Original story dated January 11, 2015. Posted here by courtesy of Florida Today
By day, Lesmarie Velez is the marketing director for the Brevard Symphony Orchestra. By night, she’s a public relations officer for the Florida Base of the Rebel Legion. 24/7, however, she’s a nerd. And proud of it.
“I’m a music nerd, a Whovian, a steampunk, anything pretty much sci-fi I love,” the avid cosplayer tells me.
The list of things she likes goes on: Marvel Universe, movies, classic books, “Jane Eyre,” Jane Austen, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” comic book conventions, “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” …
But just talking about them isn’t enough.
“One of my favorite movies is ‘A Christmas Story,’ so my husband got me the leg lamp,” she says. “I have the red rider BB gun, and I have the pink bunny set.”
But wait, there’s more.
Said husband, Nicholas Reynolds, a fellow die-hard “Star Wars” fan, makes light sabers on the side. He made one special for his wife. He, too, is involved with Ra Kura, the Florida Base of the Rebel Legion (the good guys in the “Star Wars” flicks — not to be confused with the 501st Legion, the group dedicated to the bad guys/Storm Troopers and all).
“For me, geeking out is two things,” Velez says. “It’s either classical or romantic in the book sense or it’s sci-fi, futuristic and mix a little steampunk in there.”
Active on social media, last month she posted about the fifth annual Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars Day 2014, “an affirmation of geek pride and a stance against gender-based discrimination,” she wrote on her Facebook wall. The post included the hashtags #geekpride #StarWars and, what I find most impressive, #StopBullying
“Everybody is a fan of something,” she says. “For the geek to wear either something that represents their fandom, whether it be a T-shirt to normal daywear to a full-fledged costume, everybody has their fandom. It’s very much similar to a football fan or a sports fan who wears their team jersey and paints their face. It’s the same type of fandom just with a different outfit.
“Everybody should be able to proclaim their fandom and not feel bullied for it,” she says.
In honor of Velez and Reynolds, who are busy fine-tuning costumes, light sabers and other geekabilia, here is a list of upcoming events perfect for cosplay.
•Dragon Festival: Jan. 24 and 25 at Wickham Park Pavilion in Melbourne. Includes shows, vendors, jugglers, costumed actors, food and more. Tickets are $10 for adults; $6 for children ages 12 and younger; and free for ages and younger. Call 321-917-0721 or visit thedragonfestival.com.
•A Celebration of Harry Potter: Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Universal Orlando. Celebrities include Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Evanna Lynch, and James and Oliver Phelps. Single-park admission is $96 a day for an adult, $90 for kids. Call 407-363-8000 or visit universalorlando.com.
•Space Coast Nerd Fest: May 23 and 24 at the Melbourne Auditorium and Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place. Visit spacecoastnerdfest.org.
Contact Sangalang at 321-242-3630
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @byjensangalang