Weekend Update with Mr. Clever: Friday, October 19th 2018

Good evening everyone. Welcome to Weekend Update. I’m your host, Mr. Clever.

Well, this weekend was pretty crazy. I celebrated my five year anniversary of being me. Who was I before? No one really knows. *cue mysterious music and shadow puppets*

It all started with a trip down memory lane. A trip to a place we like to call Super MegaFest. Back in 2013, this is the place that I debuted ME, the cyberplanner, Mr. Clever, for the first time. So it seemed fitting to go back to the scene of the cri…er…party. I managed to get the band back together and round up some of the original sinners and off we went to Framingham.

This time with a Halloween version of myself – Zombie Clever. I must admit, it was quite enjoyable to scare people. Especially that poor muggle at the gas station. What? Zombies need to get places too.

One of the greatest things about SMF is the sense of camaraderie atmosphere. There is such a great sense of acceptance and belonging at this con, that you rarely get at others. Doesn’t matter what you cosplay, what you look like, who you are – there is always someone to hang with!

New friends were made, old friends reconnected, and in true SMF fashion craziness, mischief and mayhem ensued.

Day Two of my Clever-versary. Me-versary? Hmmmm.

Anyway, day two of the weekend took us to Rock and Shock in Worcester. Having never been before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Yes, yes, yes, I will say it. It was a “shockingly” good time.
*insert Kristen Ritter-level eye roll*

My interest in this con was peaked, as it were, by two actors from Twin Peaks. Well, ok, more so that Dana Ashbrook was in Dual Spires, the Psych episode that was a Twin Peaks spoof. And I MAY have said “OMG I loved you in Psych”.

But the real reason I wanted a photo was to get Zombie Clever in the Black Lodge. I mean, who wouldn’t want to try to upgrade the Black Lodge?

The con itself was a ton of fun as well. Tiny, but the vendors were amazing. So many fantastic independent artists all in one space. I was blown away with the amount of stuff that I wanted!

Day two continued with a Costumed Walk About in Salem. Now, normally, you think to yourself, how will I find a few friends in massive October crowds? Then, you see a BLINDING bright blue stick figure person that turns out to be one of your friends – of course she is MY friend!

And all hell breaks loose as you and few more crazies try to walk the crowded streets of Salem in the dark, with nothing to guide you but a LED stick figure person, who doesn’t actually know where they are going. Have no fear! ROPE is here! Yes at one point I tied her up and made a leash. Because, why not.

After the walk about, many of us ventured back to House Cyberiad, i.e my house, for some tricks and treats, and kitten snuggles.

Day three of the weekend – yes, I CAN count, actually, but this was an extended weekend, as my friend Kelly was visiting – brings us to a day of apple picking at Brooksby Farm.
Apple picking was fun, but seeing an emu amongst sheep and pigs was even better. Gorgeous place. And great apple cider doughnuts! Yummy!

I am not sure what I was expecting for my five year anniversary, but this weekend was one of the best I have had in many years.

This has been your weekend update for the week of October 19th, 2018! Cyberplanner, signing off…

 

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Upgrade in Progress Wednesday

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Upgrade in Progress. Or should I say UNDEAD in Progress? Cyberplanner part all ready for Zombie Clever!

I wanted to make it look broken, beat up, falling apart, wires falling out, only one light working – and with minimal blood and more motor oil looking colors. I am very happy with how it turned out, especially given my allergies to latex and silicones.

Five year Anniversary as Clever

Five years.

This weekend at Super Megafest marks FIVE years that I have been cosplaying as Mr. Clever. I have been cosplaying as Clever longer than Matt Smith had been the Doctor.

It also marks five years of meeting some of my best friends. Not just con friends. But, friends that are a huge part of my life – beyond fandom, beyond conlife. I wouldn’t have met them if not for my cosplay, if not for Clever, if not for Matt, or not for Doctor Who.

And as Doctor Who enters a brand new chapter in its long run, I hope many fans, young, old, newcomers, and returning ones, like myself, find their own piece of magic in the TARDIS. It is a wonderful thing, and I truly believe the Doctor herself, would enjoy every second of it.

 

Who will I see for this anniversary at SMF? I have so many crazy, fun memories. Who wants to make more?

 

Hayley and ron jeremy

The photo that started it all.  The “legend of Ron Jeremy.”

 

 

She’s the Doctor.

mini jodie

 

“It’s about time”

Welcome Jodie!

Welcome into the TARDIS.   Welcome into the open arms of thousands of fans.

 

I made this mini 13th Doctor figurine today, in time for the premiere. So she could watch with everyone else across the globe!

Happy Anniversary Nightmare in Silver

Anyone who has met me knows that Nightmare in Silver is my favorite Doctor Who episode. But NiS is so much more than just an episode to me.

We all have those things that have changed our lives, or mattered to us, or maybe even helped us through difficult times. Some have a series of books, and yes, for sure I do have Harry Potter, some people have music, others might have sports figures. For me, I have one episode of one tv show.

Mr. Clever
Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor and Mr. Clever

Over the years, people have asked me *how* this is possible, how can one thing, one character, change so much of a person’s life?

My best analogy is the “stone in the water causes ripples” cliché. One thing led to another, which led to another.

Before we moved back to Salem (we of course being myself, CJ, and 3 cats) we never really left the house. We didn’t socialize, we each had one or two friends that we saw on occasion and that was it. (and they are great friends, don’t get me wrong!) But it was always just us, sitting around the house, bored. And for me, getting dressed to go outside was hell. That was always a horrible point of contention for us. Going out meant having to get dressed. Having to put on some semblance of “normalcy”. We even had the chance to go to San Diego Comic Con for free one year and we said no. Crowds? People? Nope.

Fast forward to cosplay life. Getting dressed up? Yes please. I think I spend more time in my cosplay than any other outfit that I own. And aside from the issues with the cyberplanner itself, it is so comfortable to wear. I feel like myself in it. This was the first time in 35+ years that I wanted to go out, to talk, to socialize, to interact. Suddenly we have all these friends, and cons, and laughter and events and game nights and people over filling our lives with fun and life and love and everything that matters in this world.

Mr Clever
I also would have had a full blown panic attack before if someone had attempted to take my photo.  I still hate it, but I have overcome SO much.

That first stone to get cast into the water, the first ripple, was watching NiS that one night. That “A-ha” moment of “I wanna become this character” that brought cosplay into our lives, which brought conlife, and in turn forever changed our lives and the lives of our friends.

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In short, none of this would have been possible before.

Happy 5th Anniversary Nightmare in Silver.

Look What You Made Me Do

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. Recently I uploaded some new photos from a photo shoot and there were a few comments that could only be described as trolling so I thought it was time to get something off my chest.

It wasn’t just the trolls that made me decide to write this. After a few “Facebook friends” made their comments, I doubted myself, so in a moment of weakness, I deleted the whole album.

 

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Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Ma.

Doing that shoot was incredibly hard for me. You may not realize it when you see me running around a con with grapes and rope but I am very self-conscious. And I delete far more than I post. And in that brief period of self-doubt after the trash people thought they had a right to tell me what I could or couldn’t wear, I thought it was just easier to delete it, delete myself, off the screen, and deal with all later. Or not, depending on how I felt.

After some soul-searching, and some convincing by my close friends, my partner, and the wonderful photographer, the album is now back up.

The reason I reposted it isn’t just because I didn’t want the trash people of the internet to win, but the larger reason is that when I see these photos I am reminded that even though these pics are “of me” they aren’t just about me.

I think a lot of people in the cosplay community will agree with me – when I see a professional cosplay photo I see a team effort that goes into making those beautiful photos. And when I share mine I am not only sharing my own art (like the cyberplanner) that I have painstakingly created (with the emphasis on pain) but the art and skill of my friends and colleagues.

 

 

 

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“Tell me, does it have a sort of remote triggery thing?”

There are so many people that have helped me over the years, that have also invested time and talent into helping me make Mr. Clever come to life in these photos and in person.

 

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“Me. Cyberplanner. Mr. Clever”

 

The insane number of amazing photographers alone. It is not easy to capture (and edit) a wonderful photograph. It is even harder to work with someone like me, who has severe anxiety in front of the camera. Cosplay photographers often go unnoticed and are truly the unsung heroes of our community. The photographers that I have met and worked with over the years deserve a medal for putting up with me. Many times, they have worked with me for free, so yes of course, I am going to share their photos everywhere (and give them credit as often as possible).

Or the hair stylists that have helped me over the years. Running into the salon with pictures of Matt. “This is the color I need”. And the random make-up artist we met while in NYC for NYCC that color matched me and taught me how to put make up on for photos. Never would have known any of that if not for her.

And the friend who felt bad that I couldn’t wear the Abbyshot coat who went and got fabric for me. And the other friend who made me the coat that I wear now. This coat is amazing. The curator from the DW experience loved it. The person who made it should be proud of herself.

 

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Just my standard warm up pose.

 

Even down to the tattoo artist who worked with me to make my cybermite tattoo come to life.

And that doesn’t even cover the emotional challenges that people help me work through: how hard it is for me to overcome the fear of cameras, the challenge of my body image issues, getting into character, overcoming the severe pain that I am in all the time now, and with this shoot in particular there was the added fear of because of my injury I was terrified that I was going to be unable to move.

 

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Resting after a long day of Upgrading.

 

Everyone knows how much this character and cosplay means to me. I have lost much in 2017. For a fleeting second, there was the thought that I could lose that too, and that was devastating. And I know there are people that don’t get that Mr. Clever is both my first and last cosplay. It is who I am and I cannot imagine cosplaying as anyone else.

 

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Hammond Castle, Gloucester, MA

 

But trolls will be trolls and after battling my own demons and winning, at least this time, I have taken the trash out, and that album is back up. Not just because I need it, or because Mr. Clever is who I am, or because I don’t want to let the haters win, but because all those other people deserve to have their work talked about too.

 

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Great shot of my tattoo.

 

So the last thing I want to do with this blog is thank (some) of those many people and give everyone who reads this a way to connect with them and make some of that cosplay magic for yourself.

 

Above photos were taken by the amazing Vignette of

https://www.facebook.com/sauvagephotographystudio/

Not enough “thank you”‘s for the Rodster, Rodney Brown. The first photographer I met, always supportive and always got my back.

https://www.facebook.com/1stpersonshooter/

MAJOR hugs to my stylists over the years – Ashley, Alicia and of course

https://www.instagram.com/saraibyday/

And my very first professional shoot:

https://www.facebook.com/JuarezFilmsandPhotography/

And of course John of

https://www.facebook.com/creativenorthshore/