We had some time before the first event we wanted to see, so naturally wandered into the dealer's rooms, which were as usual, dangerous to the pocketbook. Georgie had been going to look for hat decorations to go with the new outfit she had bought from Pendragon Costumes in September, and instead found THE perfect new hat at Ravenworks. While that was being negotiated, I discovered that my watch had stopped, and so bought a new one from Lily's Steampunk Emporium, which served me well during the con, and, besides, came with a number of cool chain decorations. So, we spent the better part of our discretionary funds within the first hour of getting there--. No regrets, though.
The first panel we went to was "Haunted Victorians: The Occult Sciences." This was a generally entertaining and informative presentation, with a few issues. They opened with a skit portraying a "gypsy" fortune-teller being exposed as a fraudulent spirit medium. I found this a bit inaccurate, conflating fortune telling with mediumship, and tending to reinforce the stereotype of Romany people as swindlers. To the group's credit, they received this criticism with good grace and acknowledged the point. In a general survey of people who might be considered as being in the "Spiritualist" scene in the 19th Century, there was not a clear transition made between charlatans such as the Fox Sisters and believers such as Wovoka, the Native American leader responsible for the Great Ghost Dance, which unintentionally implied they all belonged in the same "bucket". The panelists also agreed that this could be improved for future iterations of the presentation.
After the panel, we went back to our room to change for the Halloween Masquerade. Georgie was going as "La Fee Verte," or the "Absinthe Fairy." For this, she had an absinthe-colored evening gown stylishly distressed at the hems, elaborate black butterfly wings, a somewhat disheveled wig, and matching green eye shadow. The outfit was accessorized with an actual glass of absinthe and absinthe spoon. I revived (so to speak) my Dracula persona from years past. As time's gone by, I look more like the Count as described by Stoker-the long white mustache mentioned in his first appearance needs no artifice-with my white tie and tails paired with an appropriate sash and medallion, with the deathly pale make-up, and I'm good to go.
When we got into the Great Hall, we were dismayed to find it dark, lit mostly by the changing colored lights from the DJ's stage. What's the good of a Masquerade if you can't see the costumes? It also hadn't occurred to us that the music would be contemporary-most of it not at all obnoxious, but of course loud, and with today's thumping bass line that guarantees any attempts at conversation have to be done at a scream level. Not our thing, although it must be admitted we were in an evident minority and most people seemed to have no problem with it. After a look round, we retreated into the hallway and ensconced ourselves in chairs at one of the information tables in order to scrutinize the costumes as they came past. This worked well for us, as we were able to hail our acquaintances as they came past, made some new ones, and got to get good looks at the most delightful costumes, as the hallway became an impromptu photo gallery. People who wanted to chat came out to the hall, also, so it was a pretty "happening" place and we did not in the least feel like wallflowers.
We got quite a number of favorable comments on our costumes, and a surprising number of people wanted to take even my picture, which surprised me since there were many more spectacular costumes to see.
We retired about 10:30PM. This was not exactly the Masquerade we had imagined, but we had a good time nevertheless.
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