|Tina Connell has been costuming at conventions since the early 1980s. She started off with hall costumes, and then was introduced by a friend to the fatal appeal of Costume-Con, which is an entire weekend of costuming and creative education, all day, every day. After she had attended a couple of these annual events, she gained the courage to make and compete a recreation costume based upon a piece of art she had admired, an ambitious project since it involved a headpiece with double spiral horns spanning almost three feet in width. That took a year to complete, but it was awarded “Best Recreation-Novice (Performance)” at Costume-Con 8 in 1990. The scarey part was when the judges’ names were announced – the artist who created the piece of art she was costuming was one of the judges!
After that, Tina became more involved in working backstage, assisting other costumers before they went on stage. She was one of the pioneers of the “Repair Table” concept at cons, and is always on the lookout for new repair materials to add to her repair kit. She has also served on numerous occasions as either a workmanship judge or a stage/presentation judge.
These days, she seldom creates new costumes (about once every five years is typical), preferring to help out backstage, but her costumes have appeared at several World Science Fiction Convention and Costume-Con competition events, and have included a ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Best Workmanship’ award at Torcon (World SF Con, Toronto, 2003), and the ‘Best Master – Original Design’ group at LACon 4 (World SF Con, Anaheim CA, 2006).
When she does create a new costume, her inspirations are frequently drawn from Art Deco and other artistic sources. Her idea of ‘fun tourism’ is traveling to costume and fashion exhibits at museums and other locations, and taking hundreds of close-up photos of the detail bits that are often overlooked. She is an avid science fiction fan, and also collects books and other resources about sewing and decorative embellishment techniques.
She is an active member of the NJ/NY (aka ‘The Sick Pups’) chapter of the International Costumers’ Guild, which meets (approximately) bi-monthly, normally in the central NJ area. Many of her costume and museum exhibit photos are included in the albums on the Sick Pups web site (sickpups.org).
|Charles Dunbar is graduate of Hunter College, CUNY, where he received a BA in Religion and Anthropology and an MA in Cultural Anthropology. His thesis, Pilgrimage, Pageantry and Fan Communities was published in 2011 and focused on anime convention participation, including spending habits, cosplay, demographics, communal behaviour and convention culture.
Charles has previously given talks before the Joseph Campbell Foundation, has worked in the music industry as an A&R talent scout and promoter, excavated a Roman Villa in the United Kingdom, studied Irish Literature at Trinity College in Dublin, acted as a teacher and mentor for at-risk students in a charter school, shipped books for a comic shop and had his own weekly radio show for 5 years.
These days you can usually find him at a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, working diligently on whatever project is currently occupying his time, or traveling the roads of the East Coast to various anime conventions. In addition to his own site, he also has written for the websites Insert Disc and Real Otaku Gamer.
|The Nerdfit Network (“Nerdfit”) is a Boston-based entertainment group that has delivered hours of laughs and amazement at events since 2007. Nerdfit provides a versatile list of talents including (but not limited to) hosting and performing in panel presentations, game shows, concerts, DJ sets and dance parties. Outside of events, they provide live streams, videos and comedy articles about anime, video games, technology, and silly conspiracy theories. You can find them at www.Nerdfit.com.|
|Greg Wicker (or “Greggo” as he’s fondly known) has been producing and hosting game shows at anime conventions since 1999, when he premiered Anime Match Game at Project A-Kon in Dallas. Since then, Greggo has done anime-themed versions of several classic game shows, created a few games of his own, and even had an original project that very nearly turned into an actual television show on Anime Network. These days Greggo is concentrating on perfecting his craft and making game shows available for conventions everywhere, bringing his rapier wit and friendly personality with him wherever he goes. You can see some of Greggo’s past game show efforts on his YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/gregdasgo or visit his website at http://www.greggosgameshows.com for more information.|