Posts tagged costumes

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How To Build A Dalek

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Last Halloween, my friend Stephanie revealed an incredible costume she had been working on all year: a dalek. At first, I thought ‘How is that even possible? How will you wear it?” I underestimated the creativity, crafty skills and motivation Stephanie had behind this undertaking. It was unfortunate that New York was slammed by a huge snow storm Halloween weekend which cancelled all local parties, including the big one Stephanie had planned to show the dalek off at, and hopefully win a costume contest at. I couldn’t let this incredible costume go back into the basement without sharing it with all my fellow Doctor Who fans, so I set upon compiling all the information I could from Stephanie on how she pulled this off. Hopefully some of you will feel inspired by this to create your own awesome Halloween costumes this year!

I asked Stephanie to answer a few questions for me about the experience of building her dalek and hopefully a little advice for those of us thinking of trying this out:

Lissa: When did you first decide to take on the project of building the dalek? Was there some thing/event in particular that prompted you to do it? 

Stephanie: I started in February of 2011.  I am not sure what exactly got me into the idea, but when I found out Dalek’s stand about 5 feet tall (and that is my height), I figured it would be an excellent idea.  Then when I found the very detailed plans online, I was sold.

L: Did you have some idea at the beginning of how long it might take you to finish it, and how close was your estimate to the actual time it took?

S: I don’t think I had an idea, but I definitely did not think it would take the amount of time (and money) that it did.  I knew it was good to start early, and I’m glad I did, because I ended up finishing very close to Halloween.

L: Was it challenging to collect the materials?

S: It definitely was.  I was trying to find components that would work but be cheap and light and would make the final product mobile/portable.

L:  What were some of the changes you made (if any) from the original set of build instructions you used?

S: I didn’t make many changes, except ones to make it able for me to go inside.  Accidentally, it ended up taller than expected, but that turns out to be good because now people who are not petite like me can go inside it as well.

 

L: What was the biggest challenge in the project and how did you work past it?

S: The biggest challenge was making the dome for the head.  I could not find any bowls that were the right size (huge), so I decided I would use paper mache over a large beach ball.  However, I also could not find a beach ball that was the right size, despite ordering some online that turned out to be incorrectly described.  I finally had to use wire mesh and shape my own dome and then cover it with paper mache.

 

L: I know thanks to a big snow storm you were unable to show the dalek at  Halloween parties. Did you get to actually take it out for display to the public? Have you made any plans to display it since halloween?

S: I have not yet had a chance to bring it out to the public yet.  I do plan on attending one or two cons this year, though, to show it off.  And hopefully this coming Halloween.  Unfortunately I need a large venue to effectively display it, and that can be hard to find.  (It does not fit through a conventional doorway, except in pieces, so that also creates a challenge.  I have to put it together in one room and stay there the whole time.)

 

Now for the technical details:

The plans Stephanie used were found here. That site offers plans for several different styles of daleks. Stephanie chose to build the ‘New Series Dalek’, which premiered in 2005. I’m assuming she picked that model because, being fans of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, her boyfriend Dave would be happy to wear the appropriate Doctor costume.

For technical notes from Stephanie and her bio, read past the break.

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The Anatomy of a Convention

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Guess which one I am? I aim to misbehave.

Everyone has heard of a convention, but they don’t necessarily know what happens there or what is available. The word convention itself simply means ” a meeting for particular purposes”.

What I’ll be talking about in this post are “fan conventions”. These gatherings are meant for the purpose of bringing together people with an interest in a particular film, TV show, comic book, genre, etc.

They are extremely large in the amount of attendees so they typically take place in hotels or convention centers.

I don’t consider myself the biggest convention attendant. I’m sure there are people that have been to more than I, but after visiting three of the nerd persuasion, here is what I’ve grown to accept as commonplace at conventions.

My friend Casey? Kinda a big deal.

1. AUTOGRAPHS and PICTURES! : When you go to a convention, one of the main things that draws you in is being able to see people that have been in things you like. They set themselves up at a table and then sign pictures of themselves or DVDs or breasts or replicas or… you know what? I’m pretty sure they’ll sign anything but a baby (and if you would ask someone to sign your baby, please call DCF). There are also typically replica cars sitting in front of the entrance. During events, you are often asked to pay for autographs and donate in order to have photographs in replicas like the Delorean, the General Lee, the Batmobile, Batcycle, etc.

Q&A with the cast of The Boondock Saints

2. EVENTS! : From Q&A’s to sneak previews to concerts, any good convention has a bunch of stuff for you to do. Hopefully, the ones you want to do don’t all coincide and you have to choose one. Because chances are, if you choose the “wrong” one, you miss an eye stabbing. Who doesn’t love an eye stabbing? The only downside is that if you go to a Q&A for the same topic at different conventions, you start to have the ability to know what questions are going to be asked and you could answer them verbatim. So mix it up! Who cares if you don’t know a darn thing about Green Lantern. Go to the screening/Q&A. You might become their newest fan!

3. VENDORS! : When you go to one of these things the way I do, you go completely unprepared. (“Wait… Deanna Troy is gonna be here? All I have on me is a checkbook. Uh… Will you sign this Boris Karloff check for me?”) Enter my salvation: VENDORS! If you have never been to a convention before and have no desire to, I’d say try it once. I would suggest getting a one-day pass if there is one near you just to look at the stuff that is sold. Some of it you can buy anywhere and for a lot less, but there are some rare and remarkable finds like a complete collection of TMNT trading cards, or a cardboard Archie record in near mint condition. Be prepared for sensory overload. Vendors pack their tables as full as they possibly can to provide the most product in hopes of turning a profit (vendors pay for space).

Sweet sounds of psychos

4. COSTUMES! : If you go to a convention, don’t be surprised if you are asked to be pulled into a picture (especially if you dress like my friend, Crissie). Many people dress up to go to conventions in costumes from their favorite shows, mangas, books, movies, comic, etc. Many conventions have a costume contest as well. You can have yourself and Lara Croft, Scarlet Witch, a Predator, a Ghostbuster, Doc Brown, Shaun (of the Dead), Ash, and Flo from the Progressive commercials all in one snapshot. It is amazing to see the time and dedication that some people have put into their costumes.

5. SMELLY PEOPLE! : Yep. Had to bring it up. For the most part, I figure that the costumed people after the third day in a row of wearing a costume are going to be a little rank. So don’t hug a costumed person on the second or third day. I’d suggest multiple costumes, but that’s only if they are made out of a porous material like lycra, spandex, and cloth. I wouldn’t expect someone who has built custom Fett armor to have a set for each day. Maybe the stuff fitting under the armor should be replaceable. But they’re not even the most notorious smellies out there! Honestly. If someone doesn’t dress in costume for the weekend, they should lather up daily. They are staying somewhere that there is a bathroom. Most of the time, they’re staying at a hotel, so the hotel provides soap and shampoo. All you need to remember is deoderant and breath mints. There are hundreds or thousands of people within close proximity to each other. The temperature rises drastically due to the amount of warm bodies thrust into one location. If I can’t stand next to someone without gagging, there is a problem. I have paid just as much to get into the venue, yet I am clean. Oh! And slathering on cologne fools no one. You just smell like butt and cologne. Blech.

So these were the things that I could think of when trying to explain to my mom what a convention was and why I had gone to so many in a short timeframe.

What do you think of when you think of a convention? What do you expect and are disappointed with when they don’t deliver?

[[The pictures are all from the latest convention that I went to. Please ask if for some reason you want to use them. ]]

Darth Jenn

Happy Halloween!

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happydwarf

Nerdy Pet Costumes, Anyone?

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We’ve seen many a princess puppy or pirate cat prance around on Halloween.  These pale in comparison to the amount of awesome and geeky that went into this simple, yet brilliant costume.

Esther from Villain School Dropout has been known to occasionally dress her little buddy, Brian, in some fun doggy attire. This time, however, she’s taken a Happy Dwarf doll, cut off its cheeks:

And combined it with a piece of fabric cut from a brown dress to make Brian into a tiny little Ewok:

Our hats are off to you, Esther. Just brilliant.

Do you dress your pets for Halloween? Post your pics!

♥ JackieBee

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Random Thought of the Day…!

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•  ‧ ☆ ☼   •

I’m gonna be a serial killer for Halloween! Now if I can just think of a Halloween costume……….

ø¤º°Sparkles°º¤ø

NYCC – Day 3 in Photos

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Day 3 for me was mostly wandering the center and checking out the cool costumes people were wearing. I did go to one panel though, for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

Autograph Alley. This was the line to get James Marsters’ autograph.

Dungeons & Dragons. There were several campaigns being played throughout the weekend, plus a few tables dedicated to teaching beginners the basics of the game.

Team Rocket

The X-Men. Nice Gambit.

Tomb Raider

Phoenix was what first caught my attention here, but I liked all of their costumes.

Batman & Robin. I thought it was cute that the kid was Batman, even though Robin was the kid in the comics.

Walking Dead panel

First we got some background information from the producer, director, and writer.

Then the cast joined us for insight on their characters.

NYCC – Day 2 in Photos

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I meant to post this yesterday, but I was too busy being a student. Sorry. Here is Day 2 of NYCC in photos.

The line getting in before doors opened on Saturday was insane. It gave me a chance to check out some of the costumes for the day though, like…

…this guy, who was my first Doctor Who sighting. He was standing behind me, and I couldn’t not take a picture. The fez was too cool.

OM Nom Nom, I wants cookies now.

This was the MTV Geek panel. Third from the left is Stan Lee, who announced his new project with them.

The DC Universe panel was in the same room as MTV Geek, so I stuck around to get the latest news on that front.

I saw this person when I was leaving the cafeteria. I didn’t expect to see such an epically awesome Codex costume, so of course I had to compliment her on it.

The LGBT panel was in the same room as the zombie panel I was going to, and we were able to sneak in about midway through. I was pleasantly surprised to see the room was packed with people actually interested in the topic, and not just people who were waiting to talk about zombies.

Next was the “Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep” panel. It was quite entertaining.

Pizza time! The guys from the Roddenberry panel decided we deserved some pizza for sticking with them at the late hour.

Roddenberry panel. By the time we were finished, I was convinced I needed to add “Days Missing” to my graphic novel collection. I got to talk to the creator of the series the next day at his signing. He was super nice and a great start to my morning.

Day 2 was full of lots of fun things that won’t soon be forgotten. Although that can be said of the whole weekend. Up next, the third and final day. Stay tuned.

New York Comic Con – Day 2

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This is Part 2 of my 3-part series on Comic Con. Since there’s a lot to tell, I’m just going to get right into it.

7:00am – Wake up for another day of geek-tastic fun times. I am dressed and ready to go by 7:30, but need caffeine badly.
7:36 –  My uncle meets me at my house. Yes, I have a cool uncle who’s also a geek and loves comics even more than I do. He decides he wants to drive into the city. The adventure begins… but first, caffeine!
8:58 – Exit Lincoln Tunnel. Hello, NYC, I’m inside you now!
9:20 – Arrive at Javits Center and am approached by someone who recognizes my Jukebox the Ghost bag. I share my love of the band for a bit before proceeding.

It is madness and confusion. I am herded onto a line, but I know not what for. All I know is there are many people before me. I have to wonder at what ungodly hour they had to wake up to accomplish this feat. I mean, I thought I woke up early…

*costume sighting* – someone behind me is dressed as the 11th Doctor – complete with fez. I like fezzes. Fezzes are cool. I am inspired and start thinking of more costume ideas for Halloween.

9:50 – Doors open and everyone cheers. We slowly make our way in – back to where we started! Apparently before doors officially open it seemed like a good idea to our show-runners that they hide us in the basement. I do not question this and simply make my way to the next adventure.
10:23 – Stand in yet another line, this time for my second panel of the weekend with Stan Lee. This one is called “MTV Geek”.
10:55 – Still waiting in line. Had another Doctor Who sighting, this one the 10th Doctor. It made me smile. The more I think about it, the more I want to do a DW costume for Halloween this year. I start planning how to make this work and get even more excited. I wonder if the glow forming inside can be seen by those around me.
11:12 – They finally let us in, and we take our seats. I’m happy because this time I’m actually allowed to take pictures AND I have pretty good seats.
11:17 – Introductions. The crowd cheers loudly for their Brigadier, Stan Lee. The panel begins. Stan Talks about his project with MTV called “The Seekers”. It all seems to be very hush hush, but there is going to be a contest to win a chance to work on this thing with them. At least, that’s how it sounded to me. I wish I was talented enough to enter: *sigh*

Next we got a preview of some other projects MTV Geek is working on. Some stuff looks interesting, including a comic called Hell Town. At this point Stan Lee leaves, I’m assuming to do his signing. More books are introduced, including a graphic novel called “Agent Mom” that looks like it could be cool and is brought to us by Alaina Huffman *aka* Black Canary on Smallville.

Another book that looks like it has possibilities is “The Gloom” by Tony Lee, which, among other things, involves a monkey with a fez. See, I told you fezzes were cool. And I seriously can’t help but think of DW whenever fezzes are involved. Anyone else? Anywho, this book starts in November, and I do believe I will be checking it out. More info on all these things can be found at geek.mtv.com
11:48 – MTV panel ends. We move closer to the front for the next panel, “DC Universe”
12:10pm – DC panel begins to thunderous applause. The excitement energizes the room (although the Metallica music playing in the background certainly helps).

In the world of Superman we hear about “new Kryptonite” that affects us humans instead. *is intrigued* We also get news on Brightest Day and it is hinted that new things will be revealed, but no specifics are given. And in other news, Nick Spencer is taking over for Supergirl at Issue #60 (Jan 2011). And “Earth One” is announced, which gives us a look at Superman at the age of 21, when he makes the move to Metropolis and takes his final steps to becoming Superman. This is something that really peaks my interest, especially with Smallville coming to an end. The presentation concludes there and they open it up to questions.

1:14 – Panel ends. Time to eat.

*costume sighting* – Codex, from the webseries “The Guild”. This girl looks enough like Felicia Day for it to be both scary and awesome. I promise the picture will be part of the photo post I plan on doing (most likely Monday).

2:20 – Now that HP levels have been restored, we decide to wander the exhibits. I happen upon previously mentioned Codex and compliment her on her costume. The people I have met so far have been super friendly. It’s almost like a little nerd family.

Eventually a friend finds me amongst the masses. I later find out that yet another friend is here visiting from Boston.

After much browsing I discover two deals I could not pass up – the complete Dresden Files for $6 and the Dark Phoenix book for $7 (75% off!). Add 1 to the win column.

5:11 – I think I have covered just about every inch of this place. HP drained to the lowest amounts, I rest to bring levels back up.

(Sidebar – I don’t have to tell you “HP” refers to “hit points” and not “Harry Potter,” right? We’re all geeks here? Good. Moving on…)

5:46 – Bored, I start taking pictures of whatever is around me. I’m getting some good shots when, suddenly, my “low battery” light starts flashing. Glad I brought my spare ones. W00t for preparedness!
6:48 – Waiting in line for the “Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep” panel, I chat with a couple of people about the blog (among other things). Might be seeing them tomorrow at the Walking Dead panel.
6:58 – I am joined by friends from yesterday and we enter the panel before ours, “LGBT Comics, Creators, and Characters”. The room is packed. I am pleasantly surprised that this is an issue many people seem to care about. I guess if anyone is going to be accepting of a group that happens to be “different” though, it would be this community.
7:44 – The zombie panel is about to start. They coax people in by saying, “The more of you we can pack in, the more of a threat we can pose to the convention when the apocalypse comes.” I know right away that this panel is going to be amusing.
7:50 – With everyone seated, the panel begins. The title of the panel is explained to be a chapter in the book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Zombies” by Mac Montandon, who was leading the panel. He introduced the rest of the participants, all of whom have their own zombie books out. One author had this to say – “Don’t buy internet small pox. If you take nothing else away from this, let it be that.”

The author of “Paul is Undead” (Alan Goldsher) credits Stephen King for giving him zombie fever. That and Shaun of the Dead. “Zombies and funny – count me in,” he says. Robin Becker, the author of “Brains”credits Dawn of the Dead to her indoctrination.

All of the panelists have a great sense of humor about their craft, especially Goldsher and Mira Grant (author of “Feed”). Grant had us in stitches as she described her background in zombies. Best quote came from her – “The zombies are the universal health care of the monster world. There’s no participatory stupidity on your part. They’re just gonna come for your a$$”. She actually had a lot of great quotes, too many to account for all of them. I wish I had my video camera and could have recorded most of this panel.

Eventually “Zombie Strippers” comes up and the moderator takes it as a cue to turn to the audience for questions. The panel offered free books to those who had a question to ask. When free things are mentioned, everyone jumps up. Well, maybe not everyone, but a significant number of them did. I thought the whole panel was really amusing and exceeded my expectations. Kudos to everyone involved.
8:45 – Panel concludes with one last word – Braaaiiinnss! I stay put for the next panel, “Roddenberry is Back”.
8:58 – Panel starts by feeding the audience. They figured since it was 9:00 we could use some food, so they got us pizza. I am oddly hungry after the zombie panel.

After everyone gets their food, the real panel starts with a video introducing us to the worlds Roddenberry has created. Next they talk about continuing the legacy that Gene Roddenberry started. One of the big projects mentioned was “Days Missing” – a graphic novel series they are working on. There is also talk of “keeping the spirit alive,” which refers to the spirit of their founder, Gene Roddenberry. They mention the documentary “Trek Nation” which was announced is finally done and will possibly be shown at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. The documentary is an “autobiography of Gene through the lens of his son”. We got a good look at all the projects they’re currently working on. Personally, I’m especially excited about ‘Days Missing”. It involves a character whom nobody knows but is apparently very important in history and has been a part of many critical events ranging all of time. Intrigued? Yeah, I was too. In fact, I thought the whole panel was really interesting, both smart and funny. The only thing that was disappointing was that more people weren’t hearty enough to stick around for this one last panel. Oh well, it just meant more food for us…
10:10 – The final panel of the evening comes to a close. Another great end to another great night.

That about wraps up this post. The rest is travel time and writing the actually blog. Gonna go to sleep now and recharge so I can do it all again tomorrow. One day left!

PS – In editing this post I read “travel time” as “time travel”. Yes, this is where my brain goes at 2am.

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