Pemmi-Con – Day 3

I didn’t see much of the convention on Saturday. In the morning I took myself off to the Human Rights Museum, which is something you don’t get in every city you visit. It is, in various ways, amazing, heart-rending and disappointing. Certainly worth a visit, but equally a measure of who is deemed to have a legitimate human rights struggle and who isn’t.

The afternoon was spent taking care of some WSFS stuff with Kevin. If he gets a visa for China, he probably won’t be able to update the Hugo Awards website from Chengdu. I will be at BristolCon. Somehow we will get it done, though it will probably be behind places like and Locus.

The evening saw the Pemmi-Con masquerade, which I went along to because my good friend, Sandy Manning, was running it. It was small, but very well done. I almost ended up on the judging panel, but thankfully Sandy found someone better qualified in time. They had four novices who had never been on stage before, including one young lad who had used a 3D printer to make parts of his costume. The journeyman category had a topically revived Barbie costume that had last been in competition in 1999. There were three master level entries. It is not often that you will see the Pettingers place third in a field of three, which should tell you a lot about the quality of the entries. The clear winner, by audience acclamation as well as by the jury, Best in Show in both Presentation and Workmanship, was the Baba Yaga’s Hut costume pictured above.

Today’s job, other than one panel, is to find the names to go with the photos I have taken so I can do a fuller write-up in Salon Futura.

Off With Their Heads!


On Tuesday I found time to visit the Game of Thrones exhibition here in Belfast. If you are into costuming it is well worth it as they have costumes from most of the leading characters in the series.

However, because making waxwork busts of all the actors would have quite expensive, the costumes are all shown on headless dummies. It seemed to me very appropriate for the show that all of the characters had their heads chopped off.

There are several photo opportunities for visitors too. You can have yourself green-screened onto riding or petting a dragon. You can sit on the Iron Throne. And for all of Team Arya, you can have your photo taken wielding Needle.

Here’s a few photos.

My #IWD2018 Ujima Show

A day early for International Women’s Day, I devoted most of my show yesterday to feminist issues. However, I started out in Australia by welcoming film critic, Tara Judah, to talk about Sweet Country.

Tara is from Melbourne originally, so we had a lot to talk about. However, we did our best to keep the discussion to matters of race relations in Australia. Things continue to be pretty bad there, and I very much hope that this film shines a necessary spotlight on the situation.

After the news I started playing the interviews that I had picked up at the International Women’s Day event put on by Bristol on Saturday. They included comments from Penny Gane, Eleanor Vowles, Leonie Thomas, Rosa Taggert, Sian Webb and Elizabeth Small of Ra Cultural Consultancy.

Normally I would tell you to go to the Listen Again feature for all of this, but for some reason only 10 minutes of the first hour recorded. It is still worth it for a few minutes of Tara who is an amazing guest, but the IWD interviews are not there. Thankfully I still have the originals, and I hope to post them as a podcast at some point.

The second hour kicked off with more IWD interviews featuring No More Taboo, Sandra Gordon and Alex Raikes. The singers that Alex refers to are Pitch Fight, the Bristol University a capella group, whom you can find more about here.

The African Queens project that I talked about with Sandra is a project photographic Bristol women of color cosplaying famous women from African history. It was done for Black History Month last year. You can find out more about it here.

Finally I was joined in the studio by a couple of people I met on Saturday. Charlotte Murray is a young student who was interested in finding out more about radio, to I invited her into the studio. Jane Duffus is the editor of The Women Who Built Bristol, a fabulous collection of stories about the famous, and not so famous, women from the city’s history. If you are interested in buying the book, please order it through Bristol Women’s Voice because if you do all of the proceeds go to the charity.

Thankfully the second hour recorded correctly, and you can listen to it here.

The music for the show was as follows:

  • Walking the Dog – Jackie Shane
  • Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin
  • Make me Feel – Janelle Monae
  • Independent Woman – Destiny’s Child
  • Our Day Will Come – Amy Winehouse
  • We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  • Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  • It’s Raining Men – Weather Girls

Sadly I had to cut off Janelle after a minute or so because I did not want to bleep out the swears. Once I have a copy of the clean radio mix I will be playing that song regularly.

Life Goal

If you are going to be EVIL, you might as well be EVIL with style.

For those of you who don’t have Netflix and are not enjoying Star Trek: Discovery, our heroes are currently trapped in an alternate universe where the humans are the bad guys and most of the crew has an evil self. Cadet Sylvia Tilly, a wide-eyed, nervous goof in our world, has become “Captain Killy”, the most feared starship captain of the Terran Empire. It is very silly, and a lot of fun. And I want that uniform.

Isn’t it interesting, though, how so much American TV these days is all about alternate worlds in which the bad guys have taken control. I wonder why that could be…

Worldcon: Day 4

I was so tired last night that It forgot to set my alarm and woke up 1.5 hours later than planned. While I did get around 7.5 hours sleep, I didn’t get breakfast because I had an 11:00am panel and it takes almost an hour to get to the convention from my hotel.

Thankfully the panel went well. This was the one on the history of gender, which I had suggested. Originally I had been asked to moderate, but Scott Lynch kindly stepped into that role to allow me to talk more. He did a great job of keeping order on a panel with three very opinionated women (Jo Walton, Gillian Pollack and myself). My apologies once again to Thomas Årnfelt who didn’t get much of a look-in, but had some great medieval history info when he did.

I spent most of the panel telling anecdotes about trans history, but I did also get to do some show and tell. There is a great company in the dealer’s room who make cuneiform tablets. If you have some text, they’ll do a custom one for you. So I got them to make this:

For an explanation, see this blog post.

I also got to attend (and I had to queue early to get in for both) two trans-themed panels. Neither of them told me much new, but it was great to see packed out rooms for such things. The first trans panel I can remember at Worldcon was in Montréal in 2009. There were about 15 people in the audience, one of whom was a very hostile feminist, and all of the other panelists were cis. Here we had several trans-themed panels with a variety of identities represented (including non-binary people with no wish to transition medically), and all of them were younger than me.

Despite having got a decent lunch, the no breakfast thing meant that by mid afternoon I was fading fast. Thankfully Otto managed to catch me and steer me to the staff lounge for some vitamins before I collapsed. However, that was not before I managed to mistake someone for someone else on several occasions and embarrass myself horribly. My apologies to all concerned.

In the evening Thor came to see the masquerade. Despite beating on the roof of Messukeskus very hard, he didn’t get in. Thankfully he got bored after a while and I was about to get out to the party run by the lovely people from Storycom. I got to meet some young Chinese writers and a guy who has started a convention in Hong Kong. And we got to see Neil Clarke on film, which partially made up for his not being here.

I didn’t see the masquerade, but I gather that Miki Dennis got a big prize, as is only right and proper. Best in Show, however, seems to have gone to a very young person in her first masquerade. I want to see photos of that.

Overall things have gone very smoothly today. There are still queues, and some panels do max out, but the vast majority of people are getting to see what they want to see. The discussions I’m hearing in the hallways are changing from, “why don’t these idiots do something about the overcrowding” to “wow, this is an amazing convention!”. One day left, and I suspect it will only get better from here.

How To Help #Piracity Without Spending Money

One day in: so far so good. We’ve had a bunch of backers for Piracity. If we get that much in pledges every day then we should fund.

However, a month is a very long time in Internetland, and interest in projects goes up and down very rapidly. To keep the project going, we need attention.

Obviously some of won’t be interested in the book, or you are short of money, or whatever. That’s entirely understood. But you can still help by signal-boosting on social media. Every tweet, share or whatever helps.

In view of that, today I launched what I hope will be a fun thing: Dress Like A Pirate Week. With Halloween coming I figure that lots of people will be into costuming. What I want people to do is post pictures of their pirate costumes with the #Piracity hashtag. Fingers crossed, that will generate a bit of interest.

To kick things off I am contributing the picture above. It shows Captain Standlee and I at the notorious “Worst World Fantasy Convention Ever” (so called by the World Fantasy Board because we encouraged Halloween costumes) in San José in 2009.

For those too young to remember such things, Kevin is taking the part of the Captain of the cruise liner, WSFS Armadillo, which was the spaceship we created as part of our time running Events for the 2005 Worldcon. Technically I was first officer on the ship, but I never got a uniform and anyway I am much more comfortable as a space pirate.

And for those interested in such things the jacket is from Warehouse. I loved it so much I hunted all over the country for a shop with one in my size, finally finding it in Birmingham. The hat is from the Pirate Supply Store on Valencia Street in San Francisco which I miss terribly. Aloysious the Squid is not in the picture because I hadn’t met him yet.

Worldcon Site Selection

The Hugos are not the only thing that needs to be voted on at Worldcon. There is also the small matter of deciding where Worldcon will be held in 2018. The two bids that have filed their papers are for New Orleans and San José.

Now New Orleans happens to be one of my favorite places to visit in the whole world. But not, I think, in August. And my reasons for visiting it are all to do with food and music, not to do with science fiction conventions. Besides, if you look carefully at the ballot paper you will see my name on San José bid committee list.

This should not come as a surprise. Back in 2002 we ran ConJosé, and Kevin (my Kevin) co-chaired the event. My job was primarily keeping him sane through the process, though I did a whole lot of other things as well, including persuading a chap called Gaiman to attend the Hugo ceremony even though he was convinced that American Gods had no chance of winning.

All things considered, I think ConJosé went pretty well. Obviously a few things did go wrong (yes, I know the Restaurant Guide — we will not make that mistake again!), but I think we did a decent job. Since then we have done a World Fantasy Con and a variety of other conventions. The facilities have got better (including a lot more local restaurants) and I think we’d do a good job again.

Kevin and I won’t be so heavily involved, should we win. In all probability I won’t even be able to attend. But we are still on the Board of Directors of the parent organization so it is down to us to make sure that the job is done well. That includes making sure that we run a safe, welcoming and diverse event.

One slightly non-diverse thing that we have done is keep up the tradition of having the event chaired by someone called Kevin. No, not this one, this one:


Er, the one on the right, not the one with the eye stalk. And there is no truth in the rumor that the chap with the eye stalk will be the Head of Security.

Our con chair, should we win, will be Kevin Roche, who is a master costumer (including making costumes for daleks) but also has a day job doing really cool science. He and his husband, Andy, have been responsible for some truly spectacular parties at conventions down the years. I have every confidence in Kevin’s ability to put together a team that will deliver an excellent event that will appeal to a wide range of fannish interests and be a lot of fun.

Vote for us, please.

Finncon 2016 Masquerade

These are the official photos from the Finncon 2016 Masquerade. The first four pictures are from the juniors competition. I’m missing one of the kids as he missed the photoshoot, and some of the names of the adults and their characters. Hopefully someone can help me out.

My thanks again to the Guests of Honour for being wonderful judges, and especially to Jasper Fforde for coming up with silly prizes to give people, and to Cat Valente for her encyclopedic knowledge of video games. Thanks also to all of the sponsors who donated prizes.

[shashin type=”album” id=”66″ size=”medium”]

Bath, Fairies and Feminism

Today I was up early and off to Bath to catch some of the participants in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds Ball before they were too busy. It is an absolutely amazing event that Emma and her friends are staging. How they are going to manage a LARP with over 80 participants is a mystery to me.

Still, I know a few of the participants, so I will hopefully get reports back of how it went. Always assuming they survive the evening. You never can tell where the fae are concerned. I should have some audio, and a few pictures, but you know what fairies are like with electronic stuff.

Over lunch I headed off to Victoria Park for the joint BGEN/WEP intersectionality picnic. Quite a few more WEP members turned up this time, and BGEN was out in force as usual. Everyone seemed to get on very well, and the older ladies from the WEP appeared very keen to learn from us. Weirdly I found myself explaining what things like “no homo” and “friend zone” mean. I guess I’m not as out of touch as I think.

There was a great deal of excitement about how well Sophie Walker did in the London mayoral elections. Obviously no one expected her to win, but getting 2% of the vote is a substantial achievement for a party that is barely a year old. Next up, get more votes than UKIP.

That done, several of us trooped back into town to visit Mr. B’s and to do Free Comic Book Day. And then Olly and I trotted back to the Guildhall to catch some of the fairies. Olly, as well as being a genius radio comedy writer, is also a champion cosplayer. We had a great conversation about the difference between comic conventions and Worldcon and I got to show some of my old masquerade pictures.

I am now back home and not really fit enough for much except dinner and TV. If I had a bath I would be in it. Not complaining though, it is lovely to have warm weather at last. I think it might be safe to turn the heating off.

Miss Universe Does Gender

Despite it having escaped the odious clutches of Trump the Chump, there’s no way Miss Universe is going to get on mainstream British television. We don’t do that sort of thing here these days. (If it is on one of the cable networks, please tell me.) So I have to rely on my American friends to fill me in on the National Costume Round, which is far and away the best cosplay contest in the world these days. Genevieve Valentine has done her usual, snark-filled review of proceedings.

Of course this year no level of snark could possibly embarrass the tournament more than the disaster of the final announcement. I’ve been critical of Hugo Award ceremonies in the past, but good grief, people! All that money, all that possibility for rehearsal, all that experience from previous contests, and you manage to screw up that badly? Oh well, at least it is an object lesson in how not to design the card with the results on it.

Anyway, back to the fun stuff. The judges seem to like weird, which is the only possible explanation for Thailand winning this part of the competition. You can see from her face what poor Aniporn Chalermburanawong thought of having to wear this thing.

Miss Thailand the Tuk Tuk

Kudos goes to Monika Radulovic, Miss Australia for the purple hair and glasses. Yes, Dame Edna, you too can be a beauty queen. Nice Opera House epaulets too.

Miss Australia

But for me the stand out costume, despite the magnificent displays of feathers and wings from elsewhere, was Miss Austria. Her team clearly knows that their country is famous for these days, and understands the relationship between this contest and Eurovision. Well done Anima Dagi for having the courage to do this.

Miss Austria as Conchita Wurst

Archipelacon – Day 3

I think I need to check the convention program book so I can remember all of the things I did today.

I was up early because I had to be at the Other Hotel for 10:00am to record an episode of Coode Street. Jonathan couldn’t join us, so I impersonated him and Gary and I talked to Karin Tidbeck about her work, about vikings, about what Swedes think about Thor movies and a few other things as well. We also covered quite a bit of translation news. Apparently the next episode to be aired will be Kim Stanley Robinson, but I think we are after that.

Having done that we left Gary in peace for a while so that he could prepare for his Guest of Honor speech. I went to find more coffee. Gary was very interesting on the subject of the Impossible, the Not Possible, the Unpossible, the Dispossible and the Possible But Stupid. He did have coherent definitions for all of those things, but I can’t remember them all right now.

That was followed immediately by the Music in SF&F panel, which I chaired. Many thanks to Suzanne van Rooyen, J. Pekka Mäkelä and Bellis for being fine panelists. We talked about lots of good stuff. Suzanne, who is a music teacher for her day job, has promised to write a short story based on the symphonic form.

Immediately following that was Karin Tidbeck’s Guest of Honor interview, in which I discovered that she is a fellow fan of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. Also she has a novel out in Swedish. It sounds very interesting. There is an English translation looking for a publisher. Get with it, people.

Then it was off to get lunch at the Pride Picnic. Helsinki Pride is this weekend, and as we could not go we had a picnic here instead.

I spent the next couple of hours listening to academic papers. Kaisa, my review of the Greg Bear novels is here. And yes, I know I said I preferred John C. Wright’s politics to Sheri Tepper’s. This was before he discovered God. And in any case at least Libertarians let you think for yourself, even if they will shoot you if you think the wrong things. Tepper has a tendency to want to prevent people from ever having wrong thoughts.

There was a good paper about Leena Krohn’s Tainaron too.

I had an hour for dinner, which I spent with Irma. Then it was time for the Sex in SF&F panel, which was a lot of fun, though they did manged to get through an entire 45 minutes without mentioning t*nt*cle p*rn.

Then there was the masquerade, at which I was chairing the judges. My colleagues were Johanna Sinisalo and Parris McBride. Given that we only had 3 entries yesterday afternoon, I was relieved that we got a decent show. Congratulations to Jukka Särkijärvi for being an excellent host. We do need to persuade the Finns to be less shy and not run off the stage as quickly as they can, but the standard of costumes quite high. The prizes will be announced tomorrow and closing ceremonies. I have some photos but I haven’t had time to get them off the camera yet.

And then there was the Brotherhood Without Banners party. I didn’t last very long because I have a 10:00am panel tomorrow.


Miss Universe Does Cosplay

I’m not a huge fan of beauty pageants, especially where kids are involved, though I quite understand the sense of validation that some women, especially trans women, get from them. There just isn’t much for me in them, usually.

Sometimes, however, the clothes get interesting. Via Helen McCarthy on Twitter I found the Pinterest board of Tom & Lorenzo, which features dresses from the National Costume round of the latest Miss Universe. The way that some of the girls and their teams have interpreted “national costume” often looks more like what you would see in a convention masquerade than in a village street. It is all very Eurovision, but world-wide.

Of course, as with Eurovision, many European countries were just too embarrassed to join in. Spain did the best job of staying demure while embracing the fantasy vibe.

Miss Spain

And Albania did a good job of doing something interesting with actual national costume.

Miss Albania

Very quickly, however, things took a turn for the science-fictional. Here’s Kazakhstan.

Miss Kazakhstan

Miss Guyana even brought her pet alien.

Miss Guyana

While Miss Turks & Caicos clearly is an alien.

Miss Turks & Caicos

A lot of the girls, particularly those from the Americas, were embracing their inner bird-people. Here’s Miss Bahamas with some amazing color.

Miss Bahamas

Other girls were channeling their country’s warrior ethic. Miss Japan was not taking any prisoners.

Miss Japan

And putting the two themes together, the standout costume of the competition from Miss Argentina.

Miss Argentina

For the benefit of those of you who want to see all of the costumes (hello Kevin!), you can find them as follows:

Fair warning, however: if you are British or Irish you may die of embarrassment. Then again, at least your girl didn’t do this. Oh, Canada!

Miss Canada

Finncon – Day 3

First up today was my LGBT superheroes talk. I didn’t count the audience, but it looked like at least 50 people. They laughed in all of the right places, which is good.

Then I had a panel on “likeable” characters with Rjurik Davidson, Hannu Rajaniemi & Jukka Halme. I had a bit of a rant about people who pan a book because it doesn’t have any characters that they like. We all agreed that being interesting was much more important than being liked. It was noted that M. John Harrison hasn’t written a likeable character in his life, but that doesn’t stop him being a brilliant writer. And of course one group of characters that everyone loves is the Daleks.

I got taken to lunch at the home of the best cook in Jyväskylä. I never thought that I would have got so excited over spinach soup.

In the afternoon we had the masquerade. That went well in the end, but had a major organizational problem. Against all usual practice the convention asked us to present the contest, judge and give out prizes all in the space of an hour and a half. They told me they had a half time show organized for while the judging was taking place. I pointed out that I could not host the half time show and chair the judging. Jukka Särkijärvi kindly volunteered to hold the fort for me, and I stupidly assumed that the planned entertainment would give us time to deliberate. You know what happens when you assume something, don’t you.

Poor Jukka was left hung out to dry for about 20 minutes. Thankfully something got done to help out (I have no idea what). The first thing I did when I got back was to give a prize to the guy in Cylon armor so he could go and take it off. Otherwise we would have waited until we got to the people in contention for Best in Show.

We had 15 entries this year, including one large group. I actually got to be part of one act. Marianna Leikomaa and a friend had planned to do Emma Frost and Jean Grey arguing over Cyclops. The friend could not turn up, so Kisu made use of a convenient redhead. The jury (without my knowledge) decided to award her the price of Best Use of a Prop.

Some of the entries this year were of very high quality. Petri Hiltunen and Hannele Parviala both had beautiful make-up jobs. There was the aforementioned Cylon. There was a lovely elf costume. Alex Rowland, a young fan of Scott Lynch, had an amazing dress that had around 200 hours of hand-stitching and texturing in its manufacture. However, once again it was Simo Nousiainen who blew everyone away. This year he did Geralt the Witcher from the works of Andrzej Sapkowski.

Hopefully I’ll be able to source some good photos for you over the next few days. I was far too busy to take any.

My thanks to my fabulous jury – Hannu Rajaniemi, Jukka Halme, Tanya Tynjälä and Jenny Teerikangas – to all of the wonderful contestants, and especially to Jukka Särkijärvi for keeping the audience entertained while we did the judging.

After the show we went to Harald for dinner. Hannu and I had one of the set meals that came on a large, sword-shaped skewer. It was fabulous. Bear and Scott were blown away by the wonder of tar ice cream.

In the evening we had the Guest of Honor filks. Those for Jukka and Hannu were written in Finnish, so I have no idea what they were about, but judging by the laughter they were very funny. Bear’s was good too. She will probably blog the lyrics at some point. We also celebrated Toni Jerrman’s birthday. It was a significant one of some sort. I think he might be 25. In duo-years.

That’s it for the day. Tomorrow I have two more panels, and judging for the hall costumes, followed by the dead dog. Given how tired I am, there may be a dead cat too.

Airships Over Bristol

While many of my friends were busy celebrating the first day of same-sex marriage (congratulations, Mary & Georgina!), the mad, impetuous fools of the BristolCon Foundation were throwing an Airship Ball. There was a Victorian Picnic (complete with cucumber sandwiches, with their crusts cut off). There were Dramatic Presentations of Strange Tales of Derring Do (freely adapted from originals in Airship Shaped and Bristol Fashion). There was Splendiferous Musical Entertainment by the very talented Cauda Pavonis. And of course there were elegant costumes of various types.

Jo has done a full report on the proceedings, which I recommend to you. She has numerous photos of the finery on display. I’m just going to present one of them here. This is Heike Harding-Reyland dressed as one of the fern people from Deborah Walker’s story, “The Lesser Men Have No Language”. I particularly like the baby fern person buds around the skirts. It is very Jeff VanderMeer.

Queenie Greenie

One thing that Jo doesn’t mention in her report is that she and Roz kindly presented me with a gift of cheese, chutney and chocolate truffles as a thank you for making the book happen. It was very sweet of them, and I shall enjoy it immensely. For those interested in such things, the cheeses are Black Bomber by the Snowdonia Cheese Company and Tomi Twym by Caws Cenarth. The former is a mature cheddar, and the latter a mature Caerffili flavored with sun-dried tomatoes, spices and white wine.

Finally, profuse apologies once again to the fine people of Cauda Pavonis because I had to leave before their set to catch a train home. I did hear them doing their sound check and can warmly recommend their music. Here’s a sample.

Airship In The House

Airship Shaped & Bristol FashionThis morning three large cartons of Airship Shaped & Bristol Fashion arrived at Jo Hall’s house in Bristol. Any contributors who live close to Jo can make arrangements with her to collect their copies. For other local people, we will have copies on sale at the Fringe event on Monday, which I shall blog about tomorrow.

There are no hardcovers yet, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have a proof of the hardcover for people to look at on Monday. If not it will definitely be at my LGBT Superheroes talk on the following Sunday.

The ebooks are ready and have been going out to reviewers. If you want one, let me know.

And if all goes well with and Amazon everything should go on sale late next week.

I’m still trying to find a venue for a proper launch event, but in the meantime the good folks at BristolCon are looking to do something a bit different. You are all invited to Bristol’s first Airship Ball. There will be food, celebration, cosplay, music and even actual writers performing parts of their work. Tickets here. Extra cheap if you buy a copy of the book.

Airship Ball

Brighton Restaurants – The Marlborough

Well, more of a pub than a restaurant, and as much of a queer club and theater as a pub. When we have an Outer Alliance meet-up with the local community (which I am sure we will), it will be in the Marlborough, because that is where such things happen in Brighton.

Of course it is a pub, so you’ll be wanting to know about the beer. They have the usual stuff, but also stock beers from a couple of local breweries: WJ King and Dark Star. Katherine McMahon and I did a tasting of the more girly offerings from these folks. Our verdict is that the Sunburst is deliciously smooth and summery, but the Brighton Blonde has much more of the traditional bitterness that people often want from their beer.

As I mentioned above, the Marlborough is a club. They put on lots of events. In particular, on Thursday October 31st, they will be staging a Halloween event. There will be costumes, there will be DJs, and there will be the Voodoo Love Orchestra. Really, what more does World Fantasy need? So do bring your costumes, and let’s horrify the fuddy-duddies on the World Fantasy Board.

Voodoo Love Orchestra – Thriller from Jack Chute on Vimeo.

Finncon – The Masquerade

This year’s Finncon masquerade ran pretty much flawlessly. The only real issue was the lack of entries. We were supposed to have 9, but Kisu dislocated her knee during the day and was in hospital having it checked out when she was supposed to be on stage. The only comment I’d make is that contestants do need to remember to spend more time on stage, and stand still occasionally.

As usual, I was one of the judges. Some of the GoHs declined the honor, and very sensibly, rather than strong-arm them, Hanna (co-chair and masquerade director) chose to offer the job to others. So Hanna and I were joined by Tom Crosshill (Latvia), Nene Ormes (Sweden) and the brilliant Finnish artist, Ninni Aalto. We had plenty of time to sort the prizes, and just enough time to grab dinner at the nearby Italian restaurant, before having to turn up at the evening party for the prize-giving. Everyone else was happy to let me make a fool of myself on stage, so I did. That included a whole bunch of bad tree puns and proposing marriage to Tony Stark. Apparently it went down well, but I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll just show you some pictures. These are all by Sanna Pudas (FantasyFan on Flickr) and used under a Creative Commons license.

Medusa and Daphne

Medusa and Daphne



The Dwarves

The Dwarves

It was the beautiful singing of the dwarves, plus the fabulous facial hair (several of those dwarves are women) that won the dwarves Best in Show. However, the Ghostbusters were great too, even if they did exterminate one of their children (the kid playing the ghost). If it is any consolation the Ghostbusters were the subject of the best photo of the convention: this one by Mikko Löppönen, which makes magnificent use of the Cable Factory setting of the convention and the aftermath of the thunder storm.

The Ghostbusters have been working

Local Costume Design Exhibition

Our local shopping center has a few empty stores these days, but they seem to be trying to make use of them. Today I found an exhibition of costume art put on by students from a local college. As far as I can make out, the brief was to design dresses influenced by nature, which naturally resulted in some fantastical creations. I took some photos.

My favorite dress was this “Wood Witch” by Zoe Dolman. It reminded me of something Terri Windling might have drawn.

Wood witch - top

The bottom of the dress has more of a seaweed air to it.

Wood witch - bottom

Zoe tells me that her ambition is to do costume design for people like Tim Burton, which is a very fine sort of ambition to have.

If I was going to pick a dress to wear it would be this one:

One to wear

This one looks like something that the Red Queen might wear:

Roses and hearts

This was just a skirt, but again very striking.

Petal skirt