The 62nd World Science Fiction Convention

  • Sept. 2-6, 2004
  • Boston, MA

Program Brainstorming Introduction

  • This weblog is a place where you can give us your suggestions for Noreascon 4 programming. What great new ideas do you have and what things have you seen at other conventions that you'd like us to "steal"? (Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.) To make a suggestion, please add a comment under the appropriate heading. Feel free to write a short description of the topic and even suggest appropriate program participants for it. If there's a lot of interest in a particular topic, we'll add a new heading for it.

    Please note: This is not the place to volunteer to be on Program. If you are interested in being on the Program, please see our Program Participant Selection FAQ.

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September 24, 2003


This is where you can give us suggestions for program ideas relating to costuming.


I'm new to cons, so sorry if the following are old hat ideas. They're new to me. : )

I'd enjoy seeing a program on strategies for hall costuming on a budget, including sources of discount supplies beyond the obvious thrift shop/eBay route, and creative and resourceful tricks for making a lot from a little. Maybe discuss specific costumes as examples of cheap creative thinking.

In my current fit of costuming schadenfreude (I've been fighting with a bodice that fights back), I'd enjoy a discussion of Worst Costuming Disasters Ever. Misery loves company, and it'd be encouraging (and funny) to hear costumers talk about the times it all went wrong, and what they did about it.


Anna M.C.

The Masquerade can be judged in less than 5 minutes by any competent group. However, there has never been such at any WorldCon I have ever attended.

At the Olympics, millions of dollars in future endorsements ride on the final score, a score which is derived in less than a minute by competent judges.

Why can't we get one Masquerade head one year who can stop wasting our time, waiting for the Masquerade results, by having the results compiled before the last costume reaches the photo area?

That's really good - and I hope/think the tech people will work with us on making some hands-on costuming program happen (in advance of the masquerade!)

Many costumers have no idea what tech can -- and can't -- do for them. For example, if you're a swan, you might want a blue background or lighting; an ent would prefer trees or green lighting. Please note that this program item can be fairly low-tech, using video clips, cloth against colored paper background, or slides. While it would probably be a good idea to have this early on, it's likely none of the tech crew will be free then.

(following up my own post) One reason I'd like to do such a best-of presentation is that there are lots of folks who are relatively new in fandom who never saw some of those great costumes. These are part of our fannish history and I hate to see them completely lost in the past.

Paula - yes, the Elric group won Best in Show at Brighton and was also shown at Costumecon 6 the next spring. That costume remains one of the most perfect combinations of art and literature that I've ever seen in a masquerade - the calibration of Elric's interactions with Law and Chaos, the parallels with Yrkhoon (sp?). I'd like to see more groups like that. Alas, the person who played Elric (Adrian Butterfield) was recently lost to cancer.

[thought of after posting the previous comment, and therefore on a separate post]

1) Panel on "All about the Masquerade -- Just what, and why, is this thing call the "Masquerade" at a Worldcon?" [basically, what is a Masquerade 101, explaining what it it and why. I was sort of mystified the first time I saw one, at the first convention I went to, also, what people should be looking for in the costumes, where to sit, should you use opera glasses, etc]

2) All about Hall Costumes -- panel/show and tell about what hall costumes are, and etiquette regarding wearing and watching them ["Be aware of the boundaries of costumes, that parts that stick out, can get in other people's way and bruise them; be aware that a costume is not an invitation to proposition or insult the wearer, etc."], striking up conversations with/talking to people in costumes, and how to express appreciation gracefully.

3. Set of panels relating to costuming in different regions and the groups of costumers in them. E.g., there are the Northern Lights in New England [I think] and Arisia and Lunacon and Philcon in the Northeast all have Masquerades; other parts of North America have other groups and other conventions with Masquerades, where people can compete.

4 Discussion on the competition levels at Masquerades and how they came about, why they continue to exist, and the distinctions among the groups.

5. Masquerade versus COSPLAY [anime tie-ie] -- discussing the commonalities and differences between SF convention masquerade competitions and hall costumes, and anime convention;'s COSPLAY competitions and hall costumes.

6. Discussion about Intermission at Masquerades -- the best [and worst] half-time shows. It's a continuing challenge, what to do to hold the audience while the judges are conferring to decide award winners. What are the constraints, what's worked well, what hasn't or needs some tuneup? What are the most impressive and most entertaining intermission shows and why, and what shouldn't be tried again and why.

7. Costumes and Masquerade Running -- What Does and Doesn't Work. Disco Klingons Yes, Peanut Butter No. What to do when the footlights blind the emcee (stroke his his sensuously to indicate he should announcement the next costume, -grab- his leg to indicate he should stall (this happened at one of the Chicons, Mike Resnick was emceeing. The audience got to see and be highly amused by the Disembodied Hand reaching up to the stage playing with Mike's leg. It worked for getting the Masquerade on with and amusing the audience, but blinding the MC is not a good thing to do). What happens when the music won't cue?

Susan, do you mean the Elric costume done at Brighton in 1987? I was sitting in the balcony in a position to feast my eyes on that set of costumes during the intermission, and that's exactly what I did. It was utterly gorgeous....

PS, that videotape you're proposing and your commentary are definitely things I personally would like to see!

I'd love to do a videotape presentation of great costumes from the past few decades based on SF/Fantasy literature. How many people still remember the worldcon winning costumes of Jherek Carnelian & The Iron Orchid? Elric of Melnibone? The Demon Lords of Darkness? Repent Harlequin...? I've been wanting to go through the ICG archives and make a personal best-of video like this for sometime. A matching panel of great costumes drawn from film/tv/etc. sources might also be fun. I would volunteer to do both.

several program items which are slide shows of costumes from various conventions of the past, with commentary by cognizant costumers [somewhat similar to 2-D artists giving slide shows of their work, but with costumes from people beyond the commentator's own costumes... could be by regions, or convention series, or presentation costume versus hall costume, or some other grouping criteria]

David, my thoughs exactly.

If you are going to do awards for hall costumes, let people know before the convention. You will get more hall costumes that way.

Have an overflow area for the Masquerade where TVs and tables can be set up? I liked it when you could sit around and comment about the costumes and not shushed by the people around you.

Sure - grab people who have those great hall costumes and ask them to sit a panel (maybe the next day) and talk about how they did them....

Instant panels?

Like most Worldcons, N4 expects to have hall costumes. Now, if we can have instant panels with some of the winners....?

How about awards for hall costumes? I always enjoy seeing folks roaming the halls, local eateries and the surrounding streets in F&SF garb. A series of hall costume awards (announced well in advance) could encourage this.