Minutes of the NJ / NY Costumers’ Guild meeting on 11/28/09

Held @ Diane Kovalcin’s house, Kendall Park, NJ

In attendance: Diane (host), Jim, Byron, Tina, Susan T., Toni, Caroline (guest)

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.. It was suggested that meeting minutes be posted on the website, to help the members keep informed. Those present agreed that this is a good idea.

Convention / events reports, and comments on upcoming events:

Philcon: We explained to Caroline that Philcon is the oldest continuously-running SF con in the world. There were an estimated 500 attendees. Author Guest of Honor was Catherine Asaro. Very attractive, must be at least 40 but certainly doesn’t look it, has a PhD in chemical physics from Harvard, ballerina, and wrote her own lyrics for her latest novel (about a rock star). She also sang them as the half-time entertainment following the Masquerade; she writes better than she sings, unfortunately. The Masquerade only had 8 entries, with one scratch (entrant was counter-programmed on a panel at the same time). Dora was MC. Judges were Frank & Brieanna Wu and Toni Lay. Workmanship judge was Sandy Swank. Toni said that Brieanna Wu proved to be a very good judge. It was suggested that she be added to the “list” of potential judges, as the Wus attend East Coast cons frequently. The con had a good steampunk track, and lots of good hall costumes. Byron said he’s not sure who will be running their masquerade next year, as he will be busy with running the NASFiC (in Raleigh, NC) masquerade.

We explained the WorldCon / Nasfic and Costume-Con site selection cycles to Caroline.

Medieval Faire at the Cloisters: Diane went, with Deanna and Susan. Among other activities, there was living chess, with sword fighting. T.J. Glenn was there again this time.

Future events:

Arisia: in January in Boston (actually, Cambridge at present). Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley are the Fan Guests of Honor this time. The Hyatt is reported to be fully booked at this time, and the Marriott may also be booked up. Next year they will be moving back to Boston, to the Westin Waterfront. That is a lot more capacious than the Hyatt, and is better laid out. When Byron & Tina were there a few years ago, there weren’t many food options available, but as it is connected to the Boston Convention Center, there may be more available now. Toni said that one of the nice things about Arisia is that they feed their program participants well. We reviewed a little of the history of Arisia vs. Boskone, which goes back to the infamous letter in ‘88 dis-inviting fans who were into costuming, gaming, etc. from Boskone, as they only wanted literati to attend. Despite later claims that no such letter ever was sent, Byron & Tina were among the recipients so that doesn’t wash.

Lunacon: the weekend after St. Patrick’s day, in March. Hopefully we won’t have a blizzard this time. After a couple of years elsewhere, it is back at the Rye Town Hilton, also sometimes known as the Escher Inn, or the Hotel in a Klein Bottle. It was generally agreed that it is one of the best East Coast cons, with a very good art show and lots of authors, since the publishers come over from NYC. Information from the con com is a bit sketchy so far this year, other than announcement of the names of the honored guests.

ReConStruction (NASFiC): August in Raleigh, NC: Byron said that he is actively recruiting staff for the Masquerade at NASFiC. He has lots of staff positions available.

Byron & Tina mentioned that the new schedule for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is out. Christopher Plummer will be playing Prospero in The Tempest. He got his start at Stratford, and frequently returns to play in summer shows. Byron & Tina plan to catch shows both in May before CC 28, on their way to Milwaukee, and in August following NASFiC.

CC 29: on the model of specialty costume contests at previous CCs, and in tune (sorry!) with our theme, it was suggested that we have a Top Hat contest at CC 29.

Albacon: October in Albany. Although there was no masquerade this year due to space constraints in a new hotel, next year (2010) they will have more space available and there will be a masquerade, which Byron will be running. Alan Steele is guest of honor. Byron also hopes to have a costume program track.

Discussions and Show-and Tell:

Diane told us about her trip to England and Wales (which is why she missed Philcon). She said that there were castles everywhere! She also had many photos to share with us. She was also able to see a site called Puzzle wood, which has amazing rock formations. It was closed for the season, but they kindly opened it especially for her.

There was some discussion of costuming in recent movies: Diane mentioned Young Victoria, and Susan the Coco Before Chanel movie (the latter in French with English subtitles). Both were described as having costumes to die for.

Caroline told us a little about her background. She runs the costume shop at Muhlenberg College in Allentown PA. Does special effects makeup and electronics, in addition to costume, mens’ tailoring and corsetry. Teaches corset making. Her MA is from Carnegie-Mellon in theater/costume. Has done NJ Shakespeare Theater and summer stock (“summer stock is a living hell– 3 weeks to stage The Sound of Music”).