It’s become a tradition every year for me and mine to attend the various haunted houses in the New York City area. It’s not just for the sake of getting the pants scared off of us – though that’s certainly a part of it! No, part of my interest in the various haunted attractions around Halloween time is the level of showmanship each venue puts into their costumes and sets. One of the premiere attractions in the city is Nightmare Haunted House, developed by Timothy Haskel and Jonathan Harlacher.
This was the fourth Nightmare haunted house I’ve attended. My favorite was first year’s Bad Dreams, which set the bar quite high for every subsequent year. The draw in all of the performance haunted houses that Nightmare puts together has always been the costumes and set design, and this year does not disappoint. Anyone can scare you, true, but does everyone bring together the savage beauty of old school fairy tales like Snow White and Rapunzel with the horror of the dark, confined spaces of a spook house? The costume design is very reminiscent of harlequin masquerade costuming with a decided eye towards old world European inspiration, very appropriate to the Grimm fairy tales. Also much appreciated is the homage to the original fairy tales and legends – this isn’t your typical disney! Here, old witches get tortured with hot shoes to their feet and huntsmen are in the woods out to get you… along with the wolves.
There’s a great deal less physically interactive parts to the experience than I remember from older Nightmare’s past, which was a little bit of a let down. There are some blindfolding parts, which is great, and I won’t give away any secrets but walking around in the dark is key. The cast does engage you while you’re in the house, though, and you are asked beforehand a little about what scares you, all to get played on later. Yet for all the interactivity, there is a lot less of the physical demands I missed from old nightmare’s past. Where in past experiences we had to sometimes climb and crawl over and through things, this had more of a traditional haunted house feel — you walk through the experience, things jump out. That was a strike against. Another was the quick nature of the trip. Maybe me and my crew were moving too fast, but the entire experience felt shorter than a few years ago, and that was another strike.
Yet for those strikes, the sets and costumes were fabulous. I sight the wolves as perhaps the best part, harrowing attendees through the woods as we went from story to story. A particularly beautiful wolf puppet really caught my eye near to a bridge — but then, I won’t give anything away. The masks give an otherworldly feeling to the cast that keeps you off guard from the very beginning, and the idea of Rapunzel, leading you into the dark by her ratty hair is fantastic. A special shout out goes to Rumplestilskin, whose presence and performance were both unnerving and intense. Having gotten face to face with him, I’ll say he was one of the highlights of the entire event.
When you’re out of the theater, there is an additional event attached to Nightmare that I seriously suggest. Upstairs is an additional little tidbit called ‘The Experiment’ which will push your level of comfort. Enjoy that one as an added bonus, it was well worth it. My night culminated with a free gift from the Nightmare folks, a copy of the new Guillermo del Toro book in The Strain series, which I had been waiting to read for ages! Nightmare’s give aways and special event nights are legendary, so check their calendar for what is going on. Or afterwards, hang out in the bar and play some pool. The CSV Center on 107 Suffolk is a great theater space in general, and Nightmare sure uses it to the fullest.
All in all, I recommend checking out Nightmare Fairy Tales for the costumes, the set, and the action. Will it chill and thrill? If you like a good scream and like to get scared, I think so. If you’re an old hat like me, I spent a lot more time staring at the great creations and marveling at the costumes than jumping, but that still works. Afterwards, stay for the drinks and the atmosphere as CSV Center is just a great place and the crowd’s cool. Just look out for the guy in the stocking mask, he’s out to make you scream.
Soon, I venture forth to check out their second NYC installment up in the Bronx, Nightmare Z-Day – that’s right, it’s zombie time. So stay tuned!
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.
Hey folks – an update from the world of Kristin Costa’s fashions and Psyche Corporation! I first reported on Psyche Corps music and Kristin Costa’s fashions during the Steampunk Anachronism III weekend bonanza. Now, Psyche Corporation has got themselves a music video for their serial killer single “Oh” featuring fashions designed by Costa. Check it out here!
I adore the winged look Psyche Chimère is working, plus the red handed multi-armed knife wielding… gorgeous work! As usual, check out Psyche Corporation on their website for more of their music!
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.
Find yourself on Houston Street on any weekend in New York City and there’s plenty of bars, lounges and resteraunts to occupy your time. But if you’re looking for a good bit of baudy fun, D20 Burlesque’s once a month homage to all things geek and nerdy cannot be beat. After I sat down with Anja Keister, creator and organizer of D20 Burlesque, I checked out their Saturday night show entitled ‘Point and Click – Computer Game Themed Burlesque’. Bet you never thought ol’ text-based games could look this good…
Serving as stage kitten and go-go stylist for the night was the incomperable Kita St. Cyr, a wonderful burlesque dancer who danced the night away for our dollar bills. Host Neil O’Fortune brought his game-show stylings as the evenings host in his signature stylin’ sequin-bedecked tuxedo jacket. And to start off the fun, Anja Keister herself gave us a romp up the Oregon Trail, losing clothes along the way before dying of what had to be dysentery (because you ALWAYS died of dysentery in that game).
Beelzebabe (LOVE her name) brought us a slightly naughty Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Missing Clothes. Hers was one of the my favorite costumes just for the sheer adorableness of the little pink dress and naughty young look that she pulled off.
Miss Coney Island herself, Lefty Lucy, debuted for the first time at D20 Burlesque as that sneaky-finger-filtcher Carmen Sandiego while Iris Explosion gave us a beautiful performance with her tribute to Lucas Arts game Grim Fandango. However the two performances that blew the doors of the night were Stella Chu’s Daft Punk driven tribute to Tron, complete with glow in the dark costume, and Anja Keister’s closing tribute to Portal – complete with companion cube!
Stella’s performance was not only intense in its choreography (and does Stella have some MOVES!) but she went through a full costume change on stage during the performance. Beginning with a black costume inspired by Olivia Wilde’s Quorra costume from the recent film, Stella stripped her way into a glow in the dark white costume right down to a plastic shrug jacket and matching corset. Maybe it’s just because I’ve got a place in my heart for Tron but I had to give it up for Stella’s dedication and style, which were aces.
Anja Keister brought us back to Portal with the ever-present theme song of “Still Alive” and her dedication to costuming at its finest. She had everything from a giant, custom-made companion cube to an orange jumpsuit faithful to the one worn by the main character in the computer game. When the jumpsuit came off, the Aperture tank top completed the whole performance perfectly and Anja utilized her companion cube as a wonderful prop as well as costume piece.
The night closed with the girls sharing some baked good goodness on stage, proving the cake was in fact NOT a lie, and a good time was had by all!
I look forward to future performances by the D20 Burlesque troupe. Next month goes back to an old favorite, roleplaying games! Can’t wait to see what they come up with.
And now, so as to keep people from thinking that ALL I write about is feminism issues in costuming (ahem, the last few posts), I’m going to break this up with a post about something cute and innocent: children.
Okay no, kids aren’t cute and innocent. They can be unholy terrors. But they can also be choice costumers too! Enclosed is my gallery of children costuming at GenCon. Most if not all were accompanied by their parents, which got me really jazzed. Why? Because it means their geek parents (or not geek parents!) are supporting their burgeoning cosplay habits at a young age. There was even a family with four girls who were ALL in costume, starting with one still in the stroller!
Now, a warning: some of these shots are not up to my usual standard. Why? Kids just don’t stand STILL that well. I included them anyway, however, because darn if it they weren’t awesome and I wanted them here. So without further ado: cosplay kids.
Here are the ones of the family I told you about as well, taken on a less awesome camera than my other one (so the quality is a lot worse, consider yourself warned):