so please come over and join in!

The board just launched and needs some tweaking; all suggestions can be posted in the thread for suggestions and Allen or Brian will be quick to respond.

While we do focus on comic book characters, the principles for assembling any costume are the same. If you're making a HALO suit of armor, it's the same process as for Iron Man.

The SCF also has a YouTube channel solely for managing our "favorite" costuming videos. They can be diy vids or photoshoots highlighting costumes. To get your videos added, you would just need to post the link in the forum thread.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Zoe Saldana Covers Latina...

Zoe Saldana is on a non-stop publicity tour for her upcoming movie Star Trek and she made a quick pit stop on the cover of Latina magazine. The online version of Latina is pretty good. I encourage all to check it out here. For snippets of Zoe's interview read below...

ON HER OWN SEXY CONFIDENCE: “Look at me. I’m skinny, I have a big nose, no tits and no ass, but in a room full of beautiful women, I would still leave with the most gorgeous guy.”

ON SHOOTING STEAMY SEX SCENES WITH STAR TREK CO-STAR CHRIS PINE: “There’s nothing sexual about shooting a sex scene, you must know!” she says. “You are sweating your ass off under the lights, or you’re freezing. You’re hungry, or you’re bloated and gassy because they had pizza on the set that day.”

ON HER DREAMS OF WINNING AN OSCAR: “You know that cover that Kate Winslet did for Vanity Fair recently, where she said, ‘You bet your ass I want that Oscar’?” Saldana asks. “Well, it’s the same with me. I’m not going to be like, ‘I just want to be known for my work.’ No, I want that golden statue on my shelf. Whether it happens or not, it will not determine the kind of substance that I feel I contributed. But I want it… Shoot for the stars and I’ll settle for a cloud.”

ON AVOIDING A HOLLYWOOD EGO: “You’ll never see me shopping on Robertson Boulevard or hanging out in super-public spaces like that. I’m fiercely territorial about my privacy. And I cannot follow a crowd,” she says. “I never want to get to the point where I’m walking a red carpet thinking, ‘I’m fabulous.’ At times, Hollywood is going to get the best of you, and you will wake up feeling overconfident. But I have too many people that keep me in check if I fail to do so myself.”

The issue will be out in June/July.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Say We?... Yay or Nay

Rihanna attends "The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City.

By now I'm sure you've all seen the Dolce & Gabbana suit Rihanna wore to the Met's Costume Institute Gala. Much like Estelle's attempt to be eclectic and cutting-edge on the red carpet this look just didn't translate once captured on film. I'm sure she looked "fierce" in person but I'm going to have to give the usually stylish Rihanna a "nay". I know puff-sleeves are all-the-rage right now, but this is overkill.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Survived FCBD '09


We had the best turnout to date for FCBD. We were so lucky that the rain stopped at 11am when we opened the store and the sun was out by noon!

Thank you to everyone who came in to explore our little world of comic books and collectibles. And special thanks to all our guests: Erica Hesse, Rob Kramer and Scott Barnett as well as Gary & Evan who added their costuming talents to join me as Marvel Superheroes.

If you missed it, you also missed The Great Lodge Cafe's Moose who joined us on the sidewalk to greet the good citizens of Flemington, New Jersey.