We drove into Denver on a rainy night after having passed at least three large military convoys going the opposite direction. After a five hour drive we circled the downtown Marriott three times before realizing we were at the wrong hotel. Another twenty minute drive found us clearing the doors of the Marriott Denver Tech Center. Just to make sure we were in the right place I went in to ask the front desk and, who should be manning it, but an old theater friend from high school. How crazy is it that I had to travel three hundred and ninety three miles to reunite with someone I knew in high school? Anyway, her friendly face was a great kickoff to the weekend. She checked us into our room which was beautiful, spacious and well furnished. While the bathroom was smaller, the gray scale layout of the room was so worth it. We went down in search of food and found Pint Brother’s Ale House still open. They extended their hours for the con which was much appreciated. The Ale House sits in the center of a large open space which served as the entry to the con, the writer’s booths, the photo shoot area and the guest autograph tables. We had hoped to get to the hotel early enough to enjoy the last events of the night, but our detour delayed us enough that we missed check in which ended at 10:00pm. There were some last minute touches to accessories for our costumes to do so we took our lighter outside to the smoking area and finished off the edges of the holsters for Two’s guns. We crashed pretty quickly after this.
We got up early to apply makeup and wigs. When we were fully costumed we took the elevator down to take on the con. A photographer from BentoByte immediately pulled us aside for a photo and we were pretty confident about our cosplays until we got to the registration table. As we were getting our wrist bands a sign above the table dashed our plans for the day. Poor Jodelle Ferland missed her flight and would only be there for Sunday. While we were disappointed, we understood and immediately went up to the room to switch cosplays. My hair had been pretty smashed in order to get into the wig. (We forgot my wig cap) So, the 11th Doctor’s hair was slightly less airborne than I had hoped. But with the magical powers of hairspray and dry shampoo I was able to get it into a shape that read 11. @skyberry13 was Amy Pond with the Silence marks all over her hands. We attended the cosplay meetup at the sub-con WhoFest where panels and events related to Dr. Who were held. The moderates of this panel did not keep an even dialogue allowing one person to dominate the meetup so we left early, but there were plenty of doctors and some really great cosplays of all ages.
Fortunately, Jodelle’s cancellation meant that we got to attend Hale Appleman’s panel which we would have missed because of our photo with Jodelle. His panel was amazing! It was his first convention and he came across as truly genuine interacting with everyone who asked a question, asking their name and even remembering the names of those he had spoken to previously at his table. He was asked to do a spell and he showed us his favorite spell that had been cut from the show which included some wide hand motions he described as “Mickey Mouse like.”
Afterwards we attended Kaai in Cosplay’s Panel “Everything About Wigs.” This is probably the most informative cosplay panel we have ever been to. Kaai was interactive with the audience and, while everything on his slides was related to the panel he was not reading off of the slides the entire time. He explained about the construction of wigs from the inside out and all the fiber types wigs are made of. He demonstrated which fibers were best by throwing around a wig made of the best fibers into the audience and, when it returned to him after playing beach ball for a while, it was easily tamed. There were many plugs for Epic Cosplay Wigs, which is a company Kaai actually works for. He announced Epic Cosplay Wigs’ upcoming release of a color wheel for their wig selection and that his slideshow was available on their website. So, the panelist was extremely qualified and knowledgeable about his subject and, while we did not get to attend any more, he did many other cosplay panels of similar quality I’m sure. There was a Barris cosplayer at this panel we got to talk to briefly and her cosplay was really good. Barris and Asohka is a dream cosplay of mine.
We also met some cosplayers who were dressed as Madame Vastra and Jenny, another dream cosplay of ours, and theirs was really good too. I asked about Vastra’s prosthetic and she said, while it was a year old and did not fully fit her face the same since she lost weight, it still worked. So, she suggested creating the prosthetic closest to when you are going to wear it.
We were going to attend the “Weathering” panel which was being held in the model room, but when we got there we found a life sized Tardis model and ended up just taking pictures with that for a while. Before the costume contest we got a drink at the pop up bar for the con and then we made our way to the auditorium.
Now, the costume contest was advertised as “King Arthur and Wonder Woman Present the Costume Contest,” which was deceptive in that it implies cosplayers dressed as King Arthur and Wonder Woman are MC-ing the costume contest. This was not the case, in fact the movie franchises of King Arthur and Wonder Woman sponsored the contest including providing the prizes. For this reason the contest was preceded by trailers of both of these movies which look really good. I think this was genius on their part marketing to a perfect target audience. Anyway, it is very sad that they were not MC-ing the contest for the person who actually did was a vile old man. He turned a hopefully two hour long contest into a three and a half hour ordeal. It did go on longer than that, we just bailed after three and a half hours so we could eat before going to bed. When we left it was 10:00PM. He said many off color things both about contestants, the hotel and the poor people working the projector for him in the back. So, while the entire contest was tainted by his constant monologuing and literally taking contestants by the hand to walk them to all three points marked on the stage, (yes he really did this) there were some amazing costumes. The first category was children and there was this really adorable Link who could not have been more than three years old. The second category was Juniors where youth showed off their costumes. The rest of the categories were by genre of which there were three. The horror genre featured a costume I do not know the name of, but whose performance featured splashing fake blood. We only got through one more category after that before we called it quits. Props to all the contestants who put up with the unprofessional behavior of the moderator and to all those who won that we did not get to see. We ate a quick dinner at the Ale House and went to bed.
Sunday started out much like Saturday in that we got up early to adorn our wigs, costumes and makeup. It included some extra fitting for our cosplay guest and her holsters. She had not been available to fit certain parts of her costume to her. It was also my first attempt at holsters. If you check out our cosplay Pinterest you will find the reference videos and tutorials I used. Unfortunately, the outfit we went with for Two involved black suede leggings. While they looked awesome and sold her look, the holsters did not stay where they were supposed to no matter how tightly fitted they were. So, throughout the day our poor cosplay guest was pulling them up. We adjusted them properly for pictures, but otherwise they hung at her knees.
We started the day at the professional photo booth, Fanta Scenes Photography, getting pictures of our costumes before they were ruined throughout the day. The photographer was great and was one of the few people who knew who we were that day. Once we finished up there we hit up the dealers room for things we had been scoping out that day. @skyberry13 really wanted Hale Appleman’s autograph so we bought a cool print of him magic-ing a drink. When we got it autographed Hale seemed pretty exhausted, but was sweet as he had been all weekend. I expect that’s how everyone looks at the end of their first convention.
Next, was a panel @skyberry13 had been very much looking forward to since reading the schedule. There were so many incredible panels and events we did not get to attend, as this convention was jam packed with great geekiness. Anyways, this particular panel was titled: the “Who is Your Favorite Princess?” Luau; which, as you can expect, involved a lead panelist who was dressed as Moana. There were Hawaiian snacks and punch to enjoy as we filled out a Disney Trivia Quiz including questions as easy as ‘In what Disney movie does the song Be Our Guest in,’ to questions as difficult as ‘What was Cinderella’s stepmother’s name?’ (Lady Tremane btw, we got this one wrong) There was also a drawing throughout the panel. We were given tickets as we came in and Moana called out a number every once in a while. @skyberry13 won some Disney Princess wall decals!
There were many backdrops throughout the hotel that were great for photos so we took some time to get cosplay selfies for our own use. Our cosplay guest has a great phone, the Google Pixel, with a really nice camera that takes high quality pictures, so we used it to get some great shots of our costumes. While we were taking selfies like complete dorks Jodelle Ferland walks by and asks if she can get a picture with us. She recognized us from Twitter and wanted to share us with their Dark Matter group chat. Of course this made us totally ecstatic!
Pretty soon afterwards it was time for the long awaited arrival of Jodelle Ferland and her Q&A session. This panel was preceded by “Inventing the Future-Designs for Star Trek by Richard Sternbach,” which we got to see the end of. His sketches were the original designs of many of the Star Trek space stations and ships, which were pretty incredible. He even showed us some mock ups that were never made or entered into the show. When Jodelle took the stage she immediately noticed us in the audience, which may have been because I had the misfortune of sitting in a spotlight, that and my unique hairdo. Jodelle’s panel was great, the fans that asked questions were very respectful of her time and asked on topic questions. Unfortunately, that moderator from the costume contest was onstage with her and tried desperately to dominate the questions. Being a con-goer herself, Jodelle was well versed in convention etiquette and was able to answer all her fan questions with gratifying answers in a timely manner. There were some great questions about her future cosplay plans and, of course, season three of Dark Matter. She kept Syfy Wire’s secrets for the show, but assured us that as a fan she loved the upcoming season and thought that we would too.
After her panel was the photo session which is what we had been so looking forward to. When it was our turn, however, disaster struck. We had purchased photo tickets for Jodelle online when we bought our tickets for the convention and no description on the Star Fest Denver website notified or drew attention to the fact that there was a change in protocol beginning this year. This protocol was a greedy pass that is not common procedure at any convention we have ever been to and, therefore, we were oblivious to it. Star Fest Denver now charges for the amount of people in the photo, not the photo itself. So, we were one ticket short for our photo with Jodelle which resulted in an embarrassing display by the convention staff in front of this guest. While Jodelle sweetly tried to diffuse the situation, offering to take the photo and then we would buy the additional ticket, the staff continued arguing both with her and us. We ended up taking the photo and, Jodelle tried to give us a good experience, but it was pretty tainted. We went to purchase the additional ticket and the staff at that table was rude to us as well. The photos took forever to print and were not organized in the order they were taken. It took them two and a half hours to print ours which delayed our five hour drive home far into the afternoon.
When we finally got to the autograph table we had a nice conversation with Jodelle which softened the entire experience. She loved the ear cuff that I made for @skyberry13‘s costume and the suede pants for Two. She asked about how we made the wig for Five and we gave her our cosplay card. Meeting her was an amazing experience that was totally worth a five hour drive back to Santa Fe.