Category Archives: Masquerades

Coverage of various costumed events

The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

Lake Charles, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish) is home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the state of Louisiana at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu.  They have a Mardi Gras Museum at the Historic Central School Arts & Humanities Center on 809 Kirby Street in Lake Charles.

The museum may not have the grandeur of some but what it lacks in architectural beauty it more than tops in Mardi Gras costumes.  It boasts the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes of any Mardi Gras museum in the south.  It has animated characters to guide you in your tour and is a must see for any fan of Mardi Gras balls, krewes, and regalia.

Check it out in person as well as our photo album from our stop at the museum!

Mardi Gras 2016 rolls along the gulf coast – Laissez les bons temps roulez

Mardi Gras 2016 - Rooster rolls on Dauphine Island
Mardi Gras 2016 – Rooster rolls on Dauphine Island
Over the weekend in the Mobile Bay, Alabama, and in Slidell, Louisiana the first parades of the 2016 Mardi Gras season rolled.
Dauphin Island after the rain delay
Dauphin Island after the rain delay
The Krewe de la Dauphine rolled on Mobile Bay’s historic Dauphine Island.  The parade was delayed due to thunder showers in the morning.  By the postponed time of 2 p.m. on Saturday January 9, 2016, the sun was shining with blue skies over the rain drenched island.
The theme of the 2016 Krewe de la Dauphine parade was Broadway Nights and the floats included nods to greats like Cats, Peter Pan, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Due to the rain, the island wasn’t as packed with as many parade goers as last year, but for those that made it, there was more swag to drag home.
For some of the South Alabama Trikers it was a bittersweet ride.  One of their regulars, a 16 year veteran of the ride named Spud Lee, rode his last parade in 2015.  Spud Lee, a Parson Russell Terrier from Axis, Alabama, would ride on a University of Alabama themed trike with his owners Billy and Gwen Lister.  Spud Lee’s successor, a sweet Jack Russell Terrier named Rooster, rode his first Krewe de la Dauphine parade on Saturday and we wish him many more.
Over in Slidell, Louisiana on the chilly, Sunday afternoon, Mayor and Mrs. Freddy Drennen were celebrating Slidell’s first Parades of the 2016 Mardi Gras season by toasting the Krewe of Claude and the Krewe of Poseidon.
The Krewe of Claude was the first Mardi Gras parade of the 2016 Mardi Gras season to roll in the New Orleans area.  Their theme was “Remembering The Past, Celebrating The Present, Embracing The Future.”  Embracing the Future included welcoming the first year Krewe of Poseidon to share the street with them.
As suits Poseidon and his mermaids, the floats were aquatic themed.  Former New Orleans Saints Quarterback and sports broadcaster, John Fourcade was the Grand Marshall.
Sunday afternoon was this writer’s first experience of parades in Slidell and there were a few things that set it apart from other parades.  Perhaps the most unusual was that there were garbage barrels along the streets with signs that read, “Keep Slidell Beautiful – A Total Community Effort” and the folks actually used them.  Even without street sweepers, following the parade the street was cleaner than many city streets.
The parade goers, police, and other officials were quite welcoming and friendly.  When a spectator was injured by an overstuffed bag of beads tossed by a passing float, a Dr. ran across the road to tend to them.  So there were lots of friendly folks in Slidell on hand for fun parades as well as to lend a helping hand when needed.
The Mardi Gras season spreads even more along the gulf coast this weekend.  On Saturday January 16, in addition to the Island Mystics on Dauphin Island and the Order of the Rolling River just to the north on Dauphin Island Parkway, the 5th Annual Caerus Mardi Gras Parade will roll around the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and the 26th Annual Orange Grove Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade will roll in Gulfport, Mississippi.  On Sunday January 17, the Krewe of Slidellians will roll in Slidell at 1 p.m.
 Readers who are only familiar with Mardi Gras in New Orleans are probably wondering why New Orleans hasn’t yet been mentioned.  Many don’t know that there are scores of Mardi Gras parades and celebrations along the gulf coast from Galveston, Texas to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida and many are weeks in advance of the well known parades of Uptown New Orleans.  The first official Mardi Gras parade of Uptown New Orleans is the Oshun parade on January 29, 2016, a full twenty days after Mobile Bay’s Krewe de la Dauphine.  Laissez les bons temps roulez – let the good times roll, and they will all along the gulf coast as well as St. Louis, MO and many other locations around the world!

Youmacon 2014 is on and going strong with the art of Cosplay

Youmcon Chairman, Morgan Kollin and Grand Rapids artist, Erica Willey
Youmcon Chairman, Morgan Kollin and Grand Rapids artist, Erica Willey

Youmacon 2014 started Thursday October 30, 2014 and continues through Sunday November 2, 2014.  It is taking place again at the GM Renaissance Center and the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

Youmacon is Michigan’s biggest Anime conventions as well as one of the top Anime conventions in the Midwest.  This year the GM Renaissance Center announced a new policy that forbade the wearing of masks and carrying of “simulated weapons that can be construed as real by an employee or tenant.”  This had many attendees concerned as their cosplay (the wearing of costumes, carrying related props, and playing of the characters of their favorite cartoon, video game, anime, or other characters) requires the carrying of the character’s props.  Fortunately this has not seemed to damper the energy of the cosplaying crowds.  The main areas where the con is occurring is not holding to this standard and neither is the Cobo Center.

Youmacan is known for having one of the Midwests biggest an best cosplay/costume contest (and trophies!) and that is happening this evening.  The cosplay competitors will meet for instructions in the Masquerade Green Room at 6 p.m. with the competition beginning at 7 p.m.

In addition to the cosplay/costume competition there are a number of photoshoots scheduled for fans of different genres to meet up and be photographed as groups, panels on cosplay, costuming and a wide variety of other topics in the fandoms.  Special guests include some of the top names in the voice acting industry Todd Haberkorn, Ian Sinclair, Brad Swaile, Tony Oliver, Ken Pontac, Tia Ballard, Caitlin Glass, and many others (check the guest list for a the full lineup and links to their profiles!)

So if you didn’t get to wear your Halloween costume long enough, want to see some awesome costumes, or are wishing for some indoor excitement on this cold, November weekend, come on down to the Cobo Hall and GM Renaissance Center for some good cosplay fun!

More about John N. Collins

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Medieval amusements, music, and recreational art in Michigan

The magic of the Renaissance!
The magic of the Renaissance!

Let’s face it.  Sometimes reality just isn’t what it is cracked up to be and you want to get away to another place and time where the modern stresses didn’t exist.  Renaissance Fairs are a great place to escape where you can listen to medieval music, watch warriors in battle, shop for arts and apparel, and partake in tasty delights.  While the Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival has come and gone for this year the BlackRock Medieval Summerfest is going strong at The Olde World Village for the next two weeks and the Michigan Renaissance Festival begins August 16th and runs through the end of September.

The Wonder Elixir of Life Company
The Wonder Elixir of Life Company

This weekend at BlackRock you can watch jousts by the Brothers In Arms and hand to hand combat between knights in shining armor with Her Majesty’s Royal Guard.  Then wander over to the stages for juggling, fire eating, music, comedy with Ric Roc, Topsy Turvy, Knotty Nauticals, the Wonder Elixir of Life Company, and more!

Knotty Nauticals at Blackrock Medieval Summerfest
Knotty Nauticals at Blackrock Medieval Summerfest

Stop by the Moore’s Rolling Smokehouse for some delicious chicken, brisket or pulled pork or the Hickory Hut for a breadbowl of soup!

Just to the north of Moore’s Rolling Smokehouse is the camp of the Vikings of the Great Lakes, Western Michigan’s living history group that celebrates the life and times of the Vikings.  You can wander through the camp and watch them as they spin, sew, smith, and split wood.

The Vikings of the Great Lakes Living History group
The Vikings of the Great Lakes Living History group

A weekend at the renaissance fair wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the shops and picking up something sweet for your sweetie or yourself.  The Artic Forge has works of art and you can watch as they heat and pound out their wares in forge and on anvil.  From Candles by the Bunch to Becca’s Wood Working, you are sure to find something fun to add to your home decor.  To truly get into the spirit of the Renaissance, stop by the costumer shops and pick up  an outfit or two to wear around the fair.  Visit with Dave at Theatricks and peruse their wide selection of items and apparel suitable for a medieval masquerade.  For those who prefer feathers for their masques, Beckalyn’s Masquerade has a wonderful variety of handmade masques, ears, tails, and other items to make your costume truly foxy.  Speaking of foxes, before you leave, check out the leather works of Gere Hakin and his lovely assistant, Lillian Fox!

Say "Hi!" to the lovely Lillian Fox at Gere Hakins shop
Say “Hi!” to the lovely Lillian Fox at Gere Hakins shop

So head on down to the BlackRock Medieval Summerfest in Augusta, Michigan for a weekend of fun!

John N. Collins is a writer, photographer, videographer, producer, and enjoys cheap sushi!