Martin Jaquish, masquerade
Nippon 2007, next year's Worldcon, set for Yokohama, Japan, is providing a special prize at the Masquerade at L.A.con IV: The Best in Show winner will receive a beautiful Japanese wedding kimono (uchikake), presented by a representative of the Nippon 2007 committee.
Lucasfilm Ltd. will present to the best Star Wars entry in the Masquerade a special award of their own. The costume or costumes deemed the best re-creation from the Star Wars galaxy will recieve a special limited-edition collectable from the Lucas Licensing Archives.
If your entry happens to be anime: There will be a $50 cash prize for the best anime entry, donated by a member of the L.A.con IV committee.
Costume-Con 25, set for 30-Mar-2007 - 02-Apr-2007 in St. Louis, MO, will present a free membership ($85 value) to their convention to the best novice entry in the show.
Costume-Con 26, set for 25-Apr-2008 - 28-Apr-2008 in the Silicon Valley, CA, will present free convention membership ($50 value) to "The fresh face(s) they would most like to entice to attend their convention"
It is an irony of contemporary times that despite the wide variety of fabrics, trims, fasteners, and patterns easily available at today's fabric stores, which, along with the sewing machine, would have been fabulous treasure to people of earlier centuries, most people choose instead to dress quite simply and like everyone else. Through much of the history of civilization, people dressed up as well as resources allowed. Bland clothing was for commoners who had no other choice, the avoidance of flourish unthinkable. Many people from centuries past would be baffled to see our campaigning politicians and affluent celebrities presenting themselves to the public clad at times in the seemingly same jeans and plain shirts worn by the gardener clipping our hedge. While there are exceptions: the wedding day bride, the Hollywood production, the special occasion where we have a chance to marvel at the ingenuity of attiring the human form, for most people most of the time, imagination resides in the shadow of conformity, comfort, and convenience. What a waste of imagination and technology!
But this potential is not ignored at Worldcons.
Worldcons are a celebration of imagination, an embracing of the phrase "what if... ?" Stories, movies, and art that take us to places, times, and people we could otherwise have no way to encounter. A place for dreams to take form and, with luck, enrich our reality. The art of costuming plays a vital role indeed in that dreaming.
On Friday night of the convention, L.A.con IV will proudly present the 2006 Worldcon Masquerade, an event for astounding, beautiful, and unique costumes inspired by the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Not a dance or party as the name "masquerade" usually implies, although decades ago that is just what it was, the Masquerade of today's Worldcon is set upon a large stage before an audience gathered from around the world. A parade of amazing costumes, theatrical-style lighting, enhanced sound, large video screens, drama, humor, and more make the event truly a spectacular show. Think of a talent competition, with a master of ceremonies, a panel of judges, with each entry given a minute or two to present their creation, and you have a general idea of the format. But the Masquerade is much more than that. Many conventions have masquerades, but to win at a Worldcon is an honor like no other. It is a place for the best to share their work, but also for first-timers as well. You need not be experienced to be part of the event and to enjoy yourself and bring smiles to others. The point is to have fun in the celebration of the art of costuming.
With the convention only a bit over a year away, this website will be updated several times between now and L.A.con IV, each time providing more and more details about the event, including stage plans and other specific information. For those who were at L.A.con III in 1996, the stage design and the overall running of the event will be quite similar, and even some of the same staff will be involved. The Masquerade will once again be set in the Anaheim Arena, which adjoins the Anaheim Convention Center. It served very well as a show venue before, and has since been upgraded in ways that will serve us even better.
Judging will be along the usual Worldcon format of costume classes: Master, Journeyman, and Novice, and awards will be presented in each class. Entries will be accepted beginning this August, and continue on until the convention draws near.
Everything is shifted a day earlier for this Worldcon, the dates selected and voted on to get better hotel prices, better facility options, and other benefits for Worldcon members. Opening Ceremonies will be on Wednesday, the Masquerade on Friday night, the Hugo Awards on Saturday night, and Closing Ceremonies on Sunday.
Something as complex as a Worldcon Masquerade happens because of a large team of dedicated people, certainly not just one person! But for those of you who are curious, the L.A.con IV committee has selected myself as Masquerade Director based on my experience as Technical Director for the L.A.con III Masquerade, a couple of NASFiCs, and a handful of other conventions in California. This is my 13th year as Masquerade Director at the annual San Diego Comic-Con Masquerade. Many, many years ago I was a contestant myself in a few Masquerades, and I'm sure our experienced team will provide for a fun evening and a good showcase for your miracles.
We'll have all day Friday in the Arena for technical run-throughs, and the lead-in time from the start of the convention will be the same as usual. And we'll do all we can to assist those costumers who can't arrive until late in the day on Friday.
For an idea of the sort of costumes seen at Worldcons, I suggest going to the site cosplay.com. Many photos from the 2004 Noreascon 4, the 62nd World Science Fiction Convention, can be found there, along with great costumes from many other conventions.
Some costumers have already been at work creating entries for this show, some of you are just getting ideas, and some of you won't have a concept for months yet. Whatever sort of costume you like to imagine, Original entries or Re-Creations, solo or ensemble, science fiction or fantasy or things beyond description, plan now to join to be a part of the fun, and to help promote costuming at the L.A.con IV.
Martin Jaquish, Masquerade Director