El Mundo Boston 2016: Worlds Collide When Cosplay Meets Wrestling at Fenway
June 26th 2016
This was be a day that will be remembered for a long long time. As a native New Englander I am certainly no stranger to the hallowed ground of Fenway Park. I have been able to share in its graces several times over the years. Usually there is a certain feel in the air when you arrive at this place. For anyone who’s ever been here, more often than not during their stay, history is made. Today was no different.
El Mundo is an annual family festival in Boston, that prides itself in bringing all forms of entertainment to its spectators and families in attendance. Like any annual event though the goal is always to make it bigger and better than the year before. 2015 marked the first time that the fun-loving, high energy community of Cosplay was brought to the celebration and the result was quite the spectacle. Children and adults alike got to enjoy the sight of some of their most beloved fictional characters come to life right before their very eyes. Now it’s important to note that just about anyone can throw on a flashy costume, but it takes special people to make it come alive. Thanks to energy and hard work of these young men and women, they make something that could be so very ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary.
So that begs the question, how do you top that? Well for starters how about having a second-year encore and then the added caveat doing something in some place that makes history.
The answer to that question means inviting the larger than life world of Sports Entertainment. To me the combination is something only so natural. After all these entertainers are similar to the cosplayers in a way that they take larger than life characters and have their story told on 16 x 20 canvas surrounded by ring ropes. When these two forms of entertainment are set apart you get something inspiring. When you put them together, the result is nothing short of epic.
As a fan of both these worlds and to be able to view it in such an iconic building to me was pure magic. There was a different feel in the air that day to be sure. Even though there was to be no crack of the bat or hustling to slide into home plate, a championship team still performed. Don’t just take it from me though. I took the time to get the views and opinions of those in attendance just to put the punctuation on what this day meant to each and every one of them.
GP: First off I’d like to thank you both for being here. Today is a pretty big deal as I’m sure you’ve noticed. So I wanted to take a few brief moments and get your thoughts on what Cosplay means to you.
Ruby: Ok, sure.
GP: Individually, how long have you been doing this?
Ruby: I have been doing this now for about 7 or 8 years. It started with an ex girlfriend getting me to go to Anime Boston and I cosplayed and that’s how I got into it. It just clicked and now I have a passion for it.
GP: (Turns to Raven) What say you? What does cosplay mean to you?
Raven: Well Cosplay means a lot. It’s a big part of my life. I kind of feel more welcomed here than when I am wearing normal clothes. You’re always welcomed in the cosplay community no matter what you wear. I can freely walk up to someone and be like “Hey you cosplay, that’s cool let’s be friends.”
GP: So do you stick to cosplay or are you a fan of the comic book world as well?
Raven: For me I’m a big fan of comic books as well.
Ruby: With me I am more of a fan of the anime and manga, I never really got into the comic book part of it.
GP: Very cool. Well it’s a big day and hope you both have a great time. What message would you have for anybody who feels a bit sketchy about trying this for their first time?
Raven: My recommendation, is you are always welcomed in the cosplay community no matter what. So go ahead try it, see if you like it and if you do, great! We’re weirdos and no stranger to a little craziness. Come be our friend. (laughs)
Ruby: I feel like she said. Just take the leap, you’ll love it. Hey that’s what I did, and my life is better because of it.
GP: What was the driving force that got you into cosplay?
Grayson: The driving force that got me into cosplay was giving back and making amends. I have seen and done a lot of things in my life. I am a disabled combat veteran. I have been through three tours of combat and there are things that I’ve done and I regret. You might say it’s my therapy for myself.
GP: That is great. I also just want to take a second and thank you for your service.
Grayson: Thank you so much.
GP: Do you do this often or only when there is a Con scheduled?
Grayson: I try to do any kind of gathering or event. I especially enjoy doing charities and of course comic cons.
GP: What does today mean to you?
Grayson: It means a whole hell of a lot. Honestly to be able to slap a kid high-five and see the smiles on their faces, it’s like a high for me. I truly enjoy giving back.
Just some great quotes from some great folks there.
I turned to take my leave and the sound of thunder filled the clubhouse and we were graced by the presence of two Thors. Thor had to make his exit hastily (little did I know he wouldst be doing battle in the Royale later that day) but luckily for GP readers his female cohort was much more obliging in letting her cape down to answer a few questions.
GP: So it’s not every day one gets to chat with the Goddess of Thunder, I just wanted to pick your brain a few moments.
Moxie: Sure. (laughs)
GP: So how did you come to do this, what is your origin?
Moxie: So I first started when I was in high school. I think it was back in 2000 and.. I’m dating myself by doing this. I want to say 2008. I went to Anime Boston and I really enjoyed it. I saw these people dressed up in costumes and I said to myself “that’s pretty cool, I want to do it” Then the following year I made a costume. Then the year after that I bought one, then I went to college. I took a little bit of a break and I said to myself “Y’know I still want to do this.” I was a math major in college so I sort of had to put my head in my books and stop for a while. After I graduated though I was able to pick it up a lot more.
I do it as much as I can. I go to PAX, Conneticon, Anime Boston, Katsucon and that will be my first far away convention. So it’s mostly been the last two or three years that I really started going all out with cosplay.
GP: Would you recommend this to others even if they might be scared?
Moxie: Well sure, I mean there are different stages of cosplay. They can start out wearing a geeky T-shirt and jeans..
GP: So my cosplay?
Moxie: (laughing) Ha ha! Exactly. Or you could be L from Death Note and grab a white t-shirt and some black hair looking creepy with a little tiny lollipop and boom, you’ve got a cosplay.
Moxie: Then there is the other end of the spectrum where if you try to make the armor from Destiny, you might wonder “Why would I do this?” I’m not going to lie, there has been many times I’ve broken down making a cosplay where my friends will push me on and be like “you can do this” “Just finish the paint” then I look at my clock and it’s three in the morning and I’m like “I don’t want toooo.” So sure you’re going to hit those moments depending on what kind of cosplay you decide to make. You just need to remember to budget your time and budget your money. Cosplay can get very expensive, extremely fast.
GP: That’s a great point too. I mean you have to have a high level of passion for this because it’s likely to be something you’re not going to get a lot back from. At least not initially right?
Moxie: Yeah, people probably think those famous cosplayers like Jessica Nigri, and Ivy Doomkitty that they make so much money because you see them everywhere. In reality it’s probably not that way. Which is why they have gofundme.com and kickstarter campaigns. It’s not as easy as people think.
GP: So what are the deciding factors for you when you choose a new cosplay?
Moxie: I choose primarily based on what I’m attending. If it’s a comic book convention, or an anime. Whatever I’m into at the time. At Anime Boston I went as Ayame from Inuyasha, which was a character I always wanted to do because Inuyasha was actually what got me into anime because it was on late at night on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network and I loved it so I endured all the making and sewing. I am generally all around a lover of nerdy things so there are always some type of character that I am interested in the genres. I just try to pick and keep it relevant to what I’m attending that moment.
GP: Very cool stuff. So before I take my leave, who is your all time favorite comic book character?
Moxie: Oh, Thor. I actually collected all the first edition of the series and then last year at Boston Comic Con, I got Stan Lee to autograph issue number one for me while I was dressed as Thor. I even got it CGC graded. It came back with a 9.8. I cried I was so excited.
GP: Wow. That’s awesome. Well thank you for your time. Keep the hammer. You be worthy.
Moxie: Thank you.
You can follow more on Instagram @TheMoxieMegan
I then left Superhero Central and made my way down the cobblestone to the back of the park. As I weaved in and out of the crowd, my sight got clearer and then it was right in front of me. Behind a small metal barricade was something I was pretty sure I would never see at this venue: a wrestling ring. This was it. This was where the day’s performances would take place. I was thrilled. Everything looked great. The entrance way , the ring apron it was all top-notch. I still couldn’t believe it was happening.
It was almost time for the battle royal. It is such a time-honored part of Sports Entertainment to have the bulk of the roster, fill the ring to do battle with each other, friend and foe alike until in the end only one is standing. When it’s done right, it’s quite a sight.
After the smoke had cleared and the victors rejoiced, I returned to the locker room to get some more comments of those in attendance and how the day had profoundly effected them. What I got however was an interesting few moments with the always ever so “humble” Vern Vicallo aka The Selfie Made Man:
(Please note that the Selfie Made Man’s comments do not reflect El Mundo Boston or their opinions. They are also highly veiled in Kayfabe, which means he is being in character, NOT Vern’s real thoughts. So don’t be offended readers)
GP: So I have to ask what does the Selfie Made Man think about his first foray into Fenway Park?
Vern: Well obviously it was historical, but not for me but for Fenway Park to have the presence of the Selfie Made Man inside. Fenway Park has been nothing but a curse on the sports community since it has been built, but now that it has the greatness of myself, it has become something of worth.
GP: Quite the interesting take there. So you predict an upswing on the home teams record for the rest of the season then?
Vern: I guarantee, now that they will win the whole damn thing. So instead of these fans and this clubhouse raising a banner after another World Series win, they should raise a banner that says : The Selfie Made Man “We thank you”
GP: So now that this is crossed off, what can we see for the Selfie Made Man going forward?
Vern: Forward? Well more greatness of course. The Selfie Made Man makes his NECW debut Saturday July 2nd at the Brockton Fair. Then July 16th I defend my LPW Heavyweight Championship in Hudson, MA in a ladder match against Randy Shawn.
GP: That sounds like something to see for sure.
GP: So let me ask you sir, what is one thing that isn’t about you, that you will take away from today.
Vern: (emphatically) Nothing.
Well there you have it. If you’re missing the kind of narcissism only a thousand mirrors and an endless walk in closet can provide, you might want to follow the Selfie Made Man on Twitter @Vern2Dope
As I was wrapping up I was able to grab a few thoughts from the man with a plan, Bell Time Club promoter Beau Douglas himself, and here’s what he had to say about the history I just witnessed:
GP: As this momentous event comes to a close, I just wanted to ask you one question. What did today mean to you?
Beau Douglas: Today was an amazing day filled with the accomplishment of successfully bringing in a unique brand of Sports Entertainment. I realized since the moment my buddy Dante called me and said “We got this.” it was bigger than the two of us. Not since 1969 has Sports Entertainment graced these halls and that particular show was headlined by my trainer and mentor the legendary Walter “Killer” Kowalski.
To me it is such an honor to have picked up where he and the great Bruno Sammartino left off. It was a tremendous responsibility that came with even more pressure. I am so proud that the Bell Time Club which consist of my students, Tim Lennox, Dan Terry, I could go on and on but they really stepped it up and tore the house down.
It was cool that we had at least one performer from every New England state on our roster and helped provide that level of authenticity to where we were. I am glad that I had the honor to perform but it was an even bigger honor to showcase the talent and peers of our craft. We had an amazing crew and things couldn’t have run any smoother.
One last thing I want to say is that this event proved that people of all different nationalities, religions, and political affiliations CAN come together and become successful as a whole when need be. On this day there were no egos, no racism, no hate. There was only enjoyment, excitement, and entertainment with appreciation for the passions we share. Whether it be in a mask and cape, or boots and tights, today we conquered all! We made history in these walls and I thank every body very very much.
Very well put. Please remember to check out the Bell Time Club in Wakefield, MA if you’d like to see what Beau and his students are up to. I highly suggest you do.
What a day! Ladies and gentleman , if you had told me that I was going to get to see Thor win a battle royal live, front row and center I would have thought, you might have been changing in the wrong phone booth. However that’s exactly what happened and believe you me, it was glorious. (Big shout out to the Mighty Sean Feeney for his amazing Thor portrayal, even Odin be proud)
So there you have it. A day that was filled with fun, mystery, wonder and spectacle. In a place where we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969. (hmm reminds me of a song somewhere) It has been said that all great journeys begin with one small step. Today though, we all took one giant leap.
It was hammer time, indeed.
Graphic Policy would like to thank the following: Beau Douglas and the Bell Time Club for their amazing performance, Dante Moon Productions for bringing to life this incredible vision, Sean Feeney for his grandiose portrayal of Thor, and to all the cosplayers and staffers that made the day worth it. Lastly thank you, El Mundo Boston for allowing this all to happen. I absolutely hope we are all back, bigger and better next year.