A Weekend in Costume: Live from Megacon 2009

Memories of Megacon: The Blog

Thursday, February 26th

Well, it's finally here! I'm sitting in my dorm room waiting for my ride to come, anxiously checking to make sure I've gathered all my materials for Megacon. After an hour, everything seems to be good to go. There's a suitcase full of costume materials:

For Catwoman: Tall pleather boots courtesy of Goodwill, tight black leggings I can barely move around in, a black long sleeved sweater, Catwoman mask, and gloves made of fake velvet.

For Lois Lane: Professional looking pumps, an "old lady suit" we found after digging around Goodwill for a few hours, my official Lois Lane Press Pass (gratefully created by Joshua Barber via Photoshop).

I've gathered everything I can think of to record my adventures this weekend, including a digital recorder, two digital cameras and of course I will have my handy dandy notebook at my side 27/7. I plan to record the day's events each evening when our small group returns to the Wyndham Orlando Resort.

From what I've heard about Megacon so far, this should  be a great experience. Everyone I've talked to so far has been very cooperative and understanding of my mission: To figure out why people feel compelled to attend the convention every year. 

I expect to talk to as many people as I can, particularly those decked out in their finest costumes. I expect to blend in with the crowd, dressed up as either Catwoman or Lois Lane depending on which outfit proves to be more comfortable. I hope to uncover the secret that lures so many people of all ages to keep coming back for more.

Keep an eye out for new posts and interesting photos. Hopefully this experience will be as fascinating for you as it will be for me.

Friday, February 27th

Well, today was off to a pretty slow start, but ended up being pretty exciting. I drove over to the apartment of Savannah Thomas, a friend of a friend who had agreed to let me photograph and record her as she put together her Harley Quinn costume (see "Savannah's Transformation").

After two hours of makeup, hair spraying, and making sure everything was packed, Savannah drove our small group of four to Orlando, stopping along the way - while in full costume - to pick up something to munch on and get some gas somewhere in Hillsborough County. That was the funniest part of the trip for me. I'm dressed in the all black Catwoman outfit, sweating like crazy in her car, while she's getting funny looks from people walking or driving by wondering what she's doing in such a crazy outfit! She even got honked at a few times before we got on the road again.

We checked into our hotel - the Wyndham Orlando Resort - dropped everything off, checked out our costumes in the mirror several hundred times and headed down the block in Savannah's car toward the Orange County Convention Center. Savannah had figured out the secret to parking during last year's convention:

Park in the Denny's parking lot across the street and about 2 blocks down from the Convention Center.
Order something - anything - to go.
Put the receipt in the windshield.

This allowed us to have some sustinence throughout the trip and saved us about $30 in parking fees.

Today can be summed up in 5 words: Costumes and Bright Colors Everywhere. (see "Day 1: Feb 27th") I approached everyone I could who was in costume and talked to them about why they dressed up and what kept them coming back to the convention every year - some people opened up to me, others were more excited that I wanted to take their picture. I worked with what I had.

The worst part today was trying to walk around in those horrible, demon-boots that essentially ripped my feet up in a matter of minutes. At first I was too busy chasing people to notice, but as soon as I took a break, the pain set in. Tomorrow should be interesting, as I have to squeeze my already sore feet into narrow pumps for the Lois Lane outfit...

We got back to the room around 9 p.m. and have to go to bed early to be up for the full day tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 28th

Today was the busiest day, I was told by Leia Todaro, another girl from our traveling group. The only way I can hope to describe the crowds is this: A football stadium where no one sits down and the floor is covered with thousands of people covered in bright colors, wearing capes, or scantily clad women brave enough to dress up as Princess Leia from Star Wars in her "slave-garb."

(see "Day 2: Feb 28th")

It was much easier to interview people while dressed up as Lois Lane. I even borrowed a digital recorder for the day, although as I soon found out, it was useless trying to record audio of any kind in such a noisy atmosphere. It still helped my costume look more believable, so I let it hang around my neck for a while.

As predicted, my feet had grown to hate me by the second day. And how could I blame them? I resorted to wearing two pairs of comfy socks above my stockings, to provide some padding in my old fashioned pumps, but ended up taking the shoes off and carrying them around after a few hours. Much better.

Towards the end of the day, there was a costume contest in one of the other wings of the Convention Center. While the room itself had filled to occupancy, I was able to take my pick of characters from the line waiting to get inside. Most, if not all of the photos came from this spur of the moment gathering of the most dressed up people I've ever seen.

Following the convention, there were a number of parties sponsored by neighboring hotels, with one in particular whose proceeds would benefit the Make A Wish Foundation.

Savannah, Leia, Brent, Josh and I returned to our hotel around 10 p.m. and plan to go to bed by midnight so we don't miss a thing for the last day of it. I've been walking for the past 7 hours (at least), the adrenaline is wearing off and I am just starting to feel it.

Sunday, March 1st

Today was the last day of the convention and I have decided to dress up as Lois Lane once again citing the aforementioned shoe troubles. To avoid further complications, I donned flip flops and was referred to as "Lois Lane on vacation" all day.

We got up pretty late, considering we had less than an hour to throw everything together, put on our makeup, fix our hair and check out of the hotel by 11 a.m. It started to thunderstorm as we packed up the car, filling Savannah's poor trunk to the breaking point with all the souveniers we had picked up along the way.

Leia, Savannah, Brent and I took our time eating breakfast at Denny's to give the weather time to calm down so Savannah's makeup wouldn't be washed off in the rain. Luckily, it was over in abo 45 minutes, but the weather had gotten pretty chilly afterward, causing me to rethink my choice in costume.

Before we left, Leia announced she wanted to try "celeb-spotting" since we'd heard about movie stars and celebrities from sci-fi t.v. shows being at the convention. After a few hours of walking aimlessly around The Dealer Room, we headed to the back of the hall to see who we could find.

To make a long story short, I met the real Lois Lane from the 1970s Superman movies. I remember squinting my eyes to try and see who was present, finally focusing on her table. I walked up to her, saying, "I'm you!" Ms. Kidder seemed to get a kick out of my outfit, telling me I "look very Lois," and coming out from behind the table to feel my jacket, asking me where I had found such a good costume. I showed her the press pass, which she enjoyed even more. We got a picture taken of "Lois with Lois," before I managed a brief thank you whimper and moved on to the next table.

I found myself face to face with Phil Morris, the comedic actor who had played a small role on "Smallville," but more importantly (to me at least), he'd starred as Jackie Chiles - Kramer's lawyer based on Johnnie Cochran - on "Seinfeld." I was ecstatic! While he - among most of the other tv and movie stars - were charging $25 for a personalized autographed photo, Mr. Morris was thrilled that I was so excited to meet him, and agreed to take a picture with me. I even made him laugh when I told him I loved his performance on Seinfeld - the first all day he said, since so many that weekend recognized him from "Smallville" alone.

Before we left, as we were running around trying to round up the rest of our wandering group members, I spotted Peter Mayhew at his table signing autographs. I approached him sheepishly - the man who had played Chewbacca in "Star Wars" was about my height while he was sitting! He agreed to let me take a picture with him, but quickly moved on to the paying customer behind me.

I also spotted former Monkee Mickey Dolenz, although I couldn't imagine why he was there for the life of me. Across the room, I snapped a picture of Lou Ferrigno, the first star of "The Hulk" tv series, but I'd surprised him when my flash went off, and he glared at me. That's a pretty intimidating feeling when the Hulk glares at you. I didn't want to make him angry.

We piled everyone and everything back into the car by 3:30 p.m. although the Convention continued for a few more hours. An hour later, we reached Tampa.

All in all, I had a great time. This was definitely a new experience for me, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope you did, too.