Archive for the ‘GBACG’ Category

GBACG’s Last Dinner on the Titanic

Pre-dinner iPhone pic

Pre-dinner iPhone pic

I had an amazing time at the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild’s Last Dinner on the Titanic, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on April 14, 2012. This costumed dinner & dance took place at the Bellevue Club in Oakland, CA.

Everyone was seated at tables of 10, & our group decided to portray real first-class passengers & talk about period topics. This was SO MUCH FUN! I was Miss Edith Rosenbaum, a fashion journalist living in Paris (I made up a story about borrowing my fabulously overdone jewels & tiara from that poor little Astor girl, so ill with morning sickness she just couldn’t come to the dining room, but we’d become friends when her maid saw my trunks of Poiret sample dresses I was taking back to New York — I gave one to the 18-year-old Mrs. Astor). Sarah was Mrs. Florence Cummings, & Francis was Mr. John Bradley Cummings, a New York stockbroker. Mrs. Cummings & I met in the ship’s hair salon on the first day aboard, that’s why we arrived at dinner together. Kendra was Miss Madeleine Newell & Jenny-Rose (visiting from Virginia) was her younger sister Marjorie, both ladies were returning from a grand tour that included Palestine & the Middle East — this explained Kendra’s gorgeous 1912 dress made from a green & gold sari. Loren (visiting from Southern California) was the couturier Lady Duff-Gordon, wearing one of her own designs, of course. Liam was Mr. Tyrell William Cavendish of England & Karen was his Chicago-born wife, Mrs. Julia Cavendish. Cathyn & Laina were Mr. & Mrs. Thorne, who were really Mr. George Rosenshine traveling with his mistress Miss Gertrude Thorne, but they assumed married names (shocking!).

Trystan in the lobby of the Bellevue Club

Trystan, aka Miss Rosenbaum, in the lobby of the Bellevue Club

We talked about everything from the latest fashions to world politics (women’s suffrage! George V’s coronation! Bolsheviks!) to the stock exchange to wonders of modern technology such as areoplanes & escalators. FAB-U-LOUS! And all it took was a quick flip through Wikipedia. Creating a tiny bit of historical context for historical costume really makes me the happiest nerd on the planet. And, of course, doing so in an utterly fantastic historical SETTING is the tastiest icing on a decadent cake. Yummy!

I wore a simple ensemble, consisting of a gown I bought from Victorian Trading Company with vintagey, plus a lot of jewelry (more details of the outfit here). I did my hair over large hair rats in a 1910s style, based on tips from this article Kendra wrote. My look was reasonably historically accurate, not perfectly, but I blended in well with the ambiance of the event.

Here are some of the photos taken by the event’s most excellent professional photographer, Richard Man:

All of my photos from the event are on Flickr.  Jenny-Rose has some more lovely event photos on Flickr.

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Leonard Autie, Hairdresser to Marie Antoinette

Voila, here is the finished outfit & photos from the event — the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild’s Evening at the Petit Trianon, which took place at the Bellvue Club in Oakland, California on July 9, 2011. (more…)

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GBACG’s Queen Elizabeth and the Pirate

Join Queen Elizabeth I as she hosts a farewell banquet for the infamous female Irish Pirate, Grace O’Malley, at a Greenwich tavern called The Bearded Mermaid. There will a fabulous feast, entertainments, music, and much toasting and intrigues throughout the evening.

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Around the World in 80 Days

I do believe the event was a success! People came dressed in a fun variety of costumes and seemed to have a good time. The food and drink were excellent, and one person said “great idea to have an event in a bar!” Everyone was enjoying chatting so much that we didn’t do any organized story-telling (Thomas and I had even prepared readings from Around the World in 80 Days to kick things off, but never got to it). Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures, plus the dark setting wasn’t conducive to stellar photography. But the few I did get are here.

The first to arrive were a pair of hippies on a wild acid trip, traveling through the doors of perception the whole afternoon. An Edwardian lady in motoring garb traveled to the Reform Club in one of those new-fangled motor vehicles. A French pirate jumped ship to join us. We had an intrepid orchid hunter and a collector of African insects. Several swanky Art Deco dames came with their hatboxes and luggage. A time traveler from the future was accompanied by a 1940s lady. A Middle-Eastern couple were resplendent in flowing striped garb. One very elegantly attired couple must have first-class tickets on the Titanic or other such luxury transport. A World-War II French Resistance fighter barely escaped Paris in time to join us. Two soliders stepped through a futuristic Stargate for the afternoon. A 1920s spiritualist traveled between worlds and told us of our past and future lives. A Victorian suffragette had just been released from prison before arriving at the pub.

Everyone had a tale to tell (some taller than others ;-), and I know I thoroughly enjoyed talking of Antarctica, Edinburgh, Dickensian London, Timothy Leary, and the Pyramids with such wonderful company!

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Around all the worlds

I finished my outfit today (whew!), and I’ve made some, IMNSHO, kickass party favours. Just gotta print and assemble all today. I also hope to finish one or more photo albums of our travels. I’m encouraging everyone attending to bring their own travel photos, scrapbooks, or memorabilia to share! It’s going to be an afternoon of all kinds of travel talk, real and imaginary.

I had loads of fun making these! I scanned my own passport for the London Heathrow, Egypt Cairo, Australia, New Zealand, and faux East Germany stamps. I found the Liechtenstein stamp, Titanic font with logos, and Orient Express crest, and Stargate: Atlantis symbol, Star Wars Rebel and Imperial logos, Star Trek Federation HQ in San Francisco logo, and Sauron’s eye art from the Web. I scanned the Moria door, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy logo, and Earthsea symbol from my own books. The Chinese stamp is a rubber stamp that I scanned. Then I added appropriate immigration and visa type text to each one.

The passport is just one half-sheet of cardstock folded over, so each one has two pages of visas inside. I designed four variations of the visas so people would get slightly different versions.

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Tiny bits of progress

Tickets for the GBACG’s Around the World in 80 Days are on sale! It will be on October 21, 2006, from 1pm to 5pm at the Duke of Edinburgh Pub, Cupertino.

I need to get crackin’ on my costume! I’ll probably use the Simplicity 9761 pattern as a base, and I have all the notions and linings (I think).

Here are the descriptions of Aouda from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 DaysChapter XIII, In which Passepartout receives a new proof that fortune favors the brave:

The worthy Indian then gave some account of the victim, who, he said, was a celebrated beauty of the Parsee race, and the daughter of a wealthy Bombay merchant. She had received a thoroughly English education in that city, and, from her manners and intelligence, would be thought an European. Her name was Aouda.

Left an orphan, she was married against her will to the old rajah of Bundelcund; and, knowing the fate that awaited her, she escaped, was retaken, and devoted by the rajah’s relatives, who had an interest in her death, to the sacrifice from which it seemed she could not escape.

Chapter XIV, In which Phileas Fogg descends the whole length of the beautiful valley of the Ganges without ever thinking of seeing it:

When the poet-king, Ucaf Uddaul, celebrates the charms of the queen of Ahmehnagara, he speaks thus:

“Her shining tresses, divided in two parts, encircle the harmonious contour of her white and delicate cheeks, brilliant in their glow and freshness. Her ebony brows have the form and charm of the bow of Kama, the god of love, and beneath her long silken lashes the purest reflections and a celestial light swim, as in the sacred lakes of Himalaya, in the black pupils of her great clear eyes. Her teeth, fine, equal, and white, glitter between her smiling lips like dewdrops in a passion-flower’s half-enveloped breast. Her delicately formed ears, her vermilion hands, her little feet, curved and tender as the lotus-bud, glitter with the brilliancy of the loveliest pearls of Ceylon, the most dazzling diamonds of Golconda. Her narrow and supple waist, which a hand may clasp around, sets forth the outline of her rounded figure and the beauty of her bosom, where youth in its flower displays the wealth of its treasures; and beneath the silken folds of her tunic she seems to have been modelled in pure silver by the godlike hand of Vicvarcarma, the immortal sculptor.”

It is enough to say, without applying this poetical rhapsody to Aouda, that she was a charming woman, in all the European acceptation of the phrase. She spoke English with great purity, and the guide had not exaggerated in saying that the young Parsee had been transformed by her bringing up.


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Another one of my crazy ideas

Yesterday at the gym, I came up with what I think is an awesome idea for a GBACG event next year. I can’t get to the planning meeting this Sunday, but I wrote up the idea and sent it to the Event Coordinator and Prez. last night so they could put it on the agenda. Hopefully it’ll get a positive reception, and if so, I’ll start work on it. Here’s my idea:

Around the World in 80 Days
Travelers of all eras, come join Phileas Fogg at the Reform Club in 1872 London and tell us of your journies! Mr. Fogg and his Indian bride Aouda invite you for an afternoon of fine British victuals, a wee tipple, and tall tales of travel.

Victorians on safari, Regency dandies on the Grand Tour, Renaissance Venetian traders, and even future travelers picked up by H.G. Well’s time machine are all welcome. Famous travelers, real or fictional, are also invited, from Marco Polo to Miss Lucy Honeychurch returned from Italy. Folks from far-flung locales who are traveling to London are encouraged to come dressed in their native garb. This is also an excellent chance to combine ethnic materials (such as saris, kente cloth) with historical costume. Guests should be prepared to share a story about their travels and/or explain their costumes.

Event: Afternoon social with a light buffet of British food and appetizers
Time: a Saturday or Sunday in September or October 2006, about 1-4pm
Costume: Any historical era, science fiction, ethnic
Cost: $25-$30, plus attendees buy their own alcoholic drinks
Location: British pub such as The King’s Head in Campbell, The Duke of Edinburgh in Cupertino, or British Banker’s Club in Menlo Park (while the BBC is a better location for San Francisco folks, the place gets really noisy, even on afternoons; the other two are quieter and more atmospheric).

Thomas was totally into it as soon as I said I wanted him to play Phileas Fogg. We saw a very nifty stage production of Around the World earlier this year, and naturally everything about the story fits with our travel passions.

Aouda is an Indian woman who Fogg and his companions rescue from being killed, and she and Fogg marry at the end of the story. I would, of course, make a Victorian costume from a sari. Quite probably use the grey and burgundy sari I’ve been hoarding since we went to India in 2001. That was going to be a more mid-Victorian costume because I thought that’d show off the pattern better, but we’ll see. I could go either 1860s or 1870s. She doesn’t need to be particularly fashion-forward. She had an English education and “European manners” but she still lived in Bombay which could be a little behind the times in clothes. And Fogg, while he’s precise and cultured, is also a stuffy fuddy-duddy, so he wouldn’t care so much if his wife wasn’t wearing the very latest styles.

Anyway, good excuse for a new costume for me! Thomas can wear his old wool frock coat, his grey tartan vest, black trousers, and a white button-down shirt (though I might get/make him a more period one), plus use his lovely silver-topped cane. I told him if he was extra nice to me, I might get him a top hat too. ‘Cept he wouldn’t be wearing that indoors, so what’s the point. Heh.

I hope other people like this event idea. I think there’s sooooooo many possible costumes, which makes it open to lots of folks. Any historical era works, just come up with a good story. There are always the upper-crust Brits and Americans who went on the Grand Tour of Europe. The Renaissance saw the opening of the New World. In the Middle Ages, Venice was the door to the East. Any kind of military costume could lend it self to travel stories. And any kind of ethnic costume fits too, as that person would be traveling to London.

Future and fantasy costumes work too. Jedis are rather like itinerant travelers. Star Trek’s mission was all about travel and exploration. A certain four hobbits did quite a bit of traveling. I think one of them even carried a bunch of travel gear on his back. All you really need is a good story, an explanation of why your costume qualifies as traveling gear.

The stories would be the afternoon’s entertainment. As hosts, Fogg and Aouda would ask each guest to tell their story. We’d also encourage travel talk throughout the event. Real travels, imagined or wishful travels, anything on the topic. Maybe we’d ask people to bring pictures or scrapbooks too. As a sort of souvenir, we may give out a discount coupon for folks to buy a T&T’s Real Travels DVD. A little subtle advertising never hurt, especially when I’m the one putting the event together ;-)

Dunno what other events are in the works or what the Guild’s schedule will be, and I’m sure that will effect whether or not this one gets approved. I haven’t called any pubs yet, pending GBACG interest. My rough cost idea is based on their standard menus, and hopefully there’s no or minimal room fees. We shall see.

Finding spaces that don’t cost too much is always the hardest part of planning an event. After that, it’s all cake. Well, gotta make sure to find a date that doesn’t have football (soccer) or rugby playing too!

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