Last week, Smalerie mentioned that we’d be doing a series on how to stick it to Old Man Winter and actually get some enjoyment out of a season that, here in New England anyway, can be best summed up as “grey.” Sometimes the outdoors is a frozen wasteland, other times it’s warm but muddy, but no matter the temperature and precipitation, winter can just seem a bit ho-hum. Once the holidays are over, there’s just a lot of staying indoors, dreaming of warmer, drier days. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. The depths of winter are scientifically* proven to be the best time for a theme party. Plus, planning a party fits in well with several of Smalerie’s blues-busting tips, including starting a project and having accountability. And hey, if you host, you don’t need to actually leave the house!
We’ve had a few posts on this subject before, but here are a few we haven’t yet shared that you might consider specifically for shaking the winter doldrums.
Granted, this particular theme appeals to a slightly morbid sense of humor – unsurprising, given that my husband, Mr. Menace, was responsible for dreaming it up. When the snow is thick on the ground and the air is frigid, what can be better than a reenactment of the Soviets surrounding the Germans at Stalingrad?
We were fortunate to have this party hosted at the home of our dear friends, who have a spectacular fire pit in their backyard, which allowed us to create a hard-core bonfire. If you are not so lucky, even a small fire pit will add the right amount of flare and sell the idea that you are huddling for warmth on the front. (We were also aided by the fact that this party took place in the February 2015 – winter where the Boston area saw about 8 feet of snow pile up on itself in rapid succession, followed by a deep freeze. Authentic!)
Cheap fur hats from the party store are also a must. Here the goal is less about authenticity, and more about a sense of fun and staying warm.
As for the most important part of any theme party, the food, this is your chance to put out an assortment of hard meats, cheese, and vodka, and call it good. At our hosts’ request, I also made piroshki, which are Russian buns filled with meat and onions.
Meat, cheese, vodka, and hats – a recipe for pulling anyone out of a slump.
The very next winter, our friends with the fire pit hosted another vaguely historically themed party – a Viking raid! This was a ton of fun to figure out costuming for – and a great excuse to break out the fur and cape from my Red Sonja costume from a Halloween party long past.
To host a good Viking party, consider offering mead, more of that wonderful meat and cheese, and an assortment of dried fish, if you’re feeling fancy. Horned helmets are not historically accurate, but if you change the theme a tad, you can host a 19th-century Romanticist opera revival party and the helmets are totally on brand.
Our latest party was a long time coming, and one of my favorites to date. For years, Tiny Doom has dreamed of hosting a “giant” party. The concept was that everything at the party would actually be extremely tiny – thus allowing the party participants to feel like giants. (Tiny Doom is, as her name suggests, pretty small herself, so getting to be big is a novelty.) For years, we discussed this party – what food we would serve, the tiny plates we could use, the props that we’d have – and we kept not hosting the actual party. Finally, after nearly half a decade, I decided to make it the theme of my annual New Year’s Eve gathering. 2017 was a pretty tough year all around, so I thought we could all use an excuse to feel bigger.
This party was heavily centered around two things – the food, and the table-scape. What’s great about this theme is that many appetizers are already small, bite-sized versions of regular food. You just have to make sure to play up that similarity – so cocktail weenies aren’t served in sauce, they’re lovingly encased in tiny buns. Sliders are regular burgers, a Cornish game hen is a whole roasted chicken, and so on.
Mr. Menace helped with the decor by getting two different sizes of figures – 1/6 scale GI Joes and 1/16 scale Star Wars figures – and strategically placing them around the food. The result was a sort of Lilliput-England-Brobdingnag vibe with the Star Wars guys as Lilliputians, the Joes as the humans, and us as the Brobdingnagians. It was pretty darn magical, and shockingly simple to pull off.
Ultimately, that simplicity makes this a perfect winter project – you don’t need to dress up or get too fussy with the decor to create a good time for your friends and help snap everyone out of a funk. After all, everyone needs to feel big sometimes.
Finally, it’s important to note that while we did this party on New Year’s Eve, it works on any random winter night equally well. How about you all – any other whimsical ways to punch Old Man Winter in the face?
*The science is extremely limited.
Ah, summer! A time for sun, surf, and outrageous betrayal by loved ones. This month all three of our questions come from J.O., a charming young man we met at a fun shindig the Ladies brought us to, Kyle Coston Tonight! This live chat show was a real hoot to do. Don’t worry if you missed our fabulousness – the whole show is available here for your viewing pleasure. You’ll probably notice that we had to share the stage with the Ladies, which we’re sure was a misunderstanding that will no doubt be rectified in our future appearances.
J.O. had three questions. He began:
Dear Fashion Raptors, It was great meeting you ladies at the Kyle Coston show – thanks for the fashion tips and not eviscerating anyone! Yay! I was curious if you ever worry about sudden yet inevitable betrayals?
Thank you for writing in to us after the show! It was one of our first public appearances since Boston Comicon, but we guarantee that it won’t be our last. While you ask about sudden yet inevitable betrayal, you didn’t quite indicate by whom we might be betrayed. If you are referring to the Ladies, we are not too concerned. For one thing, have you seen them? They are weoefully inadequate in a fight to death, what with their pitiful (though brightly colored) claws, distressingly blunt teeth, soft, rendable skin, and laughable running speeds. Honestly, 7 miles per hour is the best they can do? If they betrayed us, we could easily be bathing in their viscera before they even knew what happened. For another thing, what possible motive could they have to betray us? This blog needs us – we are clearly the star attraction, here.
Now, if you are asking whether we might betray each other, we remind you that raptors are pack hunters – we’re better together. Though…now that you mention it, there’s very little evidence for that in the fossil record. Way more raptors seem to be loners. Huh. Guess we’ll both be sleeping with one eye open from now on. Thanks for that, J.O.
J.O. went on to ask, “Also, what is your position on Luau / Hawaiian shirts? I enjoy the sense of “bringing the party with me” but is there every a time when a Luau shirt might be the wrong answer?”
Ah, the Hawaiian, or as it’s known in Hawaii, the Aloha shirt, that brilliantly colored piece of kitschy comfort. We think they’re great! Besides indicating a willingness to relax and enjoy a party atmosphere (possibly with excellent cocktails), the tropical patterns can provide excellent camouflage in the right environment. They also do a bang-up job of obscuring those unsightly blood stains, an all-too common occurrence after a long day of stalking and disemboweling your prey.
You ask if they’re appropriate for every occasion – this is one of those situations that is all about context. On the islands of Hawaii, the answer is nearly always yes, particularly if the occasion is semi-formal, such as a wedding. The culture is such that more formal attire might even be considered inappropriate. Additionally, tropical places will be where you will get the most out of that camouflage effect. Bright flowers and parrots blend in poorly on the gray streets of Boston in winter, and are not recommended.
Then too, if one is presented with a somber occasion, such as a funeral, more context may be needed. If your deceased loved one wants a “celebration of life” type send-off, go for it! For other folks, a touch more gravitas might be required. Luckily, black offers many of the same stain-hiding and stealth advantages of aloha prints – and has the added bonus of being quite slimming!
Finally, J.O. wanted to know: Also, while it clearly is possible to pay too much for one (T. Bahama!) is it ever possible to pay too little (Going to the Thrift Shop with Macklemore!) Thanks! Have a great one!
Once again, J.O., it is important to consider context. For the most part, we raptors find saving money to be extremely fashionable. It’s all well and good to splurge on a Coach purse or Max Gengos dress, but so much better to unearth a 60’s Emilio Pucci dress at the local thrift shop for a song. Thrift shopping is all about the thrill of the hunt, chasing your treasure and taking it down in a frenzy of savage beauty, blood, and fine leather goods. Even when the big scores don’t hit, there’s joy to be had in finding out how much you can acquire for less.
But – we caution you not to be hasty in your purchases – don’t buy something just because it’s cheap! If it’s not well-made, or doesn’t really fit you well, is it even worth the few dollars you spent? Take it from us – mistakes can be made.
Thanks to J.O. for all of the great questions! If you want to ask us questions, email the Ladies at firstname.lastname@example.org – they’ll pass them along. And tune in for end of summer update, when we finally address the burning question of white after Labor Day!
Summer is upon us and while for many of us are planning our trips to the beach, I think it’s safe to assume that just as many of us are getting ready for Boston Comic Con in August. This means a flurry of activity as we make plans, obsessively check the guest lists, and get our cosplay ready. The Ladies of Comicazi will be there with a few surprises (more on that coming soon), and we hope you stop by and say hi.
But as we eagerly await the big event, I wanted to take a moment to highlight a special cosplayer who’s not only gorgeous and talented, but also related to Tiny Doom and I (please don’t hold that against her, she really is a lovely person).
Mikaela (aka April O’Neil) is an up and coming cosplyer based out of New York. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for us about her experiences doing cosplay.
How did you first learn about cosplay and what made you start participating?
How do we learn about anything? The internet! LOL! I was looking up pictures of superheroes online and I came across a woman dressed as Rogue, from X-Men. I then started to research cosplay, started participating in chat rooms as well. When I first discovered all of this I hadn’t transitioned yet. I was still hiding who I was. I saw cosplay as an outlet for me to be who I really wanted to be. I attended my first convention back in 2010, NYCC, as April O’Neil. It was very well received and for the first time ever I felt amazingly confident. Cosplay gave me courage that I don’t think I would have had otherwise.
Speaking of your transition, is there is anything you would like to talk about in regards to the cosplay community and its response to your transition? For instance have you found cosplayers to be more or less supportive?
That is difficult to answer. A majority of the cosplayers that I know, that have supported my transition, I was already friends with. I haven’t really found a good outlet to gauge what people, in the community, think about it. I did come out to my followers on DeviantArt last year, in a journal entry on Transgender Day of Visibility. I can say that I got mixed responses, a majority of them positive. Then of course you have some that are negative as well. Someone, who I assume follows me on DA, commented on one of my April videos on YouTube. He said he can’t really like my video because I’m a man. In my experience though, everyone I meet who discovers I am transgender has been overwhelmingly supportive. It could be luck, it could be things are moving in a positive direction as we move into the future, I am not sure. I can say I feel truly blessed to get that amount of support and I hope that will always be the case no matter who I meet in the community.
Which cosplay/fandom is your favorite?
I only choose to cosplay characters that have a special place in my heart. I grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was my first love. I always looked up to April. She had a feisty attitude, independent, smart, brave and one hell of a driver. I always wanted to be her, so to be able to cosplay her is actually a dream come true. Catwoman is another favorite who I cosplay quite often and I have multiple versions of her to wear. I have many other favorites, many other characters I want to cosplay. It’s an expensive hobby, all in due time lol.
Do you have any suggestions for others who want to get into cosplay?
If the interest is there, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. It’s not only a lot of fun, but I have met people I wouldn’t have and did things I never thought I would do because of cosplay.
Favorite cosplay experience?
My favorite experience was when I went to a con as Catwoman. I was walking around the convention center and I had a little Batman come up to me. He held on to my leg very tightly and said “You’re mine, Catwoman.” It was the cutest and most heart warming moment. I spent a little while with that little boy as he told me about why he loves Batman so much and I took a picture with him. He thought I was really Catwoman and it was such an wonderful experience.
Any bad experiences with cosplay or the community?
I have been lucky in this regard. I know a lot of cosplayers who have had terrible experiences. I haven’t had anything really bad happen. Walking down the streets of Manhatten to get to NYCC in costume is always an interesting experience. I get the cat calling when I am in costume, but most of the time I ignore it. Nothing has ever been so rude that I had to turn around to take notice. When I am at conventions people are usually very respectful if I say I can’t take a photo or anything. Some look more disappointed than others, but again nothing bad has ever come of it.
Do you have any new plans or ideas you are working on for your next costume or character?
As I stated previously I have many other characters lol. I want to do Tracer from Overwatch, Teela MOTU, Cheetara from Thundercats, Juri, Ibuki, Poison, Cammy, Vixen from DC, the list goes on and on. I hope to be able to do them all at some point. Cosplay isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I am optimistic lol. Even if it does, who cares, I am still going to cosplay my heart out!
What skills have you learned or want to learn in regards to costume making and planning?
My sewing has actually improved dramatically since I got into cosplay. I can make adjustments on my costumes no problem, although construction without a pattern to follow is still very intimidating to me. I have only tackled very simple things. I leave the more complex costumes to someone far more talented than I. I would like to, at some point, be able to make my own and not have to commission my costumes.
Any events you will be attending this summer?
No major events planned, at least convention wise. I am attending a midnight showing of the Suicide Squad as Knightfall Catwoman. Other than that I would like to do more photo shoots. I have several photographers that want to connect to do some work with me. It would be nice to have more content for my pages. It’s hard for me to find the time with my work schedule.
Since Tiny Doom and The Red Menace wrote the guide to Boston for Comic Con goers together, we thought we’d join forces again to give our take on what happened AT the 2015 Boston Comic Con. This post covers Friday. In order to set ourselves apart from the ordinary con reports, this one will be a pictorial starring two raptors and a baby.
Don’t worry, no actual babies or dinosaurs were harmed in the making of this post. The Fashion Raptors love their jobs, and Ugly Baby is a tradition in The Red Menace’s family – a joke between her grandma and sister which has now gone international. (NB: Ugly Baby is not considered ugly by everyone, but that’s the name she’s got. Her demonic smile, general macrocephaly, and compromised cranium are potential reasons for this. The Red Menace loves her anyway.)
One of the best parts of any comic convention is the cosplay. This year we decided to outsource finding some of the best cosplay at the con to our newest reporting team, the Fashion Raptors. After insuring that they were well fed, we sent them off to do their jobs. Many thanks to all the brave cosplayers who didn’t mind posing with some raptors.
Local people might have heard about this already, but Rhode Island Comic Con was a mess. And calling it a mess is me being kind. It seems that the promoters vastly underestimated both how popular comic/pop culture conventions have become, and the amount of turnover over they would see. Both things are surprising given the news out of San Diego and New York.
I and my merry band were some of the lucky ones who actually got into the Con. It paid to make it an early morning and get in line before the doors open. That said, it was pretty clear by the first hour that things were over sold despite the organizers’ claims to the contrary. By early afternoon they were no longer letting people in due to the venue being close to fire code capacity, however, I heard they were still selling tickets (not cool at all). Many many people missed out on the con, stuck outside in lousy weather, and many were separated from their parties due to the sudden enactment of a “no re-entry policy”. If you want to know more check out the twitter hashtag: #RIComicconfail2014.
In spite of all this I was able to get into the con and have a little fun before completely redlining due to the crowds. So here’s a rundown of 5 things I saw before realizing it was time to leave and have some nachos, hence avoiding the impending nervous breakdown.
Is everyone ready for Halloween? Costumes chosen, wigs purchased, ready to begin the revelry? We here at the Ladies have already participated in the best annual celebration around – the Comicazi Halloweeniversary! Since once again it falls to me to write the Halloweek post, I thought I’d share the group costume I was part of this year in case you’re in need of some last-minute comics related ideas. But rather than go into elaborate detail on how the costumes were created, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of who the characters are, since they’re a bit less well-known. I’ll give a scale of 1-10 on costume-making ease though, 1 being that you could make it with all things you have lying around the house, 10 being that it requires special equipment and a license to operate heavy machinery.
We decided to go the spooky route this Halloween, so our theme was DC comics characters who are either dead or have death-related powers. I’m calling it Dead DC, but really only half the team counts as officially having shuffled off this mortal coil.
The Boston Comic-Con Cosplay extra-special extra posts continue! Next up is Midge Scully!
The Costume: I’m embarrassed to admit that I was sure I already knew what this costume was, and I was wrong. Midge here is not, as one might imagine, a gender-swapped Lobo. She’s cos-playing as Slobo, Lobo’s teenaged clone from Young Justice #38-55. While you might think the distinction is minute, I felt bad for jumping to conclusions: 1. Because Slobo is a teenager and thus less jacked than regular-sized Lobo, Midge’s costume is even better and 2. Because Midge seemed pretty enthusiastic about the character, and I was ashamed I’d never heard of him. Apparently his only appearance so far is in that short run in 90’s era Young Justice, but still. Midge told us it’s pretty fun and since it’s written by Peter David, who tends be reliably good, I believe her. So thanks to this conversation, I have a new comic to check out. Hurray!
Favorite costume piece/biggest challenge: The chain with hook and the shoe caps – she put this costume together at the last minute and didn’t think it would come together so fast! Plus the shoe caps are removable, making the boots wearable for multiple costumes. Since having looked at her cos-play page and seen the wide variety of characters Midge has done, that’s just plain sensible.
Cosplay experiences: So far, so good! Midge told us that she’s had only positive experiences at this stage. What she likes about cosplay, she said, is that you get to meet people who like what you like, and it’s great to see their excitement when you’re in costume as a character they’re really into.
Thoughts on Clown Spiders: We showed her a sticker with the image of Tiny Doom’s nemesis. “I like it!” she declared. “I like spiders, I think they’re cute. Clowns not so much…” We’ll call this one a conditional victory for our mirthful mascot. Thanks for your time, Midge! (click the link to see more of her work!)
The cosplay of Boston Comic Con 2014 did not disappoint, and we took another opportunity to profile some of the amazing work that was on display.
First up: Myratheon Cosplay
Costume made by: The lady herself! This was an original design and which all components of the costume were hand made…even the mask and her hand carved sword!
Favorite costume piece/biggest challenge: That mask you guys, this pic, taken in the crowded convention hall does not do it justice, so be sure to check out her facebook page for more pictures. The Anubis mask is Myratheon Cosplay’s favorite part of the costume (The Red Menace and I felt the same). It was also her biggest challenge. In speaking with her you could definitely get a sense of how proud she was of her work…and she should be!
Cosplay experiences: Myratheon, has, for the most part had good experiences with the Cosplay community. No doubt signs like this help:
Her hard work has been well received which has helped her gain confidence. She did however have a tougher experience at Connecticon where she received some negative feedback on her gender-swapped costume of Scar from Disney’s The Lion King. Some of the organizers felt she was sexualizing a Disney character. Her response? “Since when do lions where clothes?” Check out pics of this costume and decide for yourself…
Thoughts on Clown Spiders: Here’s a place where Myratheon Cosplay and I differ. She found our Clown Spider stickers adorable!
Where will she be next: You can see her next at Rhode Island Comicon! Maybe you’ll see some of The Ladies there too…
As you have probably noticed from our recent series showcasing cosplay from Boston Comic Con, we ladies have a great interest in costuming and the culture around cosplay.
Both the Goog and I like to costume. And I’m passable at it. I think my Halloween costumes always work, and I have a lot of fun putting them together and wearing them. The Goog is better, he even tried his hand at fabrication last year.
Time for another cosplay force to be reckoned with…
Jessica Connolly (Jess Conn Cosplay ) as Tank Girl
How she got into cosplay: Jess has a background in theater and when she left the stage, she missed the opportunities to become another character. In fact, Jess was particularity excited about this costume because it gave her a chance to switch from something more “girly-girl to bad ass.” Bad ass indeed! No one can argue with that!
Another reason Jess chose to cosplay as Tank Girl was because she was looking for something that she could style more herself. Tank Girl herself can be seen in a range of outfits, so this costume really gave her a chance to do her own take and stand out from the crowd.
Most proud of: Her disco ball helmet. While watching the Tank Girl film, Jess couldn’t help but notice the disco ball helmet that Lori Petty wears for about 3 mins. As soon as she saw it, she knew she had to make it. Another challenge that Jess was proud of, is her paintwork on her gun. It can be extremely difficult to make something look worn in a realistic way and actually something I never really thought about myself when it comes to detail work. It’s the touches and attention to detail like this that can certainly make a huge difference between a really good costume and a great one.
So, are you guys inspired yet? Regardless, you should high tail it over to Jess’s facebook page. Wanna see a lady Boba Fett costume? Well, Jess has got you covered!