Costumes

Goggles for Hard Negotiations

Captains Goggles

Every airship captain needs a well made pair of goggles, but not every captain has the charm and panache to pull off a successful negotiation. So for those rare instances that "negotiations are hard", because no self respecting airship pirate negotiates often, the kind cunning pirates over at the HMS Ophelia have brought us the captain's goggles.

The captain's goggles are made from brass and leather, with an attached Gatling gun for extra leverage in those moments of hard negotiating.

Check the link below to pick up a pair for yourself.

Captain's Goggles for when negotiations are hard.

Costumes, Role Playing, and Unity

One of my absolute favorite aspects of fandom is the costuming and roleplaying, and I would have to say they are the two most maligned and stigmatized things that we do.  Let's start with the most accepted by the popular culture and proceed to the least understood.

Computer Roleplaying Games

Mass appeal of video games have normalized RPGs on the computer, and why not.  Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic were all such brilliant games, it is hard to see how they couldn't have had a mass market appeal, but in the one place where Roleplaying should flourish, it is all but extinct.

There was once a type of game known as the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG).  The problem is that these too entered the popular culture, and they spawned a new bane: badge collectors.  A sizable number of the MMORPG players became obsessed with their statistics, what badges they earned, and what loot they could get.  The software companies saw these players as their core audience and in some cases, there only audience.

The games were increasingly designed for these players and not for the fans of story.  Coinidentally, the acronym was shortened from MMORPG to simply MMO.  Players have done what they can to keep roleplaying alive, but they are generally isolated to a specific server or guild, and they are not aided by the software designers who more and more are crafting games that challenge your prowess with a keyboard and mouse and don't require any thought whatsoever.

This is one of the reasons I am so excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic and Stargate Worlds.  They are trying to bring story into the games and make it front and center.  I wish them the best of luck.

Table Top Role Playing Games

Earthdawn Gamemaster's Compendium (RedBrick Li...
Image via Wikipedia

Table top RPG fans are the geeks that geeks love to hate.  Don't believe me?  Listen carefully to a lot of the podcasts out there.  It won't take you too long to find people having a geeky conversation about their favorite tech and occationally mocking TTRPG players.

Table Top games are not  as easy to play as their computerized bretheren, but they are a lot more fun.  There are more requirements to play:

  • The Rule Books
  • Friends who have free time to come over
  • Dice
  • Creativity
  • Imagination

I didn't stutter at the end, and no, I am not padding the list.  Creativity is the ability to think originally, and imagination is the ability to see with the minds eye events as they are described to you.

I think those last two more than anything else makes people not like tabel top games.  Personally, I love them.  I run an Earthdawn game at the house every Sunday.  Nothing brings friends together for a good time like a shared adventure built from the collective imaginations of everyone there.

Live Action Role Playing

Vampire: The Masquerade
Image via Wikipedia

Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) is penultimate expression of role playing.  There are numerous systems for LARPing and they all generally involve renting a location, playing in a park, or the storyteller's home.  Most LARPers dress up in elaborate costumes and carry props to aid in game play.

I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade both as a table top game and as a LARP, and I have to say, the LARPs were always more fun.  We played at local conventions and I ran a chronicle that spanned various players homes, parks, and a few businesses who allowed us to use their establishment.

Who doesn't enjoy getting dressed up and spending a night as someone else?

One aspect of the LARPs I've played that made them so fun was that they were locked to the locations they took place.  The story was handled through notes given to the players to explain what happened between sessions, and a couple players who agreed to play according to the scripted motives I provided for them.  To this day, some of my favorite memories took place at LARPs.

We were a part of a LARP network where storytellers coordinated large scale events between cities, and at conventions our players would play through pivitol stories.  The largest LARP event we threw had 500 players in attendence.  3,00o players made up the network.  We coordinated through a email list.

LARPs are emense fun, and I miss them terribly.  I had hoped that MMOs would provide a platform for virtual LARPs, but so far, they haven't.

Costuming

Death EaterSome people just love dressing up.  They don't roleplay at all, they just wear the costume for enjoyment.  For some, it is an uniform.  For others, it is an expression of their identification with the character or race they are recreating.  And others do it for the challenge of recreating the costume.

Steampunk is an entire movement built around costuming for the sheer fun of it.

Fans who Play together Stay together

Most of the deep, personal relationships I have developed with fans over the years has been between fans I have roleplayed with.  We share an experience that is truly unique to the players who were there.  Memories of events that are not replecatable in real life.

All these years later, I still run into people at the conventions who remeber the night my Taleison should have seen his reflection in the mirror and went mad.  We talk about it like a moment from a movie or series that we loved, but our connection to the event is so much more personal because we were there when it happened.

So if you haven't before.  I hightly recommend to gather up your friends and play a game with them.  Feel free to choose the type, but make sure it is one that will build those memories that will last a lifetime.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Fandom as Culture

Back in December, I took on Meg Guroff in my post, Fandom is not Obsessive Weirdoism! for saying:

One distinctly modern form of obsessive weirdoism is fandom: becoming so devoted to a work of art that you want to augment or even inhabit it. Out of this impulse was born the Klingon Language Institute (www.kli.org), the phenomenon of “fan fiction” (unauthorized stories by civilians advancing new plotlines of beloved films and TV series) (The Urbanite Magazine),

She responded by saying:

Hey, thanks for the shout-out, but anyone who reads the essay—or even just the rest of the sentence you truncated—would know that your outrage is misplaced. This passage is not an attack on fandom, it's a defense of it. I'd invite the curious to read the essay for themselves or visit my (built, obsessive, weird) site at powermobydick.com. Best wishes.

Originally posted as a comment by Meg Guroff on dashPunk using Disqus.

The rest of the sentence I truncated simply said: "and also, one might argue, my ever-growing Moby-Dick website, which now includes not only a full annotation but also links to artwork, poems, movies, and even cartoons based on the book (The Urbanite Magazine)."  I am glad she enjoys working on a fan site, and I am sorry if I offended her by intimating she had attacked fandom, but the fact remains that characterization of fandom as obsessive and weird obfuscates the fact that what we are seeing is the birth of a new culture, not merely a niche cultural phenominon.

History of Fandom

June 1947 issue of Amazing Stories, featuring ...
Image via Wikipedia

Hugo Gernsback forged the modern Science Fiction genre in 1926 when he founded Amazing Stories magazine.  In the letters section, he published the addresses of the fans who wrote in.  Readers began to organize themselves into local clubs.  In 1934, Hugo founded the Science Fiction League, a correspondence club where local clubs could apply for membership.

Chicago's Science Correspondence Club published the first known science fiction fanzine, The Comet, in 1930.  The first convention was held nine years later when at the 1939 New York World's Fair, when the World Science Fiction Society held the first WorldCon.

Fred Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth, members of a New York fan club called The Futurians, wrote the oldest known filks in the 1950's by taking the music from folk protest songs and changing the lyrics.

It wasn't until the  1970 that the conventions grew in popularity as a result of Speculative Fiction taking on the role of mythology.  More people found Speculative Fiction gave them a set of values, goals, and practices. Through our conventions, filksings, fanfic, and fanfilm, we have developed a culture that is uniquely ours.

Pattern of Behavior

Fans don't just watch the shows they love, or read the books, they devour them.  We take in these stories, critique them, and rush to share and discus them with our friends.  We often watch the shows or read the books multiple times to see if we missed something.

We flock to conventions to meet the stars, creators, and authors of the works we love, and to spend time reveling in the series we love.  We roleplay, craft fan works, and some even engage in cosplay and LARPing (Live Action Role Playing).

Characteristic Features

It is not hard to spot a fan.  The t-shirts we were, the calendars on our walls, the tchotchkes on our desks, and the phrases we like to use.  Many of us use fanspeak around mundanes and not realizing it until we see that confused look on their face, and realize we need to translate into English.

Shared attitudes, values, and goals

The one thing I have always found most intriguing about fans is how a true fan is not hard on new fans, and wants to make sure everyone is having a good time.

Most of us grew up with Star Trek, and took to heart the idea of IDIC (Infinite Diverity in Infinite Combination) to heart.  Where ever we are, we try to bring IDIC, foresight, and community with us.  Life is to be enjoyed, and nothing cuts off the fun quicker than bigotry, ignorance, or that one guy who is looking to have a good time at the expense of everyone there if necessary.

Fan culture is always developing.

Dear Meg

I wish you the best of luck with your Moby Dick site, and I hope I didn't upset you further.  My complaint with your article was merely that you used the phrase "Obsessive Weirdoism."

Any culture is "Obsessive Weirdoism" when viewed from the outside.  You have a fannish heart, and I think it is time you stopped talking in a way that excuses your fannish tendencies to the mundanes.  You are a fan.  Be out and proud about it.

At any rate, I am a little jealous, I can see the merit in Moby Dick, and I can understand from where your passion derives, but I don't think I will ever share it.  You see something most of us don't.  That is a gift.  Relish it.

Fandom is not Obsessive Weirdoism!

Patch belonging to First Fandom member Emil Petaja
Image via Wikipedia

Margaret Guroff  is health editor of AARP The Magazine. In her first story for Urbanite, she takes out her inability to build an annotated Moby Dick website out on all fans who are not so swift to give up.

One distinctly modern form of obsessive weirdoism is fandom: becoming so devoted to a work of art that you want to augment or even inhabit it. Out of this impulse was born the Klingon Language Institute (www.kli.org), the phenomenon of “fan fiction” (unauthorized stories by civilians advancing new plotlines of beloved films and TV series) (The Urbanite Magazine),

Merriam-Webster defines Obsession as:

a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling ; broadly : compelling motivation (M-W)

What she fails to see is that fandom is a nascent culture:

a: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time <popular culture><southern culture> c: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture focused on the bottom line> d: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic (M-W)

Fandom began to form in 1960's and 70's, as Speculative Fiction began taking on the role of mythology.  It gave a set of values, goals, and practices that have developed and grown over time.

Through our conventions, filksings, fanfic, and fanfilm, we have developed a culture that is uniquely ours.  Like all subcultures, it is misunderstood and mocked by the dominate culture.  The very idea that we are merely obsessing over favorite stories is an insult not only to us, but to every culture.  These characters are our heroes, and these stories are our folktales.

The problem we are having is that all of the foundations of culture now ( not just those of fandom) are copyrighted and sold by corporations that neither understand nor care that they wield so much power.  Just because our mythology is copyrighted does not change the power these stories have over our lives.  In fact, it only increases our outrage when our stories are treated with the same disdain that corporate media has for the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, or even the beloved stories of the Christian Bible.  The Corporation cares only for its own profits, not the effect it has on culture.

While our interest in these stories may seem obsessive to some, I wonder how they feel about those who share other folktales, or folk songs.  I wonder if she shares this same disdain for others who do not subscribe to her culture.  People mock what they don't understand, and it is clear she just doesn't understand.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

What Costume Will You Wear For Halloween?

Neo With Halloween fast approaching are you still looking for that knock out costume?  Rotten Tomatoes would like to help.  They put together a great costume guide on 16 different movie characters.  Each character or set of characters is set on their own page but they put a nice thumbnail navigation at the bottom of each page making this a pleasant experience.  The 16 characters to choose from are Jay & Silent Bob, Indiana Jones, Juno MacGuff, The Fox, Carrie, John Rambo, Marty Mcfly, Zohan, Nurse Joker, Neo, The Dude, Goo Yubari & the Crazy 88, Margot, & Richie Tenenbaum, The Grady Twins, and Toshio and Kayako. The guides are great and include a nice picture of the character, a huge plus when trying to get the costume right.  A list of things that you will need for the costume which is a helpful reference.  For instance if you want to dress up like Jay you would need long blonde hair.  A list of movies they appear in so if you really want to get into the character you can watch them in action and pick up their nuances taking that cosplay to the next level.  They also include a classic line which can be used to better act out the character, a nice feature but too short for best cosplay.  For instance on the Jay and Silent Bob page they include the line “Snoochie Boochies” a classic Jay line but for Bob they should have included Bob’s classic line which would be “______ *shrug*.”

Joker_Dark_Knight

Now all I have to do is decide which one to go as

Costume: Final Fantasy's Auron

auron Auron is one of the most interesting character in Final Fantasy X.  His sinister attitude and life of secrets added so much to the game.

This wonderful costume from Otakon replicates the look fairly well.

I especially love the sword.  I have collected many blades in my life, but the one thing that has always been missing from my collect are some life-sized Final Fantasy blades.

Perhaps, one of these days when I have the house of my dreams, I will have a salon or lounge filled with the art of people like Alex CF and a nice set of fantasy weapons.  Or maybe I will just start a chain of fantasy themed mead halls from people like to enjoy a drink and some geeky conversation.

(via Crimson Drake on Flickr)

Costume: Final Fantasy's Auron

auron Auron is one of the most interesting character in Final Fantasy X.  His sinister attitude and life of secrets added so much to the game.

This wonderful costume from Otakon replicates the look fairly well.

I especially love the sword.  I have collected many blades in my life, but the one thing that has always been missing from my collect are some life-sized Final Fantasy blades.

Perhaps, one of these days when I have the house of my dreams, I will have a salon or lounge filled with the art of people like Alex CF and a nice set of fantasy weapons.  Or maybe I will just start a chain of fantasy themed mead halls from people like to enjoy a drink and some geeky conversation.

(via Crimson Drake on Flickr)

Costume: Don't Blink Jewel!

I have heard of dangerous conventions, but a convention where no one can safely close their eyes, that is a bit much, even for me. blink1 blink2

This is an amazing weeping angel statue in honor of the Doctor Who episode, Blink, worn at Dragon*con this year.  I think I might have freaked out if I saw one of these in a hotel hall.

Unfortunately for Jewel (Firefly/Stargate Atlantis), she blinked.

blink3

(via drhaggis (1/2) and Ray Radlein on Flickr

Costume: Don't Blink Jewel!

I have heard of dangerous conventions, but a convention where no one can safely close their eyes, that is a bit much, even for me. blink1 blink2

This is an amazing weeping angel statue in honor of the Doctor Who episode, Blink, worn at Dragon*con this year.  I think I might have freaked out if I saw one of these in a hotel hall.

Unfortunately for Jewel (Firefly/Stargate Atlantis), she blinked.

blink3

(via drhaggis (1/2) and Ray Radlein on Flickr

Costumed Unity

936212821_a9b19c882b Families that play together stay together. It is good to see families participating in costuming culture, and well, the suits are nice.

200802200934

Friends and families that play together, whether they play games, music, or costuming, knit themselves into a tighter, more personally cohesive group.

There is a strange comradery that arises among people that work on costumes together, or that have set up individually and met at the convention. Last year at Shoreleave, I watched a Justice League form as strangers who dressed as different DC superheroes met and joined up.

As a former Klingon (I have not costumed in too long), I bonded with those who dressed as my fellow warriors from Klinzhai.

This is modern tribalism, and every social group does it, it is just more obvious in SF fandom. Every group as a set of acceptable hair styles, clothing, and jewelry that sets their tribe apart from the others. It is a healthy part of society, so long as we continue to accept people from other tribes as equally valid members of society.

My tribe dresses in the totemic garb of our legendary heroes and villains and enacts the struggle of light and darkness. This is the ritual and the tribal dance of the post-modern age.

(via Boing Boing here and here [thanks Bill])

Medusa by Oakley

421fda1573920 When I first saw this, I thought it was an SF image, but it is an actual product. The Oakley Medusa Goggles and headgear are for sale in their online store starting at $250 and $500 respectively. I can think of several costumes I could do with them... but that begs the question: Is it still an SF costume when they are actual clothes? Not sure, but I can imagine some fun uses for these.

Share this post :