Block 154: July 21, 2013



Finally! A day off!

A day where I do not have to be anywhere… no rehearsal, no meetings, no fittings, no shopping, no sewing, nothing!

On the agenda today? The gym. City Quilter (I need more fabric!). The dog park with The Dog (if the heat isn’t that bad). And maybe a few hours of just lying on the floor. That’s all.

Date: July 21, 2013

Crane: 154

Days Spent on Project: 154

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Katie A.

I feel it’s appropriate to dedicate today’s Crane to Katie, as it’s green and she was born on St. Patrick’s Day. And she’s from Massachusetts. It seems right to do so.

When did Katie and I meet at Kenyon? When did we first work together?

It would have been at some point during the second year, and I feel our meeting would have been in the Bolton Theater Costume Shop. Right?

Katie was an English major at Kenyon. She was also involved in the “Kenyon Theater Scene,” and really involved in wardrobe and working in the shop. She was the Wardrobe Mistress on several of the dance concerts and department theater productions. I was on her wardrobe crew for Our Country’s Good; she assigned me the enviable task of dressing one of the “trickier” actors backstage… I could deal with him.

She was also a lot of fun to hang out with and, by the time we were in our last year at Kenyon, most of my evenings were spent hanging out in the apartment she shared with three other ladies. Even though I lived at the opposite end of campus, I would automatically head there to decompress.

Several epic and impromptu parties happened in that apartment. There are more than a few embarrassing photos of me in her possession to this day.

In my opinion, she became the de facto leader of the group with whom I chose to spend my final year at Kenyon.

To this day, I can’t think of cucumber sandwiches, pints of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, “Inferno” tequila, leopard print stretch pants, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or Boone’s “wine” without thinking of her.

She’s now a mom two times over and married in Massachusetts. I had the luck to run into her two years ago in New York, our 10-year Kenyon reunion. I couldn’t afford to make the trip out to Gambier, sadly, so it was a nice consolation prize to have lunch with her and her husband then.

She was a good friend.

Music I listened to while sewing: Today, I’ve just gone on Youtube and I’m listening/watching Alexander McQueen runway shows. I’ve already gone through Irere, The Girl Who Lived in The Tree, La Dame Bleue, and The Widows of Culloden. I might go through several more soon.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to display my work and resume at a Director’s Conference in the city. Unfortunately, I was double booked with a tech rehearsal on the other side of town, so I could only stay for a half an hour… before anything much happened.

I described myself as someone who wished more theater was like a McQueen runway show. At the time, I was partially joking, but the more I think about it: I do wish that.

Watch the runway shows above along with Plato’s Atlantis, The Horn of Plenty… They’re amazing because:

1) They’re theatrical. They happen in the moment, they combine sets and costumes and light and sound and you can’t say there isn’t drama and plot in the succession of looks that parade in front of you.

2) They have a strong point of view. His work was his work, and the more you watch his shows, you see common themes and silhouettes throughout the wildly varied clothes he made. You could spot his work easily, but that strong aesthetic was always welcome and never old.

3) His clothes were costumes. He even said his outfits could be seen as armor for empowering women.He never addressed this specifically, but I think he “got” that any outfit helps us visually become the person we think we are, we want to be, and need to be. He played dress up with such a refined and beautiful eye… how can that not be inspiring?

4) You can’t help but be drawn in by watching his shows. Are they boring? NO. They were and are emotional and exciting and thought-provoking. Try not getting intrigued or not having a response… try. You can’t.

5) He knew clothing history. I feel he had a healthy respect for all the silhouettes and work that had come before him, as so many of his silhouettes are influenced by periods (the 18th, the Elizabethan, the Victorian really get seen and used around frequently). But he subverted those periods and made them fresh and sexy for our eyes now. Watching a period-influenced dress with an Elizabethan collar and ruff wasn’t staid… it was exciting. I wish theater design had that license.

So, anyway, I really wish theater design had the license that he gave himself. I know I should feel liberated to break rules and play around with clothes, being a costume designer, but you don’t get that opportunity often. I’d really love to work with someone or a company that wanted to push in the directions he often went… someone or a company that wanted to make those big choices…

And, I’ll clarify… Those big choices don’t need to be “I’m making King Lear about African Blood Diamonds” or setting Waiting for Godot on the moon… I’m not talking about enforcing a Capital C Concept on a show.

… Someone or a company who wants to make a strong theatrical statement.

That’s all?

That’s all.

Tall order.

Anyway, it’s my day off. That’s the last I’ll try to think about design today. I’ll fail, but I can try.


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