The Early Years
Michaels interest in costuming began at an early age. Having an at home mom with a background in art, he always had the best costumes for Halloween and school plays. The most memorable were "Sigmund the Sea Monster", which in retrospect looked nothing like the actual character, but won first place in a contest at the local library, and a "Gingerbread Man" for a school play. "I remember it looked so real with rick-rack trim and a head that was actually flat on the front and back." Later in high school, he joined the drama club and worked on many shows both on stage and back stage. One year for Halloween, he and a friend went to school as "Keystone Cops."
In college, he quickly found his way into the Science Fiction/Fantasy Society. They held an annual SF/Gaming convention every spring. Michael had never been to an SF convention before, but hed read about them and knew that people went to them in costume. He had to have a costume. That first year it was a "Genie" with pointy shoes and a big turban like hat made from an inflatable swim ring. It was there that he met the Society for Creative Anachronism. Having always had an interest in medieval fantasy, he was drawn, like a fly to honey, to this group that dressed up all time. The week following the convention, he went to his first Arts and Science meeting, and the following weekend, his first event. That was 1989 and his envolvement with the SCA flourishes to this day. His involvement with the Science Fiction/Fantasy Society led to more SF conventions in other cities and even more costumes. He took first place two years in a row at StarFest a small, local Star Trek convention that used to be held in Austin, TX and first place at his hometown HEBs Star Wars themed grand reopening event. Being one of the founding members of the USS Rhyanna, a Starfleet chapter, he attended its commissioning party in an imaginative, reptillian costume and was named the Gorn ambassador to the ship. Sometime in the early 90s, he was introduced to the fantastic costuming that was being done outside the SF wasteland that was Texas, when Bjo Trimble presented a costuming panel at AggieCon. This was when he first learned of the International Costumers Guild. He wrote away for information regarding the organization and many months later, received a packet of information back in the mail. Unfortunately, there wasnt a chapter in the area or even the state. Being deeply embroiled in college and the SCA at the time, he didnt have time to even consider starting a chapter.
The Big Time
In 1994, he discovered that a friend of his, Wendy, had been to World Con, the world Science Fiction Convention, specifically Confrancisco 93 and had a video of the Masquerade. "It was a amazing! Incredible costumes! This was for me." She also informed him that there was a bid for World Con in San Antonio in 1997. As soon as the bid was awarded, he bought a membership. LoneStarCon 2 was his first major foray into costuming. Due to conflicts at work, he couldnt prepare anything good for the con, but still had to enter the Masquerade as a learning experience. And learn he did. "I had the best time at LSC2." He learned that Costume Con 16 was to held in St. Louis the following year. Probably as close to Texas as it would ever get. He had to go! It was at this time that he joined the Saint Louis Costumers Guild; he had to be informed, albeit long distance. "I didnt make anything for the Masquerades because I felt that since I was so new to the international world of costuming, I needed to go the first year and learn all I could. I had a great time at CC16. I must go next year." In between CC16 and 17, British Airways held a costume contest for space travelers in conjunction with a travelling exhibit for the anniversary of the Concorde. The winners would receive two round trip tickets to London. Having grown up in England, he had to try for the tickets. He pulled an old costume out of the closet (from 1991) revamped the mask and made a suitcase, after all, a space traveler had to have luggage. He was lucky enough to have the right weekend of from work, made the three hour trip to Houston where the contest was being held and spent the weekend with a friend. After spending two hours outside in 90 degree heat and humidity, covered from head to toe, he finally had two tickets to London. The next year was CC17 in Cherry Hill, New Jersy. He entered the costume hed worn for the British Airways contest in the Science Fiction Masquerade. The costume was entered as "Ill take one of those" and presented as a robotic mannequin of Macys of Mars modeling the latest fashion in Martian travelling clothes. He was awarded with Best in Class Novice. "I was shocked! I never expected that a nine year old costume consisting of three rectangles of fabric would win. So many people came up to me after the awards, complimenting me and my costume, even Janet Wilson Anderson. It was like a dream." Two weeks after CC17, he moved to Colorado and is now a member of the Rocky Mountain Costumers Guild.
Slavemaster of Xur