Heroic Austin Chapter
February 8-10th, 2013 "Shattered Nexus" Weekend Event
Camp Texlake Girl Scout Camp, Spicewood TX
Independent Campaign, Heroic Core Rules
Head of Plot: Riley Seaman
Logistics Manager: Angella Baker
Plot Team: Tom LeMaistre, John Garcia, Kyle Harrison
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Expeditionary Costume Hunting in KC
Evan and I went out on the town yesterday afternoon, seeking the best costume shop in Kansas City. Evan hit up Google, and we made some phone calls to make sure that when we arrived at the various addresses, we'd find, you know, a costume shop. Then we grabbed my GPS (Evan, I want my GPS back), mounted up in Evan's personal monster truck, and rode out to see what we might see.
By the time we knocked off for dinner, we'd visited three different costume shops: Kansas City Costumes Inc, A to Z Theatrical Supplies and Services, and Have Guns Will Rent Costumes.
A to Z turned out to be a very good resource if you're looking for professional lighting effects. Someday, I hope that we'll be able to pay them a visit for our mod barn. They also had an extensive costume rental section, which they told us they do not sell, and a minimal selection of accessories and makeup. For most players, this shop is not the best resource unless you just need a quick stop to buy some emergency makeup. They are geared more toward the Halloween crowd than to what we do.
Kansas City Costumes was... swank. Definitely an upscale shop, they have a great selection of cheap costumes that I would hope most larpers wouldn't be caught dead in. On the other hand, they have a huge selection of makeup, including my personal favorite, Paradise AQ by Mehron, dozens of prosthetics, hundreds of wigs, and even a good selection of notions, including clasps, buckles, and gems. Their prices were noticeably higher than their competition, though, the cost of a clean store front on a wide city street.
The real gem of the day came in a very different package. Have Guns Will Rent Costumes is honestly a little frightening from the outside. Located next to an auto salvage lot and with almost no parking, the temptation on arrival is to drive on. Resist that temptation, and in the spirit of the adventurers we all love to portray, park next to a car that's older than your dad and push past the heavily-reinforced shop door. Then say hello to Elvis, and don't look up.
Have Guns has a great selection of Victorian and Western costumes in addition to your usual Halloween fare. The interior is rather dimly lit, and persistent questioning of the proprietors got us led into the back room, which is also a working auto shop where they were laying down carpet in the front half. Have Guns seems to function primarily as a rental shop, but they claim they will sell anything they rent, with the exception of the platemail. Much of this stuff looked like it would hold up to our hobby quite well, and a few pieces had both me and Evan positively drooling. Central Chapter also has quite a few new hats.
They had just acquired the stock from another costume shop in the area, and so sorting through everything they had piled around was a lot of fun. They have a large selection of hats, wigs, and other accessories, and though they do not have quite as much makeup as KC Costume, their selection is quite respectable on all counts, and they assure us that if we need it, they can order it and have it within a couple of days.
Kansas City has more than its share of costume shops, but very few that can really serve all the needs of our interactive theatre community. The other stores we visited are good for specific needs (lighting or notions), but it would seem that for one-stop shopping in our neighborhood to build a complete character from the ground up, Have Guns is the clear winner. Take a few minutes next time you're heading down for an event to check them out.
A to Z Theatrical Supplies and Services
307 West 80 Street
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Costumes Inc
2020 Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, MO
Have Guns Will Rent
1313 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66102