7 Quick Takes (10/26/12)

— 1 —

Since Halloween falls on a Wednesday, I’ll make this week my costume-themed Quick Takes.  (But, for the pictures of my costume, you’ll have to wait until Halloween proper — I’ll just say the malarial red blood cells are coming along nicely).

If you’re still looking for inspiration, here’s a rundown of the crafting/costuming/inspiration blogs that live in my Google Reader (most of the titles are self explanatory:

— 2 —

I’m strongly in favor of architects dressing up as their buildings for Halloween (as per this io9 link).  D’you think it would inspire them to design more baroque buildings?  It would be a little boring to be at a party of only Brutalist architects.

— 3 —

Also costume-related from io9, a delightful video about the development of the velociraptor costumes from Jurassic Park.  (There are people in there!)

— 4 —

If you need a last minute costume inspiration, check out the story of Paul Jones the Earth Girdler, found at Wondermark.  People found out that Jones had a bet on with a friend that he could travel around the earth, starting his journey with no money and completely in the nude.  Technically, Paul Jones at T=0 is a very easy costume, but perhaps you’d be better off dressing up as him at T=an hour or so:

At the appointed time, Jones found himself the centre of a large gathering of newspaper men, sports, men about town, politicians, and others interested. As the moment approached when he was to make the start, the interest grew intense. A committee took him into a private room, removed all money from his person, and Jones, himself, quickly stripped. A placard was now placed on the door as follows:—


Of course, the fee was quickly paid, and the tall, athletic frame of a handsome man dressed on the Garden of Eden plan was now visible to the spectators.

The crowd wondered what Jones would do next. They did not wait long in suspense. With the money that had been taken at the door, Jones sent out a paid messenger for some wrapping-paper and pins. The wrapping-paper soon came in, and with a big pair of scissors the ingenious man set to work. A few deft movements of the scissors, and the paper began to assume the form of trousers. The legs of these were joined together with pins. Then a covering for the waist was quickly made, and a sort of cape to cover the shoulders. The progress of the work was followed with immense interest, and the spectators were lost in amazement at the cleverness and rapidity with which the man worked.

— 5 —

It’s not only people who can dress up for Halloween.  Flowing Data has the details on how to make your graphs look like they came out of xkcd if you’re using Python, R, or Javascript.

— 6 —

Stephen Fry is purely delightful and Halloween themed in the video below:

— 7 —

And I totally saved the best for last.  Lauren Davis of io9 got to visit the costume workshops for The Hobbit.   No cameras allowed, so we’re treated to her lovely sketches.  The article warns about spoilers, but I didn’t notice anything revealed that’s not in the book (except confirmation that the “Chip the glasses and crack the plates, that’s what Bilbo Baggins hates” will be in the movie, but that’s hardly a spoiler, as it would have spoiled everything were it excluded).

What’s great about this article is that it spends a lot of the time with the technical work of making a character (yak hair beards, hobbit feet with cleats, etc) and discusses the way the actors and the director builds up the personal idea of the character, and the way these two parts of the work inform each other.  Let me pull two quotes:

McTavish contributed an interesting bit of Dwalin lore. He recalled that Emily Brontë had two hounds named “Grasper” and “Keeper,” and decided that they would make great names for Dwalin’s twin axes. (“That he grasps your soul with one axe and keeps it with the other,” adds McTavish.) He suggested it to Jackson, and now the names are inscribed on the axes in Elvish.

…In addition to their facial prosthetics (including fake ears that slip over their real ones), the Dwarves wear Dwarf-proportioned hands. The full hands aren’t particularly practical for axe-wielding, but stunt hands don’t have a full palm; instead they have a meshy layer over the palm that lets actors grip their weapons without pesky slippage. Thorin is the only Dwarf who gets full arms since he’s sometimes filmed with his sleeves rolled up. Petite Lane slipped a disconcertingly realistic Thorin arm over her real one while we marveled at her suddenly wrong proportions.

[Quote from someone working on the film:]…And one of my theories about why we also are more colorful is because the Ring hadn’t actually been in Hobbiton now. In The Lord of the Rings, the Ring had been there, and had been tucked away in an envelope, tucked away in a special chest or whatever. But the evil and the menace, and the bad magic that that emanated, I think sucked the life and the color out of Hobbiton.




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  • deiseach

    Some of that armour is absolutely gorgeous. And the tale of Paul Jones leaves Buck Whaley (not his name, but in the 18th century meaning of “fop, dandy, stylish young fellow”) in the ha’penny place.

    Also, “the malarial red blood cells are coming along nicely” is not a phrase I’ve seen much of (or indeed, at all) elsewhere. Here’s to your continued costuming success!


  • So, until I clicked the link, I thought “Babes in Armour” was about babies, not women. I was…disappointed?