Block 573: January 10, 2015


It’s 11:27pm, so I’m getting this one in just under the deadline.

Date: January 10, 2015

Crane: 573

Days Spent on Project: 691

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Julianne K.

Julianne was hired by the Paper Mill costume shop to do the overhire craft work for the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Newsies. Craft work? On a show about poor newsboys at the turn of the century? What kind of craft work would that be?

Well, almost everything in that show, worn by the younger men (the Newsies), almost everything was overdyed or dipped or painted over to look washed out and old and dirty and sweaty. Julianne would paint shoes. She would change the colors of clothes and accessories.

As we worked our way through tech, I remember the hours we spent– Julianne the crafts person, me, China the Other Design Assistant, Jen the Shop Manager, and Jess the designer– all working around stained tables set up on the brick patios of Paper Mill’s theater as we threw and dabbled and splashed and spritzed combinations of acrylic paint, fabric dye, metallic ink, and water at brand new clothes in the hopes that they looked old.

Julianne would tell stories of working for people in theater and movies and music. She told about working on clothing pieces meant for Rihanna and Lady Gaga. LG had just released her then-new single “U and I,” and I was obsessed to hear anything about her. Julianne said that she was a very smart woman.

Julianne worked primarily as a freelancer, so I would see her occasionally around afterwards. Hope she’s still doing well.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got Parks and Recreation on Netflix this evening! Reasons I knew I was really last week? I would start sobbing during the early Adam Scott episodes.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m under the gun tonight… I almost started typing this DURING the first preview of the show I’m designing (Yep, I would’ve been *that* guy typing on a powerbook during a show.)

And, you know what? It all came together today. Somewhere, somehow, between last night’s invited dress performance and tonight’s first preview, the show actually became something. Maybe it was the addition of a more lively audience. Maybe it was Saturday night. Who knows… it just started walking on its own.

And I have to say. I did a good job. I’m at the point in the process where I’m taking notes like “Maybe switch to pearls for Act 2? Maybe tint the socks to be a little more gray?” In other words, we’re at a good place. I like what I did. I think everyone looks appropriate and good. I could walk away from the project, and be content with it.

I haven’t been at *this point* on a show I’ve designed in a very long time. It’s all under control. We’re tweaking small things. Everyone seems content on stage and off.

Yeah, I was super stressed about this. I got the impression that this design gig was an audition of sorts by this company to see *if* they liked the work I do, to see if I could handle managing a shop and designing a show. To see if I could work with the theater. To see if I could do good work.

Yeah, I’m a little over budget, and I feel bad about that. But, everyone looks good and I know where the overage went and WHY I went over. It wasn’t irresponsible. It was needed. If I had sacrificed to be below the number, it would have looked it. So, while I’ll own up to going over the budget, I think it was something that had to be done.

AND, the one dress I’m hands down proud of was built in house and it’s the silhouette and fabric that I wanted. I asked for trust with that dress, and they did; I have to admit, they did trust me on that. That dress got an audible gasp when it came out on stage.

So, I’m having a proud night. That feels so good.

Okay, thanks, Portland.

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