Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Napa Weekend

Over the weekend, I went to Napa, California for John’s boss’s birthday! We left on Saturday morning and came home on Sunday night. The party was held at Del Dotto Winery, which is very fancy and beautiful and has amazing wines.

Here are some quick pictures from the weekend:

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Just got in!

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Stopped at a café in Davis for lunch!

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I clean up well!

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Pretty cool fountain. We arrived just before sunset, so I didn’t get very many good pictures.

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Obligatory Instagrammish shots. Dessert was “cookies and milk,” i.e.: custard.

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Visited a yarn shop on Sunday and picked up some pretties!

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And here’s me at the Sacramento Airport on Sunday heading home. I look tired and in pain because I was tired and in a little pain. There was a lot of wine-tasting on Saturday!

Steampunk Art

So, a couple of years ago, I backed a Kickstarter for a steampunk artist whose work I really admire. Dale Mathis works in metal and kinetic sculpture, and I really love his stuff. He’s local to Las Vegas and has a significant piece in the Brett Wesley Gallery.

Here’s what came in the mail about 2 weeks ago. OK, I know my video is all crappy compared to the one he has on his website, but I was so jazzed by the piece, I wanted to snap a quick video. I didn’t get the dice with mine.

Overall, the piece is really well made, fits together quite snugly, and is a beautiful piece. I’m very happy with it!

Our dining room/den is decorated in “Las Vegas,” so our bar, lighted sign, and paintings of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas sign are in there. The Dale Mathis piece might not seem like a natural fit, but with the local artist connection, I think it goes well.

San Diego Comic Con

HomePage_v1San Diego Comic Con public registration long ago filled up, but they hold a bunch of complimentary badges for industry professionals.

To qualify, you have to submit evidence that you are working as a creative professional in the comics or video game industry. I am, between Handknit Heroes, my work on Digital Manga Group projects, and even my “day job,” which tangentially involves video games, albeit video slot machines.

Thing is, you have to plan ahead– you need to submit your work by mid-October of the year before. Which I did, and was approved.

The professional badge registration opened this morning at 10 AM and by 10:08, I had registered myself and a guest for the convention. I have no idea how we’ll pay for our hotel room, but we’re going to Comic Con. It’s a lifelong dream for her, and I’m definitely excited about going, myself.

Don’t expect me to cosplay, though. I have enough on my plate right now and don’t want to worry about costumes!

The Viper Vixens – Las Vegas

(c) Stephen Thorburn

On Friday night, John and I went to the Viper Vixens show at O’Shea’s on the Strip. It’s billed as “burlesque ninjas” and I’d heard about it from a friend of mine the previous week. When we scored tickets, I was thrilled.

The short summary: beautiful women dancing with weapons and taking their clothes off. Also, one guy. Who is also quite built. Really, though, the women are the well-deserved focus of the show.

There are five female performers: Sidewinder, Cottonmouth, Black Mamba, Diamondback, Copperhead, and one male: King Cobra. Each woman performs solo (or featured) with her weapon of choice: Sidewinder’s is a cowgirl-with-a-whip show, Cottonmouth uses a bladed fan, Diamondback is a staff wielder (and pole dancer!), Copperhead uses sai, Black Mamba is a crossbow gal, and King Cobra mainly performs crossbow tricks with Black Mamba.

Cottonmouth is a phenomenal singer and performer– throughout the show, she sings the rock songs that the dancers perform to, and her voice and energy are top-notch. Cottonmouth is unusual in that she doesn’t show her bare chest in the show, though she certainly gives some nice, alluring half-peeks. I’m not as entranced by her weapon performance– I think if you’re going to use “steel fan” as your weapon trick, you might as well go big and turn it into a Vegas-style “big fan dance” with a twist. This also would have gone really well with her “peekaboo” style of performance.

Diamondback is the “staff expert.” There wasn’t much in her performance that any high school flag corps performer wouldn’t do…. until she gets to “the big staff.” As in: the pole. Oh, yes. Diamondback is a pole dancer, and a good one. I love pole dancing to begin with, and she did a marvelous job of showing off the strength and acrobatics needed to work in this particular medium (geek note: pole dancing originated in circuses, not strip clubs).

California girl Sidewinder is the only blonde in the troupe (not that it matters), but her lighter looks gave her the only costuming break from the black-and-red that the rest of the dancers use. For her solo performance, she used a whip with what sounded like cheesy amplified whip-crack sounds (I don’t know– it just sounded off). But, oh my– she did a cowgirl-esque performance that was just gorgeous. Tip: sit in the second row of seats. The front center seats have been blocked off for stage use, and the dancers use it! Nothing quite like having a whip-wielding blonde grind in front of you to get your attention on a Friday night!

Black Mamba and King Cobra perform together using crossbow tricks, and their “solo” was a wedding recreation/balloon-popping deal. Quite fun and cute. These two performers had a lot of chemistry on stage that obviously stems from being newlyweds in real life. Although he’s well-built, King Cobra keeps the striptease focus on the women, and plays more comic relief in that part of his performance (stripping down at one point to reveal bullseye-printed boxer shorts!)

I have to say, my favorite performer was Copperhead because throughout her performance, her moves were precise and well-executed, and she had this kind of eternal smirk on her face that I just adored, and this was true not just in her solo, but also in every ensemble performance she did. Her solo performance was her sai, which was interesting… And her “shedding skin” part of her strip performance was so appropriate, I think I may have laughed out loud. But neither was as interesting as the second half of her solo, when she hopped up onto a suspended ring to do acrobatic tricks on the ring. Very beautiful work.

Tickets are $49.50 per person (a bit pricey for a burlesque in a non-headline casino, but worth it for a unique, highly geek-friendly show). Since they just opened, they’re doing a lot of promotions through their Facebook page and through Fillaseat.com. And if you’re in town and want to go, drop me a comment here. I have a discount coupon for $20 off two tickets and I’ll gladly pass it along to the first commenter who isn’t a spambot.

Photo: © Stephen Thorburn.

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