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1. Hufflepuff Parody Play ‘Puffs’ Set for Off-Broadway Run

While Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may be making magic across the pond, a decidedly different Potter-inspired play is stirring up success of its own in New York.

Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic is a fan-created, unofficial play written by Matt Cox that follows the true Hogwarts underdogs–Hufflepuffs–as they navigate seven years of mishaps and misadventure, all thanks to a certain troublemaking trio. The parody–which will soon wrap up a sold-out run at the Peoples Improv Theater–has recently announced that it will move on to an off-Broadway run this fall.

The show’s site summarizes the play’s premise:

Some people are born to do great things. Some people change the world. Some people rise from humble beginnings to beat back the forces of darkness in the face of insurmountable odds. Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic by Matt Cox is the story of the people who sit in class next to those people. And badgers.

Wayne Hopkins–a boy from New Mexico who is neither brave, smart, nor a snake–finds out he’s a wizard. Upon arrival at a certain school of magic and magic, he’s placed into the Puffs: a group of well meaning, loyal rejects. Over seven increasingly eventful years, he’ll try to learn magic; try to get out of the shadow of his world famous nemesis; and try not to get hurt in what is actually a very dangerous place for unsupervised children to be. Sometimes he will succeed. Partially.

Public previews for Puffs will begin at the Elektra Theatre on September 29. The show officially opens on October 20.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly and Mashable.

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2. Wizarding World Employee Luis Vielma Honored with Custom POP! Vinyl Figure

A fellow Potter fan recently created a custom POP! Vinyl Figure in honor of Luis Vielma, a victim of the Pulse nightclub shooting and former employee at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. The figurine is shown below, courtesy of Mugglenet.

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The fan behind this creation–Brandon Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colorado–took advantage of Funko Pop’s custom vinyl figure creation feature on its website, which allows individuals to purchase blank figurines and customize however they wish.

 

In addition to this touching tribute, Potter fans raised their wands outside the Wizarding World attraction where Vielma worked, and J.K. Rowling personally sent a handwritten note and floral wreath to Vielma’s funeral.

 

 

Our thoughts continue to be with the friends and family of Luis and others affected by this tragedy. Read more about the POP! figure at Huffington Post.

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3. Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part II: You’ll Gasp When You See What He Told Them!!!

His Celestial SelfDeep in the grubby sump of one of those so-called ‘Social Media’ sites, there is a clump of aging comics fanboys called The Really Very Serious Alan Moore Scholars’ Group, known to its sad and lonely adherents as TRVSAMSG. When they’re not annotating everything in sight, or calling down ancient evils on the heads of […]

2 Comments on Alan Moore’s Secret Q&A Cult Exposed! Part II: You’ll Gasp When You See What He Told Them!!!, last added: 6/24/2016
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4. The Harry Potter Fandom Pays Tribute to Those Lost In Orlando Shooting

Monday night, two beautiful tributes were payed to those we lost in the tragedy that happened at a gay nightclub early sunday morning. One, on Shaftsberry Avenue in London, the other, thousands of miles away, at a theme park in Orlando.

Jo tweeted this photo of the screens outside the Cursed Child theater on Shaftsbury Avenue in London. I am thankful that this fandom is led by such a wonderful women like Jo. The powerful image of the gay flag being flown outside of the theater will surely inspire many to stand up and fight for what we have lost.

That same night, fans gathered and raised their wands outside the Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida, to pay tribute to our fellow wizard, Luis Vielma, who we lost in the shooting (see previous article here). A video was posted soon after the tribute took place, showing people mourning together, hugging each other, and helping each other through this terrible time. When there is no one else to turn to, be thankful we will always have our fellow Harry Potter fans to lean on.

 

See more about the London tribute here, and more about the Orlando tribute here.

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5. Fans v Pros: You’re Doing it Wrong

13322102_10156929791665576_1996316267203457639_nThe Captain America Loves Hydra kerfuffle survived a three day holiday weekend filled with barbecues and hotdogs. I was a little surprised, but not entirely, because the whole matter (described here and here) touched all the nerves on an already uneasy populace. The incident ignited an ideological brush fire over identity, diversity in the comics […]

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6. Fans v Pros: You’re Doing it Wrong

13322102_10156929791665576_1996316267203457639_nThe Captain America Loves Hydra kerfuffle survived a three day holiday weekend filled with barbecues and hotdogs. I was a little surprised, but not entirely, because the whole matter (described here and here) touched all the nerves on an already uneasy populace. The incident ignited an ideological brush fire over identity, diversity in the comics […]

11 Comments on Fans v Pros: You’re Doing it Wrong, last added: 6/3/2016
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7. Fantastic Beasts of the Wizarding World

With the wizarding world returning to the big screen with a movie called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, not only will the magic return but so will the many magical creatures we have come to love. But which ones will we meet again, and how many new ones will we be introduced to for the first time?

There were many different types of magical beasts that were mentioned and introduced throughout both the Harry Potter books and movies. We all have our favorites, the ones we’d want as a pet, and now, the ones we want to see return in the Fantastic Beasts movie. I’ve decided to explore a few of my personal favorites. I’ve got my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here to help us rediscover these fantastic beasts.

Shall we start with the obvious? Probably the most popular and most widely known throughout the wizarding world as well as the Harry Potter fandom. Terrifyingly beautiful, they are the hardest creature to conceal from muggles.

Dragons

We were first introduced to dragons in Harry’s first year, when Hagrid began raising a Norwegian Ridgeback in his cabin. They were mentioned many times from that point on, finally making a reappearance in Harry’s fourth year as the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. Since the four wizards each had to face a different dragon, we had the pleasure of being introduced to four new breeds: the Hungarian Horntail, the Chinese Fireball, the Swedish Short-Snout, and the Welsh Green.

There are ten different breeds of dragons known in the wizarding world but they occasionally interbreed, producing rare hybrid dragons. They have just a few different uses among wizards, namely for their wands. One option for the core of a wand is a dragon heart string. Other aspects of dragons are also useful in brewing potions or as fertilizer for plants.

As full beings, they have been known to be used as obstacles, sort of like guard dogs. Aside from the triwizard tournament, we see them used this way in the lower levels of Gringotts Bank. The Golden Trio even lived my dreams by flying a Ukrainian Ironbelly, the largest breed of dragon, to safety.

Moving on to one of my personal favorites.

Hippogriffs

A Hippogriff is a beautiful creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a horse. They first appeared in the books in Harry’s third year, when Hagrid took over the job of Care of Magical Creatures professor. Hagrid owned a beloved Hippogriff named Buckbeak. Luckily, Hippogriffs are one of the creatures Hagrid owned throughout the books that are actually able to be domesticated.

Hippogriffs are very sensitive creatures. One must be very careful when attempting to approach them, bowing low and keeping eye contact at all times. If the Hippogriff bows back, it is safe to approach farther. Also, it’d be wise to remember “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” otherwise you may end up with an injury or two.

Phoenix

Very few people have been able to domesticate these birds, but it is not impossible. Phoenixes are grand birds, with rich scarlet feathers and a golden tail. They are very gentle creatures whose tears have powerful healing properties. The Phoenix song is quite magical as well, it is believed that it can increase the courage of the pure of heart and strike fear into the hearts of the impure.

Ablus Dumbledore was one of the few able to domesticate a Phoenix. Harry, along with the rest of us, were quite confused when Fawkes suddenly burst into the flames the first time we saw him. Phoenixes have a regenerative ability that let’s them burst into flame when their body is weakening and be reborn from their ashes once again. They can also disappear and reappear at will, taking anyone holding onto them along with them. Kingsley Shacklebolt had it right, Dumbledore’s got style.

Acromantulas

I’ve never been one for spiders but I think if I ever came within 100 feet of an Acromantula I’d probably soil my pants. It may not be the prettiest magical creature that I know of but it is definitely one of the scariest and most interesting. An Acromantula is a large, eight-eyed spider that is capable of human speech and has near-human intelligence.

Hagrid raised an Acromantula from the egg, creating a profound bond between the two. The Acromantula, Aragog, inhabited the Forbidden Forest until it’s untimely death in 1997. Within it’s life, Aragog established a colony within the forest where it’s children still live today.

 

Since the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts was released, we have caught a glimpse of two new beasts: the ever-adorable little trouble maker, the Niffler, and the Swooping Evil. The Swooping Evil isn’t in the Hogwarts textbook, so Warner Bros. will be including Beasts fans would never have expected. The Niffler, the creatures listed above, as well as many others, you can learn more about in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book!

Leave a comment about which fantastic beasts you’d like to see in the movie!

 

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8. Person of interest sought in sexual assault at DragonCon

Dragon-Con has the reputation for being an no holds barred exploration of fantasy and cosplay. It draws a lot of lookie-loos, as well, and there have been reports of harassment incidents for some time. Now, sadly, there is a report of a sexual assault that took place Sunday night. The victim has been drinking and […]

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9. Harry Potter Memorabilia In Auction

This week, someone will own a piece of Harry Potter film history.  Prop Store, a source for movie collectibles, will be holding its world-wide live auction on Wednesday, September 23rd.  In August, Entertainment Weekly reported on the upcoming sale, and now, Moviefone and others have articles about it.  Nearly 500 items related to film production, including props and costumes for numerous franchises and cult classics, will be sold.  Three auction lots in the catalog this year are from the Harry Potter films.

The first item, #178, is a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie poster signed by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.  The auction catalog says, “This poster was acquired directly from a crew member who worked on location with the key cast members on the film.”

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The second item, #179, is a Hogwarts acceptance envelope with its wax seal (that may or may not have a letter inside).  It is one of the many envelopes in the scene where a tornado of owls and post swirls through the Dursley’s house.

Made from marbled-effect paper, Harry’s address is printed in green on the front of the envelope with the Hogwarts crest printed on the reverse. This hero envelope features an actual red wax Hogwarts seal rather than the many printed envelopes that were also used in the scene. The envelope remains sealed with paper seemingly contained within,” says the auction catalog.

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The third lot, #180, is two scarves given to crew members on the sets of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  They are both in Gryffindor house colors and have embroidered logos from the respective films.  The Goblet of Fire scarf is in a color-block similar to Harry’s Triwizard Tournament uniform.

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Wednesday’s auction will include a live webcast, and bids will be accepted in person, online, and by phone.  Will someone finally get a Hogwarts acceptance letter?

To see the full catalog of items for sale, see here.

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10. Better Than a Vault at Gringotts

Menahem Asher Silva Vargas, the Guinness World Record holder for largest collection of Harry Potter memorabilia, didn’t want to pack his over 4,000 items away in boxes somewhere.  So this week, after a previous exhibition at Mexico City’s Museum of the Antique Toy, Silva Vargas opened his own museum.

According to an Associated Press article published by El Daily Post, “The House of Asher Potter” museum (a literary name if we ever saw one) opened in Mexico City earlier this month.  Silva Vargas, or “Asher Potter,” started his collection in 2001 and has been building it for the past 15 years.

“I had the good fortune to be able to register it and make the Guinness record a year ago,” Silva Vargas, 38, said. “I’m very proud of it because the record belongs to Mexico. Mexico is now an authority on Harry Potter fandom.”

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The collection is expansive.  There are nearly 4,000 official items counted toward the record, but Silva Vargas also has nearly 400 paper items, including magazine articles, clippings, and autographs that weren’t counted.  Rather than store it all away in a Gringotts vault where these things would never be seen, Silva Vargas opened his interactive museum in a family residence in Mexico City.

 It recreates a number of passages from the novels, including the Potter home… There’s a themed cafeteria, a terrace, a small gift shop and a movie room… The museum also has the contribution of El Callejón D, a themed café located in the south of Mexico City, which offers museum visitors such Potteresque fare as veritaserum and butterbeer.

Visitors can also interact with two birds that Potter fans know well — a crow and a snowy owl…“We want to create a consciousness about birds of prey,” said Javier Illescas, a falconer and museum collaborator. “These two birds in the museum were rescued from logging areas.”

From what we’ve read of it so far, the House of Asher Potter may need to be added to a list of unofficial Harry Potter sites to see.

To read more, see the Associated Press article, here.

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11. Harry Potter and the Inappropriate Hallowe’en (an unofficial Harry Potter show in London!)

If you’ll be in London, England for Hallowe’en and you’re at least 18 years of age, we’ve just learned about a live comedy performance that might be up your alley (though sadly it won’t be in Diagon Alley). Time Out, a London site-seeing website, rated a new comedy show a critics choice must see in a recent article. The show, Harry Potter and the Inappropriate Hallowe’en, is put on by Laugh Out London comedy club–which Time Out ranked the 3rd best comedy club in London.

Harry Potter and the Inappropriate Hallowe’en is described by the event’s creators as the unofficial sequel to Harry Potter, and thus far its only performance date is on Hallowe’en itself–which is, incidentally, the anniversary of the deaths of Lily and James Potter. It is a comedy that centres on Harry returning to Hogwarts years later as an adult to attend the annual Hallowe’en party. Some pressing questions, such as these, from the event page, will be answered:

There will be wands, spells, owls and people with Latin names that represent part of their personality. How will Harry keep his neurosis in check? Will Ginny develop a personality? Is Malfoy still a twerp?

The show features a set of critically acclaimed performers. Adam Larter stars as Harry Potter, and Eleanor Morton as Ginny Weasley, among others.

It takes place on Saturday, October 31st at Leicester Square Theatre and commences at 7:15 p.m., with a run time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Adults aged 18 and over are welcome, and to encourage the spirit of Hallowe’en, ‘fancy dress’ (costume) is strongly recommended. The fee is £12.50 for regular tickets and £10 for concession tickets (a discounted fee for seniors and students). Please click here for the full event details and to purchase tickets.

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12. NYCC ’15: Diversity Sells Out

Diversity is a recurring theme in panels at this year’s New York Comic-Con, mirroring a trend in fandom nationwide. Race, gender, physical ability, mental health, even geeks as an emerging protected class – amidst the how-to’s and PR announcements, programming about diversity is filling rooms and getting headlines. The power of this theme is something […]

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13. NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s

     As cosplay flies from niche to mainstream, so too goes the market for the material used to create it. Quality cosplay is a combination of craft and components – even the most ingenious designer and tailor can find themselves frustrated by poor quality material. One sign of the demand for good cosplay goods: […]

1 Comments on NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s, last added: 10/12/2015
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14. The Harry Potter Alliance Celebrates 10th Birthday!

Over the past weekend (10th October), the Harry Potter Alliance celebrated its tenth birthday.

Their celebrations included a party at GeekyCon in August, and a month-long Indiegogo campaign (HPA10), through which they raised total of $106,545, well-surpassing their initial goal of $77,777.

NerdCon: Stories provided the venue for HPA’s birthday party, which featured important special guests such as Leaky’s own Melissa Anelli, (President of the Board), Paul DeGeorge (Co-Founder and Board member) and Hank Green and Maureen Johnson (long-term supporters of HPA), along with many more!

The event itself was full-Potter style (though the HPA itself now encompasses all manner of fandom). Harry and the Potters were the Wrock band for the night, and Hank Green played Accio Deathly Hallows, along with his other Harry Potter songs.

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The NerdCon event page stated:

‘ On October 10th, 2005, the Harry Potter Alliance held its first-ever event in Somerville, Massachusetts. Now, ten years later – and with the support of many people in the NerdCon: Stories community – the HPA has grown to a global organization with accomplishments under its belt such as sending five cargo planes of disaster relief supplies to Haiti, donating over 250,000 books around the world, and getting Warner Bros. to make all Harry Potter chocolate ethically sourced.

Come celebrate ten years of the HPA using fandom to make the world a better place and learn how to get involved for the next ten. Recommended attire: dress robes and/or party hats.’

Geeky News reports:

‘Over the years, the Harry Potter Alliance amassed a strong base of supporters and many volunteers. For a long time, that was entirely how the organization was run – by volunteers taking time away from their evenings and weekends, away from day jobs and school, to help make a little non-profit make a difference. I was one of those volunteers for several years. And the HPA highlighted a couple of hundreds  of them during the party. Some, like Claudia Morales and Jack Bird, are now paid employees. Morales, on talking about her reaction to becoming a staff member of the organization she had come to love: “It was like getting my Hogwarts letter.”’

‘Their success is a testament to the power of fandom to change the world for the better. The HPA is the true illustration of what powerful communities united around the passion for a common love of story can do in the world. And it was abundantly clear as several hundred people gathered in the Minneapolis Convention Center, to celebrate the organization that had brought them together.’

The Harry Potter Alliance is a non-profit organisation with the slogan ‘The Weapon We Have is Love’, and its website states:

‘The Harry Potter Alliance turns fans into heroes. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy.’

You can read more on the event and see more photos here.

Join Leaky in wishing the Harry Potter Alliance a very happy 10th birthday, and a huge congratulations on their success so far!

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15. Meet Tom, the Man Inside the Hulkbuster Iron Man Cosplay that Tore Up NYCC ’15

An exclusive look at the BEST cosplay of #NYCC2015.

3 Comments on Meet Tom, the Man Inside the Hulkbuster Iron Man Cosplay that Tore Up NYCC ’15, last added: 10/13/2015
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16. Fan Girl's Guide to the Galaxy

This is a Cybils book, but the opinion expressed in this review is just mine, and not the committee's.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks Sam Maggs

Here's the guide you've been waiting for on Fandom 101, especially for girls. Everything is covered--how to get started, next steps to take, great books to read and shows to wath, how to make an awesome cosplay costume, tips for writing awesome fanfic, finding your people, and dealing with various levels of trolls. Parts of it are a general rah rah rah celebration of fandom, and parts are very nitty gritty hands-on practical advice (which sites you'll want to be on, but with a throw-away name/email that's not linked to any of your other social media)

It's great and interesting and wonderful with one major fatal flaw that made me want to throw it across the room. It's written right on the back-cover, but I didn't read it, because too much is obscured with library stickers. It's "The Geek Girl's Litany for Feminism."

I m a geek girl and I am a feminist... I don't have to prove my nerd cred to anyone, ever.

There are some great lines in there:

From SuperWhoLock to Shakarian, I accept all fandoms and ships as equally meaningful and important in our geek girl lives...I will support empowering, lady-created media and amazing female characters...

And then we get the kicker that made me roll my eyes so hard they almost fell out of my head:

Buffy, not Bella

Because, all fandoms are meaningful and we support lady-created media, right? Oh... only if they're the right ones. Yeah. That's when I flipped back to where she's introducing fandoms and in the list of major fandoms, the Twihards aren't listed at all. Sure, they might be covered under "YA Book Nerds" but the Nerdfighters get their own shout-out. Potter has its own section. In non-book fandoms, Gleeks get a mention. Squints get a mention. Scoobies are mentioned on the list, despite the fact there's a whole section on Whedonites in general. Leaving off Twihards seems pretty deliberate. And telling.

Outside the Buffy, not Bella thing, Twilight only gets name-checked in the section on how to critique media. There's a general introduction about why we need to critique media and that it's ok if we enjoy not-perfect things but... it's glib and kinda snarky ("I'm not telling you... to stop reading your guilty-pleasure YA romance novels!") And in things to look out for, there's a section on "How Healthy is that relationship, anyway?"

There a lot of media out there (like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey) that glorifies abusive, controlling, or even violent behavior as a romantic relationship. When we read these books and think, "Wow, that's so sweet that he shows up at her house, uninvited, at night while she's unconscious, to watch her sleep!" we subconsciously accept that behavior as okay.

There could have been a great section on how things that are mostly liked by teen girls are automatically dismissed as lesser and what that says about us as a society and how to deal with that as a fangirl. Or, you know, it could just pile on.

Most importantly, it could have been a great section on how to reconcile how problematic our faves are. I know all about problematic faves. How? Because I am Buffy, not Bella. And even though this book is all over the awesomeness of Buffy (as it should be, Buffy is awesome) it never points out its problems. And Buffy has plenty of problems.

For instance, that whole thing there it's painted as "romantic" for a vampire to show up uninvited to watch his girlfriend sleep? Before Edward did that to Bella, ANGEL WAS DOING THAT TO BUFFY. Speaking as someone who got into Buffy late in the series and didn't go back and watch the beginning until after I read Twilight? Angel has most, if not all, of Edward's icky points. Buffy's other loves all come with major issues in the "healthy relationship" category. Maggs mentions Spuffy elsewhere in the book, and trust me, Spike over Angel any day, but Spike is ISSUES and their relationship is all ISSUES. And I really like Xander, but that guy is really a whole heap of Nice Guy (tm) problems.

When Twilight was still new there were T-Shirts and sayings of"And then Buffy staked Edward. The End" Yeah... Buffy wouldn't have. Edward and the other Cullens would have all been Scoobies. There's a good chance Buffy would have dated Edward. Or at least made out with him, or had a MEANINGFUL slow dance (note to self: see if there's any good fanfic with Rosalie and Cordelia as BFFs. Or Willow and Alice.)

I think the main difference is not the guys, or the relationships, but Buffy and Bella themselves. To save the world, Buffy killed Angel--I don't think that Bella could have killed Edward. BUT, BUT, BUT in one of my many conversations about this (hi, my name is Jennie, and I'm a fangirl) my Twitter friend @FangirlJeanne pointed out something major that has me rethinking that stance:

Buffy was THE SLAYER. She had a job given to her by the POWERS THAT BE. She was the CHOSEN ONE and had to deal with DESTINY. Of course she killed Angel. Bella didn't. Bella was just a normal girl who turned into a normal vampire and she still fought serious battles before and after to protect her friends and family. If Bella was a CHOSEN ONE and had to deal with SLAYER DESTINY, could she have then killed Edward? If Buffy wasn't the SLAYER, could she have still killed Angel? I don't know, but these are the kind of things fangirls think about late at night, both the Buffys and the Bellas.

Maggs went a snarky, easy route that ended up invalidating a lot of her book for me, undermining her main argument. We like all fandoms, but not that one.

And now I'm rage-defending Twilight, which is not a place a like to be. (This review sums up my Twilight feelings pretty well)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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17. Nerdlebrity Babylon: Extreme fan bites Norman Reedus at Walker Stalker Con

norman reedus bittenFan favorite nerdlebrity Norman Reedus has become an icon as the zombie-stompin' Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead. But despite his amazing survival skills he was not able to repel a real bite attack by one of his greatest fans.

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18. Harry Potter Events Calendar 2016

Happy New Year!  There’s much to anticipate in the Wizarding World for 2016, from a new theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  To help prepare for all of the biggest Harry Potter events, here is a look ahead to what is set for 2016.

 

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Now-January 31: Hogwarts in the Snow

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London presents the sets of the Harry Potter films in all of their winter splendor.  Read more.

 

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January 28-30: A Celebration of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando Resort hosts the annual event with film talent appearances, demonstrations, and Expo.  Read more.

 

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February 5: Harry Potter Book Night

Bloomsbury sponsored the first book night in the UK in 2015, but for 2016, it is going international.  Read more.

 

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April 7: Opening of Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood

Hogwarts Castle and the village of Hogsmeade come to life in the California park expansion. Read more.

 

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April 16-17: U.S. Quidditch World Cup 9

US Quidditch (USQ) hosts the tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  More than 75 teams have qualified to play.

 

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April 16-17: European Quidditch Cup

Gallipoli, Italy welcomes the club championship for European teams and schools.

 

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June 7: Preview shows of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

J.K. Rowling’s new play in two parts opens for preview audiences.

July 30: Opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Opening performance of the play at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End.

 

 

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July 23-24: IQA World Cup

The International Quidditch Association hosts its World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

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October 19-23: LeakyCon 2016

The Leaky Cauldron affiliated LeakyCon is back.  This year it will be at the Mariott Burbank near Los Angeles, California. Read more.

 

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November 18: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

J.K. Rowling’s new film starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander is released in theaters.  Read more.

 

Surely the year will also bring new exhibits from Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, exclusive material from Pottermore, and more informative tweets from J.K. Rowling, so keep visiting The Leaky Cauldron for all of the latest Harry Potter news in 2016!

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19. A Harry Potter Yule Ball Party!

Members of the Leaky community sometimes ask us if we have any tips for throwing a Harry Potter party. Since I recently had one with some family and friends, I thought I’d share a few photos and ideas! The second annual Harry Potter Book Night is Thursday, February 4th, if you’d like a reason to start planning your own party–not that one ever needs a reason!

First off, the invitations. We gathered wax seal supplies, cream envelopes, and special paper that resembles a roll of parchment from a local craft store. This is what they looked like once finished (the front of the envelopes weren’t anything special):

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There are all sorts of templates on the web for Harry Potter party invitations, from acceptance letter-style invites to Yule Ball invites, and even printable Platform 9 3/4 tickets, which we also included in the envelopes. Click here for a good, comprehensive resource.

Those Platform 9 3/4 tickets came in handy once our guests arrived, because the first step was getting past the barrier!

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Click here for instructions on making the brick wall entrance. We printed and framed the Platform sign, but you could also paint it on. Alternatively, craft and fabric stores sometimes have plastic or fabric sheets that already have a brick pattern on them.

It also makes for a fun photo op! Here’s Bellatrix, Professor Sprout and Pigwidgeon (with Dobby peeking from behind):

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Of course, we had to include the night sky! The “sky” was achieved by splattering white paint onto a black sheet to create the look of stars, but you could also probably find fabric at a fabric store that already looks like a star-strewn sky. The candles were created by using paper towel rolls as the base. We then dripped a hot glue gun down the sides of the rolls to give the effect of dripping wax, and once they were dry, we painted them white. Small pieces of styrofoam were used for the tops and bottoms of the candles so they would look solid (and hold the tea lights). We then placed LED tea lights in each candle, which is completely safe (using tea lights with a real flame is a serious fire hazard, so please don’t attempt it!) Finally, we suspended the candles from the ceiling with fishing wire, which is almost completely invisible and very lightweight. The photos don’t fully capture how spectacular it looked, especially with the lights off.

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We had S.P.E.W. posters about (found on Pinterest) which we framed, and attached clothes pegs and socks to. We also had some owls on high window sills (which were difficult to photograph). You can buy owls at craft and home décor stores, and you can also see one of them below, perched on my shoulder.  I was Hermione, so it felt appropriate to take a photo with one of the S.P.E.W. posters!

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A very talented artist and family friend also created a beautiful, detailed piece of chalk art on our chalkboard so that it looked as if we were looking out of Hogwarts onto the wintery castle grounds:

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There were even adorable Christmas lights and wisps of snow in the trees! And if you look at the previous photo, you can see a patronus behind my shoulder, posed majestically. The chalkboard art made for a lovely backdrop for both the party and pictures. You can very easily make your own chalkboard wall with chalkboard paint, which is widely available wherever you can buy paint.

We also made the Monster Book of Monsters using some thick faux fur, an old belt buckle, some googly eyes and plasticine for the mouth. There are lots of tutorials online, but you can pretty much just wing it without one!

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We took a cue from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and had Moaning Myrtle lurking in the bathroom (via an iPod dock stored in the cabinet beneath the sink). We kept the lights off and had candles to create a bit of an eerie atmosphere:


And of course, every Harry Potter party needs wands! We made them for our guests using surprisingly few materials, like chopsticks and a hot glue gun. Click here for the super easy tutorial.

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We made sweet and savoury nibbles for our guests, but the sweets were the only thing that we made themed. We found confection labels on Pinterest, and the “stone” castle wall covering you can see in this picture was found at a party store. We made (bug-free!) cockroach clusters (fair warning: making these was quite a labour-intensive project because of all of the little pieces you have to delicately attach. I had no idea it would take so long to make them. Also, I couldn’t find yellow sprinkles, so I used yellow icing instead), chocolate frogs (using a frog-shaped chocolate mold from a craft store), acid pops, and we actually found packs of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans at a local discount store! We also made Butterbeer, of course! Dark cream soda (or root beer) works best, and we used Marshmallow Fluff whisked with cream soda to create a foamy topping, but whipped cream would work perfectly well. We made an alcoholic version, so we also added butterscotch schnapps, but you could add butter and vanilla extract if you wanted to make a non-alcoholic version instead.

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“We’ll take the lot!”

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Both the cup and Marauder’s Map were purchased at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Our party was a costume party, with “no muggles!” designated on the invites. Everyone looked so wonderful and it was evident that a lot of thought and effort was devoted to all of the costumes. Because it was Christmastime, we made a Christmas “photo booth” with wrapping paper as the backdrop and some fun props. We also set up a camera on a tripod. Here are a few of the snaps:

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Winky, with the villainous Dolores Umbridge looming in the background. Isn’t Umbridge’s pink outfit perfect?

Dobby and Winky toiled away at their costumes, of course, and they looked amazing. This is the how-to for one house elf costume: Gather, tie, and sew a queen-size bed sheet and drag it through the garden (everything from tea bags to coffee grounds were initially used, but it turns out that dirt works the best). The headpiece was a basic rabbit-style cap made of tan-coloured vinyl with pointy ears sewn into the side seams, both of which you can find at costume stores. The noses were purchased from a dance shop and brown stage make-up was rubbed all over them to make them look filthy. The large anime-style eyes were achieved with stage make-up, but Winky’s final word is that real cosmetics would have worked best.

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“What quirks lurk beneath those rosy cheeks? What mysteries do the muscles mask? Does courage lie beneath those curls? In short, what makes a champion tick? Me, myself and I want to know. Not to mention my ravid readers. So, who’s feeling up to sharing? Shall we start with the youngest? Lovely.” Our Rita Skeeter also looked incredible and instantly recognizable. She managed to find the most Rita-esque dress at a thrift shop!

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If you’re looking for some costume ideas that require just a few common supplies, going as a fantastic beast is a good idea! My friends were very creative. Buckbeak was achieved using a mask, a piece of styrofoam carved into a beak shape, paint, feathers, and a hot glue gun, as well as a grey cardigan. Pigwidgeon was achieved using a fur vest and some face paint, and mini buns to mimic owl ears. I also wore Hermione’s time turner, and I used Hermione’s wand from Ollivander’s Wand Shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I added the spell effect using the magic of pixlr :)

We didn’t plan any activities, mostly because all of our attendees were adults, and we thought we’d just let everyone mingle. The most themed activity we did was when a few of us took a sorting hat quiz on my phone, but click here for an amazing article from Buzzfeed, which has all kinds of ideas for décor, food, and activities. From organizing a backyard game of quidditch, to playing “Pin the Glasses on Harry,” to hanging a dementor piñata, there are so many cool things you can do. Looking at that list makes me want to plan another party!

Much credit is due to my mum, who poured a lot of time and love into making sure the party was the great success that it was.

If you’ve thrown a Harry Potter party, do share your tips in the comments section!

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20. ReedPOP and CBS launch 50th Anniversary Star Trek con: ST: Mission New York

More cons! More NICHE cons. And this one is bringing it back to where it all began! ReedPOP, purveyor of New York Comic-Con, PAX, and a bevy of events around the world, have teamed with CBS Consumer Products for Star Trek: Mission New York, to be held Sept. 2-4 at the Javits Center. The event […]

1 Comments on ReedPOP and CBS launch 50th Anniversary Star Trek con: ST: Mission New York, last added: 1/26/2016
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21. Leaky Fans on the Ground at the HP Celebration- Part 1: Chelsea

Unfortunately, this last weekend, Leaky wasn’t able to attend the Harry Potter Celebration in Orlando. However, we do have marvelous Harry Potter fans who follow our site, and we invited them to share their experiences of the celebration.

Chelsea Kleven, a Senior Production Editor for a Central Florida newspaper, was the first to share her experience with us. The following review of the Harry Potter celebration is written by Chelsea Kleven. (Click to enlarge photos)

 

I had no expectations for the Harry Potter Celebration weekend. My friend Amy and I had heard about the Harry Potter Celebrations before, but had never been to one. We live an hour from Universal Studios and both have annual passes to the park, and this year, we decided to see what it was all about. We figured it would be over-crowded and impossible to do anything all day, but since we have been to the park and experienced this many times before, we didn’t mind.

Amy and I both work for a daily Central Florida newspaper. I’m a designer, and she has a design background but now works on special projects and social media. We are both HUGE newspaper nerds, which inspires our love for the Daily Prophet (even though it seems Daily Prophet is written by many crooked journalists in the books.)
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We headed straight for Hogsmeade Village when we got to the park, though we normally go to Diagon Alley first (that way you can ride the train from King’s Cross to Hogwarts like you would at the start of a school year. We’ve given this a lot of thought.)
When we looked up the schedule for the Celebration events, we discovered there was a graphic design panel happening in about 45 minutes in Hogsmeade. Perfect! We had just enough time for a ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and run over to the panel. 
For as big of a Harry Potter fan and design nerd as I am, I had absolutely no prior knowledge of Minalima, the graphic design duo behind the Harry Potter films. Their talk was short and sweet, but still awesome. I had no idea what being a graphic designer for a film was like.
They began with a short video showing clips of their work as seen in the films. They discussed how many people don’t realize how every paper, poster, package … everything!…has to be created by a graphic designer. 
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Minalima spent a large amount of time creating a realistic world for these characters to interact in, but often, their work is rarely seen in the final film. For example, they said they spent 7 months working on all of the elements for Fred and George’s shop, when it was only seen in the film for about a minute and 30 seconds.
They weren’t bitter about this at all though. They seemed thrilled to have been a part of the films, and lucky to help bring authenticity to the magical world. Another example of their hard work was how they designed all of Hermione’s books for Deathly Hallows. However, the books, too, were never even seen in the film. All they got was a sound of the books falling over in Hermione’s beaded bag. 
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They discussed how the parks were such a dream for them, because they were now able to show their work in a place where people were able to really stop and look at it. Park-goers could pick up boxes, look at advertisements on the walls of Diagon Alley, and really absorb the detail that went into everything.
The duo also discussed their favorite pieces to create, which were the Daily Prophet and The Marauders Map. The Daily Prophet is my absolute obsession, so I was busy snapping hundreds of pictures of all of the close-up images of the Daily Prophet and didn’t absorb much of what was said about it.
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As far as the Marauders Map, they really reiterated how they wanted to pump the personality of the characters who created the map into their design. It wasn’t about their personal design aesthetic, it was about bringing authenticity to the object. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs were crafty and intelligent, and they wanted the map to be a reflection of those qualities.
The map was drawn BY HAND based off of architectural maps that had been created for the set. The hand drawings were scanned in and developed into what you see on film. When the map was  first created, there was a small mistake on it. They had included the Room of Requirement. Someone on the team realized that the room was not supposed to appear on the map, and went back through the whole process to take the room out.
After the graphic design panel, Amy and I headed over to the other park where the Harry Potter Expo was located. After chatting with some people at the design panel, we learned there was a wall covered in Daily Prophets at the expo and we had to check it out. We went first to Diagon Alley and had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, complete with a Dragon Scale beer, and (it is our tradition on every visit) we sat on the stoop of the Daily Prophet office and took a photo.
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We didn’t have to wait very long to get into the expo, though it was pretty crowded. We caught a glimpse of people being sorted into houses by the sorting hat on the way in. 
The expo wasn’t quite as large as we were expecting. There was a large stuffed Fluffy you could take photos with, and a large Fawkes perched from the ceiling. A giant Lego replica of Hogwarts and some other movie props were on display. A wall blank wall was available for fans to write “What Harry Potter means to you.”
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There was a booth handing out posters of the cover of the illustrated Sorcerer’s Stone, and a place to take a Quidditch themed photo. At the Pottermore booth, there was a large map of the new wizarding schools around the world. [Click to enlarge photo]
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Minalima had a booth set up as well, which was where the Daily Prophet wall was. Amy and I took about 394 photos in front of it. Mira Mina and Eduardo Lima were there signing prints they had for sale. They also had a spread of some of the movie props they had designed, such as a copy of Advanced Potion Making, a stack of Qibblers, and pamphlets on “When Muggles Attack.”
There was a cool display of school letters hanging from the ceiling and trailing on the floor, that was previously featured in their gallery exhibit last month. The graphic designer in me was overjoyed.
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There was a studio tour at the expo as well, but the line was incredibly long so Amy and I decided to skip it. And it was lucky we did, because when we left we realized the cast Q&A panel had just begun nearby. We stood towards the back of the crowd, but we still could not believe we were actually seeing the cast answer questions. We had no expectations going into the day of even catching a glimpse of them, so it was an awesome surprise.
Overall the day was amazing. There had been a lot more to do and see over the whole weekend, but we were completely happy with the little bit we got to experience. Maybe next time we’ll try and see more of the events – I highly recommend making a visit!
Chelsea took video of the Q&A that took place in the early afternoon. This cast Q&A was not live streamed, exclusive for those at the celebration. A similar cast Q&A that night was made available on live stream. In this clip the actors talk about their fears and if they have conquered them. The topic of spiders led to asking Rupert to rap, but Matt came to Rupert’s rescue with his own spider story. Apparently Matt is more afraid of spiders than Rupert, and no he definitely has not overcome that fear.

 

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22. Interview: Paul Cornell talks Manic Pixie Dream Doctors, Warcraft, and that time he “messed up.”

We talk with series writer Paul Cornell about his Four Doctors crossover event for Titan, his Dark Horse limited series This Damned Band, a recently announced Warcraft graphic novel due out next year and the one comic he walked away from.

1 Comments on Interview: Paul Cornell talks Manic Pixie Dream Doctors, Warcraft, and that time he “messed up.”, last added: 8/12/2015
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23. Doctor Who Comics Day is tomorrow!

We've been writing about it for months now, and can hardly believe it's almost here: the second annual Doctor Who Comics Day is tomorrow!

1 Comments on Doctor Who Comics Day is tomorrow!, last added: 8/15/2015
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24. Flame Con announces 2016 return: twice as long, new location

2016 Flame Con will be held for TWO days this time. And that's not all: they're moving to a bigger location too

1 Comments on Flame Con announces 2016 return: twice as long, new location, last added: 8/26/2015
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25. LeakyCon.com and Social Media Updates!

In preparation for the exciting LeakyCon 2016, LeakyCon is updating their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. These sites are currently veiled under an air of mystery, as they are being rebuilt from the ground up. With constructing a new theme, LeakyCon promises new and exciting details about the relaunch of LeakyCon in Los Angeles in 2016.

Next Tuesday, September 1, is the “start of term” and the day LeakyCon will unveil it’s new sites. Are you ready to go to Hogwarts?

Please watch the LeakyCon website, Twitter, Facebook page, and Tumblr for more exciting news coming soon! Sign up for newsletter updates on LeakyCon.com.

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