all neuroses, all the time
Saturday, June 22
well, i have a few minutes and so i'm checking in to say howdy.
so the first is up and running, and it is gosh-darned cute, and we are putting the finishing touches on the next show, "smoky joe's cafe."
now. lots of singing, lots of dancing, but it takes place over the 50's and 60's, and like i said earlier this is an easy period to do- hell, there are plenty of patterns one can find that are being reprinted, and you can also always just go to a vintage store and buy something. that is, unless you have an extra large actress. an extra extra large actress. then it gets complicated.
there are no size 32 women's patterns, at least i don't think so. look at it this way: somebody with delta burke's body is like a 20 or 22, thereabouts. not huge, just pretty short and plump. okay. so a size 32 is a specialty pattern and garment. now times that amount of fabric and labor by 4, as that's how many costumes she wears, and you see the work. something i didn't realize before: one actress (and i must interject that this one is a great girl, lots of fun, amazingly talented, etc. etc. - i don't have a damn thing against her, but i wanted to let you non-stitchers know what we are talking about here, work wise and materials) can set us back 3 or 4 days, because you have to draft a pattern from her measurements, which takes time and skill, and then make a mock-up out of cheap material to fit on her before you start cutting the good fabric. then there are copious fittings and re-fittings, and then you are done. meanwhile you have a whole bunch of other people to take care of that you haven't because you have focused on this one girl.
now, that's just the way it is, it's not a big deal, it happens. but this has been a real lesson in what a set of specialty garments can do to a budget or a time constraint or one's sanity. we've used over 60 yards of fabric and half our budget for all of this (just her things), multiple spools of thread, etc. etc. and boy have i learned a lot about the basic mechanics and protocol of budgeting and constructing. another bonus: the actress has been a dream to work for too, no big crazy neuroses, no diva fits, no freaky actressy shit for us to deal with. she's a big girl, she knows it, she makes no excuses or apologies, she shows up on time and is enthusiastic, and lets us fiddle with her. thank god for that. one of her castmates was observed throwing a hissy fit and throwing her keys on a desk and storming out of a meeting... and honey, we aren't paid enough to deal with that shit. i almost hope she crosses me so i can let her know just how her things will fit if she acts the fool. (why i sound like a black woman there i don't know)
this west virginia thing is turning out alright, you know? i'm really getting a lot of skills and know-how; and i'm getting paid for it. whoopee!
p.s. a set of drapes takes less than 10 yards, and take no time to cut out. do the math.
Tuesday, June 18
tonight is the opening night of show #1, "forever plaid."
here is the official page of the show (from the new york cast, i guess), and it all sounds gee-whizzingly quaint and charming. i haven't seen any of it yet, as i don't like going to dress rehearsals unless i absolutely have to or i am designing the show and am expected to. when i acted i always wished people wouldn't come to our last rehearsals, because they were always horrific and tramautizing, and in no way reflected what the show was going to end up being like.
from where i sit right now in the lobby of the institution-style apartments i am living in i can see various cast and crew members scurrying in and out, bustling and cursing, trying to get to where they need to be when they need to be there... i'm glad we had it so easy on this one, as costuming the last 50 years is fairly simple... the 40's for women get tougher, but the 50's are a cinch. hell, you can just buy a simplicity pattern and make a damn petticoat. stick a poodle on a skirt and presto! you're edith head!
(and if you haven't read her breezy log-roller autobiography "dress doctor," you should. it's ridiculously complementary to her favorite stars and her studio. and who knew she was from a mining family in nevada?)
anyway, i'm off to shower, shave, and shit. the three s's, as my dad would say. showtime is an hour away and i don't have a thing to wear- literally. i need to do laundry. it's like i'm a freshman in college again, with my messy stinky-feeted roommates and all. but fun. i guess.
p.s. did i tell you i'm lonely, by the way? well i am. i miss my dog and my husband. sometimes in that order, sometimes not.
Sunday, June 16
west virginia mountain mama
when last we spoke i was preparing to go to sleep, as the girls with the car were going to be at the apartment at 5 in the morning, and we would make our merry way on to (of all the roundabout places) tulsa.
they show up to get me in a teeny tiny little kia sportage, and as they are girls, they have packed their entire houses in to body-bag-sized duffel bags. the plan is that i will somehow cram into the front seat (and if you'd like to get a sense of my...largeness, click on the "who am i?" link at left) and someone will lie on top of the luggage, one side of their body pressed into the ceiling of the car. that's right, no rearview mirror access, no blind spot access, and all while driving overnight in a teensy tin flip-over-prone deathtrap.
amazed at their goofy girly "pack the whole fucking apartment" ways, i back out. on the spot. i had gone into the house to get my pillow and then got the the bright idea to look up bus fares on greyhound. they were cheap, and so i told the girls to go without me. they bid me adieu, i went back into the house and went to sleep; oh, but first i called my mom and told her i could go with her to dallas and get her moved in to her new place. she was ecstatic, as i knew she would be, as she is moving away from our hometown for the first time in nearly 30 years and is starting over with a new house, career, and life. and single, too. so i knew she would need a little moral support, and thanks to the overstuffed kia i now had the chance to assuage a little mommy-induced guilt about not being able to help her move. so.
she picked me up and off we drove. we had a great visit in the car and 4 hours later arrived at her new place, which was/is pretty humble and in need of a major fix-up. luckily, my mom is excellent at these sorts of challenges, somehow charming anyone and everyone to help her knock out walls and re-wire rooms cheaply and quickly. that girl has skills at making dumpy houses into dreamy digs. and so it went, for three days we worked and worked on that little house, i tore down cabinets and bric-brac trim and yucky blinds and treatments, she called utilites and wrote checks. and then that wednsday her blood pressure spiked and i had to rush her to the emergency room. she had had a combination blood-pressure/panic-attack, and she got woozy and her vision was blurry. it finally hit home for her, i think: she was on her own, for the first time in forever. new bank account, bills, address, phone, etc. and nobody, not even someone she didn't like, lived in her house with her. in a town 11 hours north of our family home.
well, she was fine. checked her out and got her to bed. but it scared the fuck out of me. it was the first "old lady" thing she has done around me, the first illness i'd seen. and this is on the heels of seeing, for the first time, my grandmother use her respirator one evening after dinner. it shook me up, anyway. guess what? the two women i love the most will one day die. hadn't thought about it, but i got a double-dose this last month. anyway, everybody is fine.
friday morning my friend steven took me to the greyhound terminal in downtown dallas. it was 8:45. we said goodbyes, and went and stood in what would be the first of many tedious and confusing lines. we were herded out to the buses and made to line up squeezed between two of them, getting our belongings filthy from road dirt and nearly choking on the exhaust fumes and gas smell. finally we were allowed on, and i got my own seat.
i'd like to tell you the whole story, but it's too long. i had every intention of describing every freaky traveller, every loud-mouthed white trash drunk, every gutter-talking single mom, every american stereotype that somehow ended up on the series of never-ending buses that i was trapped on for 33 hopeless hours. the smells, the sights, all of them burned into me forever. it was truly unpleasant and somewhat traumatic. i heard the words "fuck" and "shit" and "nigger" used so many times in that two days that they seemed to become normal conversation, like how one would talk to the president or the queen. like the lexicon had changed, and that there were new rules to follow, and the world was run by rednecks and welfare frauders. god, it was horrible. but i'm not telling the story.
so i finally arrived late that saturday.
it's great here, i like my job, and i like my roommates. this is like summer camp for grown ups, only there is the usual pointless high-drama bullshit that comes inevitably with big groups of theatre people. ::sigh:: how i hate that. already reputations are being trashed, gossip is being spread, crew heads are dissing other departments, etc. etc., and so i'm back to a new normal again. only this one is run by homosexuals and fuelled by petty jealousy and neurotic insecurity.
and so it goes.
i've missed you guys, and if you are in the neighborhood drop me a line! i'll see you new yorkers in a few months, and be prepared:
i'll need to get laid.
Sunday, June 2
so the bags are packed.
it's late, i'm tired, and i have to goodbye-screw my boyfriend.
i want to go to bed, as the girls will be here to get me at 5 a.m.
i'm just moved in, and now i'm leaving for 3 months.
i'll keep you all updated as to where i am over the next week when i can get access... but i'll be on the road until next saturday- i think tulsa oklahoma is stop number one. see? hi-glamour.
i'll miss you guys, and send me an email!
okay, i have to try and make this thing stick up.