LogoThe Southwest Costumers Guild

is a loose and informal educational society of persons interested in all facets of historical, cultural, science fiction, fantasy, and humor costume. Members are often seen on stage and behind the scenes at Science Fiction Convention masquerades, historical reenactment events, and theatre. SWCG is central Arizona's chapter of the International Costume Guild.

Upcoming Events
SWCG Activities
Meet the Guildsters - Mail Links and links to Member Web Pages
Links - Web Sites of Interest to the Costumer

Hints and other "How To" Articles

Join the Southwest Costumers Guild - Printable membership form

Recruiting and PR Materials:

"Victorian Ball" Foldover Flyer
"Science Fiction Convention" Foldover Flyer
"Renaissance Faire" Foldover Flyer
Quarter-Page Flyer
Color Bookmark (Newly Updated)

SWCG Bylaws

Southwest Costumers Guild has a "Yahoo Groups" e-mail discussion forum. Contact the webmaster for information on how to join.

Cactus Needles Logo

SWCG members in good standing  receive Cactus Needles, our monthly newsletter, by mail or e-mail.
Regular contributors and newsletter editors from ICG chapters and allied organizations also receive Cactus Needles.
Not getting your newsletter? Contact the Editor to make sure he has your current address.

A few weeks after its initial publication, we post Cactus Needles to this web site for all to enjoy.

Current Issue - November 2017

Back Issues
(All the way back to the Cactus Needles premiere in 1994)

Creative Commons

Cactus Needles
is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please print the newsletter and give it to your friends, but print the entire newsletter and don't make any changes or charge any money. Go to www.creativecommons.org to view the license. Individual articles and pictures belong to their authors. If you'd like to reprint an individual article or picture, please contact the Editor for appropriate permission.

Upcoming Activities

Usually, the Southwest Costumers Guild meets on the first Sunday of each month at a different member's home in the greater Phoenix area. This rule of thumb is often changed to avoid schedule conflict with other events. Guild business is followed by a demonstration or workshop by a guild member or an invited guest. Sometimes we cooperate on a costume project. Sometimes we just socialize. Special SWCG gatherings are sometimes held at science fiction conventions, street fairs, and other public events. E-mail the Webmaster for directions to meetings and events.

Here are some upcoming guild meetings and costume-related public events. E-mail the Webmaster if you know an event that should be on the calendar. A more detailed calendar is included in Cactus Needles.

* Red Text indicates an SWCG activity. Unless otherwise noted, SWCG Meetings begin at 1:00 PM.

December 9, 2017, 11AM to 5PM - LibCon West at the Glendale Public Library, 59th Avenue & Brown. One day family friendly SF/Fantasy/Anime/Pop culture festival hosted by the Glendale Public Library. http://libconwest.weebly.com/

December 9, 2017 - Tucson Steampunk Society's Dickens Tea at St. Phillips in the Hills, Tucson AZ. $22 per person. https://www.facebook.com/TucsonSteampunkSociety/

DECEMBER 9, 2017, 2pm to 8pm - MESA BOOK FESTIVAL in downtown Mesa AZ. 85 vendors with books and authors of all genres - Free to the Public - Open Mic Poetry - Authors Presentations and Panels - A whole lot more! For more info https://mesabookfestival.com/

December 19, 2017, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month's book is Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

The Hogfather, spirit of the Discworld's favorite holiday is missing. Can Death and his granddaughter fill in? Check out the excellent 2006 two-part film.

January 7, 2018 - Post Holiday Social* SWCG meeting at Paula's place in Tempe. Officer elections, calendar planning. What would you like to do with the guild in 2018?

January 13-15, 2018 - Ace Comic Con at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. Tix at http://gilariverarena.box-officetickets.com/az/glendale/gila-river-arena-tickets/ace-comic-con/v-3005/p-65646?&gclid=CjwKEAjwpMLOBRC9mb-H_c6q4VISJAD4hnmQfv17vpy0p52WNvRZ6iGnx0OwjGmSYq88UirvClrn9hoC55zw_wcB

January 16, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  An Evening with Edgar Allen Poe.

Edgar Allen Poe is arguably one of the inventors of modern detective stories, SF and Fantasy. His horror short stories hold up amazingly well after a century and a half. In this short film from 1970, Vincent Price reads  "The Tell-Tale Heart,"  "The Sphinx,"  "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum." The film can be viewed on YouTube in several versions. Of course you can go straight to the stories too. If you surf the internet, you can also find a version of "The Tell Tale Heart" read by Bela Lugosi.

January 25-27, 2018 - Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival at the Arizona State Fairgrounds (NEC 19th Avenue & McDowell Road, Phoenix) https://quiltcraftsew.com/

January 27, 2018 - Tempe Library Con at Tempe Public Library (SWC Rural Road and Southern Avenue).
The Library Comicon is an annual event featuring costume contests, artists & authors, shopping, and activities for children and adults alike.  Fans of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Star Trek and more are invited to gather at the Tempe Public Library in costume for a celebration of pop culture. http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-services/tempe-public-library/special-events/library-comicon

February 10 - April 1, 2018 (Weekends plus Presidents' Day) Arizona Renaissance Festival in Gold Canyon, Arizona. http://arizona.renfestinfo.com/

February 19-25, 2018 - Winter Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, I-17 and Carefree Highway. The Single-Action Shooting Society's annual cowboy action shootin' match features an excellent Sutlers' Row for stocking up on your wild west/victorian/steampunk costume supplies.

February 20, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

From Amazon.com, “Johannes Cabal, a brilliant scientist and notorious snob, is single-mindedly obsessed in heart and soul with raising the dead. Well, perhaps not soul... He hastily sold his years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. But now, tormented by a dark secret, he travels to the fiery pits of Hell to retrieve it. Satan, who is incredibly bored these days, proposes a little wager: Johannes has one year to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever.


To make the bet even more interesting, Satan throws in that diabolical engine of deceit, seduction, and corruption known as a “traveling circus” to aid in the evil bidding. What better place exists to rob poor sad saps of their souls than the traveling carnivals historically run by hucksters and legendary con men?”


February 20-26, 2018 - Estrella War at Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek, Arizona. The Society for Creative Anachronism's annual get together of medieval arts and armored combat. http://estrellawar.org/

February 24-25, 2018, 10AM to 5PM - Matsuri Festival of Japan at Heritage & Science Park, 115 North 6th Street, Phoenix. https://www.azmatsuri.org/

March 2-4, 2018, 9AM to 7PM - Caledonian Society of Arizona Scottish Games at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. https://www.arizonascots.com/05games.shtml

March 20, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  Artemis by Andy Weir

Back in November, we looked at Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” Lets see another take on mankind’s first moon colony from Andy Weir, author of “The Martian.”

March 23-24, 2018 - Gila Valley Comic Con in Safford, Arizona. "Celebrate the love of comics and anime at the inaugural Gila Valley Comic-Con, presented by Eastern Arizona Courier! Gila Valley Comic-Con will take place in the activities center of Eastern Arizona College. The convention will feature comic book, art and collectible vendors; cosplay contest; trivia contest; art contest; electronic and table-top gaming; discussions and seminars; and more! Admission is just $5!" https://www.facebook.com/GilaValleyComicCon/

April 17, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  "The Caves of Steel" and "The Naked Sun" by Isaac Asimov

Two buddy cop detective novels with a human and robot team in an agoraphobic future. Check out the 1989 Caves of Steel BBC radio play starring Ed Bishop from “UFO.” It’s available on YouTube.

May 11-14, 2018 – Costume-Con 36 in San Diego, California

May 15, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare and the film, "Forbidden Planet."

It is well known that the 1956 film “Forbidden Planet” was inspired by the bard’s final play, with Robbie the Robot as Caliban and the Krell Machine as Ariel. That fact even turned up as a joke in a episode of "Cheers." Let’s actually look at them together. Your host is open to suggestions for a good film adaptation of The Tempest.

May 24-27, 2018 - Phoenix ComiCon at the Phoenix Convention Center. https://phoenixcomicon.com/

June 19, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).

This month, we consider  "Captain Vorpatril's Alliance" by Lois McMaster Bujold

Finally, a Vorkosigan Saga story from Ivan’s point of view!  Naturally, it is a kind of screwball comedy with a Jackson’s Whole mob princess and a Cetagandan lost treasure. 

March 22-25, 2019 - Costume-Con 37 at the Doubletree Boston North Shore hotel in Danvers, Massachussetts.

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Here is some of our events information in the form of a Google calendar created by Margie:

Guild Activities

SWCG hosted Costume-Con 30 on May 11-14, 2012 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. Click the link to see some pictures from the "Sick Pups" archive.

At Tempe Library ComiCon in

Tasha at Tempe Library ComiCon in 2016

SWCG at Steampunk:
          An Exquisite Adventure
At Steampunk: An Exquisite Adventure in November, 2013.

Jean & Randall at Steampunk Street
Randall & Jean at Steampunk Street II in downtown Mesa, April, 2011.

We had a fine turnout for our Barbecue Mixer in April, 2009, with folks from SWCG, Sunacosu,
Arizona Ghostbusters and The Rebel Legion. Photo by Mike Contos.

At the Arizona Renaissance Festival, February 2008.

Walking about the Glendale Glitters street fair in December, 2007.

A Duct Tape Mannequin is a useful tool for patterning custom-fitted garments.

Mucking about in Victorian attire at CopperCon 25. A little image magic by Mike Cassidy shifts us to a more appropriate setting - a table setting.

Meet the Guildsters - Mail Links and Web Pages

Click on the highlighted text to send an e-mail message or visit a personal web page.

President Mahala Sweebe
(president@southwestcostumersguild.org) .

Vice President Sharan Hoyle

Treasurer and Newsletter Editor Tasha Cady

Secretary Sharan Hoyle

Archivist Jean Palmer

Webmaster Randall Whitlock runs MoiRandall's featuring his "Randwulf's" line of sewing patterns.

Member Anna Caggiano shows how she built her Galadriel gown at www.fivemilecreek.net/anna/anna.htm.

Check out member Nola Yergen's theatrical and film costumes at http://designbynola.com/  or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Design-By-Nola/128444573852616
Check out Nola's YouTube channel, "CostumeTrek." https://www.youtube.com/results?q=costumetrek+channel&sp=UBQ%253D

Last updated December 3, 2017 by Randall Whitlock.

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