September 21. 2013 Meeting of the NJ/NY Costumers’ Guild (aka, the Sick Pups)

Hosted by Diane at Kendall Park, NJ

Meeting Minutes presented by Tina Connell

Attendees: Diane, Byron & Tina, Kathy D., Susan T., Rich & Stephanie, and Toni

The meeting was called to disorder at 2:20, following the pre-meeting food frenzy. Meeting theme was “What I Did With My Summer Vacation” with show-and-tell.


Official Stuph:

Tina distributed copies of the 6/15/13 meeting minutes. Byron reported, on behalf of Marcy in her absence, that as of the end of August the treasury was at $297.28.

President’s Report: Byron said that there was not much to report from the ICG. He shared a list from Jeanine Swick which showed all chapters with membership numbers as of 9/10. He said that the ICG needs a new flyer for the ICG itself, not just for the individual chapters.

Webmistress: No pictures on our front page because photos would slow down loading.

Activities and Con Reports:

Byron & Tina shared a photo of a “steampunk-style” digital elevator control panel that they encountered at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Buffalo (NEAT!). Byron also commented on an article he had come across about electric “paint” - it lets one paint circuits on skin or other surfaces. Rich said that hopefully it’s not water-soluble, or one would run the risk of short circuits when sweating. Kathy said that people using it could get effects when clasping hands.


Pennsic: Toni said that it was smaller than usual this year. She made it to the Viking boat-burning. There were a number of memorials for Marty

Lone Star Con 3 (World SF Con) (Labor Day weekend): Byron & Tina drove there. Byron said it was pretty big for a WorldCon today, with 3800 on-site. Byron was on a number of panels: Dapper Gentlemen - how to do Victorian menswear on the cheap; Building a costume library (copies of info on library cataloguing software from that panel were distributed to the Pups); and History of WC Costuming - What had broken & how to fix it: all panelists disagreed that it was broken & needed fixing. The Masquerade had 25 entries with 2 scratches. Truly international: one entry & 1 den mom were British. Paul Cornell (also British) was a good MC and Dave D’Antonio was a good Green Room Manager. The Green Room had good eats. The art show and dealers room were also good, and there was an amazing Lego layout in the concourse, as well as an Iron Throne replica, and large Dr. Who and Trek memorabilia displays (Byron & Tina took copious photos). Debi is a budding SMOF; she spent a lot of time sitting at the ShamrockCon/EuroCon table. The WorldCon site selection for 2015 was Spokane (Sasquan). Helsinki almost won, but didn’t garner a sufficient percentage of the votes. Spokane was finally selected on the third ballot. Brad Foster, David Gerrold, and Vonda McIntyre GoHs.

DragonCon (also Labor Day weekend): Diane went for 2 days (just back from Alaska, and she showed us Alaskan-motif batik panels). It was even more crowded than previous years – 43-45K attendees. The Parade was really excellent; Huge, much bigger than last year. The Masquerade was moved to exhibition space, 2 floors. Amazing costumes, and approx. 1/3 there were in costume. Hotels for next year were almost completely booked already. DragonCon had an app that let one set up one’s schedule on it.

Shore Leave: Stephanie said William Shatner was there - the con charged an extra $20/per person above the membership price to see him. She and Rich have been going since ‘93, and have never seen so much security before (con and local police security). Shatner was there for Saturday only; once he left everybody was more relaxed. (Byron noted that security at San Antonio were all S.A. police, who were very pleasant and friendly.) Rich said that on Friday Shore Leave had a mask making-workshop – show & tell, two masks. Stephanie also said that Northern Lights are getting some crossover members from the anime community.

AnimeUSA (mid-September): Byron was an invited guest, to talk about ICG/ICG style costuming/masquerades. Tina did 6 costume changes, to uphold the honor of the Pups. Byron’s formal kilt outfit was greatly appreciated. They didn’t quite make their hoped-for 5,000 attendees; Byron estimated that they had about 3,500-4,000 attendees there. Dealers room, exhibits, gaming and meeting/function space were all close together. Byron said they had the best tech he’s ever seen! (Although Tina didn’t much care for the blinding strobes they used at points during the masquerade.) The MCs wore live mikes, with no lectern, an interesting way to do it. Costumes: Ther were a lot of hall costume awards, with craftsmanship awards. Some of the hall costumes would have been strong contenders at a CC. Only 8 costumes competed in the actual masquerade, of which only 5 asked for craftsmanship judging. Byron (and Tina as an add-on) , along with a professional costume designer, were craftsmanship judges. Unfortunately, much of what we had presented to us was poorly made, although the concepts were interesting. No “original” designs were allowed to compete in the masquerade, just anime/games/etc. Anime and cosplay are definitely not equivalent; there was a wide disparity between the quantity of programming items for one vs. the other. Other differences: It wasn’t a “conference” - it was a “show.” Paid memberships were“attendees,” not “members.” They didn’t depend upon volunteers to help out, but had a staff who were obviously experienced. Badges were full of a lot of legalese printed on the back. As a result of a couple of Byron’s panels, there was some interest expressed about starting a Virginia ICG chapter. Byron & Tina were a bit disappointed that they closed the main restaurant for “Maid Cafes”. Diane assured us that these are BIG at anime cons. On Friday, they had a “ball” with instructors present to teach waltz, foxtrot, and rumba; they played appropriate music at the event.

Diane was all over the map on her travels. She went to Turkey (showed us pretty metalwork items). Went to Troy, which she described as “just big piles of dirt”, then to an archaeological site which she said changed her view of hunter-gatherer societies – Stonehenge-like menhirs, carved, arranged in circles, and then buried. Then a stop in Istanbul, before moving on to England, where she saw 3 exhibits at the V&A, Tintagel, and Merlin’s Cave. She went to see a performance of The Tempest at the Globe Theatre, where she thought that the costumes were very disappointing (“Ariel looked like a plucked chicken”). There was also a theatre tour: Macbeth was being rehearsed, and those costumes were amazing! Then she and Jim went all around the country. First to Margen Country Park in Wales, which has a Tudoresque mansion, and has been used as a filming site for DaVinci’s Demons, Dr. Who, Merlin and others. Following that, up to Port Meirion (The Prisoner), which is a real village, not just a set, and has guest accommodations. The next day, they visited Stratford on Avon, where there was a costume exhibit; photos were permitted, and she has given them to Susan to post on the website. Photos also on Diane’s Flicker account. After they came back to the States, she went to Alaska.

Kathy also went to Alaska. She said it was very wet (temperate rain forest). She started in Fairbanks, took a long train ride to Denali Wilderness Park (caribou, bears, eagles, lots of moose), and then by bus down to Anchorage to join her ship. Then on to Glacier National Park, where there were killer whales and dolphins, but no seals (away at their breeding grounds). There was an excursion to Yukon to see sled dog training. Kathy, and then Diane, got sick. Vancouver, which gets 20 hours of sun a day in the summer, had botanical gardens and a Chinese scholar’s garden (only a few in the world) with a docent-led tour.

Kathy said that she found a good bead store near her, but unfortunately they were clobbered by Hurricane Sandy and had to close recently. She was able to take a couple of workshops before then; she showed us samples - a chunky beaded chain and beaded ropes.

Upcoming Cons and Events:

Medieval Festival at the Cloisters: next weekend, Diane & Toni are going.

Archon (10/4-6): St. Louis area: Byron & Tina plan to go; David Weber is GoH.

Albacon (1st weekend of Nov.): Relaxacon this time, with writers workshop. Can get there by train. Rich & Stephanie said they plan to attend.

Philcon (11/8-10): Allen Steele, Charles Vess. Byron will be running the Masq. Green Room, Tina @ the repair table. Elektra is Masquerade Director.

Long Island Who (11/8-10): Susan said that they are up to about 750 members so far, and that they are sold out of the “good” tickets..

Astronomicon (11/15-17): Rochester. David Gerrold, Peter David, Dawn McKechnie.

The Last Darkover Con: (11/29-12/1): next year will be replaced with “ChessieCon”

SMOFcon, Toronto, in early December


In 2014 and later:

Arisia (1/17-20): Diane can’t attend; she will be away to Australia & New Zealand. Note that for the past couple of years they have moved the Masq. to Sunday night, which forces one to take an extra hotel night. Rich & Stephanie, Byron & Tina, and Toni plan to go.

Lunacon (3/14-16?): No one has heard anything from the committee.

Costume-Con 32 (4/25-28/14): Diane can’t go. Byron is running the Historical Masquerade.


Other upcoming cons mentioned but with no info: Balticon (Stephanie said that BSFS is in disarray from Marty’s death); Shore Leave (they don’t usually put out info until later).

Pennsic: Toni said on-line registration starts on 1/1/14. Whether she will be able to attend will depend upon her available vacation time.

DetCon (NASFIC, Detroit) (6/17-20): Steve Barnes GoH

LonCon 3 (WorldCon, London) (8/14-18): Byron & Tina tried out an Aloft hotel to see what they are like, since the Aloft is the closest hotel to the convention center. All Alofts are apparently designed to be the same. They stayed at the one in Cherry Hill, NJ. There are some interesting “features” - styling is very spare and modern. Rooms have poor lighting; little seating (one chair and a long bench which does double duty as a luggage rack); no drawers, just a couple of shelves; and a “closet” (wardrobe-style) which can only hold about 8 items. They had a mini-fridge, and separate sink and bathing/toilet areas. No dining room (though there is a bar), just coolers with grab & go automat food and drinks.

ShamrockCon (EuroCon), Dublin (8/22-24)


New Business:

Select addition meeting dates: After a brief discussion, we set January 25th for the meeting following the November meeting.


Upcoming Meetings / Workshops:

November (11/23): also at Diane’s (Little Hats workshop?)

January (1/25): Tina said that if she can find the how-to booklet she has (somewhere) from Historic Williamsburg on how to make Colonial thread buttons, that might be a good workshop to try).

Meeting was adjourned at 6:26 pm.