Tag Archives: costumes

Cardiff and the Doctor Who Experience

From Bath, it’s a short train ride to Cardiff, Wales. And from the Cardiff train station, it’s a short walk to Cardiff Castle.

Cardiff Castle is, hands down, the most ornate place I have been ever inside. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful.

Literally every inch of the place is decorated. Look at these ceilings!

And the walls and floors are equally splendid.

Some of the details were so whimsical. Like this fish.

Cute little animals were sculpted in everywhere.

Stained glass, too.

I think you could live in this castle for years and not notice all the details.

The library was beautiful.

They have a small collection of birds of prey, too. I was especially taken with the owls. As I always am.

During WWII, the exterior castle walls was used as bomb shelter. They have a fantastic walkthrough, with it set up just like it was.

Canteens,

and metal bunkbeds.

Plus, they had sound piped in, of bombs falling, and sirens, and period music, and other things. I spent a long time in here, it was so deeply evocative for me.

Afterward, I walked along the Animal Wall. The story goes, that the owner wanted to put in a zoo, but the townsfolk refused to allow it, because of fears of the animals escaping. So he built a wall with stone animals perpetually in the act of escape. Some of them have glass eyes, and they are pretty creepy…in a completely awesome way.

This wall and its animals are definitely making it into the next book series I’m going to write.

Cardiff has several Victorian-era shopping arcades, with lovely little shops under a glass roof. This one, Castle Arcade, was my favorite. Largely because of the button shop. I bought a bunch of cool hobbit-y buttons there.

When I finished shopping, it was time to grab a cab to Cardiff Bay, and the Doctor Who Experience!  After you travel with the Doctor through an interactive experience, you get turned loose in an immense warehouse filled with costumes, props, and sets.  Nothing is behind glass – although they do have the occasional guard to make sure you don’t actually manhandle the treasures.

The TARDIS set was particularly cool, because you could walk around inside it.

There was creepy stuff.

And you always need to remain on your guard…

But I was thisclose to Ten. His suit, anyway. Guys, you don’t know the struggle it was not to reach out and touch…

It was awesome being able to get so close to all the costumes.

I took a billion pictures, including closeups of most of the costumes. You can find them here, if you’re so inclined.

I really liked Cardiff. It’s definitely on my list of places I’d love to visit again.

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Steampunk Photoshoot

Remember last year when I did a steampunk photoshoot with fabulous photographer Tyson Vick?  It was for a magazine called Dark Beauty, and it has finally been published, and I can finally share the photos.

All the female costumes were made by me.

Aren’t they beautiful?  And woot!  My costumes are in the same issue with the likes of artist Brian Kesinger (one of my very favorites!) and the League of Steam!  Brian Kesinger is coming to Steamcon this year.  I’m so bringing my print copy of the magazine and having him sign it…

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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! 🙂

Steamcon II

I went to my first Steamcon last weekend, and I already know it won’t be my last!  It was so much fun; the panels, guests, and people-watching were top-notch.

Here are a few of my adventures, along with a few photos.

First off, I was severely sleep-deprived when we arrived on Friday because I’d been up until about 3am the night before attending the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows midnight premiere.  (I’ll do a separate blog about that night later on.)  We get to the Hilton in Seattle and get checked *just* in time for the first panel I really wanted to see.  I’m a huge League of Steam fan, and was delighted to hear a few of the members had flown up to Seattle.  Their first panel was pretty much an introduction to who they are and what they do.  If you haven’t watched any of their short films, you need to check them out on youtube.  They are seriously the definition of everything cool about steampunk!  Their gear is absolutely amazing.  Everything ‘works’, from the baby eel shock-prong, to the net gun, to the plunger-canon!

They also have amazing costumes:

This is their zombie expert, Baron Von Fogel.  His most awesome bit of equipment is his hand-crank chainsaw.

Ghostbuster Crackitus Potts (shown here holding his baby eel shock prod – which actually does deliver shocks, as testified by brave members of the audience):

LadyAmeliorette Potts, his wife, also came, but by the second day was strangely absent, and in her place was one of the female ghosts who haunt the League of Steam:

Her costume was absolutely to-die for, with so much incredible detail.  I took many close-up pics, and will post them on my costume blog, Dragonfly Designs by Alisa.  In the background, you can see the fourth member of the League, Zedediah.  He is a domesticated zombie, and very well-behaved. If anyone was attacked, the evidence must have been cleared away quickly, because I saw no sign of mayhem whatsoever.

This guy was really amazing.  He staying in character the entire day, complete with eyes rolled back and drool.

On one of their other panels (shared by a genuine ghost-investigator), Potts took the opportunity to demonstrate his ghostbusting skills:

Friday evening was the Singalong with Abney Park.  Unfortunately, Abney Park was “unable to make it”, so they dredged up a last minute replacement band: Ranch Hand Robbie and his Wranglers!  It was hilarious to watch them attempt to stay in character as they “covered” their own songs.

I wore my Zombie Hunter outfit:

The second day (Saturday) I wore my Steampunk Geisha costume, which proved to be the most popular costume I’ve ever made!

It was difficult to walk more than a few feet without being asked to stop for a photo, and once I was stopped by one person, it quickly turned into a mob scene – I was instantly surrounded by cameras!  I truly felt like a celebrity in this dress!  I was even given an award ribbon by the Rose City Steampunks for “thinking outside the box” and “wearing a color other than brown”.  😀

One guy said there had actually been a panel earlier in which they had discussed what a ‘steampunk geisha’ costume might look like.  How funny if I’d managed to attend it in this outfit!

One of Saturday’s outstanding panels was the one with Abney Park.  Despite it being “early morning” (1pm!) they were awesome.  They told so many great tales, like Dan’s accidental arrest for convenience store armed robbery…

I was too busy laughing to take video, but someone else did:

They were having so much fun they went over their time, and I had to walk out before it was quite over in order to meet my friend Mike for the High Tea and Fashion Show at 2pm.

The High Tea setting was gorgeous, with white linen and candles.  They served ham and salmon tea sandwiches, mini quiches, and for dessert, mini petit fours, cream puffs, and mini eclairs.  The menu and schedule they handed out was gorgeous too:

We chose seats right up against the catwalk, and by chance the lady who took the seat next to mine was the wife of writer James Blaylock, the Steamcon guest of honor!  She and her husband were wonderful tea companions; during the fashion show, she kept leaning over to whisper: “Could I commission you to make THAT for me???”  😀  Too bad I don’t actually take costuming commissions, or I’d have had work for months – she had a serious case of costume-envy, after seeing all the great steampunk outfits all day!

Unfortunately, they didn’t allow any photography inside the tea room, but the fashion show was great fun.  Especially the designs from Lastwear.  They had their models act out little skits as they walked the runway!  I did find this photographer’s page with photos of the fashion show.  If you go about 1/3 of the way down the page, you’ll find a guy wearing a black cap with goggles, a black jacket, and a red kerchief around his neck.  He was particular fun for me, since he stopped right at our table, crouched down, made very intense eye contact with me, and proceeded to silently flirt.  When he left, Mrs Blaylock leaned over to comment that he had ‘wonderful eyes’.  Yes.  Yes he did!  *blush*

Saturday evening was the big concert.  None of us thought very much of the opening band (Bakelite 78) but the second band, Ghoultown, was very good.  I think I’ll get one of their CDs.  The headliner was Abney Park, and they were excellent as always, even though they were plagued with technical difficulties with Kristina’s keyboard.  (Like one of the fans shouted, it isn’t a real AP concert unless something breaks….)

Sunday I wore my Saloon Girl outfit.

 

 

I posed for more photo-ops, and had girls chase me down so they could pet my shoulder martin.  Also, I was reminded of an occurrence that happens only at costume-type cons: mutual butt fondling!  Yep, get two or more ladies wearing bustles together, and pretty soon it becomes a free-for-all, as everyone wants to examine the construction of everyone else’s bustle!  😀

Late afternoon it started to SNOW, and the con cleared out fast, as all the panels were pretty much over, as no one wanted to get stuck in Seattle!  This is also when I discovered that semi-skimpy saloon girl outfits don’t do well in snow – gads, that was a cold walk to our car!

My favorite panels ended up being:

Steampunk Ghost Hunting (funny AND informative!)

Eureka it Works! (that fabulous League of Steam & their equipment)

Victorian Undergarments (they had actual extant corsets, bustles, and petticoats to pass around for the audience to examine)

The Abney Park panel (well, of course!)

The Art and Science of Fencing (Knives, swords, and live dueling, what’s not to love?)

Perhaps the best part of any con is the people-watching.  Next, I give you some of the most awesome and fun costumes that other people were wearing:

This guy’s costume was flippin’ amazing.  I wish it showed in the pic, but inside the cage was a fairy.  And she moved, flying up and down in the most lifelike manner.  I don’t know how he did it, but it was GREAT.

Best wings ever.  They actually extended and retracted!

This guy’s hat lighted up in several amazing ways.  And besides that, he was just one of those really nice people that are such a pleasure to meet at cons. We took pictures of each other, and then (since I was in my geisha outfit) a crowd gathered and we ended up posing together for several minutes worth of pictures.

I have a love for mechanical arms. This guy had one of the best.

Mechanical arms aren’t amazing enough for you?  How about a mechanical ostrich???

Another pair of wings, and a guy whose costume is just generally cool.  Back view:

And front view:

A mechanical dog that moves, lights up, and barks.  It reminds me of the Doctor’s K9.

How can you not love a guy with an octopus on his shoulder?  It’s so elegant!

Here’s another one that the picture doesn’t do it justice. At all.  This is an articulated dragon, with “fire” in all its joints and under its scales.  So cool!

I don’t quite know who/what this girl was, but anyone who carries a glowing green brain around on their back is seriously cool!

Great fun was had, and I’m going back next year for sure – I already have costume ideas flooding my own (hopefully non green and glowing) brain!

Also, we are SO GLAD the con ended when it did, because today (Monday) Seattle is an absolute mess because of the snow.  If the snow had begun day or two earlier, it would probably have been canceled!

Titanic Costumes

I so want these!