Monthly Archives: October 2011

Steamcon III

Last weekend Jon and I went to Seattle for the annual steampunk con Steamcon.  We were in a fabulous new hotel, the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, which I hope will be the con’s home for many years to come.  It was brilliantly easy to navigate, unlike last year.  I didn’t get lost once!

So, on to the pictures!

Friday, I wore my new Steampunk River Song outfit.  River Song is a character from Doctor Who, and I enjoyed wearing this outfit a LOT.  Not only is she my favorite female character on the series, but I just love this steampunk version. Steamcon III built some awesome sets to play around with!

You can read about the making-of this costume here.  Most people didn’t know who I was, but for the few who recognized me…it was pure SQUEE.  My favorite was when two teen girls ran up to me all excited: “Are you River Song?????”  When I said I was and gave them the badge ribbon I had printed (it says “Hello Sweetie”) they said it was the best ribbon yet, and it totally ‘made their con’.  So cool!

I saw the Tenth Doctor at Steamcon as well, and I badly wanted to get a picture with him, but I only ran into him twice and both times he was rushing in the opposite direction with his arms full of supplies, so I couldn’t stop him for a photo.  😦   I loved wearing this so much that I also wore it Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon, I changed into my Victorian Bathing Costume for the Tea Costume Contest.  I knew going in that I wouldn’t win (my outfit didn’t match any of the three catagories) but I thought it would be fun to enter regardless.   It turned out they only got four entries, so they went out into the hotel and rounded up a few likely folks to pad out the competition.  There were a bunch of jellyfish, a fish with flippers, a mermaid, and my personal favorite: the deep sea diver.  Meet Jilynn:

She’s one of the ladies who reads my costuming blog, so it was fabulous to get to meet her at the con.  She made her entire costume.  The helmet is made from a globe!  The finned boot spats, the specimen jars, the breathing apparatus…all made from found objects.  And she told me she’d never done anything like this before!  I was Very Impressed.  And pleased when she won one of the awards.  Congrats, Jilynn!

This is one of the things I love about steampunk….the pure creativity.

Oh, and here’s a couple pics of my Bathing Costume.

I didn’t have the time or desire to make something really fantastic, so I just went silly, colorful, and multicultural.  I’m glad I don’t have to actually swim in this thing!

After the contest, I changed into my Chinese Cabaret Costume.  When I walked out onto the floor, it was amazing.  Steampunkers really, really like the multicultural costuming right now.  It was honestly like I’d turned into a minor celebrity of some sort!  People instantly started stopping me every few feet for pictures.

Click here for a short video of the sleeves in action!

I ended up being asked by a professional photographer to do a photoshoot.  So I walked up and down the grand staircase a half dozen times while he took shots from various angles.   Later, I did a second professional shoot as well.  I like celebrity in small doses like this!  🙂

One thing that really amazed me was the fervency of the ribbon collectors.  After I’d handed out a few, word started spreading and soon I had people running up and saying they’d heard I had ribbons.  I made two different ones: “Hello Sweetie” for my blog followers and Doctor Who fans who recognized me as River Song, and “Dragonfly Designs by Alisa” for everyone else.  Giving out ribbons is going to be a regular thing for me now…I need to think of some good ones for Gallifrey and Costume Con!

Sunday I wore my Ottoman Steampunk, largely because Steamcon was holding a “Wayfarer’s Brunch” with a multicultural theme.

After the corseting of the previous days, it was nice to wear something really cozy for the final day!  The vest is embroidered with beetlewings, and is definitely one of my favorite things I’ve made.  I won “Best Female Costume” with this at the Wayfarer’s Brunch, and was called up to the mike to speak a little about my costume and its inspiration.  That was fun too!  There were some really fab multicultural outfits at the brunch, here is just a few:

Jon and I pretty much only saw each other at lunch, dinner, and bedtime; the rest of the time we wanted to see completely different panels and events.   We did meet up to take pictures, though….

And I finally got him out of the white tennis shoes he always wears with his steampunk outfit, and into what he calls “old man shoes”.  Much better!

One of the highlights of the con for me was having my silhouette cut by the artist from Paper Shadows.  I wished I had been able to watch it being done, but of course I had to face away from her and sit still.  It turned out so fabulous!  I can’t even tell you how gorgeous and amazing her work is.  She just picks up a sheet of paper and uses tiny scissors to snip and cut…no patterns, no preparatory sketching, nothing but freehand art.  I liked mine so much I also am having her make it into a piece of jewelry.  Of course, that meant she had to take it with her, so I won’t be able to show you pictures for a couple of weeks, when she mails the original silhouette, plus the pendant, back to me.  I can’t wait.  I went back later to watch her cut someone else’s:

Steamcon is really so much fun.  I love the panels (I got to handle actual extant corsets and bustles!) and meet authors and artists.  I met fans of my blog (which was a surreal and delightful experience – it’s incredible to me that people are so interested in what I do. Teya, you totally made my day with your enthusiasm!)  And best of all, I got to see the most amazing costumes and meet the most talented people.  Here are just a few of my favorites I saw (when I had my camera – several escaped me because I didn’t have my camera available!)

Who doesn’t want a mechanical raven?

Yes, I know, not technically steampunk.  But her 18th century outfit is gorgeous, and she has a ship on her head.  I love it.

Beautiful bustle, beautiful colors.

So simple, so gorgeous. I want one!

Great detail.  I love monochromatic costumes with lots of detail!

Another great bustle and color combo!

If you don’t want to paint your Nerf gun, you just match your outfit to Nerf colors…

This family is a perfect example of why I love steampunk. It’s so awesome to see parents and teens enthusiastic about the same thing!

This lady’s outfit was so ornate.  And you can’t really see in this pic, but she had these amazing contact lenses.  This was hands-down my favorite costume, until I saw the female aviator costume:

I am such a sucker for wings that work!  So cool!

This is only a teeny sampling of the costumes I saw.  It was a wonderful weekend, and I’m already plotting my costumes for 2012.  The theme is “Victorian Monsters” which is SO MY THING.

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Revelation Videoshoot

Last month, I did something new – I did the costuming for a Route 66 video.  I’d done a few very small things for a couple of previous ones, but this one (which was the grand finale) I was really the primary costumer.

The other videos were done by amateur cameramen, using a small storage unit as the sound stage.  For this one, we had a professional cameraman (Michael Lienau of Global Net Productions) and our crew built a massive stage in the Commercial Aircraft Interiors warehouse.

I knew what they were planning to do, but it was still awesome to see when I got a sneak peek of the set the day before! Huge green screen!

The costumes I made were for the Harlot, the Apostle John, and the Seven-Headed Beast (more about the Beast later.)  Since I literally only had a few days to put this together, only the Beast was made from scratch.  The Harlot was scavenged from my own personal costumes…we’re very lucky the actress we ended up with (Val Thomas) was pretty much my size!

Points to anyone who recognizes parts of my Steampunk Saloon Girl and Renaissance Courtesan in her costume – plus my Red Queen wig! Behind her in this shot is the Red Dragon. The director wanted her to be very rich and trashy looking, so I piled on a bunch of stuff that didn’t really match, along with just about every piece of costume jewelry I own (plus some pieces that belonged to her.)

For the Apostle John (Tim McLaughlin), I made his “vacation outfit” of flowered robe and headdress.  I don’t think you can quite tell in this shot, but he’s wearing a full head mask of an old man.  It’s *very* realistic!  The actual actor is only in his 30s, so it was odd to see the transformation.

Checking the scripts one last time….the guy in the yellow shirt is our director/pastor Bruce Wersen.  If he hadn’t become a pastor, he would have been a filmmaker – he was a finalist on the tv reality series “Project Greenlight”.

And here is a video of one of the practice runs:

After we shot this scene, we returned to our old storage unit stage to film the rest of the video.

The Harlot checked her makeup, and we were set to go:

See the Seven Headed Beast in the trunk?  That is seven teenage boys, wearing costumes made out of leopard print pantyhose, horns made of tape, and masks made of plastic, fabric, and paint.

(This is a test of the mask/stockings – we later changed the horn color)

The hardest part was keeping the boys from completely destroying the masks while they waited for their part to be filmed!

Between takes, they relaxed in the Route 66 car:

The whole thing took about 9 hours to film, so it was a long day, but was quite a unique experience!

The most amazing part is that the professional visual effects guy who works on television shows like “Lost”, “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz” is doing our visual effects as well!  Eric Chauvin, of Blackpool Studios. He is JJ Abrams’ go-to guy, and an original member of Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic.  He’s been nominated for 8 Emmy awards, and won twice!  Bruce Wersen, our pastor/screenwriter/director has some contacts in the film industry, and he just contacted this guy and asked him for help.  At first Chauvin said he was just too busy with all the new shows coming out, but then he agreed to go out for lunch with Bruce, and next thing you know, he’s saying he ‘really wants to be a part’ of this series.  So cool.

And here is the finished video (be sure to watch through the credits to see my name! 🙂