Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Dos and Don'ts of Dressing Up for Movie Premiers

Summer time is movie time, and this Summer has great promise filled with pirates, Potters, and superheroes! Any self-respecting movie-goer knows that if it's a major movie, you not only go to its midnight premier, but you go in costume for it as well. But in all the enthusiasm of dressing up, there are a few things to remember. Here are the dos and don'ts of wearing costumes to movies.

Do: Find your costume ahead of time. Like, at least a month ahead of time. Thirty days out is when businesses start looking for their costumes, especially if they plan on representing themselves at a popular theater for the midnight premier. So needless to say, because they come in so early (and usually have a little more dough), they tend to snatch up the best costumes while the rest of the community is only vaguely thinking about what they want to wear.

Do: Call up major theaters and ask if they'll be doing any costume promotions for the event, and if they are, ask if you can be part of it. Many theaters rent costumes to spruce up the festivities, but lack an actor to fill them. If you're willing to wander around dressed as the faculty of Hogwarts with a few of your friends, they just might give you free tickets to the show for doing so.

Don't: think high. Remember that these midnight premiers are crowded with hundreds of patrons selling out multiple theaters, and theater seats aren't exactly lounge chairs. You need to take the rest of the movie-goers into consideration and avoid tall hats and wigs, as well as anything wide or super cumbersome.

Don't: say to yourself, "Oh, it's okay, I'll wear those Marie Antoinette style panniers and just take them off right before the movie starts." Trust me, you won't. Same goes with aforementioned tall hats and wigs. Not only will you not want to lose your place in line to put whatever it is in your car, but you'll probably be having too much fun to keep track of time and before you know it the theater is seating and ohmygoodness you forgot to take off those blasted panniers that are so big they'll fill two seats to either side of you.

Do: Be creative. In example, when the seventh Harry Potter movie came out, at the midnight premier I attended there were about fifty Hermiones and two Bellatrixes and that was it. Where were the Prof.McGonagalls? The Madame Trelawneys, the Rita Skeeters, the Fleur De la Cours? All of whom had awesome costumes that would be fun to recreate, but alas, they remained un-thought of. If you want to be unique, just call up your local costume shop and they'll be happy to brainstorm character ideas, then help you figure out how to achieve it.

Don't: forget to shower beforehand. You'll probably have already been up since eight that morning, and you'll still be up at three the next morning when the movie ends, spending much of that time in a hot and sweaty costume. Do us all a favor and shower before you go, start the movie fresh.

Do: Remember to stay comfortable. You'll be in your costume a long time, and nothing will spoil an evening faster than being uncomfortable.

And one final thought from one who manages a costume rental department....

Do: If you rent a costume, remember that you're renting a costume. And wearing it to a theater. A theater which probably has mass amounts of greasy and sticky food that is begging to stain something, anything, and there are people who aren't paying attention to said food. It's perfectly reasonable to rent a costume for a movie theater, just careful. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Renaissance Fair!

Utah held a Renaissance Fair in May and we were lucky to be a part of it. It was quite the event! There were excellent vendors, excellent food (someday I'll get a turkey leg... someday), and entertainment of all sorts.

It was spread out over three weekends, and I'm sad to say that the forecast for every single one of them was thus: Friday:Rain. Saturday: Sun. Sunday: Rain/High Winds. And it wasn't just a light, desert-climate type rain, it was a rain like Utah hasn't seen in decades. It was so bad, the original site for the fair was under eight feet of water, causing them them to relocate. Our tent had a canopy, which combined with the rain created a fun little waterfall feature people had to walk through to get into the main part of the tent. We didn't do a lot of business that day.

The real reason for going was to watch the Knights Of Mayhem, a jousting group that does full contact jousting. This wasn't no Excaliber show where the winner is predetermined, these guys  made real contact.

All of the pictures you see here were taken by Pashaa of Dreamline Photography. He was part of our booth, photographing patrons using green screen technology. It was very cool. National Geographic was there documenting the event, and they noticed the work of Pashaa and his wife Marci and have asked permission to use some of his photos for their feature!

Laura, the owner of Mask Costumes, was there as The Queen, looking lovely in a dress of her making.

Other than the tent collapsing in the middle of the night on all of the sleeping employees on the one night they decided to stay, the fair was quite lovely. To all of you who missed this year's, may we see you shining at next year's event!

Friday, June 3, 2011


We have Viggo Mortensen's costume from the movie Hidalgo! I'm not talking about a replica, I'm talking about the real, genuine, straight-off-his-back costume. Believe me when I say that I don't think they even washed it before sending it to us (that's a grimy show, Hidalgo).

For those who've been in hiding these past few years, Viggo Mortensen is an excellent actor most famously known for being the grungy ranger Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's continued the showers-are-optional theme with such characters as Everett Hitch in Appaloosa,  Tom Stall in A History of Violence, the Man in The Road (very good acting in that one), and of course, Frank Hopkins of Hidalgo. Hidalgo  tells the story of Mr.Hopkins's entry into an Arabian race with his mustang  Hidalgo, in the year 1890.  It's a fun summer flick, for those wanting a bit of adventure.

The costumes were won in an online auction, and this is the tag it came with. I'm assuming it means scenes 32-34 in chapter four, though I'm not sure how you'd figure out what the chapters are. I know DVDs have chapters, but is that what they mean?

The pants seem to be made out of a really lightweight canvas, and were filthy! Having seen the movie, it's fun knowing that all of the dirt and discoloration came from being worn while riding a horse out in the middle of nowhere. The metal buttons have a very clear, pleasing "ping" to them when struck.
The pants  made me realize that Mr.Mortensen is just your average guy: not too tall, not too short, neither heavy nor skinny. 

The back of his pants had a kind of belt addition. I love it when movies remember little details like that. You'd probably only notice it if you knew what you were looking for, but it still adds that extra something. As an actor, it's the small details that help you get into character.

I've known these costumes were coming, and though part of me thought it was cool to have costumes straight from a movie, I wasn't too fussed about it. But when I finally saw them, I can't deny I got a little excited. I respect Viggo Mortensen as an actor, and from what I've seen and read of him as a person, he seems like a great guy. Hidalgo may not have been Oscar caliber, but it was a big film when it came out, pulling in $67 million at the box office (in comparison, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie has only made $40 million so far).   

It's fun to think that if Viggo came into this little shop right now, he could glance over my shoulder and say something like, "Hey, I wore that! Ha, the pants even have the black on the legs from when Bob put too much oil on my saddle, that crazy guy."
There's a piece of Hollywood hanging behind me. The industry may have its flaws, but there's no denying that movies play a huge part in American life. It's strange to think that with how deeply the movie/TV industry infiltrates our days, we are all very much on the outside looking in. We feel a part of it because like a beloved pet it's always around, but most of us have no true involvement beyond feeding it our hard-earned money via a Saturday night at the movies, a cable bill, or maybe by buying a licensed Halloween costume. But right here, in a little costume shop in Salt Lake City, is an itty bitty cog in that which makes Hollywood. A famous man in a famous movie wore the bandanna sitting on my desk. Here hangs something in real life that literally millions of people from all over the world have seen on film. 
And that's pretty cool.