Thursday News: Natashia Déon, Comic Con’s cosplayers, books and barbers, and glass-plate photography
Natashia Deón may be the hardest-working debut novelist in Los Angeles – A really compelling interview with Déon, who started out as a corporate lawyer, and who now works as a novelist, attorney, and law professor, and who also founded something called “the Dirty Laundry Lit reading series, which is equal parts party and reading (the next one is Nov. 5).” Her novel, Grace, which contemplates the nature of justice, mercy, and, of course, grace, is her first, but it’s obvious that for Déon, writing is simply one element of her personhood. As she says ‘[w]hen asked if she considers herself more of a lawyer, a law professor or a writer, Deón says, ‘I don’t know what I am, but I’m always the same person.’” A different spin on the whole day job v. writing debate.
Because it took her seven years to write “Grace,” having the novel out now feels unreal to her. How has her life changed since its release in June? “Well,” she says coyly, “for one, I’m talking to you. The L.A. Times is in my house, and I didn’t kill anyone.” She laughs. And in her laugh you can sense her entire history, everything that brought her to this moment, including that exit from corporate law after the birth of her son: “It was the last wave of a longtime-coming miracle. Freedom, direction and service.” . . .
“In a court of law, you’re always looking for the ‘why?’ It’s all about motive,” she says. “Likewise, with a character, I’m always thinking: ‘Why would this character do that?’ I try to see from their point of view. There are some people who are just evil, who have a mental defect that causes them to do bad things, but for most people, there’s a history that gets them to where they are and to what they do. When I look at my characters, I question how they got to this point.” – Los Angeles Times
Meet the incredible cosplayers of New York Comic Con – Although not as large as the San Diego Comic Con, New York does have some amazing cosplay, and what I like about this retrospective is that it demonstrates a real appreciation for the work and artistry of cosplay.
One reason to go to any sort of convention is to take in the craftsmanship of the costumers who flock to the event, portraying their favorite characters. Some work for months to assemble their meticulous costumes, while others throw together what they have. The passion and excitement that each one brings to the convention floor is infectious.
We spent hours walking the convention floor to stop and ask costumers what appealed to them the most about the characters they were portraying, and how they put them together. Here are some of the things we learned from them: to a person, were passionate about what they had dressed up as, and readily identified with the characters they were portraying. – The Verge
Choose A Book And Read To Your Barber, He’ll Take A Little Money Off The Top – This is pure genius: read a book to your barber and get a discount on your cut. This profile of the Fuller Cut barbershop in Ypsilanti, Michigan is testimony to the value of community involvement in children’s literacy development. And I’ll bet there are a number of programs that could use book donations.
This program made its way to Ypsilanti because of Ryan Griffin, who’s been cutting mohawks, fades and tapers here for 20 years. He says he first read about a similar literacy program in Harlem, N.Y., so he asked his boss if they could replicate it. Within a few weeks people in the area were donating books to the cause.
“We get complimented by teachers that will say it does so much for these kids throughout the school year,” he says.
But here at the Fuller Cut, it’s not just enough to read the book out loud. Kids, Griffen explains, get quizzed by their barber to make sure they understand what they read. – NPR
Photography’s era of glass plate negatives – Make sure you check out the gallery – the photos are incredible historical documents (Greta Garbo, Mussolini, Mata Hari, Gandhi, etc.) and absolutely riveting images.
Before the film era and way before the digital era, photographic emulsions were made on glass supports, known as glass plate negatives.
Two types of glass plate negatives exist: the collodion wet plate invented by Frederick Scoff Archer, in use from the 1850s, and the silver gelatin dry plate created by Dr. Richard L. Maddox, in use from the 1870s. The wet plates were hand coated by photographers. The dry plates were easier to transport (though still heavy) and didn’t require as much exposure to light. Both processes are still in use by fine art photographers, for their great tonal range and detail, but back in the day they were commonplace for news photography. – CBS News