Photo credit Teresa Wickersham/Scifi4Me
Conventions & Events

Worldcon 74: Masquerade Contest Honors Tradition, Innovation, and Hard Work


[All photos by Teresa Wickersham]

In a masquerade of this level, it’s not simply a matter of walking out on stage and showing off your costume. Being your character and acting out your story is important. Choreography may be involved. Props are used to set the scene.  A short script may be needed. Music and sound effects are chosen to complete the illusion that you are not just the character you have made yourself into, but that you are living in a different world. The masquerade is not just about showing off what you have created, but about creating a show for the audience.

Entries are sorted out by three levels: Novice, meaning that they have never won an award at a major event like a Worldcon or Masquerade convention; Journeyman, which means they have won one award at a major event; and Master, which means they have previously won three awards at major events. There are two categories to place one’s presentation in, a recreation of an existing costume or artistic representation of a costume, and a costume that is an original idea. They are judged differently. The representational costume is judged by how closely it represents the original, while new ideas are judged by their originality.

Awards go into two categories, Workmanship and Presentation. Or, a category of the Judge’s own choosing.

It lights up and spins
An award for It Lights up and Spins? They totally made that up.

The first two entries, in the Young Fan category, won Most Adorable and More Most Adorable for their costumes of Young Sherlock and Dr. Who (Zachary Rohwer, Grayson Rohwer). Since they are brothers that extra “More” may be a bone of contention for years to come.

In the Novice Workmanship category, Mystogan (Jacob Lemon Rogers, Jonathan Kunkee, Loren Kunkee, and Lyndsey Luther) received an Honorable Mention for Carving, Rambo Brite (Gene Bennett), received an Honorable Mention for Puff Patterns, and Sarabi, the Gryphon (Ashley Bilke, Chelsea Shelton), received an honorable mention for puppetry. The Gryphon is an amazing puppet because the back legs move with the person in the costume, eliminating the need for a second person to make four legs in the costume.

Sarabi the Gryphon unmasked.

A steampunk Ghostbuster (Zachary Miles, see our interview here) received an award called “It lights up and Spins.” Pooch (Kathy Hinkle) received an award for Best Fur Work. Best Workmanship Novice was a mythological Loki (Sarah Sanders), an original costume. Rambo Brite also received the Best Novice Humor award. Victorian Twilight Sparkle received Best Novice. The creator, Rosemary Williams, was playing Twilight Sparkle who had transformed herself in order to time travel among humans. She forgot her wings and horn though. The wings actually flapped.

In Journeyman Workmanship, Painting the Roses Red was awarded to When Queens Collide (Janice Wardale, Theresa Halbert and Thor Halbert). Cinderella(Sheryl Nance-Dunst) won the Best Journeyman Workmanship. Her Cinderella gown was based on artwork by the Artist Guest of Honor, Kinuko Y. Craft.

Journeyman Class Winners, the Three Valkyries and Cinderella in her underwear.

Best Journeyman Humor was won by three Valkyries (Sharon Bass, Christine Brockway, Chris O’Halloran), who sang a slightly less than reverent version of the Ride of the Valkyries as they picked up slain warriors from the battlefield. Sung by Sara Vanderbroek. The dead guy wrangler was Ita Vanderbroek.

Best in Class, Journeyman, was won by When Queens Collide. The Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland and Mozart’s Queen of the Night battle it out for center stage.

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In the Master class category, there was an Honorable Mention for Beadwork for the Flash Gordon for President political announcement(Kevin Hewettt and Rebecca Hewett). Best Execution of Concept went to a stylish Cyberman. Um, Cyberwoman (Jennifer Skwarski).

Boots Update.


Flash Gordon for President. I’d vote for him.

Best Master Workmanship went to Tri Morrignae (Jennifer Old-d’Entremont, Bethany Padron, Megan McQueen), based on Celtic mythology. They were also honored for Excellence in Presentation.


Best Master Humor went to Sharknado (Amanda Arthur Struss and Joe Struss), a recreation of Syfy’s very silly Sharknado movies.

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Yes, she’s crying. Oh, and young Icarus must have gone to bed already.

Best In Class for the Master Performance was Flights of Fantasy. It takes us from Icarus and his melted wings to airships, astronauts, and finally to an alien world where people fly dragons. It’s a perfect combination of science fiction and fantasy, with flight being the unifying metaphor (Tim Morgan, Loretta Morgan, Ian Miller, Meredith Hines, Russ Miller).

The Judges Choice Award was given to the Spirits of the Tea, which was inspired by the Artist GoH, Kinuko Y. Craft (Sallie Abba, Greg Abba, RobertA. Cook, Rachelle Hrubetz, Les Roth, Tal Roth).

Four Generations of Trolls.We have more then one crier in this group.

The winner of Best in Show was no surprise. The Troll Bridge (Susan Eisenhour, Joyce Blakesly, Isabell Robinson, Quincy Robinson, Paul Elmer, Kate Elmer, Freya Elmer, Juliet Elmer, Darrin Blom, Richard Blom, and Margaret Blom) consisted of many actors in fairytale costumes, from the very young to the young at heart. Four generations of costumers participated in a show that incorporated both great performance and great costuming.

There were many wonderful costumes that did not receive awards. There were simply too many first class costumes for everyone that deserved to win an award to be able to win. There was an emphasis on the traditional, such as fairy tales, and on older stories. A lively mixture of the old and the new, with a fusion of fandoms and styles. And how wonderful is it to make a work of art into a costume?

Despite the fact that it was slow to get started and the judges too a long time to make up their minds — so long that I was afraid the half-time show, KC Improv, was going to lose some members to exhaustion — they put on a very good show. A thank you is also owed to Paul and Storm, who sang for us during the break. I particularly liked their song about how George R.R. Martin should write like the wind.

Congratulations and thank you to the Master of Ceremonies, John Hertz, who was resplendently dressed himself, and to the judges for their contributions to the masquerade. The Performance Judges were Tanglewyst De Holloway, Karen Schnaubelt, and Kathy Pepmiller. Workmanship judges were Jill Eastlake and Aurora Celeste. Gregory De Danaan was the Masquerade Director. The ASL translators were really impressive. They kept up with both song and improvisation.

For more coverage on Worldcon, check out this link for articles and interviews.


Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

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