Monsterpalooza: Cosplay Gone Horribly Right


Monsterpalooza is an annual convention in Southern California celebrating “the art of monsters” in all its forms — from fans of horror and “B” films, to collectors of vintage toys or fine art, to aspiring and professional makeup artists…and of course tons of top-notch cosplay, some of the best this side of Transylvania.

Though thoroughly steeped in the event I managed to snap a few photos…


Sharp Transformers and Predator characters walking the exhibit hall. Optimus Prime was cleverly home-built from ATV cowling parts…no vacuum forming or fiberglassing required!


Kaiju, kaiju, kaiju! Who knew they could be so cuddly?


Wooeeeoo! “Professor Wes Weasley, Director of Theremin Studies” brought ambience to the event with his portable instrument. Proving once again that Cosplay’s for Everyone at Any Age!


Various makeup schools were doing live application demos all through the weekend. They always bring their “A” game, like this stilted creature from the Elegance International booth.


Wearable electronics were happening! Also in the EI booth, a coin cell and LED circuit was being assembled for an angler-fish-like creature. (Prosthetic adhesive, check. Fake blood, check. Starbucks coffee, check.)


Krampus is naturally drawn to blinky LED things…in this case, a DEF CON 22 badge worn by Jon McPhalen. Adafruit blog readers might know Jon best for his Parallax Propeller articles in Nuts and Volts magazine…though he also has many acting and writing credits under his belt.


The trail of blinkenlights soon led him to meet Adafruit fan Aysha in her custom NeoPixel goggles. Our Learning System tutorials inspired her to enroll in electrical engineering classes! Yeah! Raar!


She offered a peek into her bag of tricks, experiments toward making costume electronics more durable. Some amazing projects in this pipeline…I hope we can persuade her to write some tutorials with us!


More good reasons to pursue engineering as a career: DRAGONS! A few companies present were recruiting both artists and engineers. Next time someone teases you for playing with electronics, now you have a comeback. “Because dragons.”


Immortal Masks had rows upon rows of their wares on display. Unlike the corny latex Halloween masks of my youth, these are high-end pieces made from silicone…amazingly realistic when worn, but many folks collect them simply as art for display, they’re that good.


Prop Store was showcasing pieces from an upcoming auction of costumes and props from Seventh Son. Though screen-used items like these are mostly the domain of deep-pocketed collectors, the opportunity just to see costumes like these up-close…how they’re made and all the little tricks involved…can be such a boon for cosplayers!


HR Giger Tribute by Elsa Neri. Giger is no longer with us, folks. This is a sculpture. It’s amazing.


Whimsical Impalastein sculpture by Craig Fraser and Erik Ehle features LED lighting and clear resin horns.


Dragon automata work in progress by kinetic artist Sam Cobb. I missed out on seeing her Krampus automata but can’t really complain…it had sold to some fellow named Guillermo del Toro. Thumbs up!


This alien bug autopsy created by Likeform props was like a giant 3D version of the game Operation…you’d use the tweezers to try to pluck out small organs…but failing was a lot more surprising than just a light and buzzing sound! I was smitten with the instrument panel, which appears to be built from a vintage tube tester.


Stan Winston School of Character Arts was on hand with a showcase of items from films and their online and DVD courses. Always been a fan of their stuff, even before I started spotting Adafruit gear in some of their projects.


Adam Beane Industries’ CX5 sculptable 3D printer filament was on display, though still not quite ready for prime time (Kickstarter soon). After printing, the material can be heated, smoothed, carved and so forth, just like their regular sculpting compounds.


Maturing past the peak of its “hype curve,” 3D printing could be spotted around being embraced by artists as a legitimate tool…such as the framework for these animatronic eyes in the Figment Foundry booth. They’re Bluetooth-controlled via smartphone. In the background a hapless victim transforms into a reptile. It happens.


Side field trip to Reynolds Advanced Materials, the proverbial “candy store” for sculpting, molding and casting materials…the customer projects covering every wall and flat surface are the icing on the cake.

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