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Winter is Coming to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library

on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 22:18

“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die,” Cersei Lannister explains to Eddard Stark during the first season of the HBU drama. “There is no middle ground.”

Despite such a dire warning, fans of the medieval fantasy have become enchanted with the kingdom of Westeros almost as much as Lord of the Rings aficionados dream of Middle Earth. Although Westeros is fictional, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library is providing the next best thing on Friday, April 22, 2016, as it transforms itself into the world of Game of Thrones with a special “Evening in Westeros” celebration that is sure to delight local fans across the region.

In addition to allowing Game of Thrones followers to congregate and interact with each other, the event will also feature an array of entertainment, including medieval music and food, wine and mead tasting, medieval dance lesson overseen by University of Pittsburgh Professor Emily Winerock, a live steel sword demonstration courtesy of Broken Plow Western Martial Arts and the Pittsburgh Sword Fighters, and real chain mail for attendees to try on.

Although the HBO drama and George R.R. Martin book series that the show is based on takes place in the fictional kingdom of Westeros, the world of Game of Thrones is loosely modelled after the Wars of the Roses-era of England. Thus while being fantasy, Game of Thrones is also rooted in the medieval, and the parallels offer real-world exploration despite the non-real elements that both the show and books incorporate into their narratives.

The ToonSeum Hosts a Cosplay Fundraiser

on Sun, 04/17/2016 - 13:46

Cosplaying—the act of dressing up as a favorite character—has been around for over 100 years. The very first science fiction comic strip, Mr. Skygack, from Mars by A.D. Condo, premiered in 1907, for instance, and fans of the series were dressing as the main protagonist within a year. Famed science fiction fan Forrest J. Ackerman, meanwhile, dressed in futuristic garb at the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939.

While the roots of cosplaying may be in the United States, it wasn’t until the fad hit Japan full force in the 1990s that the hobby reached worldwide significance. Nowadays one cannot attend any sort of Pop Culture convention without coming across thousands of people dressed in costume. Pittsburgh is no different, as anyone who ever attended Steel City Con, Tekko or Wizard World Pittsburgh can attest.

What was once a fringe hobby, however, has also developed into a charity effort in addition to achieving widespread popularity. Non-profit organizations have popped up across the country in recent years, with members dressing up in costume in support of their favorite causes. The ToonSeum in Pittsburgh, one of only a small handful of museums that cater to the cartoon and comic arts, is hoping to tap into that thrill of cosplaying while supporting a worthy cause on Saturday, April 23, 2016, when it holds its annual Ka-Blam! fundraiser, appropriately named “Cause-Play: A Masquerade Fundraiser for the ToonSeum.”