On the POW line: Boussh in between the Rebels and the Bounty Hunters at the Parade of Wonders, Calgary Expo. © J. Ashley Nixon
POW! Parade of Wonders
The Calgary Expo got wired up today with its fifth annual appearance of a host of cosplayers, showing off their brand new costumes and love for pop culture. As parts in the POW! Parade of Wonders, they walked through a massive downtown crowd of cheering onlookers along 8th Avenue and Stephen Avenue towards Olympic Plaza.
Structured around themed groups, POW! included Harry Potter book characters, Spidermen (lots of them), other Marvel favourites and more, headed up by the BassBus, belting out film tunes. Also upfront was Mayor Naheed Nenshi, perched in the back of a nice and flash-looking Range Rover convertible, not on a horse, his usual mode of transport in the Calgary Stampede. Once gathered in the Plaza, Mayor Nenshi, came up on stage, greeted the dressed-up crowd with enthusiasm and officially opened Expo for another year.
Princess Leia in the Plaza as the Storm Troopers come in
Princess Leia Organa made her way across the steps of the Plaza and might just have paused for a moment as a big outfit of Storm Troopers went past. They belonged to the 501st Legion TK 6944 Badlands Garrison, part of an international volunteer organization who dress up a lot for fun as well as raising money for charity.
I had an inter-galactic conversation with their Commanding Officer, Allen Shortt dressed in his complete, menacing Shadow Storm Trooper outfit and his partner, Lorri-Ann. She was in civvies, busy directing traffic for this villainous group of cosplayers who play characters within the expanded universe of books, video games, and toys that go beyond the Star Wars movies.
Playing next to the 501st Legion troopers was their sister organization, the Rebel Legion, who focus their appearances on the good guys in the Galactic Empire. The Mandalorians, hailing from the planet Mandalore in George Lucas’s Star Wars were also there. Best known for the character Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, this group is more diverse in the expanded universe and includes warriors, mercenaries and bounty hunters as well as more passive folks.
Boushh: is she a rebel or bounty hunter?
In the middle of this costumed display was a fabulously dressed and masked character that I still cannot decide if she is Rebel or Bounty Hunter. This was Boussh, who is actually Princess Leia in disguise as a bounty hunter in a scene from Return of the Jedi. In the film, she brings her big shaggy prisoner, Chewbacca into a bar to collect a bounty from the slobbery beast, Jabba the Hutt. You can see the video clip here but the big question to end with is where does Boussh fit within the Star Wars universe of cosplayers? I’m going to the Calgary Expo to find out. Somebody, please help me!
View or purchase All Dressed Up: Portraits of Cosplayers
Some of these photographs are featured in my new book All Dressed Up: Portraits of Cosplayers. You can view (virtual flip page) and/or purchase a print copy or Instant PDF version (viewable on any device) via this link.
Copies are also available for purchase at The Camera Store, Calgary.