Heroes Behind the Masks: The Tau’ri Alliance

I loved Stargate before I knew about Star Wars (which I adore and has literally shaped my life). At the risk of losing face among my Star Wars friends and followers Stargate is my number one all time Sci-Fi fandom! I am thrilled to introduce you to a new CAUSEplay group involving Stagate from Utah!  I look forward to following their growth and progress in making a difference in their own community!  If you know of any other CAUSEplay groups of this movie and TV series please let me know!!! –Mala

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Group Name: The Tau’ri Alliance

Mission Statement: We are a Stargate Fan Group, here to have fun, dress up, promote the shows and movie, get into costume to let the public know who we are and help promote worthy causes such as charity drives and fandom events. (if you have one):

Location(s): Salt lake City, Utah

When was the group started? And by who: We started in March of 2015. The founding members were myself (Nathan Shumway), Robert and Ruth Aswin, and Jordy Nelson

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Tau’ri Alliance CAUSEplay in general? If you are a member of the Tau’ri Alliance what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
Heh, I’ll answer this question and the next one simultaneously: (Next question being a brief history/overview:) Originally Robert and I had joined another Stargate fan group in Utah, but they seemed to be more interested in being “show ready authentic” as opposed to just enjoying promoting the fandom and having a good time. The Tau’ri Alliance doesn’t have a problem with any group that wants to be “Show ready” and has the means to do so. We’d rather just create a group that encourages creativity in creating your own “look”, as long as you can justify its use in the general sandbox of the Stargate Universe. We’re pretty much split along two lines of costumes: military and alien, which includes the Jaffa, Ori, Go’auld, and other alien species that were encountered in the three different shows (Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, Universe).

As for a brief history, I have about twenty years as a member of an international Star Trek fan chapter, as well as eighteen years as a member of a national medieval re-enactment group. Other members of the Alliance also have many years combined in various community and cos-play groups (ask Robert about his Ghostbusters cos-play group. A lot of fun stories there)

Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good? And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3 status?
We don’t have a 501 © designation just yet, and don’t have any plans to do so in the immediate future. Right now we’re focusing on building membership and attendance, as well as keeping a few community charities in mind for future assistance.

How can someone join the Tau’ri Alliance?
Well, if someone wants to start their own chapter in a place outside the Salt Lake Valley and use our name for it, we’re more than happy to speak with them about it before we give permission for us to be included under the same “umbrella”. Other than that, we’d prefer for now to have members in the Salt Lake area to help build up our local membership.

Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
If they’re not in Salt Lake, Utah, or Davis Counties in the State of Utah, there aren’t any local chapters. However, we can be found on Facebook by searching for our group name.

What type of costumes do you accept? Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it? What do you look for in a costume?
As I mentioned before, our costumes pretty much fall into two categories: military and alien. For our military, we ask that people use some form of military camouflage, staying away from anything that is in current use by the US Armed Forces. We pretty much follow the US Army ranking structure, though very pared down, as we don’t really have a need for a lot of the NCO and Officer ranks (we’re still a very small group.) We also ask that you put a name tape over the left breast instead of the right, so as not to be confused with current serving members of the military. Several of our members are either veterans or prior service law enforcement, and we don’t want to run the risk of disrespecting those that currently “wear the cloth”.

For our “alien” costumes, we ask our members to pick outfits and/or species that were shown in the various shows, and create costumes along those themes. Our resident alien costume co-ordinator is Ruth Aswin, and we’ve given her a pretty wide latitude on approving any costumes before we “go on stage”. Additionally, we are in the process of creating some t-shirts with our own unique graphic, so that those that don’t have an available costume can still be in a sort of uniform when we are at events.
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Do you accept crossplay costumes? Gender bent costumes? Customized characters?
For crossplay, no, we don’t really allow it. Our members are free to create other cos-play costumes, but we ask them to refrain if they are showing up to an official event if they plan on representing the Tau’ri Alliance. As for Gender bent, we haven’t run across this issue yet, though as our group is currently limited to the rather conservative Salt Lake Valley, we don’t see this as an issue that we’ll need to address anytime soon. For Customized Characters, well that’s pretty much wat our Alien Costume Division is for. Practically all of our Characters are customized, provide members are willing to make their costumes to fit somewhere in the Stargate Sandbox.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
We’re holding monthly meetings right now to get the group started. We do dedicate a portion of each meeting for ideas for costumes and places that accessories can be found, as well as ideas for props.

How many people are currently in your group? 17

Leadership structure: Along with keeping ranks in the US Army structure, we have a ranking Colonel (myself) in charge of our “SGC” Gamma Site, a diplomatic Major (Robert Aswin) who also oversees our Science Division, our Armorer (Jordy Nelson) who makes sure that our show weapons are completely safe before we go “on stage”, and our Alien Relations Ambassador (Ruth Aswin) who is in charge of all Alien Costuming. We’ll add more positions along the way, once we are able to maintain a greater turnout and have more time as a group under our belts.

How is the leadership determined?
I was voted into the leadership by a conspiracy of Robert and Ruth Aswin, and Jordy Nelson. In short, I was drafted! As revenge I appointed Robert as my Second and things just started to fall in place after that.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
We’re still new as a group , and haven’t had a chance to do much for local charities. We did have a photo shoot recently, however, and included a Salute to the Fallen, for those that have lost their lives in the service of our country. We do have plans to get involved with some of the local charities in the spring, though we are looking at our options for volunteer work. In the past I have helped volunteer at events such as March Of Dimes as well as the United Way needy Family projects, and we’ll keep those in our considerations. Please tell us stories about you, the events, and charities. Pictures would be great for here, if you have any.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We haven’t yet, but we plan on networking with a couple of the Cause-paly groups in the area to let them know we exist and can help out.

How did you build you “clientele”? Heh, we’re so new we haven’t had a chance to do that just yet. Fortunately, our leadership has quite a few contacts with local costuming groups and convention staffs that we can co-ordinate needs in the future if need be.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity? Not yet

What is the most amazing thing the Tau’ri Alliance has accomplished so far?
We had a great photo shoot, and we’re averaging two new members a month. We hope to gain more membership and really get a name out there, not just for ourselves, but also for the Show. We want to be a positive representation for the Show, but also to the community when our volunteer efforts pick up.

Where do you see The Tau’ri Alliance going in the future?
Really, we’d like to reach a membership of about fifty, with a good showing of about 15-20 per event. We know people have jobs and lives, and we’d like to be respectful of those aspects. Past that, who knows? Maybe some satellite groups in other states and countries?

Do you use any fun terminology specifically for the Tau’ri Alliance?
Not really. We do occasionally throw around acronyms like they do in the show. But as with any fan group, there’s a lot of inside jokes that will make most of us groan and facepalm while we’re laughing.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Yeah, get out there and do it! There’s plenty of good groups out there that can use the help. Just to name a few, Ronald McDonald House, your local VA hospital, children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. I’d say, keep your target audience in mind. You don’t want a costume that might scare kids, be bubbly and engaged in your audience (i.e. those you’re there to help), and have fun. I think the film Robots said it best: “See a need, Fill a need.”

Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay:
Volunteering is very rewarding, and more so in costume. If nothing else, you’ll raise interest in your group when people see you raking the lawns of a charity house or signing up people for a race. Interest is good, and good works can only reflect well on your group.

What future events do you have?
We’re gearing up for our official debut as a group at the upcoming Salt Lake ComicCon. We hope to get a few new members, and then start planning out the next twelve months, keeping in mind a volunteer opportunity here and there. Keep in mind when this will post for this answer. Refer to the email.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1539857459610922/

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