Play Digest: Alibis and Avatars

Halloween is Tuesday and PEM’s hometown of Salem has been planning for the event since November of last year. This week’s edition of our link pack is dedicated to the alternate personas that most of us wait all year to celebrate.

But if you’ve been reading Lizzie Stark’s Performing the Real—a three-part introduction to the world of larping—you’ll find that there are plenty of folks who don’t wait for Halloween to embrace their alter egos. Part 2, in particular, focuses on the key role that wholly assuming an alibi plays in the success of a larp. She goes so far to say that alibis are not reserved for the players alone, but that larp itself can be an alibi for interaction. Part 3 arrives on Tuesday.

Cosplayers of color don’t always have representative characters to model on. Recently, a vocal community united on social media to affirm their presence and prowess—and voice support for one another—after interviewed five cosplayers who addressed the role race plays in their character development.

Then there’s cosplayers of . . . construction?  This cosplayer got a little meta when he costumed himself as the Javits Center, host to this year’s New York Comic Con.

Meet Gnomen.

File under: just because we can, does that mean we should? Digital Avatars and fake news.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was roundly and justifiably rebuked for “teleporting” his virtual self to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico in a bizarre attempt to show sympathy for storm victims. He later apologized.

Janelle Shane—a  research scientist who trains neural networks to create Dungeons & Dragons spells,  trendy beer names, and pub names (a pint of Bombie Saison down at the Old Festerian anyone?) has trained her algorithms on designing Halloween costumes this week in case anyone needs any last-minute ideas (sorry, I have dibs on Panda Clam).

Check in next week for a new roundup of the latest play news and stories.

(Image credit: The Jacob Javits Center by Steven Leung on Flickr.)

About Eugenia Bell

Eugenia Bell is the guest editor for Until recently, she was the executive editor of Design Observer and was the Design Editor of Frieze from 2007–14. Her writing has appeared in Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, New York magazine, and Garage, among other publications.