Tag Archives: Kostume Kult

Everyday Costumers

Halloween is my favorite holiday because I love, love, LOVE to wear costumes! Seven-and-a-half years of weekly theme parties has given me a seriously deep inventory of costumes. It takes me longer to dress like a “normal person” than it does to look like just about anything else. On the many nights when I’ve ventured out in some sort of wacky drag, people enjoy yelling, “Halloween is over!” For me, every day is potentially Halloween. The same can be said for these folks!


Photo by Talli Jackson

Darrell Thorne is the most talented costumer I know. And that is saying a lot! The photos of him hardly even look human. He creates massive headpieces and enormous wings, coats himself with layers of glitter on top of layers of body paint, drapes himself in chains and basically becomes somethin. Darrell works for all the big fancy parties in NYC — and around the world slide_374434_4368330_compressed.jpg— as a go-go dancer but he is really more of an art installation. I mean, look at that photo. Seriously. Obviously he is in high demand
whether he works as a stylist, makeup artist or performer. He also creates otherworldly accessories for others, including Madonna, Brooke Candy and Jennifer Hudson. Check out the After Dark profile of Darrell for photos of his many looks.
11289414_10155558188840570_7707553715067885945_o.jpgNina and Jim always spend ages on their costumes for every event they attend. As the reigning king and queen of Kostume Kult, they really need to bring it. And they consistently do! “Costume Jim” is a founder of the Burning Man theme camp and event production group that’s behind The Black & Light Ball, The Horned Ball and their annual Halloween Parade float. On-playa, they give costumes
906112_10207768620830388_3620244404454677599_oaway in their dome and invite people to model their new ensembles and Jim presented a TEDTalk: “Fun, Farce and Purpose.” Year-round, Jim is an artist, event producer and executive recruiter. Nina is a psychiatrist who conducts brain experiments and serves on the Fashion Committee at The National Arts Club. But together, they’re an indomitable costume duo. Jim really found his costumery equal in Nina!

10645061_10204878764511533_4721834682689189936_n.jpgPaul Nagle is a clever combination of costumer and activist. He often creates his outfits with a political concept behind them. That’s him at the Peoples’ Climate March, in the photo above, with the white robe and 11001822_10153123125382460_4199189433969581979_n.jpgcolorful halo of flowers. He takes to the streets in full regalia to support the causes he believes in: protests against Monsanto and fracking, the NYC Pride March, Bernie Sanders rallies, as well as all the best celebrations: Dance Parade, HONK NYC!, the Halloween Parade, SantaCon, Invasion of the Pines, the Mermaid Parade…well, you get the picture! And so does Paul! The camera loves him; he shows up in the photo essays of every event he attends. He works tirelessly for a number of community organizations, volunteering his time even when not in costume!

Machine Dazzle is another masterful costumer, shouldering some of the most cumbersome ensembles I’ve ever seen. For one Mermaid Parade he was one of five dancers; he carried the mannequins of the other four! I met him back when he was designing the costumes for the Dazzle Dancers and have stage managed him at numerous events, including Night of a Thousand Stevies. He’s another one who’s a blast to have backstage! He is “an alchemist, able to take humble materials and spin them into charmed garments that transform humans into radiant, magical beings.” And speaking of magical beings, Machine was the costume designer for Basil Twist’s recent show at Abron’s Art Center. I was loving the rhinestone-studded loin cloth!

New Moon on Monday

As of tomorrow I will have been home for three weeks. It’s been exhausting and action packed! I’ve been brunching and dinnering and partying and working and generally trying to keep myself busy.

Today I had my first paid article in ages “published” on a web site! My friend Jamye got me the gig. It’s supposed to become a recurring column and I’m hoping I didn’t screw it up by completely freaking out when I saw the image they’d run with the piece. The title is “Aging Gracelessly” and this is what they chose:


Uh, yeah. No. Nothing about my first person musings relate to this particular scenario. Nor am I interested in making fun of old women. I mean, I can make fun of myself. (You’d better not, but I can!) I’m not trying to be cruel to my, ummm, peers. They changed it, thank goodness. Go read it and see!

Anyway, back to my insanity. I celebrated Halloween a full seven times: The Haunted Halloween Bus in New Jersey, working the door at Honk, an oddball costume party at Coworkrs work share space (with DJ Spooky and a bunch of Orthodox Jews), the Nobot Heart party (in protest of the overpriced Robot Heart rave), working the door at Rubulad, Burning Man Happy Hour (where Pinky and I shared second place in the costume contest before we lost our prize at Dorian Gray) and Halloween itself, which featured a mad dash through the parade to catch up with the Kostume Kult float, followed by a stressful taxi ride to the Gene Frankel Theatre to emcee Ghostlight 2: The Haunted East Village, and finally, after taking down the decor at the theatre, catching the final few hours of KK’s big bash. By the time I went to bed Friday morning I was done! And didn’t even leave the house all day Friday. Check out Pinky and me in our gray scale ensembles!


It only took us a year to finally realize these costumes! 

I’ve been making the tiniest bit of progress in cleaning out my storage space in an effort to return it to a functional costume closet. I brought up three boxes of…stuff…and unpacking them has been pretty damn depressing. Framed photos of my former life (my dad, standing, my husband, my cousin and her husband, my sister and her husband, all three of which are no longer husbands), more and more of the art nouveau boxes I collect — more and more all kinds of boxes, actually — which I’ve been cramming into my display case. I have plans to paint my walls. I want to hang the photos that don’t make me sad and all of the art that’s currently sitting on the floor. Moving back into my apartment has been a four-year-long process. I wish it could all just be finished already!

Oh, and I had another date tonight. It wasn’t…horrible. He was very aggressive about “booking” the date, even though I told him I was “skeptical.” Well, dinner was nice. He bought. But he’s a banker. A Republican. And 60. And he wore baggy khakis. Ack. When he said he’d like to see me again I told him it would be like taking money (or eating another dinner) under false pretenses. I did my best to talk him out of it, asking when he last stayed up all night on drugs or umm, partied at all. He told me that he was at Woodstock, which I’m guessing was to assure me he was, indeed, “cool.” I said I wasn’t talking about things he was interested in doing 30-plus years ago but, like, last weekend. He would not be dissuaded. In fact he practically insisted. Quite the salesman. However, I think I may have to tell him no. Is that awful of me? I mean, let’s be serious. A 60-yeard-old Republican banker? I just can’t. Not even for a free meal.

Okay, I gotta get some sleep.

Stevie, Outer Space & Cinco, Blackout Cinco

Ah, the past few days have been dark ones, indeed. Coming down off my Married Man Marathon high and second date excitement, it’s back to the usual drought conditions. I’m doing my best to buck up and not be discouraged but it isn’t easy.

Last night was a riot of be-ribboned tambourines and lacy shawls at Night of a Thousand Stevies. I worked the door with the effervescent Cynthia and got to see everyone’s costumes in the light. All gorgeous! The show was the best yet, the 21st annual, and the evening wrapped up with “the battle,” when everyone in full “Stevie realness” is invited onto the stage for a twirl-off. I was busily wrangling the well-dressed for Finlay Mackay, an adorable photographer shooting for The New York Times Magazine. He and his crew were a pleasure to work with and I was impressed with how skillfully they juggled their equipment amidst the dangling satin banners and dozens of spinning Stevies.

When my work there was done, a few friends and I jumped into a cab and headed for Mars 2112, where Kostume Kult and Disorient were holding their annual Burning Man theme camp fundraiser, The Black & Light Ball. I’ve fantasized about throwing a party in this Disney-esque “outer space” since my first trip there years ago with my sister and her kids. To witness hundreds of blinking, glowing revelers enjoying the intergalactic ambience was amazing. I didn’t last long but at least I got to see it!

My Cinco de Mayo turned out to be a complete disaster. I’ve spent the last as-many-as-I-can-remember with Corinne, one of my wildest friends. But the wild girl has been tamed and, rather than sucking down frozen drinks in her giant velvet, spangled sombrero with me, she was watching herself and her husband on cable as they won The Newlywed Game. A trip to Cancun! Sigh. I wound up drinking with a new friend who’s working on the Figment signage with me. We’d had a successful trip to Materials for the Arts, which was fucking incredible. Shopping without having to pay? Yay! Anyway, let’s just say that two quarts of margaritas and bumping into your ex-husband is not a great combination! In a less-than-felice blackout moment, un-remembered words were exchanged and my evening ended with me boo-hoo-hooing and bumbling home to pass out. Olé! Oy vey…

Idiotarod 2011

Yesterday I was an anonymous member of Corporation X. As a conglomerate, we “ran” the Idiotarod. Actually, a bunch of people in wacky costumes did the running. We just provided the bureaucracy. (Heh, I just mistyped that as bureaucrazy, which was probably more fitting!)

Teams met up at 10:30am in Maria Hernandez Park. The mounds of snow provided a scenic backdrop to the colorful costumes: bumble bees, pastel papier maché monsters, techno Vikings, Mardi Gras jesters and more. We corporate whores were dressed in professional attire, basic black, white shirts with black ties and dark ski masks marked with our logo, a white X. All employees of Corporation X also sported Henry McGovern name tags.

We strolled around, shaking people down for bribes. The Mardi Gras folks had Hurricanes and beads, the Disasterpiece people had Jell-O shots and someone handed me a brownie! I was also asking participants to pose for group shots. Everyone looked awesome!

The competition began when racers were given their first destination, and we piled into a car, headed for our checkpoint, “Meg,” a bar somewhere in Brooklyn. The purpose of checkpoints, beyond the obvious, is to slow people down and generally fuck with them. We took our jobs very seriously and provided enough corporate red tape to frustrate, confuse and delay.

Ruth and I were in charge of “The Rat Race,” basically creating workplace-type irritation. I instructed racers to “Run to the other end of the bar and brown nose.” When they didn’t quite grasp that, I got more specific. “Go to the other end of the bar, find the right Henry McGovern, and come back with a brown nose.” Ruth was the right Henry and she had chocolate frosting to smear on everyone’s noses. We made them run back and forth with boxes, too, but the best part was making them get on their knees and beg for their jobs. Listening to a bunch of people groveling made me feel surprisingly good! I was drunk with power! And alcohol…

The checkpoints are also an opportunity for races to rest, warm up and have a drink or two. When upper management showed to let us know that maybe people were doing a little too much resting and not enough racing, we wrapped up our operation and headed to the last stop. More drinking ensued before we all headed to the afterparty. By that point I was so drunk I didn’t know where the hell I was. And when things started getting blurry, I jumped into a cab with one or the Black Swans (er, he was a White Swan…) and came home. I think that cab ride cost me way more than it should have but it was definitely better than the subway ride would’ve been. I had a blast!

Halloween 2010

Halloween is my favorite day of the year but this year’s was gonna be an especially difficult one. Halloween is also my wedding anniversary. My divorce became final in September and, even though it was a long time coming, I’d been feeling sad about it. The fact that I spent last Halloween with my now-ex-boyfriend, dressed in awesome matching costumes, didn’t help. My general mood has been dark enough lately, so just getting through the night without weeping was my goal. I didn’t want to spend it alone. Thankfully, a friend rescued me from solitude!

My only concrete plans were to march in The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. It was the 38th annual and probably my 20th. The parade’s theme was “Memento Mori” so many people were rockin’ the Dia de los Muertos look, but I did that last year (see above). I wanted to hang with the Kostume Kult krew and they were going with Voodoo Boogaloo for their float theme, so I thought I’d try a slightly different twist. I’d found an amazing black leather jacket with red skeleton bones at the St. Luke’s Thrift Shop (half off!) and I built my costume around that. Picked up red face make-up at Ricky’s, rhinestones at M&J Trimmings, a few feathers and some red felt; voila, my personal take on Baron Samedi. Oh. And some Sharpie’d embellishments.

There were a couple of interesting post-parade parties to choose from: Kostume Kult’s, a fetish fete and a 35th anniversary celebration of Rocky Horror, among others. I really just wanted to drink beers at Double Down. That wasn’t tough to achieve. We just took a cab from the end of the parade. The lovely Allison was bartending and a few friends joined us before heading off on their own spooky agendas. We opted for the fetish thing at the Delancey, since we were on the list. It wasn’t awful but really isn’t my scene anymore. After drinking enough beers to meet the minimum on my debit card, we walked back to Double Down and met up with a couple of clowns. I stumbled home alone and passed out on the couch with my makeup on. I don’t think I cried…