Baycon 2015

08 June 2015

Once, when I was quite small, I had an opportunity to attend a science fiction convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I don't recall exactly when this was, it was long enough ago that Time Trax was on television and still in the first run of its first season (there was merchandise for it all over the dealers' rooms) but it made an impression on me. First, there were other science fiction fans out there, and second there was this thing called cosplay which I didn't really get into until college.

Long story short, I'm finally settled in enough to consider going to any cons in the Bay Area. My search agents caught wind of Baycon, the Bay Area's sci-fi convention which was held a couple of weekends ago. A few months previous I set about making plans to attend, arranging for time off, making reservations, putting out feelers and suchlike. Amberite responded during this process because he was going to be driving down to California around that time. As we are wont to do we'd made plans to dress up for most of the convention. We're both in the Homestuck fandom (and I don't have any of my other costumes left due to multiple clothing purges during the move) so he and I opted to attend as two of the characters, Rose Lalonde and Kanaya Maryam. Amberite already had plans for his costume, which left me getting back into the swing of using my sewing machine.

For those of you who aren't interested in costume making, here are the pictures we took at Baycon. For those of you who are interested I'll put the costume build after the cut... Half of Kanaya's costume is pretty straightforward - a long undershirt and a short sleeved shirt with the symbol for virgo on the front. The latter we found at a Goodwill in the heart of Silicon Valley; the former I'd sourced some months before from the What Pumpkin store. The real trick wound up being sewing Kanaya's skirt - after a couple of freehand attempts involving more newspaper in a weekend than I've touched in the last five years I dug up this howto and freehanded a pattern. In hindsight, it was a little too tight at the hem and wound up being a hobble skirt for all intents and purposes. If and when I get around to sewing Kanaya Skirt v2.0 I'm going to add another 18 to 24 inches to the hem just so I can move around without having to hike it up. I had to call in some very special assistance getting my wig styled because I don't have the skill or the capacity to visualize what it would look like to do so on my own (thanks, Mom!). In the meantime, I spent a couple of weeks making several pairs of horns. After doing some research I settled on using Rydia's technique over a period of three or four weeks, and I'm told that they turned out quite well. I used copious amounts of hot glue to attach each pair of horns to a headband (I made two pairs, v1.0 and v2.0, in case one wasn't suitable or broke) and made sure to pack sufficient tools and hot glue so that I could repair them at the hotel if I needed to.

I also took the time to fix my Terezi horns with hot glue and a headband and they turned out much better than they had a year and change ago. More time was definitely required for them to set and they absolutely needed to be fastened to a headband for stability. As far as I can tell they're still pretty solid. I can say that it's really not worth investing in sandpaper to smooth the surface of the Model Magic, just buy a package of cheap emory boards, they work much better and are more precise. Don't bother with spackle as a sealing layer, either. A lot of what you'll find out there is colored goop that won't adhere to Model Magic for love, sex, or money (anybody want a jar of DryDex? Drop me a line...) Mod Podge works just fine and is less than half the cost. I'll probably amend this post later with pictures from the construction process. Additionally, the total mass for a pair of aluminum foil/Model Magic/Mod Podge/enamel horns is quite low so once you get them set you shouldn't have to worry about them falling off. I figured out that I could get the ends of the headband through the mesh of the wig and they stayed upright without trouble.

For various reasons and schedule conflicts only Amberite was able to attend the con, which simplified logistics somewhat. Amberite borrowed my Grimdark Rose shirt and a pair of knitting needles from Lyssa which finished his costume in record time.

For Saturday at Baycon I used the same makeup technique as last time and under con conditions (including a grocery store trip to get supplies for the weekend). I'd say it was a solid ten hours without needing any touchup, save post-lunch napkin repairs. For makeup removal I made sure to pick up a couple of cheap washcloths at the store before we arrived at the hotel that I used to scrub the makeup out of my pores, and disposed of in the trash before we left. Towels and washcloths supplied by the hotel were not used for makeup removal to make life easier on housekeeping and hotel management. I'm told the effect was quite good, and Amberite and I were complemented several times on our work.

On Sunday Amberite and I opted for quick and easy because we preferred to attend the last day of Baycon rather than spend much of the morning getting painted up (and then having to drive home in bodypaint). So, basic costumes, no trollpaint, he went as Sollux Captor and I dressed as Terezi Pyrope. I still find it surprising how little foundation is required to change one's skin tone (because I was just too fried to shave that morning).

That's about all I've got for the con writeup. We went for the experience of going and made it to the panels we could (which weren't many). Additionally, it's been a week of eighteen hour days and exhaustion, plus another more or less average week at work so the memories of the time are somewhat faded. For what it's worth we're definitely going to be going to the next Baycon, hopefully with a few other costumes lined up for the weekend.