Playing a Smurf

As my followers know, my new episode of NerdBeards dropped last Saturday.

As you also already know, it is a review of the Smurfs. My cohort convinced me that we should improve on the Smurf costumes and dress as Smurfs for Phoenix Comicon this past weekend. And of course, I said yes…with caveats.
Firstly, we used Liquid Latex in the video, but for the convention, we couldn’t use it again. It was awkward and streaky and just looked bad. Second, if we did Smurfs, there had to be at least three of us. Minion volunteered to be Grouchy Smurf, which worked since his voice is changing. And finally, we had to have a willing handler. Moon Sedai agreed to be our handler and before I could ask her to instead be Smurfette, the deal was finalized and I was stuck as Brainy Smurf.

phoenix_comicon_2016 (33 of 80)On Saturday, (Smurf Day) I arrived late to the cosplay repair room where we used as a base of operations and setup. Turned out the paint we were using was significantly lighter than I thought and it was going on our pale skin. Despite popular opinion that living in a desert makes you tan, it actually makes you seek shade faster and causes temporary hypohydria (dizziness from lack of water) thus leading to pale-ass white boys painting their body hair pale blue.

Since I nixed the idea of latex paint, this time we chose a water-base paint. The temperature outside hit 117 F. If we went outside we were ticking sweat bombs of blue. We survived by timing our exits between buildings by moving from gentle mister to tree shade to convenient hotel along the way.
It took four amateur makeup artists two hours to get all three of us painted. The best painter was Minion/Grumpy Smurf’s friend, who didn’t come to the Con to paint.

When we hit the floor, there were the general titters one expects, but then I talked Blackheart into singing the Smurf song and the crowd went wild. Suddenly every time we sang, we were inundated with cellphones, cameras filming still frame and video and people asking if they could pose with us. We became mini-flashmob celebrities. It became our shtick to leave floors by singing up the escalators and waving goodbye.

As a cosplayer, I live for people to take pictures of me. It is my bread and butter reason for dressing up. I love cosplaying. As one of the Smurfs this year, we had a number of people take pictures of us while we were walking/singing. We purposefully kept our singing short, so if you wanted a picture posed of or with us, you could get one.

When someone tried to take a picture of us while eating, I asked “Do you want us to pose for you? He said, I’m okay, you are eating.” Nah, Man, We’re done anyway. Let’s get all of us in there.” I think it made for a better shot, a more cohesive shot, and I was glad he was patient enough to wait for us to get up out of the chairs.

I agree that cosplay snobbery has been making the rounds amongst the more professional/shiner cosplays and it is sad to see. It is the fans who suffer.

I read a post that cosplayers are expected to be “on” the entire time and I think there is a fair expectation of that. I agree we aren’t all method actors, but I think when you try, it brings so much more to the character. The Spiderman who poses looks so much better than “guy in spiderman suit” just as much as the guy doing the Brainy Smurf having to do the voice the entire time and singing is better than “blue guy in white hat.” It isn’t enough to dress up like your favorite character, you have to throw the mannerisms in there.
There was one awkward and inappropriate moment. We had a 15 yr old with us playing Grouchy Smurf. At one point, while we were getting our pictures made, a lady groped both our asses. It wasn’t just a passing butt graze, she got herself some smurf beefcake. It wasn’t painful, but it was solid…and completely wrong. I was so shocked, I didn’t say anything but when I asked Grouchy, he confirmed, “yeah she grabbed my butt.”

The Uruguayan soccer team was in town. For those of you that don’t know Urugayan colors, Uruguay is light blue and white and it is not uncommon for fans to dress up as Smurfs. Little did we know, the Uruguayan television crew, Uruguay Noma, had a camera crew at the convention picking up some B-Roll of the con to work into some fun ads for the team. Well, we come around the corner in the West Building and suddenly we are inundated with Uruguayans cheering for the Smurfs and they wanted us to say, “We support Uruguay for the Copa America Centenario in Arizona (cue Smurf song)” so we said it the best we could and we sang it as loud as we could.

They lost to Mexico 1-4, but we were rooting for them.

One of the best ongoing parts of the Smurf cosplay was the tweets we would read concerning us in the Phoenix Comicon twitter, My fave was “The smurfs are out on the floor singing that godawful LaLa song.” It made me smile. When we went into the area with all the autographs and signings, we got thumbed up by Timothy Omundson. As we passed one of the radio stations, she stopped her broadcast to announce on air that, “I just had a smurf wave at me.”

All in all, being a Smurf was something I went from “No, not again,” to “Man, I can’t believe that we didn’t do this sooner.”

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