published Friday, January 20th, 2012

Phillips: The expensive pursuit of costuming perfection

For the next three days, I'm leaving my boring, everyday life behind in favor of something a little more ... alien.

Don't worry, though. I'm not planning on embarking on a hallucinogen-fueled spirit quest or headlining a pants-less dance festival. Much as I dislike pants, alas, it's nothing that exotic. No, the Chattacon convention is here again (No. 37, if you're counting), which means that, in keeping with a tradition I started last year, I'll be in costume.

Dressing up as, well ... anything, really, is one of the few accurate convention stereotypes, and people react differently to you while in costume, which adds a lot to the experience.

Over the last year, I've discovered assembling a costume is definitely an ongoing process. Since it basically consists of putting on a suit and a pair of sneakers, dressing as The Doctor off British sci-fi series "Doctor Who" might not seem tremendously difficult. It can occasionally be expensive, though, especially if you're a perfectionist.

For instance, I spent $40 last year purchasing low-top white sneakers such as those worn by The Doctor. Weeks later, I realized the ones used on the show were not only high tops but also an off-white color that's no longer in stores. To most people, that might seem a trivial detail, but geeks are definitely not most people, least of all at conventions. Nothing would do but to special-order the correct shoes online.

That's just one example. I won't even begin to try to explain how much I'm lusting after an official copy of The Doctor's signature wool coat (about $300) or a metal prop-quality replica of his sonic screwdriver (at least $70). Suffice it to say, the pursuit of perfection can quickly become an expensive one.

Even incomplete, a costume will be an excellent ice breaker with the 1,000 like-minded people expected to attend the event today through Sunday. Costuming is by no means required, however, so I'd encourage you to attend, whether in street clothes or wizard garb. A weekend pass is $50.

* * * * *

As part of the effort to curb the violent goings-on at 412 Market St. following a shooting there Christmas Eve, the building was locked down by the landlord, putting an end to all events there, including those hosted by The Warehouse, a music venue that relocated there from East Ridge about a year ago.

That's a shame. Despite 412 Market's reputation, The Warehouse has long been one of the few places underage music lovers could see shows. Although they have effectively been ousted, its founders aren't giving up and have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to fund a $10,000 move to a new facility.

As with all such campaigns, they won't receive their funding unless they raise the entire amount by the end of the drive on Feb. 11. There are incentives at various donation levels between $5 and $1,000. As of Tuesday, they had 66 backers and had raised about $2,500. To donate or learn more, visit

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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