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 - March 2018

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 and an asterisk indicate an SWCG activity. Unless otherwise noted, SWCG Meetings begin at 1:00 PM.

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

March 20, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).
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 8, 2018 - Viking Garb Pattern* SWCG workshop at 35th Avenue Sew & Vac (35th Avenue & Northern Avenue, Phoenix). Let's work up a pattern for a basic Viking gown/tunic.

April 13, 2018 - Mesa Second Friday in downtown Mesa. This month's theme is Cosplay. https://www.2ndfridaynightout.com/

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

April 20-22, 2018 - Con Nichiwa anime convention at the Tucson Convention Center. http://www.con-nichiwa.com/

April 29th – May 2nd. Sony Pictures Presents Labyrinth (1986) Three Day Fan Celebration. Journey into Jim Henson’s magical Labyrinth when the 1986 fantasy-adventure returns to the big screen for three days only as a nationwide fan celebration. Audiences are encouraged to attend the screenings in costume to celebrate the nostalgia, music and legacy of this beloved film. However masks, face-concealing make-up, fake weapons as well as any costumes that conceal what you are carrying, your natural body shape or face are strictly prohibited. 7pm. Also 2pm on the 29th. 2 theaters https://www.fathomevents.com/events/labyrinth
Cinemark 16 Mesa--1051 N. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85201 and Ahwatukee 24--4915 E Ray Road, Phoenix, AZ 85044

May 6, 2018 - Stitch and B**** at Paula's place in Tempe. Follow up on the Viking pattern from April.

May 11-14, 2018 – Costume-Con 36 in San Diego, California. The theme will be "Ports of Call" and you can interpret that as broadly as you like. Maybe you're captain of a dirigible tethered in town. Or perhaps you work on an intergalactic cruiser currently in orbit. Maybe the year is 1942 and you're shipping out to the South Pacific.   http://cc36sandiego.org/

May 11, 2018 - Mesa Second Friday in downtown Mesa. This month's theme is Sci Fi Friday. https://www.2ndfridaynightout.com/

May 15, 2018, 7 PM - CASFS Book & Media Social at Denny's 9030 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix (NWC I-17 and Dunlap Road).
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 (or is it the other way around?) 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 Comic Fest at the Phoenix Convention Center. https://phoenixcomicon.com/

June 3, 2018 - Brass Etching* at Tasha's place. Randall has found a simple chemical etching technique that works on brass, bronze and copper. Bring a black Sharpie brand marking pen. They are available with fine, blunt or calligraphy tips.

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. 

July 1, 2018 - Pirate Slouch* at 35th Avenue Sew & Vac (35th Ave & Northern, Phoenix). Bring a couple of yards of thick but pliable material (such as canvas, corduroy or upholstery velvet), snaps and a setter (if you have them), sewing machine, drawing tools and light cardboard. We will experiment with making a tricorn hat that can be collapsed for carrying in luggage. Randall is wearing a small prototype in the Tempe Library Con picture further down the page.

July 13-15, 2018 - Mad Monster Party Arizona (venue not announced yet) http://madmonster.com/#/events/arizona2018/

July 28, 2018 10-5 - Prescott Valley Public Library Comic Con at the Prescott Valley Public Library, 7401 East Civic Circle, Prescott Valley, Arizona.

August 5, 2018 - Poolhardiness* at Jean & Nola's place. Our annual costumed pool party. Bring munchies and something you can swim in.

August 31-September 3, 2018 - CoKoCon at the Doubletree by Hilton Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Parkway East, Phoenix.
CoKoCon is a traditional sf/f con in Phoenix, AZ which will be held over the Labor Day weekend in 2018.We'll be hosting guests of honor, an art show, merchant room, gaming, filk, parties, you name it! The name reflects that it's the CopperCon and ConKopelli Convention, sponsored by both CASFS and WesternSFA. Phoenix phandom came together to support Westercon 70 (which was sponsored by LepreCon, Inc. in Tempe in 2017); the core players behind that convention are building on it together to move phandom phorward in 2018. http://www.cokocon.org/

August 31-September 3, 2018 - Saboten Con anime convention at the Phoenix Convention Center, 340 North 3rd Street, Phoenix http://www.sabotencon.com/

September 2, 2018 - Bead Project* (tentative). Experiment with some Russian-style braided beads.

September 14, 2018 - Mesa Second Friday in downtown Mesa. This month's theme is Pirate Block Party. https://www.2ndfridaynightout.com/

October 12, 2018 - Mesa Second Friday in downtown Mesa. This month's theme is Nightmare on Main. https://www.2ndfridaynightout.com/

November 9-11, 2018 - TusCon 45 at Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, 5151 E. Grant Road, Tucson AZ. Arizona's longest-running annual science fiction convention.  https://www.tusconscificon.com/

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

Randall, Tasha and Paula
at Tempe Library ComiCon in 2018

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 Paula Lary
(president@southwestcostumersguild.org) .

Vice President and Webmaster Randall Whitlock

Treasurer and Newsletter Editor Tasha Cady

Secretary Melissa Weathersby

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 March 15, 2017 by Randall Whitlock.

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