So, the big shining event that has been marked on my calendar for at least six months (I’m pretty sure it’s been on there longer, but I don’t remember when I first saw the announcement for the event) is looming on the horizon. I know, how can something big and shiny also loom? Trust me, it can.

I am referring, of course, to Costume Con 27.

Costume Con actually grew out of regular, run-of-the-mill sci-fi conventions. Originally, people who attended these cons dressed in costumes were looked down upon by other attendees. The majority of folks who went to the first cons weren’t into the whole “dress like Shatner” thing, apparently, and the ones who did go in costume eventually got tired of being looked upon as weirdos in an admittedly already weird sub-group. So, those folks (my bretheren, as I shall call them) decided to form their own con, where they could have their own rules and non-cosplayers weren’t allowed.

So there!

Of course, cosplay as such was still in its infancy. It wasn’t even known as cosplay until a while later — 1984, apparently, is when the term was actually coined by Nov Takahashi at the Los Angeles Science Fiction WorldCon. In a lot of ways, cosplay is still in the lower levels of public awareness here in America. Popular culture is full of references to con-goers in costume (Trekkies, Galaxy Quest, an episode of Bones, etc), but most of these tend to be passing references and, more often than not, costumed con-goers are still looked down on by “normal” Americans. It is certainly not elevated to the same level as it is in, say, Japan. The Harajuku district in Tokyo (remember that one from the last post?), in addition to being populated by folks dressed in rockabilly styles, Goth-Lolita dresses and other forms of street fashion, is also frequented by anime/manga/video game cosplayers. To my knowledge, we don’t really have anything like that here.

Well, there’s something a wee bit similar out in California (, but I don’t really count that because for most of the people involved there is not usually a deep connection between their personalities and the characters they are impersonating. The Hollywood impersonators who stand outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre are mainly there for the money, though I suppose there is more to it than at first glance. There’s actually an interesting documentary called “Confessions of a Superhero” that follows four impersonators in particular – I encourage you to give it a look. I found it one day, over on Netflix You can watch it on your computer if you have a subscription.

Anyhoo, back to the main point of this entry: Costume Con.

As I mentioned, the concept for Costume Con grew out of some con-goers frustration at not being taken seriously at the first sci-fi conventions. In the time-honored tradition of ostracized subcultures they decided to make a convention of their own. The convention moves around every year – though a lot of them seem to happen out in the San Diego area. The upcoming con is the first in a while to be held near to us.

Wondering what exactly happens at Costume Con? Well, wonder no more!

Costume-Con is an annual conference about costumes. It features classes, exhibits, a fashion show, several masquerades, and other competitions. The convention is dedicated to the art and craft of costumes and costuming of all types. It has its roots in science fiction and fantasy conventions and historic re-enactment type events. That said all forms of costumes are welcome, and encouraged, including (but not limited to), anime, fursuit, steampunk, original design, interpretational, recreation, and so on. — from the Costume Con website

Maggie and I are both hurriedly trying to finish our new costume pieces. It was our intention to have finished steampunk outfits to wear to the con one day. At the moment, I’ve got a pair of pants that need to be taken in a whole lot and then hemmed, a shirt still in need of being sewn, a corset that just needs to have the rest of the eyelets sewn on, and a finished coat. I still have no idea how I’m carrying the gun. I think a trip to Unique might be in order. 🙂

As far as I know, Maggie just needs to finish her corset. She had originally started working on an original design for it, piecing bits together (and, in the process, trying to work in the several hundred red rubber bands she has collected from the coffee shop’s newspapers over the course of a year). Unfortunately, she said it wasn’t working out, and she ended up starting work on a new one. I have only seen the starting pattern for the corset. Judging by how she altered the other patterns she used, this one should be interesting.

Maggie and I signed up to lead one or two panels but we haven’t, as yet, heard anything back. We did, however, see a couple of listings of tentative panels up on the website that might be one of ours. At the moment, we’re just hoping they tell us whether we’re panelists before we arrive!

Here’s a sample of the type of panels that are going to be at Costume Con: 18th Century Historicals; Audio: Sound Mixing & Editing for Stage Presentations; Basic Embroidery; Basic Stage Movement & Presentation; Beginning Quilting for Art; Birth of a Simplicity Pattern (by a Simplicity designer); Building a Costume “wardrobe”; Evolution of Costume Design in Commercial Patterns; Fangs; Feathers; Hot Glue; Humor in Presentation; Intro to “cosplay”; Intro to historical costumes for movies; Leather – sewing techniques; Makeup; Quilting for costumes; Unusual Materials – Found Materials (we think this might be us); Wigs; Wings; Appliances & Prosthetics.

And that’s just the tip of the ice berg! So excited!

Now off to work on my corset! P.S…I’m working on it while manning the front desk at the office.

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