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Tomo Neko Cafe 2013 – One Women’s Idea, 3 events later…

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Art of Zekie Cho

photo by Art of Zekie Cho

It was long excruciatingly painful week prior to April 28th. I hustled and bustled my way through delegation, linen orders, kinkos, and transporting a Tardis all in the name of charity.

For those of you who don’t know Tomo Neko (Friendly Cat) Productions is a non profit organization based out of southern Ca, “dedicated to giving to our local and international communities by organizing geek­oriented events” through an Eastern cultural experience called a maid & butler cafe. These Maid & Butler cafes cater to guests by offering a much more attentive experience with extra nurturing and care through a dining and gaming one on one. But what makes these cafe’s better than your top notch fine dining establishments is the fact that it is a cosplay experience as well. Be it a theme based on a popular scifi show, video game or comic book, our maids and butlers dress the part and serve you just like any server at a restaurant but with character!

“Tomo Neko was created by Rachael Klinger, in 2011, a long time anime and manga fan, set out after a conversation with friends to create an actual maid and butler cafe in Los Angeles. Due to the tragic earthquake and tsunami disaster that transpired in Japan of March 2011, Rachael and friends were prompted right away to turn their maid and butler cafe into an actual fundraiser with profits going to disaster relief for Japan that year. Two years and three charities later total profits benefitting this year’s charity, The Trevor Project have estimated at $3000.00!”

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photos by Art of Zekie Cho

Though Tomo Neko is in their third year of conducting these events, this year was exceptional with well known voice actors and creative celebrities in the community, new chef, fashion show, new maids and butlers and of course back of the house management performed by yours truly. This year’s event was even held in the heart of Little Tokyo downtown, Los Angeles, at the Japanese American National Museum. Tomo Neko took over the “George and Aratani Central Hall” with it’s high ceilings, wall of windows and a view of the National Museum’s Historic Building. It was surely the best venue Rachel could have hoped for.

Programming began with a performance by Jpop artist Stephanie Yanez, the Darling Army fashion show modeled by Nerdy­Girlz and Chocolate Covered Cosplay and Geta Dance performance by Miyuki Matsunaga. In between performances were drawings for art and other awesome prizes, as well as some of our special guests taking the stage and speaking. One incredible and emotional speech was by Dino Andrade, known for voicing the Scarecrow in the popular video game Batman Arkham Asylum. He spoke of his appreciation and respect for The Trevor Project and his personal experiences having to deal with suicide himself. It was very moving and reminded us all why we were there.

The other special guests that made this experience most unique was Kyle Hebert, better known for his voice acting ranging from Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to Bleach! Let us not forget the amazing cast of Madoka Magica and Skull Girls were also in attendance. Ebay auctions were held the week of the event to win seats next to our specia guests including a game challenge with the Skull Girls, winnings the auction of course went to The Trevor Project.

Along with all the special guests, chef, back of the house team, maids, butlers, and even the DJ it was wonderful to see so many volunteers step it up and take time out to promote, share, attend and work the event. I’ve planned and produced many events from premieres, screenings and promotional galas that this was my first Maid & Butler Cafe and I’m honored to say that I will be back on board with Rachael and the team to do another one next year! For more details and information on next year’s event as well as sponsorship and volunteers please reach out to charity [at]tomoneko [dot]org.

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photos by Art of Zekie Cho

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About Chrissy Lynn

Born and raised in Southern Ca, Chrissy Lynn had an eye for design and detail. As a cosplayer and designer she thrives on perfecting her craft and learning new techniques in hair styling, special FX makeup, prop and fabrication as well as costume and wardrobe. Her passion for the arts growing up has lead her to the Los Angeles area taking on positions in film/television, new media and marketing. In between working, Chrissy actively participates in non-profit charity work be it coordinating/planning, events/donation drives, cosplaying or digital marketing. She thrives on networking and making introductions. You can call her a matchmaker for collaborators as she firmly believes that artists should work with other artists and make s**t happen! She currently co-runs Nerdy-Girlz.com, a site dedicated to lady geeks in the community who regularly participate in cosplay photo shoots, charity events, comic conventions and more.