Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Seth is really into Justice League Dark right now, so Rob and I watched the movie before we went to GACC. There's exactly the right number and gender of characters for us: Seth really wants to be John Constantine, Rob really wants to be Swamp Thing, Sarah's going to be Zatanna, I'm going to be Black Orchid, and Sylvan's going to Deadman. As an added bonus, we already have most of this stuff.
We already own a London Fog trench coat, so I still need to Goodwill shop for him a white dress shirt, and some brown dress pants. Rob has tons of ties. He does need a new belt, though and new dress shoes. He's worn out his Joker dress shoes. Maybe something more hard wearing this time. I think it's funny that John Constantine cosplays are super hard to tell apart from Castiel cosplays these days. Castiel totally stole his look.
For Seth's birthday, I bought him pants, shirt, tie, and shoes. He still needs a belt. We need to do a fitting because the pants are unhemmed.
Fitting took place Tuesday night. The only things that fit are his shirt and tie. That's the problem with buying clothes for someone for a surprise. The pants are too small and the shoes are too big. so it's back to the Goodwill.
I got another pair of pants and now he just needs a pair of shoes. He says he's willlng to cut and bleach his hair, so we'll see how that goes when I remind him later on this month.
As you can see he did cut and bleach his hair. Halloween (yesterday) was the test run and everything seems to be fine. He still can't tie his own tie by himself and he doesn't understand that dress pants are supposed to be worn around his belly button and not down around his hip bones. But whatever. His tie is way too long in the photo. We didn't spike up his hair either, but we will.
total cost: $42.00 including hair cut and color.
Sarah already has the black tux jacket, white shirt, vest, gloves, and bow tie, and black top hat that we were going to use for her Penguin cosplay until I found a lavender one on Amazon. Instead of buying her a black leotard (which would make it extremely difficult for her to go to the bathroom) I'm going to use the black tux pants that came with the jacket for Penguin $33 from Amazon, and just cut them off into shorts. I ordered her black fishnets $7 from We Love Colors, and she already has black boots, they're just not above the knee. I could easily make her black boot covers that go above the knee, but I don't know that it's that important to me, especially when it only serves to overly sexualize the character and Sarah's 11. Then all she needs is a red carnation. Sarah says she's going to wear a wig rather than dye her hair, again.
Total cost: $41.00
I ordered the red unitard $56 and gloves $16 and extra fabric $18 from We Love Colors last night. It's going to take a couple of weeks to ship because they don't have the extra fabric in stock right now. I have white fabric for the D already. The problem will be when I wash it I don't want the red to turn the white pink, so I'll have to wash all the red first, before I add the D. Sylvan is totally willing to shave his head bald to do this. He hates having hair in the first place. I still need to order clown white makeup for him Mehron $12 from Amazon.
I ordered both clown white and a pair of red boots from Amazon yesterday. They'll be here tomorrow. This week I am patterning the collar, and a belt to help reign in his tummy, as well as the D. I have used craft foam to back the D and will attach with velcro like on Nightmare Nurse's cross. I am backing the collar and the front of the belt with fusible horsehair to add some stiffness. I bought him some red boots to share with Rob for his Ming costume. I found them on Amazon for $60. The collar has been a bitch. I have tried to pattern it three different ways to make it stand up, but because it's lycra and not a stiff fabric, it's both heavy and wimp and because I can't sew it to the costume and have sylvan still be able to get into it without a zipper, it's a real problem. It's not like an Elizabethan bodice that's already stiff and you can just run the boning down the back of the bodice and sew the whole thing down. He's got to be able to take it off and pee. I finally decided to make it with a pocket for the boning to go into the back of the unitard and have it snap into place, so that he can unsnap it before taking it off. I didn't finish it yesterday and today is Halloween so I have to get it done this afternoon. Yikes! We went to Target tonight and bought him some generic Spanx for $14 to help with his tummy.
I just barely finished before close of business yesterday and one of the snaps is in the wrong place. Oh well. It works just fine. We didn't do a test run last night for Halloween because it was cold and rainy and I didn't want him getting it wet and dirty before the con. He was fine with wearing his Luke Skywalker footie pajamas and handing out the candy to the neighborhood kids.
Total cost: $165
So I was going to be Black Orchid, but Rob likes the JM DeMatteis run better, so Nightmare Nurse it is. I already have purple gloves from We Love Colors. I have plenty of left over purple fabric from my Batgirl cosplay. I have super tall brown boots that I can either paint purple or make bootcovers for, I haven't decided yet. And since she's a ginger with a short bob, and I need a new Squirrel Girl wig anyway, I'll buy one that I can use for both.
I draped a pattern for her dress last night. I'm going to ruche the front panel like it seems to be in the comic. I cut out the pieces last night as well. Today I ruched the front panel and sewed the other pieces together. I will have to wait for the next MAC meeting on Wednesday to get someone to fit it on me.
Wed Oct. 17: Jason did my fitting at Cosplay Club. I completed the alterations, which was just taking in the CB seam a bit. Then I hemmed it all over and cut the straps to the right length and attached them. I also did one coat of purple acrylic on my brown Sarah Jane boots. I mixed two different purples with iridescent extender to get the right color and shine. By Friday I'd done three coats and then finished with mop and glow for the top coat. They look great.
I started on the nurse hat on Friday. I've made nurse hats before, so I just used on old one to pattern the new one in the same purple lycra. The lycra was much heavier than the cotton I'd used previously, so I added both interfacing and craft foam in the middle to help it stand up better. I need to made a Joanne's run to get grosgrain ribbon trim for it and the cross on the dress. I also need wired ribbon for the ace bandages to keep them standing away from the gloves. I still need to buy a wig. I got the rest of what I need to make the hat and the cross on the dress today at Joanne's for $10.99 i still need a white headband to sew the hat onto.
I couldn't find a white (or purple) headband for the hat, so I gave up and got a maroon plush one at Target for $9.99 that I covered in lycra. Handsewing the lycra on sucked even with a curved needle. Then I attached the hat to it, also handsewing, which also sucked. I stuffed water bottles into my gloves and wrapped wired white ribbon around t hem and hand sewed that on as well to make the bandages. I got the red wig today at Beauty Mart on Waco Drive. It was the floor sample so I got it for 10% off. It was $19.99 at the register. It got the velcro sewn on the dress this morning and just used tacky glue to glue the velcro on the cross. I used white hook velcro for the cross and black loop velcro for the dress, so it won't ruin it when I wash it. I am totally done with this costume and will be road testing it on Halloween.
I bought white tights to wear with it and ordered some earrings from Amazon that got here yesterday. They are not the Rod of Asclepius which is what she uses to identify an illness and cure it, because I couldn't find any, so they are the Staff of Caduceus, which is also used interchangeably as a medical symbol even though it's actually a symbol of commerce. They are silver and cost $9.90. I didn't road test my costume for Halloween like I intended because it was too cold and rainy. We didn't even go out, we just stayed at home and gave out candy.
Total cost: $69.90
I thought about getting a green unitard from We Love Colors, but I think it would be more comfortable and easier in the long run just to make him pants and a shirt from a less stretchy, sturdier fabric that I can sew other bits of fabric too to create the viney look.
July 17: I started on Swamp Thing today. We bought camo fabric from Joanne's a while ago 5 yards for $10.19 a yard. It has a slight two way stretch to it. I cut out pants with a high waist, a shirt and sleeves. First fitting happens this afternoon. It totally looks like Duck Dynasty right now, but that's OK. It's a process. I also cut out a hood and a collar.
Monday July 30: Sarah came to help me dye all this polyester trim green for the viney bits of Swamp Thing. It took 3.5 hours.
Tuesday July 31: Today we're doing more of the same. We dyed the cotton trim pieces brown.
Wednesday Aug. 1: I started by sorting the trim into short, medium, and long pieces. The short pieces will go on the hood and collar, the medium pieces will go on the shirt, and the long pieces will go on the pants. I started with the medium pile and began applying the trim to the shirt. All that took 4 hours this morning. Tonight I went back and got more trim on the sleeves and the hood and just barely started on the pants. That took 2 hours. Right now the whole thing is looking more like Ron Weasely's dress robes than anything else, but it's a process. At least doesn't look like Duck Dynasty anymore.
I have been adding the trim to the costume slowly but surely. I got a lot done the week of Oct. 16. I spent another 7 hours over the weekend adding even more trim and I mostly had to hand sew it on the pants. I still have more to sew on esp. the sleeves of the jacket look bare.
I'm making him a mask from thermoplastic with the mouth cut out. I got that molded on Saturday. I wanted to paint it on Sunday when the weather was nice, but ended up missing the daylight due to errands that had to be run. Hopefully the rain will hold back enough this afternoon so I can get at least one coat of plastidip on it. Three coats of plasti-dip later and I can now use my acrylics to paint it. Finished that on 10/24. Now it needs elastic. Did that 10/29. I spent most of last week sewing trim on the boot covers and now today (10/29) I'm going to add pockets on the inside of the bootcovers so he can keep his phone, keys, and money in them. Also, this weekend we went to Michael's and bought some greenery plus the red flower for Zatana's lapel ($67.06) to add to the collar finally and I'm sewing that on today. I also bought some moss so i might add that to the mask.
He needs green makeup for his goatee still. I plan to finish this costume so that he can also road test it for Halloween, which is Wednesday, so I have to hurry!
The mask at this point is black with 3 coats of plastidip on it. I used acrylics to paint it for real. Then I added moss and other viney things from Michael's. The photo on the right is how he looked for Halloween. I had to cut a bit more out of the right eye hole and trim down some of the moss from around his eyes and mouth. The only other issue is that his boot covers are swinging around on his feet as he walks, because I didn't put elastic around the bottom yet. But I think a better solution is to velcro the pant legs to the boot covers since there are pockets inside and that would keep his stuff from accidentally falling out. But since Con is just two days away now, I'll probably just safety pin them.
Total cost: 118.06
FINAL COST OF JLD COSPLAY: $435.96
We were invited to this con because of our Batman 66 cosplay that the con organizers saw us do at Fan Expo in April. They gave us five free two day passes. We knew we'd be doing Batman again because the reason they invited us was because they were going to have the 66 Batmobile and Commissioner Gordon's cars there. We knew we'd need one more cosplay for the other day, because we get too sweaty and do not want to repeat costumes in Texas in the summer ever. We checked the guest list and saw that Melody Anderson and Sam Jones were going to be there and that's when Seth suggested we do Flash Gordon. That is one of my all time favorite costume designs so of course I said yes even though I knew (because of my production schedule and our college trip to the UK that I'd only have four weeks to do five costumes. It would be difficult, but I was willing to take on the challenge, which you can read all about here in a previous blog.
Flash Gordon cosplay: Seth is Flash, I am Aura, Rob is Ming, Sarah is Dale, Sylvan is Dr. Zarkov. Photography and graphic design by Briumbra Photography.
Batman 66 cosplay: Sylvan is Riddler, Katryna (Sarah's friend) is Catwoman, I am Robin, Rob is Batman, Seth is Joker, Sarah is Penguin. Photography and graphic design by Briumbra Photography.
We wore our Flash costumes Saturday and got our photos taken first, then immediately went to get Melody and Sam's autograph. We paid extra for the photos with them. Melody in particular loved our costumes. The best part was that NO ONE ELSE dressed as anyone from the movie. Sam Jones got a big laugh out of Seth's wig. Later, while we were waiting in the line for Doug Jones, John Wesley Shipp (The Flash) walked up to us to tell us how awesome our costumes were. It was a Flash moment of awesomeness!
The Flash panel was at 1 that afternoon. I got to ask the first question which was, "What was it like working with the costume department?" Melody talked about there being a roomful of old Italian women hand sewing on thousands of bugle beads and how heavy all of her costumes were. Her wedding dress weighed 33 pounds! She talked about how her orange headdress (that she disguises herself in to get away from Ming's bedroom) was made out of leather and bugle beads and it was super heavy and kept falling forward onto her face so that while she's doing her fight scene if you keep your eye on the headdress it moves forward and backwards on her head everytime they cut to a different angle.
Sam talked about how Max Von Sydow would get fully dressed in costume and makeup just to do Sam's close up shots when Max would never be on camera. He told Sam that any considerate actor knows that it's your job to give your fellow actors everything you can so that they can give their best performance even (and especially if) you're not even on camera in that scene. It's advice Sam took to heart and continued to do throughout his film career.
Rob and I are huge Star Wars fans, so Rob's made it his mission in life to collect all of their autographs on one poster. We were really glad we finally got to meet Paul Blake who said definitively, "Han shot first!" He was a super nice man and I loved his green glasses.
Doug "hug" Jones
We have seen almost every movie Doug Jones has ever made plus all of his guest appearances on Face Off. He is such a talented actor. My husband compares him to Boris Karloff for being able to act so well under all of whatever appliances he's wearing. He gives super great hugs too!
Focus Comics Panel
From left to right: autistic intern Tabidi Elkhalil, celebrity advocate Tony Todd, Sylvan, creator and certified social and cultural anthropologist Yvonne Wan, and main artist Douglas Herbert.
I had seen an advertisement on facebook for this comic about an autistic superhero before we left for the Con. So I made sure we went by their booth with Sylvan to check it out. We made it there on Sunday and learned they were having a coloring contest so Sylvan entered. You had to color in one of the variant covers of the comic book and everyone who entered won a bookmark with art drawn by the comic creator, Yvonne Wan, featuring Tony Todd (their celebrity advocate, who also played Candyman). I told them that Sylvan was autistic and they wanted a photo with him. We bought him the first issue. They had 16 variant covers (which Office Depot sponsored getting them all printed). Sylvan picked his favorite which was drawn by Tabidi Elkhalil, one of their autistic interns. He's the man on the far left in the photo. Then they told us there would be a panel at noon where the prizes would be announced. I would have gone anyway, even without the lure of prizes for Sylvan.
We went to the panel and we listened to what they had to say and it made me cry. The main artist, Douglas Herbert, is a K-8 art teacher in Arizona who has had many autistic students over the years and who understands just how difficult it is for them in school and how much art helps them to realize their potential. Tony Todd is involved because he was taken away from an abusive mother at 3 years old and then helped raise his younger brother who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18. The autistic intern who did the cover Sylvan chose, Tabidi Elkhalil, talked about how diversity should be celebrated and how important art is to him and how he hopes that this comic book would help other autistic kids to realize that they are not alone. Then they told us about the internship program being run by the main artist, Douglas Herbert. Each kid is paired with one older intern, both of them autistic and lessons are done through Skype. This year Malekith George (12) was paired with Tabidi Elkhalil (21). Now Tabidi has been promoted to regular artist.
From their website:
"Focus is an autistic super hero, founded and created by Yvonne Wan (A Social Cultural Anthropologist & Autism Documentary film maker). We have a large creative team who have previously done work with DC Comics, Marvel, Universal Studios and more.
Artist Douglas Hebert (Award winning artist, and Elementary school art teacher with experience in teaching some autistic kids) and Artist Yvonne Wan (Award winning artist) are leading the creative team and autistic internship program."
As it turned out, Sylvan won the coloring competition. He won a free night in a hotel in Cedar Park, a gift certificate to Office Depot, and a pad of Strathmore Comic Book paper, as well as a goody bag full of chips and soda. That's Douglas Herbert holding up Sylvan's cover that he colored. Afterwards, I asked Douglas about the internship and Sylvan can apply online for next year. Sylvan was really excited about that. He loved art all the way through elementary school, but Rapoport didn't have an art elective while he was there, so he was in band. I had given him one of those "adult" coloring books of cats for Christmas, so now he has a reason to get it back out and start coloring. Maybe when it's time to apply for the internship, he can email them some pages.
We saw some great cosplays this weekend. My favorite was the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy girls. Those characters were the reason that we did Batman 66 in the first place. Long story short, I saw them on Spongebob years ago when Sylvan was little and thought they were hilarious. Rob's favorite superhero is Batman and Adam West and Burt Ward were going to be at Fan Expo two years ago. We both wanted to meet them so I thought we could cosplay them, except that in the back of my mind my subconscious was telling me we were too old and too fat to be them. But then I thought of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy being old and in the nursing home together and still a team, and somehow that made it all OK. I think this may be a problem only women make for themselves. My husband certainly never thought he was too old or too fat to be Batman. So there you go, I am forever grateful to the Spongebob team for dreaming up Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy so I could allow myself to have all kinds of fun after 50.
We also saw another husband/wife Batman/Robin team up. They spotted us across the concourse and came running over so we took a bunch of photos together.
MOre Great Cosplays
Costume Contest gallery
When I was in conversation with Vo Nguyen, one of the organizers, I offered to provide a full ride scholarship to MCC for majoring in theatre. Unfortunately, that didn't pan out for this first year. When I made the offer I asked to be allowed to choose the winner of my scholarship so Vo said I could be one of the judges, which is why I didn't enter my family in the costume contest. Then we went off to the UK and none of that materialized. If I had known that I wasn't going to be a judge, I would have signed us up for the contest. Oh well. Maybe next year.
Here are the photos of the four winners as well as the other really great costumes (IMO), Two of them I'd judged before at Geekfest. Lauren Knowlton as Hawkgirl (Best of Show) and the man who does Captain Jack Sparrow. Their awards were trophies for Best Pop Culture (Cpt. Jack), Best Anime (Sailor Jupiter), Best Comic Book (Shredder). There were maybe 20 entries total. They had the judges on stage with the contestants, which blocked the audience's view of them. There was no pre-judging or any inquiry of the build process before or during the contest. The other three cosplays that I really liked but didn't win were Dark Pit from Kid Icarus, whose wings were articulated and were made entirely with real feathers. If there had been a video game category, she should have won it. The other was Silk Spectre from Watchman, which wasn't as complicated as Hawkgirl or Shredder, but still great. The African guy was not a character from Black Panther, but I didn't catch what the MC said it was. But it was also good.
My angle for photos was not good since I was seated right behind the judges who were all crowded over into the corner which was the side of the stage that the contestants entered from so they mostly stood there in front of the judges who were on raised stools. By the time they were done, they were walking away from me with their backs toward the camera.
I thought it was very successful especially for a first year con. The costume contest could use some work, but at least it started on time, which is a rarity. The HEB Center in Cedar Park is a lovely facility with plenty of spacious bathrooms for costume adjustments. The parking was $5 a day, but there was plenty of it. The food was very overpriced, so I recommend leaving for lunch. The air conditioning was cranked up and I was cold in my Aura costume but just fine in my Robin costume. My husband never broke a sweat and he sweats all the time. The only annoying thing was that you had to have both your ticket and your wristband to leave and get back in each day. We were afraid they weren't going to let us leave to go back to Waco Sunday afternoon because we couldn't find two of our five tickets by that point. They said it was a fire marshal thing so that they could keep track of how many people were in the building at all times. They finally did let us leave and weren't too terribly unreasonable about it, seeing as how it was 4pm and the con was ending at 5. We had to go through a metal detector every time as well as having our bags searched. Also, there were no backpacks allowed but this fact wasn't publicized by the con, so a lot of people were turned away to go put them back in their cars. One kid had been dropped off by his parents and had nowhere to leave his backpack, I have no idea how that worked out. All in all we were really pleased and had a great experience. We will definitely be going back next year!