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Augmented Reality is Everywhere but Nowhere

Grab your phones and make sure they have a full charge and head downtown to LADADSpace for the Everywhere but Nowhere Augmented Reality and  Virtual Reality pop-up instillation.  We had a chance to visit the pop up this weekend and the experience was out of this world. This interactive exhibit is a look at groundbreaking work in the augmented and virtual realities that go well beyond what you have seen before.

Transformation of VR Headgear

The gallery walls are lined with over 30 Raku ceramic heads showing the progression of VR headgear as it’s transformed over the years.  The large heads with the beautiful sculpture work and Raku technique will draw you around the room as the VR equipment evolves.

Integration with Apps

Among the masks hang interactive AR prints that hide secrets and the reason you want to venture to the gallery with a fully charged phone. The Zenka Ar prints work with their app.  Download and open the app and hold it up in front of the prints around the gallery and watch them come to life.  Each piece has different AR animations when you view through the app so I won’t spoil how each one comes to life but in a world where everyone is on their phones all the time it’s a beautiful way to use that device to view the world in a whole new way.

Michael Frenchs’ interactive piece is featured prominently in the center of the gallery.  It looks like an overturned rowboat covered in wires but using his app the piece comes to life.  Hashtags and twitter feeds control the motors attached all over the boat in real time, our words in the ether create a digital piece of art that’s alive and ever changing.  Hard to describe but so visually satisfying as you interact with the piece.

Universe of Sculptures

Blortasia art is displayed throughout the gallery.  Combining physical art and VR Kevin Mack has created 3d art that you can experience not only as physical art but it’s a world you can explore in Virtual Reality.  Soar through this universe of sculptures as they move and change and evolve. The VR experience is not available during all gallery hours so please check their website to confirm.

From Blortasia to Augmented Realty is a perfect transition before you head out back into the LA Arts district where more surprises have been hidden around the area. Augmented reality takes real elements, geo-locations and interactive materials and blends everything together.  Using the Layar App you can see the gallery is the first of multiple locations around the arts district that you can find those hidden AR gems.

As we blend reality and the virtual world artists have an open landscape to work in.  LADADSpace has created a cool environment to showcase AR and VR to show its use beyond what we have become accustom to.

LADADSpace is located in the LA Downtown Arts District across from Barcade 82 near the intersection of East 3rd st and Traction Ave.  Close to Angel City Brewery, Hauser & Worth gallery, surrounded by a variety of local eateries as well as shopping it’s a great location to spend and afternoon and get in some AR knowledge.

Check out more at the Official Site HERE.

Pop Culture Meets Charity at WhedonCon

I was recently listening to the Dumbbells and Dragons podcast. I got totally excited when I saw that Kenny (Rotter, the host) was recording an interview with Christopher Cullen. Christopher is one of the folks representing WhedonCon. What’s that? WhedonCon is a Whedonverse convention, designed by fans for fans. It aims to harness the power of fandom to raise money for charities while creating a fun and interactive environment for attendees.

WhedonCon Guests

The convention will include a number of on and off screen guests attached to Joss Whedon projects. The Guest of Honor is writer/producer David Fury. David is an Emmy, WGA and Saturn awards winning writer/producer best known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. Comedian Ben Paddon is the Master of Ceremonies. Actors include Andrew Boden (Dollhouse), Gigi Edgley (Farscape), and Nicholas Brendon (Xander on Buffy). Other guests include Sophia Crawford (Sarah Michelle Gellar’s stunt double) and writer/director Tim Minear. View the full guest list HERE.

WhedonCon Events

WhedonCon features a huge vendor room, appropriately titled Sunnydale Mall. The con will also host a Blood Drive benefitting Cedars-Sinai Blood Donor Services. Cosplayers will have plenty of chances to meet up, including special tracks like Cosplay over 30. The list of panels is immense. Topics include “How to Make a Low Budget Movie”, “Behind the Stunts” and “Concept Development.” Join the Gaming room for Open Gaming, Firefly LARP and RPG, and Buffy RPG sessions. Pack your swimsuit! Private Cocktail parties and All Ages pool parties close out Friday and Saturday nights.

Join the Big Bad Buffy podcast for a live session Saturday morning and the Drinking with Comics podcast Saturday night. Feel like some prose? Join an open reading with the Two Idiots Pedalling Poetry. Sharpen your story creation with the Wehdonesque Sketch Writing Workshop. The Movie Guys bring their newest comedy show, “The New Movie Show” to goof on all the latest films and upcoming summer movies. In Memorium services for Ron Glass (Firefly) and John Vulich (special makeup effects for Buffy) take place on Friday. The full schedule of events can be found HERE.

Charity Efforts

The WhedonCon creators pride themselves on the charity efforts fulfilled by the convention. In memory of Ron Glass, this year’s charity will be one that was near and dear to Glass’ heart. Auction proceeds will benefit the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center. Items include autographed merchandise, pictures, and more.

The Baby Item Drive benefits Newborns in Need – San Fernando Valley Chapter. Items include purchased, handmade or crafted items such as baby hat, scarfs and blankets. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be on hand for a performance. This organization offers comprehensive services to nearly half of the homeless youth population of Los Angeles County.

WhedonCon takes place on May 19-21, 2017 at the Warner Center Marriott in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets and volunteer opportunities are still available. Contact the convention staff HERE.

Welcome to Treklanta, Georgia

It’s April, and that means it is once again time for Atlanta, GA to transform…into Treklanta! Hosted by the USS Republic NCC-1371, Treklanta is an annual science fiction convention dedicated to space opera in general and Star Trek in particular. This convention places special emphasis on fan-based events, activities, programming and productions. Treklanta is the home of the Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant and the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards.

Special Events at Treklanta

You read that right. Not only is there a Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant, but this is the 18th year of the contest. Contestants are judged on three categories. First is beauty – the combination of quality and professionalism of their costumes, make-up and “modeling.” They can choose an existing Klingon from canon, or create their own. They will be asked to strut the runway in costume and character. The second category is talent. Contestants get 5 minutes to sing, dance, act or display another talent. Violence is generally frowned upon, so no flaming bat’leth twirling. The third category is personality. Contestants will be asked a question and must answer a panel of judges who just happen to be the guests of Treklanta.

Guests at Treklanta

Fans will recognize Treklanta guests from their work both on and off screen. David Gerrold is a classic sci-fi writer who will go down in history as having created some of the most popular stories in the genre. He is the author of over 50 books and the famous “Trouble with Tribbles” episode of Star Trek. John Garman “J. G.” Hertzler, from Savannah, Georgia, has portrayed many different roles on several Star Trek series. He is one of only five actors to play seven or more different characters in the Star Trek franchise. James Horan has played various characters in four different Star Trek series. Scott L. Schwartz is an actor and stunt performer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is best known as Bruiser in the Ocean’s 11 franchise. The full list of guests can be found HERE.

Events at Treklanta

Treklanta is home to the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards. This award show was started in 2015 and continues to celebrate the Trek fandom. Alien designs will be the topic of the “But I Don’t Want to be a Klingon” panel. There will be plenty of discussion around the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery show. One session will discuss the similarities between the Borg and The Walking Dead. The Trek Toys and Mego meet-up will focus on 50 years of Klingons. Fans can meet the Klingon Assault Group. Saturday even celebrates a Trek-themed wedding between two fans. Late night festivities include Dirty Harry’s Karaoke Cantina. Astrophysicist Dr. Larry Krumenaker will take fans outside to display Trek-themed astronomy. Fans who are early risers can even do some morning Mokbara (tai chi).

Where is Treklanta?

Treklanta takes place from April 28 – 30, 2017. It will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Atlanta Northlake Hotel.  The Doubletree is located at 4156 Lavista Road at I-285 in the Atlanta suburb of Tucker.

For official information, visit the official Treklanta web site.

The Convention Survival Pack

Convention season is in full swing. We here at the Nerd Out Blog are interested in making your convention experience a positive one. To that end, we polled members of the Nerd Out Squad with a simple idea. Everyone should have the essentials at a con or festival. If you were building your Convention Survival Pack, what would be in yours? Why? We were impressed with the answers and bet you will be, too.

Convention Survival Pack Basics

If all of the Nerd Out Squad thought about it, we would each own stock in Purell. Almost everyone polled with this question answered hand sanitizer and bottled water. Geekscape.net writer Matthew Kelly puts it simply. “Hand Sanitizer and Emergency Vitamin C packages are the only thing that keeps me alive.” Battery and phone chargers were also highly recommended. Many folks included cash as a must-have. Breath mints, tylenol and extra deodorant also made the list. Also, don’t lose your photo ID or your phone. Extra clothes and shoes are also important.

Food & Drink

Dumbbells & Dragons founder Kenny Rotter recommends carrots and bananas to stay fueled up at conventions. Jerky is also a popular selection. Themed desserts also make the list. Nintendo-themed cupcakes are all the rage at Super Smash Con. Cosplayers and costumers often find creative ways to work food themes into their overall design. Packing protein bars is another way to make sure you have options.

Podcasting

Many conventions have designated areas available to podcasters. Having the proper equipment is still up to you. Podcasting for Dummies author Tee Morris says, “I recommend having amps and speaker so people can gather round and passers-by know something is going on here…but that you have to coordinate with the con staff. Recording panels can be tricky, unless you can assure guests that they are all miced. otherwise you are doing open air recording of panels and those can be hell when playing back.”

Nobilis Reed of the Nobilis Erotica podcast offers this advice. “Don’t worry too much about audio quality. Live events sound like live events. You’re not The Grateful Dead.”

Cosplay

Costumer Robyn McIntosh raises some additional concerns for cosplayers and costumers. “Nail glue. It’s like super glue but way less toxic and does not reach to heat. Also, a lighter is key to taking care of loose threads, etc.” How bout somewhere that serves for pockets? Sara Logan Hofstein offers some cosplay workarounds. “If I’m wearing something where my feet are relatively hidden (like a dress) I’ll usually wear really tall boots, like thigh highs, because I can stick my phone, makeup, small wallet, etc, in my shoes.”

Miscellaneous

SFX artist Zombianca suggested poster tubes. “I hate finding awesome art then having to lug it around to get damaged…it’s the worst!” Make sure you have a schedule ahead of time. Many conventions now have apps dedicated to the schedule of events. Plan around the popularity of the guests so you can set your priorities.

Downtime

The key to convention survival (and sanity) may also be downtime. Author Pip Ballantine says downtime is important and sometimes overlooked. “I love people, but after a few hours I need a place to decompress and prepare myself for more.” Holistic Health Dr. Stacia Kelly agrees. “Being an introvert, large crowds and massive amounts of time with people drains me. During a day long or weekend long event, I have to manage to sneak in some downtime so that I can continue to chat, be nice, and not suffer from exhaustion for several days after an event.”

So, there you have it. From tables to panels to cosplay, your many tips to packing for convention survival. Anything we missed? Please let us know!

Featured image cosplayer is Andrew Elkins

The Largest VR Expo Heads to Los Angeles

VRLA is heading for Los Angeles! This mind-blowing virtual and augmented reality conference will be taking place April 14 and 15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center! Hear from the greatest minds in immersive tech. Check out hundreds of VR and AR experiences. As well as installations for gaming and media enthusiasts.

VRLA 2017 Discount!

Don’t miss the keynote address by Unity CEO John Riccitiello on Friday and Rick & Morty Co-Creator Justin Roiland on Saturday. Make sure to register for the Pro Pass (for those who are business-focused) at $299 or a Saturday Pass priced at $40. It’s a steal at $40! With so much going on it’s a ridiculously low price for what you’re getting! But we have done you one better! 

Get 15% off at registration with discount code: VRLA_nerdout

VRLA

“This is the third year of VRLA, and with each event we’ve grown in size and scope. It’s so exciting to serve both the industry and developers who make this whole thing go, as well as the VR-curious who want to see what it’s all about. That we can put Justin Roiland on the same stage as Unity CEO John Riccitiello and many of the industry’s greatest technical thinkers is a treat and a testament to the support the community has shown us,” said Cosmo Scharf, co-founder of VRLA.

Aside from the VR experiences, there are workshops and panels with industry-leading hardware and software developers, content creators, and cutting-edge prototype technology that can only be seen at the event. VRLA has also partnered with IEEE VR to bring you the latest scientific research in virtual reality! With special session topics ranging from virtual humans and avatars, to locomotion and navigation in virtual environments.

For more information about VRLA, visit www.virtualrealityla.com.

Get 15% off at registration with discount code: VRLA_nerdout

The Force is Strong at Star Wars Celebration

Springtime in Orlando, Florida brings several things each year. Tourists flock to Disney and Universal Studios. The flowers bloom. Star Wars fans from all over the planet flock to Star Wars Celebration.

Star Wars Celebration

The event boasts celebrities and media guests, fan groups like the 501st, and more. Fan-led panels and tables fill the schedule. The exhibitors will be selling Star Wars themed items, apparel and games. There is speed dating, droid building, and even a tattoo area.

Guests

Media guests will be in appearance from Star Wars properties old and new. Familiar faces like Ian McDiarmid (Emporer Palpatine) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) will attend. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar) are scheduled. Newcomers from Rogue One will also be on hand. Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) are among the new crew. Off-screen guests are also among the highlights. Star Wars:The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will speak to the crowd. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will be on hand to talk about the direction of the franchise. The full guest list is available here.

Cosplay

Individual and group cosplay is always welcome at Star Wars Celebration. Contest entries must register in advance due to the massive number of submissions. The #SWCO team reviews the submissions and informs those who have made the cut. Fans can also build props and sets for display. Outside of the contests, there are plenty attendees in costume.

Gaming & Other Activities

Fans on the floor will have access to Electronic Arts’ range of Star Wars titles. Included are Star Wars pinball, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and more. An off-site Star Wars: The Old Republic cantina event will cover upcoming programming. Over 30 artists will have works on display as part of the art show. Artists include Cryssy Cheung, Josh Smith, Jason Palmer and others.

Nerd Night Speed Dating will take place at the event. This event has produced plenty of couples and marriages over the years. This year, the speed dating will have six hetero sessions and one for LGBT. Details for speed dating can be found here.

Pin trading sessions get a new twist in 2017. Character pins spanning all 40 years of the franchise will be available for sale and trade. This year introduces unique artwork by Derek Laufman. The R2 builders club will be on hand to teach droid building. This year will debut the droid smash derby as well. Marc Draven and Shane Turgeon are among the world class tattoo artists on hand. Fans who want to get some fresh ink can schedule some time in the chair. Details can be found here.

Star Wars: Galactic Nights

This year features a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On April 14th, Disney Hollywood Studios is going to open several themed exhibitions. Star Wars: Galactic Nights is a family-friendly event at Disney’s amusement park. Existing rides like Star Tours will be joined by new themed events. Costumes for adults and kids are highly encouraged. Tickets are available on the official site.

For more information, schedule and tickets, check out the Official Site.

Seven Hells! Thrones The Musical Parody is Great!

Just over a week ago the Nerd Out Team went to see Thrones the Musical Parody in Los Angeles! I had seen a lot of promotion for this theater event. On top of the fact that their dates had been extended! Well, if it was good enough that they extended the dates I figured it had to be good! Right? Seven hells yes!

Some Home Entertainment

The story centers around a woman whose life is falling apart. She’s going through a divorce and is in need of cheering up. In comes her friend’s suggestion of introducing her to Game of Thrones. They try to convince her of it’s merits by performing parts of the show for her. With a good amount of their own interpretations which only add to the hilarity.

Touching on some of the touchstones of the series, they beautifully wave in some fan favorite pieces, while also reminding us of some of the more ridiculous parts of the show. But hey, it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones without some murder, infanticide, and more! They even poke fun at some of the shows shortcomings likes will Tyrion’s accent ever improve? The acting was A+ for this event. The Nerd Out team was full of belly laughs throughout the show.

Sold Out Show

“Born from the twisted minds of Baby Wants Candy, one of the most exhilarating improv ensembles in the world, “Thrones! The Musical Parody” completely sold out its entire run in 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed up with sold-out performances at London’s Leicester Square Theatre. This hilarious musical creation is an absolute must-see performance.”

The Los Angeles performance currently ends March 26th, while the Chicago performance ends March 19th. Make sure to hurry and get your tickets for this show before it disappears!

Thrones The Musical Parody in Los Angeles and Chicago are listed on our calendar.

Take Part in the DisneyBound March Challenge

It’s that time of year again! Every March, the DisneyBound community takes part in the DisneyBound March Challenge! Now it’s time for you to take part in the DisneyBound March challenge! This challenge encourages participants to try to DisneyBound every day of the month! It’s not a requirement, however. Some Bounders will come and go throughout the month—showing off their DisneyBounds on various days.

DisneyBound

What is DisneyBounding?

If you’re new to the trend—DisneyBounding is when you use clothes that you can find in your closet or local mall to create outfits based off of your favorite Disney character! It’s subtle—and not at all a costume. You don’t need wigs, props or make-up to create your DisneyBound! To start creating your DisneyBound, pick your favorite character! Then, look at the colors that the character wears and where it lies on them. For instance, Donald Duck would have a blue shirt, white pants and yellow shoes. Next, use accessories to incorporate little details from the characters look or story!

Best of luck to all those participating! I can’t wait to see your DisneyBounds!

Nerd Out Does DisneyBound

Nerd Out’s very own Michelle Jensen even did some DisneyBounds for last years challenge! Check our her Sebastian and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid below!

 

Geek Girl Strong’s 1Up Your Health Challenge

Did you have a 2017 New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get healthy? Has it already been forgotten? Fear not! Geek Girl Strong has got you covered!

First of all, don’t get yourself down. Studies show that as many as 88% of people fail to meet their New Year’s Resolution, with 43% giving up in the first month. It’s the reason you can’t get a treadmill at the gym in January, but by February, the drive-thru line for Chik-Fil-A is around the block. Here’s the good news. You can hit the reset button and get back on track, and Stormy Riot and her team are here to help. Even better, they’re going to celebrate your nerdiness in the process!

Who is Geek Girl Strong?

Geek Girl Strong (GGS) is on a mission to help all girls & women realize that they are the super heroines they have been waiting for. They are an inclusive health-coaching community for EVERY body, targeting people who identify as girls/women and do not fit into any one box. They care about or are interested in their overall wellness and would like a sidekick by them during their journey.

Working through the GGS program and joining our community allows those who accept the challenge to better their level of wellness in all the seven dimensions: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical.

GGS was founded by Stormy Riot (Physical Education, B.S., Health Education, M.S. Ed., ACE Certified Health Coach). After years as a teacher, she developed the program to put together overall wellness, female empowerment, and her “geeky qualities.”

The Nerd Factor

For those who love to geek out over their favorite nerdom, health vocabulary can mix with nerd vocabulary to make every goal attainable, fun and relatable.

EXAMPLES OF TERMS USED:
Achievements (Unlocked)
Badges
Bonus Level
Boss Fight
Coins/XP points
Hidden Level
Insert More Coins
“Listen!”
Lives
Power-up
Quests
Red Ring
Respawn
Stages
Training
Utility Belt
Wrong way!

The 1Up Your Health Challenge

The GGS 1Up Your Health Challenge is designed to help women and girls work toward their health goals, regardless of where they’re starting or what they’ve done in the past. Beginning on February 19th, the 2nd annual challenge is flexible in the exercises involved and the costs. Stormy and her team have no set rates, and ask only for donations to the cause.

The Activities

During the challenge, participants will be coached and have a chance to work with Stormy Riot. They will also:

  • Get daily emails with a new daily challenge
  • Gain access to a private Facebook group
  • Become a member of the growing Geek Girl Strong community
  • Create habits that fit with the geek girl’s lifestyle
  • Be invited to the LIVE 1Up Results Challenge Online Master Class

The master class will feature webinar style meetings with the Geek Girl Strong League of Extraordinary Women. These sessions feature coaching, Q and A, and opportunities for participants to add to their utility belts! (*Whispers* Raffles, there will be raffles.)

GGS wants more complex female characters, because that’s what we are.

Join the challenge by clicking the link below.

Begins February 19th!
Join Geek Girl Strong for our 2nd online health challenge.
Work towards your health goals …and only pay what you want!

LudoSport: The Network of Sporting Lightsaber Combat

This just in: Star Wars is back, and it has reached and inspired more fans than ever. Some of these fans have taken the art of Lightsaber fighting and created an entire international network. It’s called LudoSport International.

LudoSport History:

The debate over the practicality of light saber battles has existed since the franchise debuted in the 70’s. In the last decade or so, thanks largely to the connectivity of social media, the concept of making light saber combat leagues became more of a reality. In 2005, Saber Wars was founded, with a loose group of choreographers and combatants filling its rosters. Many of the members came from New York Jedi, a group that has grown far larger since then, performing stage combat at conventions, corporate events, and even the debut of the first Star Wars stamp at the Empire Post Office in 2007.

The Network:

LudoSport International originated in Milan and now has academies all over Europe including posts in Sweden, Russia, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Boston and San Francisco. Each academy teaches a range of skills, covering all seven forms of light saber battling as detailed in Star Wars canon. The academy programs include duels, demo teams, and seminars for both students and instructors. Students are individually ranked, and all pupils in the network can challenge one another worldwide to a duel.

National tournaments are held annually, with awards going to categories like Best Style, Best Technique, Best Sequence, Best Fight, Best Jedi, Best Sith, Best Padawan and Best Youngling. The winners of the national tournaments go on to the international championship, with competition restricted to the top ranked students only.

The Styles:

Students progress through the seven styles of saber fighting in order. The progression is intended to add in attacking and defending skills without ever compromising with the pupil has already learned. The first style is Shii-Cho (a defensive-minded style) that takes students approximately a year and a half to master. Next is Makashi, a style focused on speed and quick strikes. Third is Soresu, a skill focused on fluidity and counter strikes. Fourth is Ataru, an acrobatic style that is used to keep one’s enemy off-balance. Fifth is Djem-So, wherein the student develops top levels of speed and unpredictability. Sixth is Niman, which incorporates all of the previous styes in a manner that minimizes effort to maximize counter strikes. The final style is Vaapad, a focus on self-control to maximize harmony and domination.

The Rules:

There are ten rules to competing in LudoSport events.

  1. The Light Saber – 3 types are allowed (short, long, and double)
  2. Combat Apparel – combatants must wear apparel that matches their individual rank
  3. The Combat – typical events are 1:1, however other types of combat can be included depending on the event and coordinators
  4. The Combat Arena – the size and shape must follow official guidelines
  5. The Target – the entire body is a target, with mortal or non-mortal zones
  6. Points – typically awarded for first touch (as in fencing or sparring)
  7. Validity of Strikes – judges determine the validity of strikes during a duel
  8. Combat Time – typical events do not have a time limit and are decided by points
  9. Loyalty – each fighter must ensure that his or her opponent is not injured
  10. Competition Judges – no scores or ranking is official unless the event is judged by a certified judge as part of the event

Do you have what it takes to try real life training? Are you ready to begin the path to Jedi Knight or Sith Lord? LudoSport International awaits!