Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Collected Costume – Kylie Minogue’s History in Costumes

Get a load of this collection. Would you say obsessed?

Kylie Minogue has had her hits here in the US, but she’s really a legend in her native land of Australia. This video shows the obsessed costume collection that houses so much of the things she’s worn over the years. The good news, costumes like this end up in good care and eventually in some kind of museum. I have to wonder how much money is in the clothes stored here.

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Top 5 Costumes to Come this Season

It seems like Halloween is still far off, but it’s creeping up pretty quick. Since that’s the biggest costume season of the year, it’s going to start getting real hectic for costume companies as well as the craft stores that supply DIYers with their materials. I, myself, will be making my own costume this year. I really want to do something clever and report it on the blog. Therefore, I’ll be trying to make a splash with my own creativity.

Each year it seems that there’s a popular costume that hits. Of course, I wager to say it’s just dependent on what new excitement the entertainment industry has brought us. It is always somewhat unpredictable though. We’re wondering what its gonna be this year?

Of course, there are some standards that we can expect. I’d say that Harry Potter will make a showing at a few good costume parties. We’re also constantly expecting the Pirates crowd to come out in numbers.  We’ll also be seeing some new things floating around. Here’s our list of our top 5 new costumes on the scene for 2007:

5. Anything World of Warcraft – We just are afraid that there’s too much geekiness surrounding this one to get people to dress up accordingly. However, 9 million fans and players worldwide can’t be wrong. And with an impending movie in the works, that 9 million is bound to grow. Or at least it will become a household name. Even the link above has an in-game costume. As if being plugged to your fantasy world all day isn’t enough, now you can don a costume and be immersed in fantasy while being immersed in fantasy.

4.  Hairspray – If ever teenage girls were to fall in love with a movie, it was with High School Musical. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room in their hearts for Hairspray. It’s a nostalgic love song dedicated to the original. The colors and costumes are vibrant and you can expect to see this all over the place this season. Isn’t it the teenagers who are representing one of the largest groups of costume wearers out there anyway? I have my money on this one.

 3. Naruto – Anime fans always come out in drones, and Naruto is representing just about the biggest thing to hit the Anime scene since Dragonball Z. Comic Con has shown us the popularity of this huge series, and it seems that it’s not calming down. As a huge Japanese export, Naruto costumes are far and away a big hit this year.

2. Transformers – This is one for the DIY crowd out there. The only reason I think this will be big is because it already is. The internet has been slammed with videos of these costumes ever since the movie has come out, so we don’t see it slowing down before the costume season hits.

1.  Pirates – I had to do it. I couldn’t deny the fact that this is going to rule the roost when it comes to costumes for 2007. The costume design for the movie is unbelievable. With a host of characters to choose from and each donning their own look, it’s without a doubt a wellspring of ideas for Halloween. Mix into it the fact that they’re mischievous enough for the holiday, and I’m putting my money down on this. The only excuses I have to qualifying these costumes for this list is my notion of Tia Dalma costumes showing up. Her role is significantly central to this third installment of the trilogy.

Costumes that came close, but just weren’t good enough to make it…

  •  Indiana Jones – Comic Con goers had a look at this upcoming sequel to the once-ended trilogy that made Harrison Ford a star. Somehow, he ends up in movies that end up in great costumes. It’s not out yet, so we couldn’t assume the craze would set it.
  • David Beckham – This is a hit with both the guys and the girls. Beckham has made the move to the US for his soccer (er umm… football, sorry) career. His popularity isn’t unnoticed despite the fact that some fans are skeptical. What do I think? Maybe half sellout, half career move. Either way, having your boyfriend or husband dress up as Beckham is an easy excuse to get your Posh Spice outfit out of the 1996 bin and dust it off.
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International Costumes – MyDisguises Around the World

No matter where you go in the world most countries have traditional costumes, except America…

My pond hopping has been fruitful. I’ve been everywhere from France to Madagascar. Each place is so different from the next. When I cross boundaries somewhere, I have a mantra that I follow. After I settle down with my bags, I typically go out alone and find some local food. Hopefully it means sitting down in a small Greek Taverna or a Pub of some sort. Once I’ve filled myself with a local dish, I take to the streets and just get lost.

This is where traveling becomes more than it is to most people. In every chance I get, I spend time with the locals and get to know them. Sometimes, If I’m lucky, I make friends with someone who will tell me a story. In the process I learn about growing up internationally. I’ve heard stories of politics, love, war, and family. Some of the people I’ve met were poor beyond any first world concepts. I even made friends with a wealthy South African bunch who took me for a ride on their personal game reserve.

Of Borders and Boundaries

Every time I come back to the states, I get this feeling of claustrophobia for a few days. To most people, borders are just a line but boundaries are a distinct separation of culture. Of borders and boundaries, I don’t make distinction. They’re all the same. In a country where land mass should dictate a greater diversity, it seems that culture has homogenized into the “melting pot” of modern acceptance. So what? Why make a scene?

Europe, my first foreign exploit, taught me a valuable lesson. I noticed how the separate countries are so small, but crossing a border means entering a whole new world. People come and go freely as they do anywhere else. Conversely, when you dust your shoes off in another residence, you blend with them. It’s an unbelievable experience. Individuals revere one another for who they are.

So why does it work in places like Europe? Well, the easy explanation is “history”. America isn’t all that old. However, walking the streets of places like Paris, Dubai, Cape Town, or Stockholm echo stories that can’t be told in words. Their history is spoken through the people and their lifestyles. The land, in return, mimics the history of its people and their interaction with one another.

Dressed In Their Own Disguises

When you walk in the streets of Florence, you see the elderly in their more traditional clothes. Malagasy people wear their national garb nearly every day and to family events. The Polynesian men go to business meetings in their traditional lava lavas. In America, what do we wear? Are we so unified in culture, that we have a traditional form of dress that we frequently don for special occasions? Or is our culture just a mix of everyone else’s.

Well, it’s not hard to see that we miss out on what the rest of the world uses to help develop identity. It’s a shame but who can we blame? We are a product of our short history. In light of this, I’m taking the readers of this blog to around with me as I explore the different traditional costumes of the world, and how they define the people that wear them.

Join me as I explore these different costumes from here on out. If nothing else, a broad view of world history through clothing is a good reason to respect the boundaries that separate us and preserve world culture in its traditions.

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No Excuses – Mario Kart crosses real world boundaries.

Most of us need an excuse to get dressed up in something out of the ordinary. Others of us create excuses. In the case of these guys from PandaSmash TV, it’s all about their favorite nerdy pastime, Mario Kart. I’m submitting my name for an invite to the next one. I grew up on Mario Kart and would play it to this day. On a side note, I never found Princess to be that good in the game, but it looks like he… erm… she won this round.

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Peter Jackson’s WETA Liscenses Microsoft Graphics Engine

What Peter Jackson doesn’t do, he has someone else do. However, when Peter Jackson wants it done right, he doesn’t outsource his work. He simply starts his own studio and takes control. Meet WETA.

What’s important about WETA is that they’re getting their hand in all the big productions these days. After the raving success of The Lord of the Rings, Jackson and his massive crew of creative 3D artists became magnets to the industry. Since then, they’ve worked on feature films such as King Kong, I Robot, and Van Helsing. What’s more is the list of things to come. Projects like the acclaimed Microsoft game Halo will be turned into a movie. WETA is also working on the sequel to the Chronicles of Narnia, titled “Prince Caspian”.

In process of expanding the toolset at their grasp, WETA recently announced a licensing of new graphics technology from Microsoft. According to sources, the SIGGRAPH 2007 conference brought these new technologies to light for the team at WETA. Citing that the tools could speed their development process as well as improve upon what they already have at their disposal, WETA developers will be able to improve upon their creative process. If only we could see another from the Lord of the Rings series… the Hobbit maybe?

As for what this means, it means we’ll be able to see WETA get their hands dirty a bit more. While not directing, Jackson takes on projects with WETA to keep in the movie game. While there’s nothing really just over the hill for Jackson himself, we can expect that the forthcoming productions for the digital graphics company will only bolster Jackson’s clout.

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Top 5 “Less is More” Costumes, period.

I was wondering to myself what makes a costume great. For most people it’s the frills, buttons, accessories, authenticity, and whatever else you can add to make it look like it took a lot of work. Frankly, these top 5 simple costumes prove that less truly is more.

5. T-Shirt Ninja – Just Google these words and there are pages that teach you how to do this. It reminds me a lot of making T-Shirt Bikinis when I was a kid. It doesn’t matter who you are, t-shirt ninja masks are always a good option.

 

4. Shower – Pretty Simple huh? Get some PVC pipe, a shower curtain, a shower head, and figure out how to hoist it up. Well, maybe not as easy as others… but I’d go to the small amount of trouble to be a shower any day.

 

3. Napoleon Dynamite – Those Vote for Pedro shirts are everywhere. I guess the hardest part to pull off will be the ratty golden locks and the drained face look. I don’t know what dreams Jon Heder had at night to inspire him to make that movie, but the costumes were classics. If only we could get a Liger outfit.

 

2. Naked Cowboy – Despite the very minimalist approach here, Naked Cowboy does be sure to sport some pretty flamboyant gear. If you manage to divert your eyes from the disbelief of his nakedness, you’ll notice some hideously decorated boots and a hat. Not to mention the fact that he desecrated a perfectly nice guitar with some cheesiness. In the end, there’s hardly anyone in New York who doesn’t know Naked Cowboy.

 

1. Blue Man – I always wondered just how hard it is for these guys to get all blue. I’m sure there’s work involved. Despite that, the costume is about as simple as it gets, completely effective, and a mark of pop culture. That’s why Blue Man makes our number 1 spot.

 

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Do Virtual Communities Do More Harm Than Good?

“there are three jihadi terrorists registered and two elite jihadist terrorist groups in Second Life and they use the site for recruiting and training. This is on top of the Second Life Liberation Army. “

 

In light of the Second Life comment I made earlier, I thought I’d address this current news story that’s abuzz in the virtual world space. According to articles located in Slashdot, P2Pnet, and other techie news sources these virtual worlds like Second Life are becoming a hotbed for terrorist groups to train and enable sympathetics to become recruited.

As opinions shoot back and forth, I have to wonder what the other groups think about this. By other groups I mean people who use Second Life for profit and positive interaction. The real world implications are vast, but is there any way for people to stop this kind of open, virtual world extremism? There has already been a case of “virtual terrorism” in Second Life recently in efforts to make a point. But what happens when these issues cross over into the real world?

Real World Control over A Fake Environment

I mean no harm in saying fake, but in comparison to what life really is, Second Life is an alternate reality. As such is the case, how do you police a virtual world? As it stands, the debate over Internet governance weighs so heavily in favor of total decentralization that it would mean the same thing. Having any kind of policing in a world like Second Life would indicate that some form of government would have to exist. Who would this government be? Is Linden Labs responsible for not only governing the technological implementation and advancement, but also the social behavior of its residents?

And that’s not the end of the problem either. At this point the biggest draw to Second Life has been its free and open format. It allows people to access and do whatever they want, within the technical limitations of the environment. This culture has developed so far that any truncation of “virtual rights” would alienate the users as a whole. How would Linden Labs or anyone else ever enforce restrictions? How true are these allegations anyway?

Behind a Virtual Mask

This isn’t the first time that things like this have popped up about terrorism on the Internet. Terrorist groups have been known to assemble on the Internet as a form of cheap and effective communication. We have such a hard time cracking down on kids taking the new Avril Lavigne song, so it makes sense that extremists see this crack in the armor as a chance to exploit and promote their ideals.

So what does this say about people using the Internet to mask who they are and be something else? The virtual community provides so much positive and forward thinking but also engenders some of these large problems? Does this anonymity lend more to negativity than it does to progress and positive global thinking?

It’s a shame that there are a few that ruin it for the whole, but issues like these don’t go unnoticed. As the electronic frontier gets pushed further into unrecognizable territory, opponents speak out more in defense to the electronic community. Yet, the modern rush doesn’t slow down. Government leaders all over are petitioning for a stranglehold on these technologies in order to regulate just how much of this extreme information gets tossed around. On the other hand, the people speak out against government in defense of their rights. Techies are typically afraid that ulterior motives propel governments to seize large scale communication rights for their own gain.

As for you and I, how do we maintain the right to participate and live anonymously with strangers? Is there ever going to be a way to facilitate positive global communication with strangers without the demons inside coming out of the small minority who want to use it for negative gain?

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More Shipments of Cosplay Culture Coming Overseas

“‘Manga is an international language,’ said Michio Oguri, the chairman of the fifth annual event which is being held in the central Japanese city of Nagoya this weekend.”

Tokyo culture is ever trickling down into the United States and Western Europe. This time I’m referring to their cosplay culture. Though still widely seen here as a bit “nerdy”, anybody who’s anybody joins in the cosplay fun in Japan. Call it their own little Halloween. And that kind of infective growth does seem to take hold on the western side as well. It’s only a matter of time before we’ve all dressed up to honor our favorite movie and TV franchises.

According to this Reuters news article, fans just gathered in numbers for a big Cosplay Summit in Japan. Notably, many different nationalities showed up to represent their favorite anime, manga, and video games. One young mexican girl states “Becoming an anime character is like being in a dream”. We give recognition to her for representing the mission of Second Skin.

The fun is in the creation. It’s one thing to just show up in a costume you already have. But taking the time to build one from scratch and make an accurate representation takes real talent. Almost like an alternative sport, cosplayers like to show off and compete in costume contests to prove their creativity and dedication.

We love this stuff, and we hope to see more of it. Send us pictures of any cosplay stuff you may have to our email and we’ll post it.

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