Happening in Kansas City
Trending around OUTvoices
By Billy Bob Griffin
Early each spring, Kansas City’s self-proclaimed nerd community flocks to Bartle Hall for the Planet Comicon convention, the largest comic book and pop culture convention in this part of the Midwest. The sight is something out of this world: Creators, artists, writers, actors and superfans meet face-to-face, enjoying the close-knit community. It’s a circus for the eyes, a sensory overload of costumes, enthusiasts, and merchandising, merchandising, merchandising! Through mutual admiration and appreciation of pop culture, the conference unifies folks from all walks of life, including the queer community.
At Planet Comicon 2019 at the end of March, the conference hall was awash in people of all different ages, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes. Fandom takes many forms – art, craftwork, writing, technology and, of course, the costumes. Cosplay is half the fun of the conference.
Cosplay is a blend of the words costume and play, and together they describe a form of performance art in which one wears costumes to represent a specific character, typically from the realms of science fiction, fantasy, manga, anime or pop culture. Think Halloween meets a Hollywood costume department. The attention to detail can be intricate and Oscar-worthy or cleverly homemade with glue and cardboard. One intriguing aspect of cosplay is the gender-bending. One might see a male Princess Leia or a female Star-Lord.
Luna Flare, a local drag performer, attends the conference every year to display her own cosplay style.
“The cosplay community is to the nerd community as the drag community is to the gay community,” she said. “It’s a group of people who have a passion for creating and putting their creativity into a performance. There’s certainly a lot of overlap there.” This year, she dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid in her pink gown. Fans, families and children came up to her to take photos throughout the day.
“You see people from all walks of life at cons, conventions and cosplay,” Flare said. “So many people are looking for a way to escape what is happening in the outside world and retreat into these fandoms or worlds of fantasy to see the heroes we aren’t seeing outside. We want to create a world in which we can stand up for ourselves and the people we love, and I think coming to something like Planet Comicon, you get to experience that because there is a base level where everyone is just happy being nerds.”
Fandom is everywhere at Planet Comicon and the ties to the LGBT community continues into the realms of Manga, and Art. Camilla d’Errico is a Canadian- Italian artist making waves in the fine art and comic industries with her manga-influenced style. Camilla is comic artist/creator and Pop Surrealist painter. She draws inspiration from the LGBT community with her rainbow-colored line of enamel love bird pins.
“I wanted that to be about how they can fly free and be free to be who they are. I want equality and diversity in this world. I want to celebrate who we are instead of having people pick out the differences. In Canada, we call it a mosaic, that every culture and everyone coming together makes it a beautiful picture. I want to include them in the art world,” says d’Errico.
She has been coming to various comicon conferences for over 20 years and has seen a shift toward more acceptance of the LGBT community.
“They are accepted here because we all are having fun with pop culture. We’re such nerds, and nerds can’t hate other people! It’s celebrated because people are in touch with their inner child, and when people are in touch with what makes them excited about life, then they are going to accept everybody. This is a community that celebrates creativity and uniqueness, and I think that’s why the LGBTQ community is so accepted here,” says d’Errico.
Planet Comicon is a must for any self-proclaimed nerd, whether they identify as LGBT or straight. It’s one of those particularly harmonious events that blends folks from all backgrounds to celebrate a shared passion for what truly matters to them, their own happiness and the joy of others.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.