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Science fiction, fantasy at Arisia Masquerade

Michele McDonald for the boston globe/Globe Freelance

The thriving worlds of science fiction and fantasy fandom are on display at Arisia, an all-volunteer-run convention founded in 1989 in Boston. The annual Arisia Masquerade is a prime feature of the convention, which from Jan. 16-19 this month drew more than 4,000 people to the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel. Entrants in the masquerade perform short vignettes to show off their costumes, and Julia Hallam-Baker, 9, of Boston, who has wanted to be in the masquerade since she was 6, knew she wanted to be a minion.

Minions are cute creatures made popular by the movie “Despicable Me,” and they like to wear costumes. Julia saw the original Batman series on TV and just knew she had to be a Batman minion. She made the costume with her dad, using foam mats for the structure. He did the cutting and gluing, and she did the directing and painting. She’s thinking about being the No-Name Superhero next year.


It took a month for Alexandra Preston, 25, of Medway, to make her Madame de Pompadour costume — a week just to do the beading. She speaks fluent French and wanted to play a character where she could use that skill. Michele McDonald for the boston globe
Carly Monsen of Belmont is a special education teacher at an elementary school in real life, but has been making costumes for about eight years as a hobby. She began attending Arisia conventions as a vendor selling fantasy clothing, but began to take part in the performance art called cosplay (costume play) a few years ago. At the 2015 Arisia convention, she wore a Rapunzel costume. Michele McDonald for the boston globe/Globe Freelance
"A Little Fuzzy Hunting" is the name of the act that sisters Meredith Gast, 10, left, and Eri Gast, 7, of Arlington, worked out to show off their costumes, characters from the books of H. Beam Piper.Michele McDonald for the boston globe
Maia Schofield, 17, of Hampstead, N.H., right, comes to the Arisia science-fiction and fantasy convention for the costume-oriented activities. Here she tried on a blouse to go with a corset she bought the day before at the convention while Debbie Sarmir, who works for a vendor, held the mirror. Michele McDonald for the boston globe/Globe Freelance