Hey folks! It’s been ages since I put up a post, that much I know. To say that life has been hectic is no joke. I have been working on a number of different projects that have kept me away from taking pictures. Sometimes life gets distracting from what you love doing. But last night, I got a chance to get back to one of my favorite things in the world during the launch of the new Bioware MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic.
While waiting on line for my own copy (I plan on rolling up a Bounty Hunter) some members of the 501st plus some avid cosplayers came by and I got some great shots. One of the folks involved was Bree Smith, an NYC Cosplayer who I’ve run into a few times at different events. Her Sith costume was, to quote someone smart once, off the hook. So check out the great costume by Bree and some of the others and enjoy some Star Wars goodness.
I don’t think it’s possible to describe how amazing New York Comic Con was this year. Four days of non-stop panels, pictures and people! I had the pleasure of meeting some of my favorite people from the geek world like Felicia Day, Rebecca Guay, Robert Kirkman and the legendary Stan Lee. I watched as my friends at Dystopia Rising launched their tabletop book to amazing success. And I hit more panels and did more blog posts than I thought humanly possible. But mostly, I took tons of photos.
If I said it’d be impossible to take shots of everyone, that’s the truth. Every second person is in costume. I could have spent the entire convention JUST taking photos and still not gotten everyone. However, I did manage to hit up the NYCC Cosplay Gathering on Saturday afternoon, which was brilliant. Some of the best costumed folk got together in the lower lobby to pose together and look amazing! The rest of the time it was just hunting down people and blocking traffic in the crowded hallways, trying to get a good photo. But these guys got together, posed, and made life for photographers so much easier.
Enclosed in this post are some of my favorite shots of the convention. There were a lot more taken and I may do a separate post just for the Cosplay gathering because, well, they were phenomenal. But in the meantime, enjoy these!
Some of my photos are also going to be featured in a Tor.com post but the bulk of photos are here. Next year, more time for photos maybe? I’ll try. Until next time!
One of the major reasons I began this blog in the first place was to showcase the talented folks that go out and put together stunning costume creations for gaming. While I’ve forayed into steampunk, cosplay, burlesque, and even renn faire gear, it’s time I get down to my roots and show off one of the hobbies that keep me busy: LARPing.
For those unaware, LARP stands for Live Action Role-Play. And before that sounds weird to anyone, imagine table-top roleplay games like Dungeons and Dragons crossed with a murder mystery dinner. You dress up and act out your characters, experiencing the story through real-time acting experiences along with your fellow players. LARP comes in all shapes and sizes, from small groups in theater settings to large live combat events with hundreds of players. The game I’m going to be showcasing today is one of the latter.
Knight Realms is a self-described “live acting experience” game held at Camp Sacajawea in Sparta, New Jersey that has been running for over ten years. Its players dress to the nines to play adventurers in the fantasy border town of Travance, in the Kingdom of Kormyre. This town sits on the very edge of a rift in space from which demons and other nasties pour out on regular occasion. The characters who flock to this town are the type seeking adventure and an interesting life – and life can certainly become interesting in Knight Realms! The weekend I rolled into town, playing a human healer (with no weapon at all to defend myself with!) there was no less than a near civil war with noble fighting noble over charges of treason and dark magic, not to mention demons kidnapping children! Humans fought alongside elves, sylphs, satyrs and assorted other stuff to make sure we all survived what was coming to get us. And they did it in high fantasy LARP gear style.
Speaking from experience with other games and by comparison, Knight Realms players as a whole costume hard. Depending on the setting, sometimes all you need to do is pull an old beaten jacket out of your closet, or something that’s survived your wardrobe purges from the 80′s and BAM, there’s a costume. Those kinds of costumes usually work for modern games, set in everyday world settings. (See my upcoming article on costuming for the Post-Apocalypse, coming soon!) Yet when playing in a fantasy or medieval game, a player has to get a little more picky about their clothing. Zippers are a little out of period and T-shirts are so very not what you want to be styling. Your costume might even entail prosthetic ears, body paint, furry legs and hooves or a tail, depending on what kind of creature you’re going to play. Humans have it easier, but if you really want to sell what you’re playing, you have to go detailed. Is your character a nobleman or a pirate? A gypsy or an alchemist? If you want to contribute to building a game’s atmosphere and really sell the fantasy world for your immersive experience, a player will bring all-out gear for their characters.
Knight Realms is no exception. The players have some of the most intricate costumes I have ever seen in a fantasy LARP. I was exceptionally impressed at the level of detail put into the gear, from the decked out fantasy weaponry (called boffer or latex weapons – more on those later as well) to the intricate do-dads and accouterment added to each character. Even those playing monsters were usually decked out in latex masks to help bring the players into the feeling of each encounter. When the players gathered for feast on Saturday evening and all sat together, eating out of traditional feast gear and listening to pirate songs sung, I certainly felt immersed by the collection of motley creatures around me. It was easy to forget, then, that just outside the building and beyond the hedge line were a row of player vehicles parked just off a road leading into Sparta. It is that dedication to detail that helps build great LARP experiences.
Below are only a few of the stellar costumes I found at Knight Realms. Trying to keep out of everyone’s way with something so anachronistic and out of place as a camera was difficult, and I felt there were so very many beautiful costumes that I missed. However to those that I did not get, I still say bravo – and to those I did photograph, I hope that my work does your hard work justice. So until I stop by Travance again, and to all the folks staying in Caledonia who kept this little healer alive for the weekend, I say thanks for an experience. I raise a foam sword to you – you put together a hell of a world.
It takes more than one weekend to see everything there is to see at a Renn Faire. As the summer drew to a close, me and mine brought ourselves out to the New York Renn Faire once again to see the sights, drink the mead, and enjoy some meat on the bone! And of course, I got a chance to see some more amazing costumes.
The best thing about that weekend (besides the company) was getting a chance to catch the joust just when we arrived. Now, it isn’t the jousts of the medieval era. Jousting used to like two guys in the dark ages equivalent of mechs smashing into each other with long sticks for weapons. They make it a lot safer and just josut for rings (catching them on the end of their lances) instead of trying to bash and crash each other to the ground. Still, it’s impressive to watch men cantering up and down the field.
So without further ado, more photos from the NY Renn Faire in Tuxedo, NY. Enjoy!
As promised its time to Speak Out With My Geek Out and stand up proud for all things Geek in my life.
Hi, my name is Shoshana and I’m a huge costume photo nerd.
There is nothing I enjoy taking photos of more than people in costumes. Sure, some photographers enjoy a nice sunset or a puppy or two, and I have been known to indulge in some canine photography for the sheer cuteness factor. But there is nothing that interests me more than seeing folk slapping on some cool looking armor, getting decked out like zombies, and cosplaying their favorite comic book characters so I can photograph them. I believe it’s a perfect symbiotic relationship for a photographer like me, honestly – they enjoy the costuming and I enjoy taking photos of them.
Why, you might ask? Why take photographs of people in costume. Because, my fellow costume nerds and geeks, real life clothing is usually really BORING. Fashion, for the most part, looks everyday and humdrum to me, even when people are trying to look put together and trendy. A pair of skinny jeans here, a scarf tossed there, an ever popular hobo bag there, some glasses that should look nerdy but are now in fashion – everyone wears the same damn things! It’s hard to find someone whose clothing catch my eye and make me sit up and take notice to say ‘now that is nice, that is original’.
Costuming, on the other hand, is a little piece of the unreal and imaginative parading around in our often boring, everyday lives. Someone slaps on a celtic headband to add to a cloak to go to a Renn Faire and we’re reminded of all the whimsical wonder that can come from stories of the mythical, mythological and fantastic. A woman shambles out of a bar after a zombie crawl with blood and gore all over her, and we’re reminded of the fragility of life and the fear a good zombie movie gives us about our own mortality. We see a cosplayer decked out as Wonder Woman or Supergirl and we’re given a good smile over memories of amazing stories read and the dedication of fans to stories that are part of our common cultural lexicon. In short, costuming sparks the eye and the mind in a way that most fashion doesn’t. It is walking art and I, as a photographer, love to capture it before gone.
I got into this shindig because of live-action roleplay. I started out as an online gamer who went over to LARP due to a college friend introducing me to a Changeling: the Dreaming game. I would go to games and watch my friends put together stellar costumes and think “isn’t is sad that we’re the only ones to see this?” People would spend hours collecting just the right pieces to bring their characters to moving, breathing, artistic life and then shove all that hard work into a closet, never to be seen outside of their gaming circle! So I started bringing my camera and taking character portraits. Someone had to document the beauty of the work put in and the intricacy of the detail folks put into the costumes. This, in itself, was art just like roleplaying can be art. And why not get it down for posterity? And so, for me, it began.
Photography itself is more than just documenting is its own art form. Costume photography is the art of capturing the imagined given a human canvas. And it’s my favorite kind of art and geek these days aside from writing. So what if my photography portfolio looks kind of strange sometimes? I have photos of girls dressed as internet meme characterizations doing burlesque shows along with rock bands dressed as Jedi and Sith. I have zombies shambling and fairies in the forest out to get you, folks with latex swords and armor and vampires on the prowl. I’ve even expanded into costuming and fashion in the real world, like traditional historical dress and pow wow dance costumes. In the end, that’s what intrigues me. Plus, it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than kittens or architecture or a nice sunset. Give me cosplay or steampunk any day!
Enclosed are some of my favorite shots, especially some of my earlier work, to highlight why I got into this gig. Enjoy and if you like, speak out yourself! There’s one more day left!
The Renaissance Fair – a chance to go out in your medieval and fantasy costume best, eat some turkey legs and drink some mead, and generally cavort around like it’s 1099. You hobnob with fairies, speak with thees and thous, watch grown men on horseback ride towards each other with pointy sticks, and listen to women sing (usually) baudy songs in their wenchy best. That’s right, it’s fun for the whole family out in the woods and you know you want to try it. These fairs exist all around the country and appeal to the inner child in all of us and don’t require any sort of geek cred or anything. They’re just damn fun and allows us to step outside of our everyday dress with an excuse to go medieval on our wardrobe for once.
Don’t be intimidated either: guys, it’s a chance to open up your shirts and show off some chest hair a little. Ladies, if you own anything ever described as a ‘peasant blouse’, go with that. For those of us who look in our closet and wonder when having more than one corset was a ‘practical’ issue… go nuts. The Renn Fair is the excuse (as if we need one) to dress to the nines!
Speaking of dressing to the nines, I attended the New York Renaissance Fair in Tuxedo, NY yesterday for their Labor Day weekend Monday event. It was Barbarian Day, which meant everyone was out in their best ‘grrr, I will smash things’ barbarian culture kind of deal. I went in my best warrior inspired corset, sword at hip, Celtic forehead band outfit and off me and the friends went. We drank mead, shopped for amazing stuff (I got a beautiful six-foot walking stick and new garnet ring) and ate delicious fair food. Me and the friends will be going back however since the whole day it POURED – but did that stop the festivities? Not a chance. We sat out under the trees and got soaked while drinking our mead and the parade on horseback still went by. Stores stayed open among puddles the size of lakes and flower girls went around selling roses from men to their ladies. The pickle seller was still out and the beer booths catapulted marshmellows at passersby to get them to buy something to quench their thirst.
And the shopping. Do not forget your wallet if you’re going to the fair. There is a MILLION things to buy from clothing to leather goods, jewelry and toys. There are shoulder dragons (a little shoulder puppet dragon that moves so well you would SWEAR they’re real) and real swords, hand-crafted boots and hand-blown glass. If you like hand-crafted, quality stuff and aren’t afraid to break out the wallet, this is the place for you!
So here are some photos – you’ll understand why there weren’t more (my camera does NOT like water). We will go back and see more before the fair closes, but my suggestion? Come out yourself! The last weekend is September 25th. If you’re in the New York area, check it out for a day of fun. If you’re not in the area? There’s got to be one near you. Renn Fairs are everywhere! Enjoy the photos and raise a tankard of whatever you’ve got for these amazing costumes!
Cosplay came to a comic book store near me as Midtown Comics hosted a Midnight Madness celebration this past Tuesday night. They were celebrating one of the most anticipated and talked-about events for the last few years in comics – the relaunch of all of DC Comics major lines in the fallout from the epic events of the Flashpoint saga.
For those not following the major news, DC Comics decided to revamp all of their titles with changes to major characters. Along with costume changes (Wonder Woman and Superman both got revamps – like pants and not tights!) there have also been some big character changes ( like the return of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl) that have had fans questioning whether this revamp will be something spectacular, or a spectacular flop.
Anticipation was high, however, at Midtown on Tuesday. Fans lined up from 11AM in preparation for the midnight comic blitz. Most were drawn by the chance to meet DC headlining artist Jim Lee and writer Geoff Johns, and to get their autographs on the first print run of the relaunched JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 and the last issue of FLASHPOINT. Media was in attendance too, with everyone from MTV Geek reporters to CNN to Ology.com there to cover the major event. DC provided a great stable of comic celebs besides Jim Lee and Geoff Johns, including BATWOMAN artist Amy Reeder and new BATMAN writer, Scott Snyder. They even provided pizza to those waiting in line, delivered by Lee and Johns themselves!
But it was the costumes that drew this intrepid blogger and I got to speak to a number of the cosplayers who came out for the small costume competition held by DC. The competition was held early, so only three cosplayers made it fort he competition. Sisters Nicole and Danielle Marino rocked two amazing costumes, Danielle as Black Canary and Nicole as Supergirl in her brand new costume ala the 52 relaunch. Their competition? A hardcore Sinestro Corp. cosplayer named Bree Smith, decked out in purple face makeup and a full yellow lantern costume. The three posed for photos and were all awarded with prizes, with the first prize winner going to Nicole for her dedication to the brand new Supergirl look.
I spoke briefly with Nicole and Danielle about their gorgeous costumes and what made them come out to Midtown for the event. “We already had these costumes together for Comic Con and we figured it would be nice to, y’know, get out there on other occasions.” Danielle has rocked some other DC looks in the past, including the new Wonder Woman costume from the recent ‘she has pants’ look, while Nicole is the owner of the Black Canary costume her sister was wearing. I asked her about the controversial Wonder Woman costume. “I think it’s nice,” Nicole said. “It’s more now… more current.” Nearby their mother was standing by holding their presents. When I spoke to her, she explained that she often takes them around to get their costumes prepared for events, gathering materials to put the cosplay costumes together. Stated Mrs. Marino, “I’m the original comic nerd.”
I caught up with Bree Smith to ask her about her costume, as well as how she feels about the relaunch of the comics line. “About time,” Smith said. “I mean, the DC fans are such sticklers for continuity. Marvel changes their continuity every year – World War Hulk is happening, World War Hulk didn’t happen. Secret Invasion happened? Let’s forget Secret Invasion happened. Where does it end?” When I asked what her favorite change is going to be, she grinned. “Sinestro. The Sinestro Corp. is getting their own book!” Her dedication as a Sinestro fan is obvious – from the purple makeup that marks her character as an alien from the planet Korugar (that’s right, I know where Sinestro is from!) down to her black on yellow costume – and Bree seemed pleased to taunt and banter with all the Green Lantern t-shirt wearers on line. This is hardly Bree’s first cosplay either; she has costumed as Mystique, Medusa and she’s working on a Spider-Woman right now. I asked her, of course, what her favorite thing about costuming is and she admitted, “When it’s done!”
As the night went on, more cosplayers showed up to join the line and I met two Green Lanterns, one hell of a great looking Static Shock, and not one but two beautiful Zatanna cosplayers. When I asked Taran Lopez, a pig-tailed Green Lantern, about the relaunch, she showed a bit more reserve about the events of 52. “I don’t know how I feel about it,” she admitted. “I want to see what the comic has in store. I want to be excited about it, y’know? I kind of stick to the old ways and the old stories so its kind of hard for me to let go of that. But also, this is new and now and fresh so it could be cool.” I hit her with the hard question too, while I was at it and asked who is her favorite Green Lantern. She went classic with Hal Jordon before she and Bree then had a great photo showdown, in proper Green versus Yellow fashion!
By the time we were let in at midnight, the crowd was hopping with anticipation. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns signed comics and graphic novels surrounded by fans happy to see them. The shelves were lined with copies of the new Justice League #1 (which sold out within the first 24 hours of release!) and cosplayers and regular fans alike trooped in to pay homage to the relaunch. Midtown Comics handled the crowd with grace and organization, making the entire event a positive experience. After picking up your comics and getting them signed, more photos were taken downstairs with the some of the cosplayers.
I caught up to Scarlet Stepford, a member of Cosplay Burlesque and one of the two Zatanna’s in attendance, as she was barraged by the cosplay paparazzi. Her Zatanna costume was being prepared for Comic Con, an event many of the cosplayers in attendance talked about with anticipation. She’s also previously done Final Fantasy’s Tifa Lockhart, a femme Darth Vader, Ruby Malone from the video game Wet, Officer Jenny from Pokemon and the famous/fabulous Jessica Rabbit. When asked if she was excited about the relaunch, she joked, “Yes, I want to know more about the retractable pants and then I want to know how to make them!” (She’s referring to the question about Wonder Woman’s costume, shown to sometimes have pants and sometimes not, which WONDER WOMAN artist Cliff Chang called ‘retractable’ at San Diego Comic Con this past July.) Scarlet plans on bringing her Zatanna costume to another level at New York’s Comic Con. “I’m planning on learning some magic tricks to round out the outfit so I’m not just standing around.”
All in all, from slices of pizza given out by Jim Lee to brilliant costumes by some talented folks preparing for the upcoming Comic Con, Midnight Madness came away as a rousing success for both DC and Midtown Comics. I look forward to returning to Midtown for their September 21st signing by Scott Snyder of BATMAN #1 and seeing all these great costuming folks at NY Comic Con on October 13-16th. In the meantime, I’ve got some 52 comics to read and a new era in DC comics to enjoy!
One of the highlights of my evening at the Steampunk Anachronism III Visit to Edo was attending their fashion show. On the main stage, backed by a pulsing beat, models brought to life the kabuki-inspired fashions of Kristin Costa. Costa is a twenty-five year old visual artist and fashion designer whose work is deeply inspired by the psychological, the fantastic and stories of the past. I sat down with Kristin after the show to ask a few questions about her work.
SK: So how do you describe your fashion?
KC: I usually describe it as fantasy-costume fashion hybrid and I usually start out with a concept that is psychological more than visual, and that leads to the visual later.
SK: When did you get started?
KC: I started making clothes when I was in pre-school… then I started making clothes for people. I went to clothes for fine art, I didn’t take any fashion classes at all. WHich I think kind of helped me keep an open mind. I think a lot of the fashion students, they knew all the history and they were relying on it a lot more whereas I kind of relied on my imagination. And I found when I collaborated with people who didn’t know what they were doing they were more creative, they didn’t know how hard it was going to be!
SK: How long have you been doing this now?
KC: I’ve been doing my own fashion shows and making lines like this since 2005, so a while I guess. Sometimes it was for school, sometimes it was for art galleries. I’m finally making lines that I can market online and at fairs and different vending things. I think I’m vending a cheerleading event in October!
SK: Who normally is the market for your fashion? Your fashion seems like it would appeal to a niche audience.
KC: It seems that way! I try to do a little bit of both – like in the show you just saw. I had crazy sleeves on but then there’s this dress which I just wear out. And people just talk to me in lines and ask ‘oh my gosh, where did you get your dress?’ If I did just regular fashion I would get bored so it’s like i have to on each model – this is my own control kind of thing – because I can go nuts and then it would just be wearable art. So I wanted to mix things. Wearable art is very hard to make money off of, so every model has to have one marketable wearable object and then they can have one crazy, art piece-y thing to make me happy. There has to be a balance and I think I’m finally starting to find it.
SK: It’s interesting, you use a term “wearable art”. Is that how you see your work?
KC: I try to, yes. My first love is painting so for a while I was making a lot of corsets made of canvas and painting on them… I try to view it as wearable art. It can be costume, I don’t know. Whatever people want to generalize it as, but wearable art is my favorite terminology.
SK: So you said before that you come up with a concept beforehand. Is there a concept that overarches the collection we saw earlier?
KC: The collection we saw earlier was supposed to be vaguely kabuki based, and I say vaguely because it was a mix of a bunch of different collections that I’ve done. There was stuff in it from my birdcage collection, which was all silver, green and black and with wings and stripy. It was called “Caged” and it was visually about birdcages but on a deeper level it was about entrapment and protection and people kind of caging themselves off in order to protect themselves or people who were trapped trying to get out. There was stuff from my “Monsterous” collection. Outwardly it was about monsters but upon making it, it was about inner monsters and how the innocence and the inner monsters are sometimes intermingled. My next one’s about mimes but it’s about breaking out of invisible boundaries and it’s going to be called “Glass Box”.
SK: Someone mentioned that you have a show coming up during Fashion Week! Have you done [Fashion Week] before this year?
KC: Last year I did Fashion Week. I’m not at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, but I produce my own show during Fashion Week in the vicinity of the fashion shows. If people come see it and I can publicize it… “The Glass Box” is going to be what I’m showing. I do a new line twice a year, once for spring fashion week and one for fall fashion week. This is the spring/summer 2012 line.
SK: And you said you have begun marketing more online?
KC: Yeah, I’ve got an Etsy shop and I’ve been trying to get things into boutiques so soon I’ll have a good relationship with… smaller boutiques at the moment. The steampunk crowd seems to embrace me a lot and so I’m not going to put that down. Any steampunk thing wants to put e in the shop, I’ll do it. I don’t see myself as strictly steampunk, I go really wide of that, but I’m happy that I’ve been well received.
SK: You said before that you were a fine arts major. What is it about fashion that drew you to this medium?
KC: My answer is coming from the fine arts perspective, most of my paintings have drapery and human beings in it. What made me focus on it was that my fashion shows were way better received than my painting shows, and I was able to gain an audience and let me make more money that way… I screen print now to add something to the collections, and that equals painting sometimes.
SK: I ask this question to a lot of people that I interview, but has there ever been anything you’ve wanted to costume and that just seemed too daunting? That one that you’ve got building up in your back burner that you’re thinking about what to do?
CK: I’ve got a lot of things on the back burner. I guess daunting… there is a collection I wanted to do and I think it’ll be difficult for people to receive. I wanted to do a collection called “Bitter Skin” that’s all about ailments, and people feeling limited, about like wounds. I was going to make a mastectomy dress, I was going to make a series of suicide dresses. It would all be flesh colored and blood and bruise colors, very much be trying to take these things that are only horrible and make them into these precious artifacts. Like, if the blood would be portrayed with glass beads, it would be a curiosity. It wouldn’t be a celebration of sickness or anything, but I feel like I could probably make that. It would take a lot of time because I would want a lot of detail and it would take a lot of energy and emotion to put into that, but I think it would be daunting to figure out how to show that to people. That would be something I would put on a mannequin in a gallery show because it would be too much to ask a model to do. I also don’t really want to go there because it would probably become too personal… I like vague psychologies rather than getting too personal. Like everything I do is really personal, but I think that would be too raw.
I’m going to get into something that I put in a lot of my artist statements: “It’s easier to tell the truth when you’re on the stage in a mask.” I notice this with models, like if they’re shy I will often times put them in a mask and they’re less nervous that way. I guess the most concise way to say it is it’s easier to tell the truth if people think it’s all an act. If I have a show about birdcages and everything is these birdcages, yes its’ about something very personal in entrapment and breaking free, all these emotional things. But it has the veil of birdcages and all of these visually impressive things. If I did something and it was just about these ailments, it would be very straight forward and it wouldn’t have anything to hide behind. So I guess that would fall under the description of daunting.
SK: It certain sounds like it. It also sounds wonderful.
KC: Well yes, eventually it will happen!
SK: How do you see your art, if you were to describe it to people?
KC: I think I would want it to be described as inter-disciplined. I kind of like people to know that I have more than just a sewing background. I like for people to think of it as fine art rather than just fashion you can get in a store. To me, it elevates me and I hope it elevates other people when they see it or that they feel some excitement in it that they don’t feel from a pair of jeans. I’m trying to exceed the jeans!
Kristin’s fashions are indeed a gorgeous mix of the wearable artwork she described and some pieces that would bring the deep sense of personal exploration to everyday clothing. Costa herself was in the fashion show in a black draped dress with grey patterning that could be found in any couture shop around, while some of her other creations make their home in a more fantastic realm of fashion. Still, each piece brought a stark image to the stage that could not be ignored, proving Costa’s vision is both eye-catching and inspired. Her Fashion Week show, “Glass Box”, will be going on during fall’s fashion week, with more details to come about the event posted up here and on her Facebook page. She also keeps a blog where folks can follow her works at numerous other events. I look forward to seeing more from Kristin in the future!
One of the great events to see for costumes at Steampunk Anachronism III was the costume competition. Held on the main stage and hosted by the Jabberwocky-wearing Victoria Bellemont, the competition was broken down into several different categories: steampunk, japanese wear, and sci-fi and fantasy. These different categories gave a chance for many people to place, along with competing for Best in Show. Judges included a representative from the Cosplay Burlesque troupe, the White Elephant burlesque troupe and V. Nigel Taylor of the goth-synth band Platform One.
Winners listed after the gallery below:
The winners in each of the categories won themselves passes to Wicked Fair, while the Best in Show won passes to Cirque du Soliel’s show Zarkana. But on to the winners!
Congratulations to all those winners! And to all those involved, really brilliant costumes.
Armed with the prep from my interview with Psyche Chimere (see previous post), I headed down to Webster Hall for an afternoon of Saturday steampunk goodness. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. From the moment I walked in, the pounding of steampunk-inspired music greeted me from one of the red-lit stages in the downstairs of the famous New York venue. People in all kinds of costume were rocking out to a band called The Absinthe Drinkers whose lead singer held up what looked like a little mutant baby in a jar while he sang. His keyboardist looked splendid in his top hat while he played. Not far away, vendors sold corsets and steampunk-inspired jewelry (gears, keys, and brass everything) while folks chatted in their costume best. This was definitely not your typical club night in the city!
Upstairs on the main stage in the Marlin Room, I was treated to a great performance by steampunk band Faebotica, resplendid in red light before a titilating performance from the Royal Baritarian Players (whose interview will be in a later post) took to the stage. With the studio downstairs and the main stage upstairs, there was something going on all the time. I missed the tea ceremony to attend the Cosplay Contest and Fashion Show (both which will be covered too!) and stuck around for a phenomenal showing by the goth-synth band Platform One, followed by Psyche Corporation and the Butoh Rockettes. For those who just wanted to relax, the bar down the hall was a perfect place to just sip drinks or grab a slice of pizza and browse some beautiful artwork available for purchase. Vendors lined the hallway outside selling every kind of hand-crafted, steampunk inspired jewelry. There was even someone doing body makeup, for those who wanted gears in all kinds of places!
And of course, wherever I looked, there was beautiful costuming. It was difficult to tell who were performers at the event and who were just enthusiasts there to share in the evening’s fun because of the level of costume brilliance. There was no chance I could get every costume as almost everyone who was at the event had decked themselves out in one way or another. Many were in just steampunk garb while several rose to the occasion to deck themselves out in Japanese versions of their steampunk personas. The bar itself was decked with an exhibition of kimonos that really added to the atmosphere too. At the back of the main hall, a table sold buttons for the charity relief efforts to bring in money for those who lost everything in the recent tragedy in Japan. Patrons of the night were encouraged to show their support by hitting the bar for signature drinks made especially for the occasion, including (of course) some great absinthe concoctions.
The main MC and the man often extolling the audience to the virtues of ‘DRINK!’ was A Count Named Slick-Brass and with his co-MC Gunner at his side, they kept the audience engaged between sets. Both were decked out in full steampunk gear with Slick-Brass often commenting on how he was wearing his weight in leather and metal (and HOW, his costume is impressive!) Gunner remarked at one point, “I would have entered the [cosplay] contest, but I forgot this is a costume! I mean, it’s a Sunday!” That seemed to be a large part of the demographic of folks at the event. For some of us, it was a chance to come dress up among people who would enjoy the costumes put on. For others, this is their almost typical Sunday gear, who walk the walk and talk the talk of steampunk all the time. Together, the costumed pageantry made for a unique evening of glitter, gears and glorious fun.
I managed to catch up to event organizer Jeff Mach during the evening. Mr. Mach is well known for his involvement in organizing the first Steampunk World’s Fair and Wicked Fair previously. I asked him what drew him to steampunk specifically as an aesthetic. He answered without hesitation. “Whimsy. There is no where else in the world where you can combine the truly amazing creativity of being involved with a new movement and whimsy. That’s what makes me love steampunk.” When asked about other events coming up, he said that there’s more coming up but a lot that hasn’t been announced as of yet. I’m looking forward to any chance to see more steampunk in New York and especially more of the Steampunk Anachronisms at Webster Hall.
So enjoy some of the photos from my time at Steampunk Anachronism: I know I enjoyed taking them as well as being at the event.