Karen and I (and our friend Julie) went in costume as Neo and Trinity to the opening of Matrix: Revolutions. We met a AJC reporter there named Don Fernandez. He talked to us...and the end result is that he did a Valentine's day article on Karen and I. We were really delighted by the whole thing. It was on the front page of the Gwinett section...we had a large picture and two more pictures inside the section. Whoo-hoo! Thanks, Don - this made our Valentine's day AMAZINGLY special.
Here's the AJC link - http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/0204/14couple.html
And the article:
mates morph into their fictional alter egos for fun, good causes
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/13/04
The union of a storm trooper and a Jedi princess? Sacrilege!
Geek love, though, knows no
allegiance, be it Rebel or Imperial.
"She's the best wife ever," said Evan Reynolds. "I feel like I won the lottery every day with her."
His bride's take is a bit more pragmatic.
"People say we're nerds," said Karen Reynolds. "We are."
The Reynoldses are a love story wrapped in plastic, PVC and the trappings of science fiction fantasy.
If ever two people were destined to be together, this pair certainly qualifies based on taste alone.
"It's like fate, a match-made-in-heaven kind of thing," said friend and fellow costumer Joey MorganCQ. "None of us knew each other before we found a simple, common connection: We enjoy costuming."
Both Evan and Karen are voracious fans of science fiction entertainment and have taken their love of the medium and made it a lifestyle.
They spend hours — and countless dollars — replicating the look and style of their favorite fantasy characters. The hobby, formally called "costuming," is a meticulously detailed and precise passion.
While many couples' closets are littered with a clutter of T-shirts and linens, the Reynoldses' have a stylized collection of costumes that appear to have jumped off the big screen:
A dead-on cloak like Neo's in "The Matrix Reloaded." Princess Leia's infamous metal bikini from "The Empire Strikes Back." The collection cost thousands to assemble, with many outfits tailored at a specialty shop in Canada.
These outfits don't gather dust on hangers. The couple showcase their garb at movie theaters, fund-raisers and science fiction conventions across the Southeast.
"We do Toys for Tots every year for the Marine Corps," Evan said. "Karen and I are big into the multiple sclerosis walk. We walk in full storm trooper armor for five kilometers, and we'll be doing it again this year. It's fun and it's a cause Karen is very involved in."
They also visit local children's hospitals, such as Children's Healthcare at Scottish Rite, dressed as storm troopers to entertain children. Evan, who is also a magician and performs at local restaurants, visits with fellow magic folk to entertain patients with his sleight of hand.
The two met, appropriately, while working — in costume — at the Netherworld Haunted House in Norcross two years ago. He was outfitted as a storm trooper, she as Trinity from "The Matrix."
They saw something kindred beneath the masks and layers of latex. "She figured out I was a nerd pretty early on," he joked.
The moment of kismet didn't explode into passion immediately. Evan helped Karen build her storm trooper armor before they began dating, a unique form of foreplay if ever there was one.
"He just charmed me right off the bat," she said. "We were both working the line at Netherworld, and we just clicked. I knew by the end of the night I was going to be in love with him."
At the opening of "The Matrix Revolutions" at the Regal Mall of Georgia 20 in Buford last December, the pair dressed as uncanny versions of the film's lead characters — Neo and Trinity — greeting patrons at the entrance of the theater with the style and demeanor of celebrity impersonators.
Their fee? Zero. They spent 12 hours at the theater mingling with opening-day crowds just for the experience.
"They're trying to get people in, and we like showing off what we worked on," she said. "Plus, we got to see the movie three times."
This is, obviously, a love rarer than an original Han Solo action figure in mint packaging, so the two decided to make it formal — with their own splash of style.
On Karen's birthday last July, Evan proposed with a lollipop ring. Karen later picked out the engagement band she wanted, but the candy ring proved to be a relatively conservative gesture compared with the wedding.
Last Halloween (of course), the two wed at Karen's mother's home in Dunwoody. Karen wore a Trinity costume with white vinyl blended into the skirt. Evan was outfitted as Vash the Stampede from the manga cartoon "Trigun," complete with silver frosted hair.
A friend dressed as Darth Vader gave the bride away. A magician officiated at the ceremony. The groom's cake: a frosted image of R2-D2.
"Neither one of us wanted a fancy wedding," Karen said. "We wanted something we would like and our friends would like."
The ceremony won't be forgotten any time soon.
"Everybody was in a wonderful mood, and everything was sci-fi themed," said Paul Sponaugle, a well-known local magician who served as Evan's best man. "It's kind of hard to describe. It was freaky. If you're into sci-fi and fantasy, it was the wedding of the year. I can't imagine a crazier, funnier, better wedding to be at. We had a bleeding pumpkin made of cheesecake and raspberry."
Among the costumed guests: an Alex from "A Clockwork Orange," a male guest dressed like Marilyn Monroe and a Capt. Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Following the blessed event, it was back to reality, of sorts. Evan works as a senior programmer for an Internet security company. Karen is the manager of a Starbucks Coffee in Dunwoody.
But costuming absorbs their free time.
Karen's workspace in their home is devoted to sci-fi trappings, especially those of Trinity. There are statues, costumes and replicas of the sunglasses the character wore in the film. Her husband even purchased her the rare and pricey cellphone model the character wielded in the "Matrix" films.
"I'm more passionate about her than any character," Karen said. "She's strong, intelligent, faithful and brave."
But it takes more than "The Matrix" to make this matrimony click.
The two are members of the 501st Storm Trooper Legion, a group of "Star Wars" devotees who outfit themselves as storm troopers to meet, socialize and help a needy cause.
Yet even those who relish fantasy eventually need to settle down. Earlier this month, the Reynoldses purchased their first home, a 2,500-square-foot nest in Canton. Karen has a sewing room where she can craft her costumes. Evan has his own library and a garage where he can store the hardware involved in his hobby.
He just completed a replica of the helmet from "The Rocketeer" and is finishing off the rest of the costume. Karen is sewing together a sexy, form-fitting outfit to resemble '50s bad girl Bettie Page's get-up.
"I'm working on Bettie Page and a bunch of historical gowns for the summer," she said. "There's a big costume event called Costume Con in April in Decatur. It's purely dedicated toward costumers and making costumes. It's something I'm very excited about."
Evan also is a member of the R2 Builders, an Internet group devoted to designing and constructing replicas of R2-D2. His R2 unit will be removed from storage and placed in the couple's new living room this weekend.
One thing's for certain: Their kids will never catch flak about their toys.
"I definitely need more Legos, so we need to have kids just so I can justify the toys," Evan said. "I'm not joking."
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