Monthly Archives: July 2007

DIY – For Those About To Rock, We Instruct You

David Bowie

So maybe my personal life experiences influence this blog a tad much. I can’t help it, I’ve lived a rich one.

My father used to be a rock deejay. In fact, to this day he can be heard rolling in the driveway of our house thumping some out-of-date rock music. Despite the fact that he’s a fairly conservative and general person, he has a deep love for all things rock. As you can guess, I inherited this passion. It started with me peering at his classic record collection, progressed to thieving his Beatles CDs, and ended up in a full fledged 450 eclectic CD collection before MP3’s hit the Internet. I was proudly walking in my father’s footsteps.

This is a brief time line of what my childhood looked like.

12 Years – I discover that there’s more than Depeche Mode and the Cure. I buy my first CDs, comprising Weezer, Green Day, Collective Soul, The Adam Sandler CD, and (oddly enough) ABBA Gold. Yeah, I was a open-minded fledgling rocker. I could be found rocking out in front of the mirror.

13 Years – I get a Peavey Predator and start mashing chords to Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days”. A bit of facial hair is coming in and I’m feeling ready for the stage. You find me rocking out in front of the mirror, but this time with a real guitar.

14 Years – I get too cool for my parents, but secretly love that my Dad is a rocker still. I explore classic rock some more. I also get an acoustic guitar. It was an Ovation round back. Hard to hold, but sounds sooo epic. I explore the classics of the acoustic guitar, includipng but not limited to “Dust in the Wind”. I’m getting good. You find me rocking out in front of the mirror, with my own guitar, and attempting my “dirty rocker” vocals. That didn’t work out so much.

15 Years – I take a break from my axes to explore some more of what we call, “the ladies”. You can find me fixing my hair and popping pimples in front of my mirror. My guitar is sitting on its stand. I’m listening to just about any rock that hits my stereo.

16 Years – These are the days I’m getting into other types of music, involved in school leadership, and forgetting my rock roots. Dark times indeed. You can find me in front of mirror rapping to my new 2Pac CD. The rock gods retreat from my abode.

17 Years – A harsh break up wrecks my world, so I go where all rockers end up. I pick up my guitars and start writing more. I pour my love life out into the music. This is before emo though so don’t even go there. Even the greatest song writers write about this stuff. You can find me in front of my mirror singing songs that don’t exist anywhere but in my head. They inevitably suck, or at least to me.

18 Years – I move to college. I discover the art of being cool because I play the guitar. Girls do too. I have to make the moral decision of doing it for the music, or selling out. After a long bout with rocker’s identity crisis (heretofore referred to as RIC), I decide that it’s about the music. You can find me once again, back where I was when I started. I’m playing my guitar in my room alone, mashing chords to the music that brought me to the guitar in the first place. Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, and the rest of the guys.

Okay, so what’s the point?

Well, as an intro to this first DIY bonanza, I’m going to teach you how to dress like a rock star. That’s right. We’re going to attack the major rocker looks, and what you need to make them authentic. I can’t possibly cover all of them, as there are so many. But the core looks are accessible and effective in their delivery. By equipping you with the right tools, no one will even know you’re in costume. They’ll just think you’ve taken on a whole new look.

So, for this part 1, I can only go so far as to prepare you for our first costume in the next segment.

Step 1 – Men, get over the makeup problem. That’s right, you’re gonna wear makeup. When you’re on stage, melting faces with a heavy solo mashed up on the tiny frets, you need the glitter to reflect. Essential makeup is as follows, but specific to certain types:

  • Massive glitter – Glam and Butt rockers
  • Eye makeup – Goth, Glam, and Butt Rockers… sometimes Brit rockers, but must be used WISELY
  • Blush – Not to make your cheeks rosy, but to high light parts. Specifically Glam Rockers
  • Face Paints – If you’re going all out, you may want to totally paint your face. Goth and Emo rockers will use this for the token “tear” or other sadness conveying effect.

Step 2 – Also for the men, you may have to go bare chested. I don’t mean shirt off, but I do mean that you may need to shave/wax that primal man fur. The long hair, leather pants, no shirt combo are so Zeppelin that it’s not even funny. If you do sport the hair, it must be a small diamond shaped tuft in between your necessarily undersized pectorals. The more ribs the better.

Step 3 – The right clothes. This is more specific to the type of rocker as well. We’ll go into more detail with this later. Just don’t forget the importance of looking right for the part. Some ideas:

  • Brit Rocker – Unkempt suit, potential fedora, thick framed glasses, loose tie
  • Glam Rocker – Tight, shiny, plasticy clothes open at every possible appropriate place.
  • Classic Rocker – American or British flag themes, tight jeans. Maybe the occasional backwards leotard but you’re not even being generic with that. That’s just straight up Freddy Mercury.
  • Goth Rocker – Everything in black. Long, draping, menacing clothes. Metal items and accessories with various spikes or chains. Don’t look like a monster though, it’s not about that.

Step 4 – Accessorize! You can’t just go in with the outfit. You need something with you to show you are serious about your role. Whether it’s the token cigarette dangling loosely between your fingers or stuck to your lip, or whether it means having your axe strapped around your back. Don’t let it leave your side. You’re about the music and the fans, remember?

Step 5 – Have a token “move”. I always imagined myself having a specific thing that I did on stage if I was a rocker. I’m actually a pretty normally dressed, conservative guy. But if I managed to take on a stage persona, I’d probably lick my guitar neck from the bottom to the top while sawing whiney solos into the frets with awesomeness. This part of your costume is free, but necessary.

Well, in the second segment I’ll explore how to dress like a Brit Rocker. I’ll bring you images and examples of what you need. In the meantime go play some of “Tommy” and light a candle. You’ll see your entire future.

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San Diego Comic Con ‘07

There’s something about Comic-Con. It could be the more general acceptance of comic book stories and heroes with the steady release of comic themed movies. It could also be that celebrities seem to pop up as well. Whatever it is, it’s huge.

In fact, Comic Con is bringing in all walks of life this year. T.V. fans, true blue comic fans, movie fans, etc. In fact one report talked about the majority of visitors being working class adult males. Interesting, but not a surprise as comics were a bigger form of entertainment before T.V. and video games ruled the roost. Whatever the case, it’s a huge event every year. Enthusaists get the chance to feast their eyes on some really rare comics and see the makers behind them. In an industry where collecting can be a large investment the pomp is almost not enough.

The doors kicked open last night for a preview event. That is, Comic Con officially starts today but those who paid for an early access pass got into the doors as of yesterday. Early birds got a sneak peek at all the displays and even got their hands on some unique swag. Merchandise is everywhere, covering anything from video games to collectibles. And that’s just the tip of the Iceberg.

Comic Con will be a haven for big producers and directors to preview their upcoming projects that comic fans will want a bite of. Last year, Frank Miller’s graphic novel adaptation for 300 was a huge excitement. After the movie pulled in massive amounts of money, fans are perched to see what’s next. J.J. Abrams, producer of Lost will also be bringing some information regarding a trailer for Cloverfield. Needless to say, other big franchises like Blade Runner, Dragon Ball Z, and Battlestar Galactica will all have big showings at this year’s convention.

One of the biggest cultural excitements for Comic Con are the costumes. Fans of cosplay and just dressing up in general come out in their best concoctions. We’ll have to see what emerges over the next few days, and we’ll stay close to observe the creativity. This is one of the crown jewels of the costume world. The creations are limitless and clever. So far, little has emerged after last nights preview event. But there are a few days left and thousands of fans, so the good stuff is bound to peek out of its hole.

In no way is this going to be disappointing.

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Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Better…

We’ve all seen a mascot fight before, right? Well have you seen a man in an eagle costume and an employee at a bar duke it out? Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske did, and I bet it was awesome. Maybe it’s the fact that the mascot knew he could mask himself in the identity of the great bird. I don’t know but the fact that his friend, the onlooking beaver, sat by to watch makes this a great image to hold onto. I wish I had a video.

Who knew Chief Gil Kerlikowske was a bird lover?

During a last-call stroll through Pioneer Square early Sunday morning, Seattle’s top law dog helped break up a sidewalk fight between a bar patron and a man in an eagle suit.

Lt. Kenneth Hicks, shift commander at the precinct that includes Pioneer Square, was leading Kerlikowske on a closing-time tour of the club district when the senior officers witnessed a man-on-eagle fracas, according to police documents.

The officers watched as a 30-year-old Seattle man shoved the eagle to the curb and then stomped on the costumed man’s back as the eagle’s costumed confederate — a man dressed as a beaver — looked on.

Four patrol officers rushed to the scene, at the corner of First Avenue South and South Washington Street, and secured the three men. None was injured, and all were later released without citations.

Several mascots from Northwest universities had been at Pioneer Square on Saturday afternoon for a competition during the Fire Festival.

While a police spokesman couldn’t confirm the identity of those involved, police records list the eagle’s hometown as Cheney — home to the Eastern Washington University Eagles. The beaver hailed from Corvallis, Ore., abode of the Beavers of Oregon State University.

Police Department spokeswoman Debra Brown said that when she spoke with Kerlikowske earlier this week, he described the incident as “bizarre.” Kerlikowske was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Brown said Kerlikowske had been accompanying Mayor Greg Nickels on a fact-finding excursion to the sometimes-raucous area. Kerlikowske and Nickels wanted to experience last call firsthand.

Witnesses told police the costumed men had been jumping into traffic and harassing people on the sidewalk. The costume-clad men admitted to police that they had been jumping around the bar patron, but disputed the other man’s claim that the eagle had landed on his back.

“It’s a typical downtown Seattle, after-the-bars-close story,” Brown joked.

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The Master Work of Del Toro’s Film, Pan’s Labyrinth

Touted as “a fairy tale for grown-ups”, Pan’s Labyrinth spins the ingredients of powerful story telling and staggering imagery into a masterful work. I know this sounds like a movie advertisement, but it’s true. Director Guillermo Del Toro extracts what the mind’s eye sees and makes it manifest so accurately and breathtakingly that it would be a mistake not to see this film. The movie has won 3 Academy Awards and numerous others for obvious reasons. I have yet to see the film, but even the trailer alone stirred me up and drew my focus.

You have to wonder what goes into making a film like this. Besides a $19 million budget and an enormous crew of film experts, Del Toro used copious amounts of makeup and costumes. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Del Toro opted for puppetry and costuming over CGI tricks as much as possible. In an age where movies can nearly be done all in front of a green screen, this is truly a uniquely old fashioned method. The imagery isn’t a far stretch from what you may have seen in “Narnia”, and Del Toro was in fact asked to direct the C.S. Lewis novel adaptation at one time. However, he turned it down for his own interpretation of children’s fairy tales.

The costuming is eerily beautiful. Actor Doug Jones had to endure 5 hours of make up and costume placement. A combination of mechanical parts, latex overlaying mask and body, and serious makeup were used to create the Faun in the movie. Various parts of the costume of the Pale man and the Faun had to be filled in with clever means. The Faun’s legs for example were attached to Jones’ legs and his real legs were covered in green tights. Once the film was shot, the green screen nullified any green on his body, making it appear as though his legs were actually the beastly Faun legs.

As far as acclaim, well the movie has had it’s share of attention and awards. The movie has garnered support for the costume execution and design. In a production as long in the making as Pan’s Labyrinth, it’s good to see that Del Toro has received the respect and attention due his fantastic interpretation of imagination. Furthermore, I think that there’s a large degree of respect due to his efforts in making this a real endeavor to be lifelike. By minimalising the usage of computer generated images the movie strikes an authentic feel for what could have been highly accomplished by computers alone. Go check out the movie and see what you think.

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Deathly Hallows Book Release and How To Swing It – One Day Left!

Sitting here at my computer I’m wondering how I’m going to make the most of this huge event. As I said before, I’m not much of a Harry Potter fan myself, but am endeavoring to enjoy this final piece of pop culture by covering it for those who love it. I locked down a camera man for tomorrow who will be hopping in a car with me to take footage of the various local events for the new book release. Don’t fret, I’ll have the video up here for everyone to see without a doubt. I did wake up this morning with a bit of the *sniffle sniffle* and am hoping it exits my system fast. The last thing hundeds of eager Harry Potter fans are going to want is to catch my cold and end up using the precious pages of their book as kleenex.

As you have probably guessed, the tubes of the Internet are popping with a constant flow of data for the Harry Potter book release. I almost wonder why I’m even writing as these words are being swallowed up by the hundreds of articles, guides, blog posts, and forum topics about tomorrow night. Ah well, if you can’t beat em, join em eh?

I have found out that a digital copy of the book has leaked on the Internet so far as I can see at this point. I will say nothing more about it though because I want to make sure we keep the integrity of the Deathly Hollows as J.K. has politely asked us. I’m sure some of you will try and sneak around to find stuff (*cough cough digg.com cough*). Whether you’re a cheater, a die hard, or just along for the ride, we have 2 more fine suggestions for ways to celebrate this “man-on-the-moonesque” event. Here’s day 3 of suggestions on how to have fun on Friday night. Oh, and if you didn’t catch Part 1 and Part 2, they’re linked right there.

Harry Potter Build-a-Wand – I’ve never had a wand to wiggle myself. Surely, there’s an art to making one. I’ve heard reports that some people will be customizing their own to look unique to their own needs. We suggest you bring a whole lot of materials and set up shop in line for everyone to see. If you really are creative, you can show yours off for some bonafide oohs and aaahs. See if you can’t get some others to join in.

Get Sorted Out – Ah, the infamous Sorting Hat. You wouldn’t be a true Potter fan if you didn’t belong to a house. If you’re going to represent your Potter culture, bring a sorting hat and get sorted out. Once you’ve done this, you can have competitive games to prove your worth and loyalty. I highly doubt this type of even has been overlooked before.

Well, I’m saving the most important ideas for tomorrow, so keep yourself connected to the blog and we’ll see if we can’t give you ideas for a good time. ’til then….

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The Red Hat Society doesn’t use Linux?

While working hard at scouring the Internet for some good ideas, I run across the strangest websites. It’s actually hard to convince my room mate and friends when they walk in and see me that I’m actually hard at work. Then I get into a long discussion about how I basically spend my time talking about the deep side of costumes, and the people that love them. Since that group is such a specific niche, I end up being a big conversation stopper and there’s not much else to say. It’s still hard to find me speechless on the subject since I’m learning more and more about the people out there who are into costumes. They’re not nearly as few as you may think.

Today I was literally puzzled at this blog I ran across. I began a search to see if there were any similar blogs that I have yet to explore. I crash landed on Fancy Flappers Unique Costumes. Strangely enough, it’s purely a blog about flapper costumes. Clearly it’s a promotional effort for a business called Fancy Flappers, who sells (you guessed it) flapper costumes. Yep, flappers. Those 1920’s carefree young women sort that I have no other concept of other than their film adaptations. Interesting that there’s a market enough for such a business.

Going further, I found out that one of the major patrons of such costuming is a group called The Red Hat Society. Now, I’m pretty sure I haven’t been living under a rock. I’ve seen a lot in my young years. After seeing this, I think I can say I’ve seen it all. I mistakenly thought that this society was affilated with the same company who makes Linux, and proceeded to wonder where a tech business finds so much interest in women’s flapper outfits. Who knows, maybe a yearly office party??

It turns out the Red Hat Society is a social group of “over 50” women who like to life whimsical lives. Yeah, I guess it’s a great thing that they are joining together. They’re armed with their own .com space, a list of requirements to get in, a vastly growing membership, and a list of “purple perks” attainable upon membership with a card. Man, I should revoke my application to the Skulls! What gets me is the deep interest in this persona they adapt in affiliating with this society. I still want to know if they all use Linux.

The more I blog, the more I see how many people like to get outside their regular selves from time to time and take on a new personality for fun. I think there are more than we know. I guess that’s who we cater to. I’d like to find out more of these types of groups. In the future, I will be highlighting different organizations that are similar to the Red Hat Society and find out more about why they do what they do. In the meantime, I’m going to investigate their potential ties to Linux!

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Deathly Hallows Book Release and How To Swing It – 2 Days and Counting

The days inch by slowly for an ardent Harry Potter fan. After deciding to cover the event, I thought I would dig a bit deeper into the mysterious behaviors of Harry Potter fans and how they react to the excitement. I must say, it’s not much different from what you see with any typical fanatics. I honestly had this conversation with a Harry Potter reader yesterday who was touting that J.K. Rowling is the greatest contributor to modern literature in this era. Wow! I’m not going to disagree, since i’m not a critic. I just haven’t read the books.

There have been some news tidbits going around about the release. As you can likely imagine, spoilers are a big problem. According to muggle.net, J.K. has updated the site asking “true” Potter fans to maintain the integrity of the book by not revealing anything out of place. Guess it comes with the territory. I believe the true fans shed condemnation to the spoiling types. However that doesn’t quell the issue.

Well, we’re here to celebrate it, and it seems as of this writing there’s only 2 days and about 8 hours left until the book gets into the hungry hands of wide-eyed fans. Have you made plans to roll out a blanket and wait for your copy? Are you getting into character? Here are our suggestions for the day. If you missed the last post with suggestions on how to enjoy the event, check this link for the first segment. Otherwise, here are today’s ideas.

Harry Potter And The Curse of the Bad Poetry – Have you ever had a bad poetry night? I did this once with some friends, and it was wicked fun. We basically all wrote the worst poems we could create. Each person comes dressed for the occasion, so we’re hoping you have that covered specifically for the release. Once all the poetry is collected, each poet gets up and shares their creations with the crowd. Some ambient music, beatnik drums, or finger snapping is always in good order. Don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot coffee or chocolate.

Harry Potter Bake Sale – For goodness sakes, there’s gonna be a lot of hungry people at these line up parties. Want to score some attention, then make some Harry Potter themed eats. The people will buy them no doubt. If you’re really a good person, you’ll give the proceeds to something noble… like building a website to convince J.K. to keep Harry going. I’m not a baker myself, but you can really get creative. I’m thinking of going to a release party just to cover it here on the blog. I know that my night would be much better if someone gave me something to eat!

Well, I’ll be looking to go and see if I can make a good video for reporting here on the blog. Keep posted to see how it all goes down. You’ll find something worthwhile I’m sure!

Alright my muggle friends, until tomorrow!

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The best laid plans…

I’ve always been a creative type, and as such have tried to come up with some clever ideas for costumes. Last Halloween, I didn’t have much time to put anything together. As a college student, my resources of money and items to use were so limited. This being so, I just had to try whatever I could get my hands on.  The previous year, I went to a costume party as “The Front Yard” and it was a disaster. I thought it looked great, but it seems that most people just didn’t even understand what I was trying to do with it.

T-minus about 45 minutes to the party I decided to go as a “stay at home dad”. I guess it was funny in context. I got a robe, put an apron on over it, slipped on an oven mitt, and strapped a toy baby on my hip like I was carrying it around while I prepared a meal in my morning clothes. The problem is, since I didn’t have time to get things together some of the parts that I used to make up the whole were not quite in good condition. I even took a sharpie to the white apron and wrote “real men cook fantastic cassaroles” just to add to the absurdness of the costume.

Well, as you can imagine, things didn’t work out so well. I didn’t realize that the writing on the apron wasn’t centered, so it ended up hovering just below my bellybutton. That caused for some trouble. I also didn’t have the tie to the robe, so it ended up being open all night and I had some very uncharacteristic clothes on under it. To make matters worse, the method I used to hoist the baby to my hip was pretty shoddy and broke. After awhile I just looked rediculous and had to take it all off at the party I attended.

It’s no good to skimp, that’s for sure. You gotta know when to be cheap and when to spring for the best costume pieces money can buy. There’s also a lot to be said for planning ahead so that you can put things together nicely. I failed in those departments and the costume was a bit of a disaster. Come to think of it, should I even be writing this blog!?

So what about you? What kind of limits do you think are good for making a quality but affordable costume?

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