Kage Baker loved the hall shows at conventions. Costumes abound, and she enjoyed the beauty, ingenuity and engineering skill that went into them.
Yes, she had spent the majority of her own life in costumes; but her’s were always of historical norms. Her personal dress code at conventions veered between hippy beachcomber – Hawaiian shirts and wildly coloured high tops – and severe blouse and jacket combinations over slacks. She said she wanted to look like either a castaway, or Agent Sculley’s middle-aged librarian aunt. I don’t think she succeeded (the waist-length red braid tended to obscure both issues) but she was comfortable and memorable.
I like t-shirts with interesting messages, or shirts with excessive sparklies. I subscribe to the theory of dress which says If I’m wearing, it must be appropriate. My walking stick creates all the intrigue I need. And it doubles as an offensive weapon, which is always nice.
But the folks at conventions are simply fabulous! Wings were popular a few years ago; I recall some astounding ones, black butterflies 6 feet tall and scores of little sequined children dashing around like a casting call for Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve only seen one pair so far today, and they were a fine set of red leather bat wings: impressive.There were a variety of Time Lords of all ages and genders, including my friend Neassa – she has gone the minimalist route with a classic Doctor’s scarf she knit in all the right colours, but in a narrow ribbon. Elegant and eye-catching. I have seen Bobba Fett, Harry Dresden, and members of all four Houses from Hogwarts. Someone is dressed in a purple dragon suit. Someone else is doing a creditable job of Constantine, right down to the (unlit) cigarette dangling insouciantly from his mouth. Horns, tails and animal ears are all endemic.
What seems to be especially popular at BayCon are military companies – there must be representative of half a dozen space navies striding about and striking martial poses. They all look wonderful – the detail on their clothes, insignia and weapons is amazing – but it is kind of funny to see different services come together. Not everyone recognizes every other military uniform, and they circle round one another like male peacocks sizing one another up. I think they are trying to figure out 1) what each other’s rank is; and 2) are they at war with one another.
And of course, nearly everyone is wearing some partial talisman of a favourite story. No matter how ordinary your dress is, it can always be accessorized with a button, hat, weapon, or pin. A lot of folks sport long iridescent tails of various ribbon badges from their BayCon IDs, each declaring a different totem, philosophy, event or religion. The funniest part of the phenomenon is that the people with the most accumulated badges tend to be either little kids or the hotel staff.
I got to be the surprise moderator of my panel today – not a surprise for anyone else, apparently, but I hadn’t noticed I was tagged. Which I should have, because I proposed the panel in the first place … but all concerned rose to the occasion, the panelists were charming, erudite folks, and audience was enthusiastic. The topic was Juvenile Novels (old school) vs Young Adults (new school). We were favoured by a remarkable young lady in the audience who really was the target reader, actually read blurbs, and was splendidly lucid. A lovely time.
Now, Dear Readers, I am going to close a little early. I have accidentally wiped out this blog entry 5 times while writing it, and barely managed to save any of it each time. Either my nervous system is trying to tell me something, or the multi-dimensional aspect of the Marriott is eating all my other blogs. Maybe I am publishing in several branches of the multiverse.
More tomorrow, though! From whichever dimension in which I wake up …