Kostume Kult Cometh: Evolving, creating...
Star Wars 3: Standathon of the Sith
Leprecon vs. the Parade: Shenanigans aplenty
Originally launched as a Burning Man theme camp, Kostume Kult has grown into a year-around artistic party club like none other
Born in the Nevada desert in 2002 as a partnership between Costume Network and some Colorado costumers, the group has officially gone year-round with its playa-vibe and creative projects.
At Burning Man, the group had grown from a seven person outfit that gave away some wacky hats and hipster sunglasses, to a full blown costuming camp that freely gifts hundreds of costumes and accessories donated by co-participants and the costume industry. In 2004, the camp really came together as a daytime creativity dome and, at night, a spectacular parade of costumers who saw and did everthing that BM had to offer.
Afterwards, the group replicated its costume giveaway shop at the NYC Burning Man 'Decom', took over the Costume Network Halloween Parade Float and then, on the weekend before Saint Patrick's Day, launched 'Leprecon', an annual street rampage and bar-hop. (see article below)
As the winter melted, Burning Man planning began and fundraisers were set in motion
Finding its footing as a year-round group, Kostume Kult planned and executed two springtime events with a third planned for July. The 'Horned Ball' and 'Burn Mitzvah' proved to be hysterically creative successes by most people's accounts. With unique costume themes and a healthy dose of irreverence, KK's party-vibe has officially been established.
On the first weekend in April, the (first annual) Horned Ball was painted as a 'spring rutting' event were participants were encouraged to explore their animal selves, strap on horns and say goodbye to winter hibernation. With the 'Frolic with Bambi' photo booth allowing participants to play in a woodland scene with a doe-eyed beauty, the temperature rose shortly after midnight. By the end of the evening, horned participants seemed to be welcoming spring in every corner ;)
In May, what started as a wacky late-night idea blossomed into the most insane event many of us had been to, possibly ever. The Burn Mitzvah was burner-vibed community celebration mixing traditional bar mitzvah activities with some absurdist notions about Judaism and the sillier aspects of religions in general.
With party-superstar MC Christopher (who really has MC'd dozens of bar mitzvahs) leading the ceremonies, and groove-hooper Stefan and performance artist Missy Galore being mitzvah'd themselves (both Jewish and deprived of the honor at 13), the event was held in the lush Gershwin Hotel in laughingly appropriate surroundings.
The guitar-strumming Rabbi Goldthtein blessed the bread, blew his shofar and ranted throughout the venue. Costume vending including artsy 'burnulkes', payess (earlocks) and semi-kosher noshables, while the 'Circumsization Station' photo booth (and the affectionate Môhels) delighted or offended depending on the viewer's inclination. All said, it was a decidedly un-kosher night that, notwithstanding, was described as the "most fun Jewish event that [many] had ever been to".
As DJ Flynn spun varying techno-Horahs and Fiddler-mixes-- as participants danced and raised the mitzvah-kids on chairs, it was obvious to everyone that this type of silliness was good-natured and positive. This was indeed a mitzvah for all who attended and a coming-of-age for Kostume Kult as well. Mazel tov.
In July, our next fundraiser will be a black-lit Willy Wonka party (on opening night of the Tim Burton Film) that, for burners, will also be a 'fashion pre-com' event where the playa-bound can strut a new outfit before heading to the desert....
Who wants to be an Oompa Loompa? (For more click here.)
As a year-round party club, Kostume Kult is seeking out artistic partiers of all ilks. Additionally, as part of the "Costume Cultural Society", KK is now a non-profit program (under fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas) pursuing the growth of Participatory Culture in NYC and around the world. For more, see www.KostumeKult.com or contact us
Ball & Burn Mitzvah pics...
Summer 2005 Time for that far, far away Galaxy to intersect again
With the opening of the last(?) of the Star Wars films- Star Wars III, Return of the Sith- this time it was serious! Everywhere fans were polishing their light sabers with much anticipation. Would this film suck as bad as the last two or would it somehow redeem this limping franchise.
At New York's Ziegfeld Theater, fans started lining up days in advance, just in case. Called "New York Line" (NYline.org), Star Wars fanatics were taking their passion for the upcoming film to the Nth degree. With a bizarre system of points this "Standathon" was a community effort and benefit for the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. With each participant paying $15 (and signing a liability waiver), the goal was to earn 60 points for the May 19th midnight opening. Beginning on April 30th and running for 19 days, SW fans needed to log X amount of hours to qualify for tics in a fandom spectacle that will probably never be seen (or until SW7 is invented).
Notwithstanding the numerous sneak previews and much hushed speak of "how was it?", the tension was mounting leading up to the BIG NIGHT. As the day drew near, organized Star Wars fan groups and assorted independents came out in all manner of SW garb.
The most prevalent accessories were hi-tech light sabers with those wimpy plastic-flashlight toy-sabers of lines-gone-by giving way to expensive steel/electroluminescent ones that seemed to be in the hands of every other young male (and even the occasional female!). Hooded figures lurked, Vaders paced and all manner of rebel and storm trooper hammed for the many media organizations that glommed to the spectacle.
Uber-geekdom was IN!
Finally, the night had arrived. You could cut the tension with the glowy light-saber spoons that were being given out in the gift bags (along with Fruit Loops). The paparazzi were there and, when the line started to move, it was a veritable who's-who in whomever you wanted to be. The red carpet into the Ziegfeld was ground zero for anyone who was anyone in the Star Wars fandom world.
Ultimately, the witching hour came and went and the verdict was in
Star Wars Episode III was The Redeemer! As George Lucas clearly owed his fans this film, he thankfully met, if not exceeded, expectations. Even the hardest-core fans recognize the obvious faults of Ep's I & II. SW1 made fanatics cringe as Mr. Lucas seemed hypnotized by the wonder of digital effects and kiddie humor while neglecting the potential of real actors. This time it seems, he decided to focus on creating real drama. Not to say that there is any shortage of eye candy, outrageous aliens and wild costumes, but this time there is a real story and compelling character interactions.
This film opens with a breathtaking, 15 minute, tracking shot which bends and weaves as it follows a pair of fighters in the grandest space conflict ever brought to the screen. Throughout the film, there were many dazzling light saber battles, epic confrontations across grand battlefields, chaotic chases and other eye-popping effects, but, this time, the film is rooted in the human struggle.
The dialogue rings true and enwraps the viewer in the SW universe. It's as if scifi god, Joseph Campbell reached out from the grave and slapped Mr. Lucas awake. "People need to care!" he cried out, and, this time, we do. The brotherly relationship between Obi Wan and Anakin makes Anakin's ultimate fall that much more tragic. As if from a Greek tragedy, his desire for power finally corrupts him and leads to his downfall.
After the show, as SW fans sat in a bar near the Ziegfeld, all agreed that this film truly connects all of the films as it is peppered with homages and references to the following trilogy. It made us want to rush home and see the next film -or return to the Ziegfeld for another go.
And yes, this film did have problems Again, there is ZERO chemistry between Padme and Anakin... ZILCH! Sad because this would have put the film over the top. Sure they manage to muddle through their scenes-- which were not as awful as in the previous two-- but many of us cringed or opted for a bathroom break. Also, Anakin's transition from loyal Jedi to junior Vader seemed rushed and unbelievable but, this time, there was no 'digital overload' as the effects, except maybe that giant lizard, all worked and served the story.
In their Storm Trooper outfits and other regalia, this group finally headed home happy and just a bit relieved.
Eiiiii Twas time for the wearing of the green. And, yes... Shenanigans were a'coming...
Seeking a creative alternative to NYC's St. Paddy's parade, this would be year-one for Leprecon, a pre-St. Patty's Saturday of drinking, debauching and the like. Basically Santacon in green, participants were encouraged to lepre-tize themselves with red beards, green hats and any assortment of seasonal fairy-wear.
Leading the pack would be "Paddy" a creation from the Kostume Kult costume shop, brought to life by costumer extraordinaire James Vogel, event-inventor, paddy-to-be, Jester Jaimi and fashion-stylist Nika. Yes, we were still planning to do the Parade on Thursday, but, this Saturday, no Irish Bar would be safe from the advancing green horde of leprechauns.
To plan the event, party-superstar Editrix Abby brought her creative get-it-done skills to identify the bars, routes and assorted diversions. A scavenger hunt was invented and prizes were scattered. Trails of treasure would lead to the rainbow and a pot-o'-gold (or at least, some drinks). Participants were encouraged to plan pranks and bring gifts while being ready with an all-day metro-card and comfy walking shoes.
A brilliant Saturday morning dawned and it was showtime.
The first bar was Puck Fair, the east village namesake of a real fair held in the old-country home of Jaimi's Grandfather. Then it was off to Swift where the lepre-gang continued to grow, leading to the White Horse Tavern and then Ulysses in the Financial District where the thirsty crowd swelled to 50.
Costume themes ranged from Nymphs and Faeries to Banshees and a even a Palm Tree. There was Leprecon Treasure walking about and much lepre-couture in many sizes shapes and flavors.
Bouncing off the walls & the bar, tipping back Guinesses at a record pace, Paddy caroused while scaring hapless tourists who glared bug-eyed at the spectacle. Gifts were tossed about and a pot of chocolate dubloons was passed around with a bottle of Jameson. Darkness descended and things got hazy.
Next it was up to Chelsea and the Limerick House and finally it was Flannery's in the Village. While no one truly remembers much, the photographic record reveals that many green-clad partiers were becoming more green and less clad. If you were not Irish in the morning, you were Irish by now and if you didn't like it, you could kiss any number of naked arses
Irish music pumped, Irish jigs were jumped and shot glasses were thumped. And... It was only March 13th.
By Saint Patrick's Day, select lepre-crew members were recovered and ready for another go, and the annual 5th Avenue Parade was the target.
Advancing with Paddy was Lepra Kahn (Ghengis's Irish cousin) and the most styling Editrix Abby and Tiana. Unregistered but assuming adoption would be lavished upon us by a sanctioned group or the parade organizers themselves, our spirits were high.
Until we got there
"NO COSTUMES IN THE PARADE!" screamed a diminutive (in)security-guy as he tried to push us out of a staging area. Red faced and hyper-aggressive, this little fella' was not to be reasoned with. Napoleonic and penis-size theories notwithstanding, he was not alone but part of paranoid group who care little for artistic expression When his big friend showed up, we scattered.
Marching next to the parade, the crowd glommed to us and snapped many o' pic. On occasion, we re-infiltrated the parade to be rebuffed by the little-minded folk who seemd to be tracking our movements. As we passed the protester-coral (where the alienated waived signs), us costumers realized that, we too, were a repressed minority group!
Snatching up the green gauntlet, the Lepreconners look to next year. Leprecon will happen again on Saturday March 12th with the Parade being on Friday, March 17th. Stay tuned...