Outakes (Occasional dragons)

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Sometimes you get to do cool things. Much of my work has been a slew of realistic gray things that look right for the show, but they aren’t necessarily fun to paint. However, sometimes you get a dragon and you like it so much you decide to do a slightly smaller one for yourself as well. Not all shows can be superawesomefabulous, but it’s the few challenges that keep me around.

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So here’s to the dragons in the midst of the gray. Find them and accomplish them with abandon.

What a lovely weekend

This weekend has been one of those rare times where every day has been beautiful in its simplicity and surprises. Back when I was working at the Park, I wrote more about the simpler aspects of my life and I think I should get back to doing some of that. Here is my awesome weekend at home.

Friday was the surprise beginning. Due to situations beyond our control, the Guru and I decided to head out early and just rearrange our hours in the coming week. Thus, I had a half day on Friday. Handsome and I decided to go out for dinner and we happened to be craving Mexican. I had heard of a spot called Alto Cinco, so we headed for there. Aside from the stupidly long wait due to their tiny dining area (supposedly they are expanding soon) the food was completely worth the wait. The dishes were executed with simplicity and truly incredible flavor. Plus the beer selection found Handsome and myself quite happy. I then closed the night with a long overdue phone chat with the lovely Persephone which often puts me in good spirits.

The morning started off with another wondrous surprise. If you read the previous post, you know that I just recently finished a scenic design for a show. Well, Saturday morning, I opened my facebook to a message from someone I did not know. The message came with a link and a simple “thought you would want to read this.” Turns out the link was to a review of the show in DCMetro Theatre Arts and that review happened to have a whole paragraph of positive words about my set!!!! This is my first review and to have my work so clearly understood and celebrated nearly made me cry. Upon reading the entire piece I was also happy to see that the writer was very balanced in her opinions. She did not inflate everything with flattery, nor did she tear the production apart with nastiness. She dealt with the production fairly and with intelligence. I am deeply moved that she found my work effective.

Armed with that star of warmth, Handsome and I went off to run errands. Errands are excellent fun when they include the Army Surplus Store (yay new work drab and a Mussette bag to replace my broken backpack), the farmers market (delicious and cost effective), and Target (new shoes for both). The day was kind of icky, so I convinced Handsome to go see Disney’s Frozen. Although I did not think the music was as stellar as usual, the animation was absolutely stunning and the story heart warming. The theater was in a huge mall and upon our exit Handsome suggested we go into the Apple Store. I was hesitant at first, because although I’m in the market for a new computer, I have not saved up quite enough. Such a state can make me grumpy in the Apple Store because I just want my new stuff now!! Still, Handsome cajoled, persuading me that looking at machines now rather than later would help me do a better cost analysis. Upon entering, I was greeted by a fellow coworker from the Stage. I knew he worked at the Store, but I did not know he would be working that day. Turns out I gathered a lot of excellent information from both him and the lovely young lady he was training. I am a person who uses her technology into the ground. Thus, good information about a future purchase (especially when that information is about excellent discounts) is as precious to me as the item itself. We ended that day with an egg and lemon soup that was surprisingly delicious and a light compliment to the previous evening’s gorging.

Today, a simple and productive day. Went to another church (cross your fingers, we’re gonna try it a few more times) and spent the rest of the day cleaning and restoring the apartment to pre-Christmas look. Do you want to know the best part of the day? Handsome and I cuddling under a blanket and dozing on and off for a few hours. In fact, this weekend was mainly wonderful because Handsome and I got so much time together after a long stint of being separated/only being together for a day or two/seeing each other in between craziness etc. I love him, I love living with him, and this weekend was everything and more because we got it completely to ourselves.

A weekend away

The whirlwind never ceases. It’s that time of year when anyone who has anything to do at all finds herself running around in the headless chicken fashion. In our theatre season, it is that last crunch of shows before the lull around the Christmas holiday. Twas not exactly the best time for me to go galavanting off to a wedding, but I was not consulted when the date was decided 😉 Thankfully, knowing the date a million years in advance allows a boss and her assistant to plan accordingly. Thus, this weekend found Handsome and myself in Maryland for the wedding of one of my good friends. The weekend began with a night full of good drink and good company because the lovely Herculine joined us for that night. I also got to see a few alum from my school that I have not seen in a very long time. One of the highlights was getting the chance to go grab a caramel apple spice earlier in the day with my mentor. Ultra-Umber (so named because of his penchant for always using ultramarine blue and burnt umber in any paint treatment he creates) is the man who was my advisor throughout college, both for my academic planning and my undergrad design work. Now, he is a friend and someone who holds a huge portion of my respect for just being a solidly incredible person. Whenever I am in town we try to meet for a spell and  I always feel enriched by the encounter. I also got to spend a surprising amount of time with Herculine. I mean, she was kind enough to put us up for the weekend, but we were expecting maybe one evening of hangout time. Turns out a good portion of Friday and Saturday evening were spent in the company of my lovely friend and I am saddened that I can’t have her in every state in which I live.

As for the wedding, there were multiple happy things. First of all, Handsome and I looked damn good. I fear I don’t have pictures, but try to picture a dapper bearded gentleman in a fine black suit, white dress shirt, and a wine-red tie. Then, imagine a lady in a pewter-gray, silken material dress that has a classy neckline and a skirt that sits at the knee in the front, only to swoop down to just above the calves in the back. The material smacks of liquid- metal- in- moonlight, and then couple the dress with slight pops of silver-crystal glitz to provide that sparkle. Oh yes, we were a very fine couple indeed. However, Princess P. (the bride) eclipsed all. She had that bride glow (coupled with a gorgeously beaded dress) that everyone whispers about when they speak of weddings. The whole affair was quite traditional and the couple seemed pleased with the proceedings. I got to see others from the Pack (group of us who lived on the same floor freshman year in college) which made my heart swell. There was dancing, silly photos, and much talk and catching up. Handsome was a lovely escort and the weather was fine in the way that only late-Fall blue sky can be. Now I am returned to a very attention starved feline and mercy am I glad to come home to this place.

Explosive Activity and Heartspaces

October kind of exploded a whole bunch of happening in my face. First of all, people visited. I mean, I covered the first wave, but then Wonder Woman came to town. She was here for almost an entire week, but most of our adventures occurred over that weekend. On the morning of October 19th, Handsome, Wonder Woman, and I headed to a tiny train station in New Jersey to catch the train to NYC. After grabbing the train by the mere skin of our teeth, we were on our way to the City. Why go to the Big Apple? Well, when one has another fine friend to meet up with (who also happens to have a free place to crash) and one has an incredibly eye-opening piece of theatre to see…one may find oneself in the midst of Penn Station in a drag-queen-silver jacket looking about hopelessly for Emrys in the midst of the throng. We eventually found him and we spent the day traipsing about the city. From Emrys’s cozy apartment, to a nifty little market, I was reminded why I enjoy visiting the city with people who actually know how to navigate the labyrinth of subways and streets. The first highlight of the visit occurred that night.

Wonder Woman, when planning her excursion to our humble dwelling, recommended that we go to the City in order to see the piece Sleep No More. I had heard ridiculously good things about this piece and I found myself overjoyed to be in a financial situation where such an excursion could be possible. For those who don’t know, Sleep No More is an interactive/site specific theatre experience that is loosely based on Macbeth, but utilizes elements of other dark tales in order to fashion an experience that is unlike anything you are likely to have experienced prior to witnessing this work.  When you enter the space, you are told that the evening is meant to be your experience. There is no right or wrong way to go about exploring the world that has been created. There is no speaking. Even the actors do not use speech, but rather physical theatre techniques and intense body imagery to tell their part of the story. I personally chose not to follow a particular actor. I found the herds of spectators chasing after the various performers overwhelming, thus I chose to just explore every nook and cranny of the space, happening on scenes by chance rather than by design. You can open drawers, pick up bottles of various liquids, page through accounts and letters….tis a dark playground for the curious child who just happens to be a little taller than she was some years ago. There were limits to the space and where one could go, but ultimately I was occupied for the three hours that I wandered. I was exhausted and ached in every portion of my legs and hips, but I was most satisfied. I would not recommend this experience to everyone, but if you are willing to traipse through a dark maze dripping with the dregs of human misery and notorious intent, then Sleep No More is completely worth the ticket price.

The second highlight of the trip is a little more subtle and perhaps very specific to me. For the first time in a very long time, I got to spend a full day and a half with Emrys. Emrys and I have been friends for almost 11 years, but the college years did not allow for a great deal of contact. Due to physical distance and both of us having extremely busy lives, I rarely got to see my friend. In truth, he is more family to me, but in the sense that he is the brother of my heart. We have experienced much together and I did not even realize how much I sorely missed spending time with him until we had more than a quick dinner after a year of barely speaking. Such time is precious and there is a chance that we might be at a place in our lives where we can see each other more often. I don’t demand that such a time continue infinitely, but I am inspired to make the most of it, not only with Emrys, but also with all those who are my heart-family that I have scattered along this coast. I would challenge all of us to actively remain in contact with those who share our heartspace, because it’s important. Such people are a gift. Show gratitude by giving to them a hundred-fold.

Outakes (Romping through the Vineyards)

Yesterday was the last full day off for the rest of our time here at the Camp. Considering we have only a few days left, we decided to make it a most worthwhile day. Thus Helena, BearGirl, the Thinker, and myself a piled into my Silver Steed/Prius of Adventure and set off for an afternoon of wine and wondrous fun We had decided to hit three wineries along M22. The first was Good Harbor Vineyards. We all picked 5 wines to sample from the extensive list and a souvenir glass came with the tasting. I sampled a most glorious Cherry Wine that made dark chocolate sing in my mouth (the gentleman gave us dark chocolate kisses with the instructions, “sip the wine, take a bite of chocolate, then sip.”). Twas so good a bottle may have followed me out of the place ;). Next, on to Gills Pier Winery. Handsome and I had visited this winery on our previous excursion on M22, I had gone back again on my own, and I simply had to bring my friends with me. I truly like this sweet little place.

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

The whole gang

The whole gang

From Gills, we went on to our best find of the day. BearGirl had recently been on a plane trip and she mentioned that she had sat next to a most interesting person. The woman spoke of an organic winery in Northport Michigan…which turned out to be right where we were headed. Thus, we found ourselves at Good Neighbor Organic. Not only does this place have wine, but they also make incredible ciders that absolutely blew the socks and shoes straight off my feet. Stan, the owner, also bid us go play in the vineyard/orchard and pick some lavender.  We happily complied 🙂

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Twas a very good day indeed :).

 

Outakes (More Fun Show Pictures!)

These pictures are from the high school repertory production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. Pretty much sounds exactly like what it is; a play comprised of miniature plays for all 44 presidents. These pictures were taken in the first act of the show and I should also mention that the presidential seal on the floor is 12 feet in diameter (also my favorite paint project of the summer).

My pride and joy of this summer. Took forever, but totally worth it.

My pride and joy of this summer. Took forever, but totally worth it.

Pre-show countdown

Pre-show countdown

Monroe attempting to keep the peace

Monroe attempting to keep the peace

Ahh, Andrew Jackson

Ahh, Andrew Jackson

This scene was quite powerful. He went around popping balloons while the story- tellers spoke of his ruthless slaughter of Native Americans.

This scene was quite powerful. He went around popping balloons while the story- tellers spoke of his ruthless slaughter of Native Americans.

"It's our destiny"

“It’s our destiny”

If I had to choose one scene that struck me the hardest, it would be this one. Shadow puppets are truly a beautiful dramatic tool.

If I had to choose one scene that struck me the hardest, it would be this one. Shadow puppets are truly a beautiful dramatic tool.

Amazing prop cleverly fabricated  by my friend the Thinker. The "Direct Quote" would light up and down with the hit of a big red button (which also chimed :)))

Amazing prop cleverly fabricated by my friend the Thinker. The “Direct Quote” would light up and down with the hit of a big red button (which also chimed :)))

Excellent scene

Excellent scene

Light in the darkness

Light in the darkness

The aftermath of a "Veto Party" (cause a Veto party don't stop...)

The aftermath of a “Veto Party” (cause a Veto party don’t stop…)

Ten Things I Discovered/Learned Since I Last Wrote

It has truly been a ridiculously long time since I last wrote here, but life spiraled in a dizzying display of color and sudden collision of activity that did not inspire the proper energy for writing. I will eventually relate the adventures, but for now I feel inclined to give a taste of those adventures through newly acquired knowledge (be it of myself, or just knowledge of a general topic).

1. I really like wine. I used to consider myself strongly a beer person, but now I understand that I was just approaching the grape-based distant cousin all wrong. Turns out I am in some fabulous wine country and I am surrounded by local vineyards with a plethora of wineries attached. I have only sampled a few, but suffice it to say I am extremely impressed with my sampling. I still dearly enjoy beer, but wine has now subtly shifted into a similar placement on my enjoyment scale.

2. You can tint gloss sealer to be fun colors while still maintaining its transparency. I know, I know, try to contain your excitement. The reason this is fun will become apparent once I can post pictures of the show I am currently working on (and almost have completed hallelujah!!)

3. I learned to set in sleeves on a knitted sweater. May not sound like much, but it is a new technique that I was avoiding because I was afraid that I would:

a.) Make a terrible mess of the thing.

b.) Find it really boring and tedious, thus shoving the gorgeous garment even further into my bag in the hopes that the dark recesses would convince the garment to mutate to include the offending sleeve caps

Thankfully, neither scenario occurred thanks to this video. Knitpicks is a godsend I swear it’s true. I actually really enjoyed the process and I am now galloping off towards a complete cardigan that is so pretty I can barely wait to traipse about in all its turquoise glory.

4. If you are in a shop that sells various jams and jellies, be very careful grabbing what looks like a stuffed animal bear. It may actually be a covert jar cozy housing a 12 ounce jar of jam that may then, jostled by your careless bear -grabbing, go tumbling off the counter and shatter into a bajillion pieces.

5. When drinking tea, one should actually slurp it loudly and with abandon so that the drink hits every single portion of the tongue, thus releasing all the flavor that was intended to be experienced in the blend.

6. Night air shows are really freakin spectacular. Seriously.

7. The reason the water in Lake Michigan is so clear is because of an invasive species called the zebra mussel . Even though the clear water is super beautiful, apparently these boogers cause a great deal of grief.

8. I am still a capable swimmer even when slightly intoxicated. (Don’t worry, I did not learn this while swimming alone.)

9. The Seal of the President of the United States is a giraffe and a half of ridiculous to recreate from scratch.

10. Michigan wins the award for best summer weather ever. The hottest it ever gets is 90 and I can only count on one hand the number of times it has gotten that hot since I arrived in June. Last year this time I was a puddle of Florida goo. Now I still need a sweatshirt on some July mornings 🙂

Stick with me guys, I swear fun pictures and stories are on the horizon.