Of-Ficer Krup-Ke

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Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Krup you!


My life is often ruled by coincidence, I understand this, my friends laugh and shake their head about it, but everyone eventually comes to realize that the laws of probability break down around me.

Case in point: About four years ago I purchased a t-shirt, with the intentions of it being a "paint shirt," because I often have to paint my own sets. I found a shirt at Goodwill from the "Miss Chatahoochee" beauty pageant. I bought it because I used to live fairly close to the Chatahoochee River, and because I found it funny that there would be a beauty pageant with the word "Hoochie" in the name. On the back of the shirt is the name of the winner, a Miss Katie Scarlett Lawson.

Today in line for lunch one of the resident company actors says: "Oh my God! You know Miss Lawson?!" It took me a minute to register what the hell he was talking about, but we eventually got around to him telling me that this woman, Miss Katie Scarlett Lawson, was his drama teacher in High School. Someone MUCH better than me at statistics needs to tell me the odds on a shirt that is over 4 years old bearing the name of a random woman being purchased and removed almost 900 miles from the point of purchase being worn and then seen by the only other person in that 900 mile radius that knows who the hell she is.

I bet they are pretty high.

Country Sketchin' III

Country Sketchin' III
Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
I haven't had the time for a good sketch recently, so I apologize to those of you who visit me expressly for that purpose.

Regardless here's one that I did this afternoon when I was procrastinating on doing sketches for the next show. Enjoy!

Fun with Photoshop

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
A little before & after look at the two sets.

The New Set

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
Well... actually the old set, just with a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture and stuff. This one will be up for four more performances until it comes down, (and likely goes to the bonfire) to make way for the first of the musicals!

(Thanks to Lighting Designer Mike for the photo.)

A Short Play

Dramatis Personae
Equity Actor- A tall and classically handsome man with a shocking resemblance to Clark Kent.
Scenic Designer- A cute (but modest) man with a complete inability to figure out when someone is flirting with him.

The Scene
In line for the dish sink after dinner at a summer stock theatre.


Scene 1

Equity Actor:
The set looks great.

Scenic Designer:
Thanks! I'm sorry I didn't make it to opening night, I was up until 4 this morning painting that wallpaper pattern so I crashed.

That's okay, Thanks for all your hard work, I'm sure there are other things you'd rather have been doing at 4am.

SD: I can think of a few...

EA: Well, don't worry, I'm still in town for another week.

....< blink, blink >...

EA: See you at the party tomorrow?

SD: Uhm, yeah.


Blurred Lines

Have you ever wondered what happens when you are working summerstock and they are short a few actors and the only available people to play the cranky police officer are 16 year old high school kids? Well! Wonder no more, because I can now tell you exactly what happens... the scenic designer gets recruited.

Just call me Officer Krupke.

Thank the stars I don't have to sing.

A Geek-boy Call Out

Can anyone tell me where to find the food on level three of the original Castlevania game for Nintendo? I'm sure SOMEONE out there knows.

Trout Parade

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Last saturday I participated in the time honored tradition of... The Trout Parade. There is a (very) small town here that gets a huge chunk of revenue from fly fishing and every year when the season opens they celebrate with a little festival and a parade. The parade lasts for a whopping 5 blocks, and the theatre was one of 20 entries in the parade, but it was still fun to march down the streets in celebration of fish. Fish Pride! (Sorry... I was having a moment there...) The stuffed fish in the shot ended up strapped to the front of Bohb's (formerly mentioned ATD) motorcycle, which was towing a small float featuring "Ms. Scene Shop." It was one of those moments where you had to get into the spirit, or feel silly, so I got into the spirit, what can I say? The actors mostly felt silly and left as quickly as they could after the parade ended, but a few of the techs stayed around and had some fun. We ate some really bad chinese (a welcome change after weeks of cold cuts for lunch) and went down to the local stream to try our hand at fishing for a few minutes. There weren't enough rods for me to get any casting in, but I did jump around on the rocks in the stream for a while, with the one lone (and TERRIBLY cute) actor type who had stayed behind for the fun. It was one of those great days that you can only really have in small town America.

The Set

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Michelle, (best friend extraordinaire) has chastised me for not posting the promised set shot, so here it is, finally. Quite a bit different from before, huh? This set is shared by the next show as well, so it will be repainted, have the mouldings redone, and some other touches added to make it different. After this... it's on to the musicals!

A Dream Fulfilled

Long ago, when I was but a wee lad, and unaware that I was gay, or that sex even existed really, I had a crush on three women. Female celebrities, all of whom are icons in their own way. Dolly Parton, who is the sole female love of many a gay man, Lynda Carter, the very beautiful Wonder Woman, also a fav among the gay set, and Loretta Swit the inimitable Hot Lips Houlihan of M*A*S*H fame. (Since growing up and firming up my sexuality I now know that Helen Slater is the only woman for me, but she doesn't figure into this story.)

Tonight I met one of them. I won't say which, but I will say that it wasn't Dolly, because I'd still be too freaked out to mention it if it had been, and frankly I just can't see her ever showing up here, so you have a 50/50 shot of guessing who it was. She arrived to the theatre early, being a friend of the producer, and I was introduced to her as she sat before the show. She was very gracious, and complimented the set, and spoke with some enthusiasm about the shows that are coming later in the season and how much she is looking forward to what I might do with them. After we exchanged pleasantries she excused herself to go to the bar, but as she passed... well... I'm not sure what it was intended to be... she grasped my upper arm in the way that you when you are encouraging someone or congratulating them on a job well done, but then she... well... I think she patted my ass. Mind you, I'm not sure, and it may have been entirely accidental, but there was some sort of contact in the gluteal region.

I can now die just a touch happier.

One Down

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

This boys and girls, is what a finished show looks like. Those were the extent of my notes after tech rehearsal yesterday, half a page of a small legal pad. I finished them in half an hour this morning. the show opens tonight, the producers are thrilled with the set, (even though I am pleased only to the extent that I think it is the best we could do within the budget and other constraints we are working under) and I am ready to move on and start tackling the musicals that will dominate the rest of the summer.

Playtime's Over

Tonight begins the true meat of the season. The first show opens on Tuesday, so the next few days is going to be lots of work. Tomorrow is load-in, which for this show is pretty minimal since the set has been built onstage. That will be different in the coming weeks when shows are already running and the set is being built elsewhere. Monday is tech, which is the day devoted to the rehearsal of the technical aspects of the show, costumes, sound, lighting, set movement etc. So everything has to be finished in the next two days. The set is basically done, except for the painting, which unfortunately is pretty much up to me. There are no other scenic painters on the crew. I expected that, but it is still a shock to the system to know that the last few things have been base painted and that I just sent the crew to bed so that I could continue to work without the distraction of having to show them things and supervise them. There's lots to be done. At the moment I am waiting for the base of the floor to dry so that I can get back to work.

The set looks pretty amazing. I can't believe the transformation from the photo that I posted a few days ago. The production values that my technical director and I are instilling on these productions is quite a bit higher than what we have witnessed from the scenery that has been left behind. It should be a really good season. (And yes, I'll post a new photograph later).

Let's Do The Time Warp

I was shocked today to realize that I have only been here a week. When M moved to New York he quite often remarked at how much faster time moved there than where he had moved from. I never really thought very much about it, mostly because I was already in the time slip I guess. Here time moves MUCH slower than in NYC, slower than anywhere I have ever been frankly. A day really takes 24 hours to get past. Part of it may be that I am in the same place for all 24 of those hours. NYC is all about motion, the train, the sidewalks, the traffic, everything is in motion. Here I eat, sleep, work, and play in the same place. My sense of movement has been severely stunted. The furthest I tend to go is to Wal-Mart or Home Depot, a spare 12 miles or so away. At this pace 3 months is going to take a whole year to crawl by. Things will pick up for me in the next few days as the first set gets closer to being done and my part of the work, the painting and set dressing, begins more in earnest.

Country Sketchin' Part II

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
All around the theatre there are these large outcroppings of rocks that pop out of the ground in the oddest places. they make great places to sit and look at the stars though.

Some Interesting Statistics

The resident company of actors consists of 16 people, 9 boys and 7 girls.

Median age is 20.

There is one African-American actor.

The girls are 50/50 blonde and brunette, with one redhead for good measure.

There is one straight male (and frankly there are doubts about that one).

If you rank the company by bicep size the biggest is a male at 13 inches. The next 5 in rank are female.

The smallest waist in the company is 27.5 inches, and belongs to a guy.

The Top Ten Things

…That I Miss About the City, (That I Never Realized I Would)
10) Bagels
9) The ability to walk to almost any corner of almost any street and get food, or beer.
8) Multicultural faces
7) Starbucks
6) Living and working in two different places
5) Being able to go anywhere, without relying on begging a ride, or borrowing a vehicle
4) Having a reason to have keys in my pocket
3) That the dangers of walking alone somewhere at night do not includes bears
2) Ready and reliable sources of news
1) The distinct lack of bugs

…That I Love About The Country, (That I Had Forgotten Were So Great)
10) Driving
9) Watching deer walk across a field
8) (I apologize in advance for this, but…) Peeing outdoors
7) General wildlife, crickets, hummingbirds, chipmunks…
6) The smell of woodsmoke
5) The sound of rain on a tin roof
4) Watching a massive storm roll in over the tree-line
3) The color of spring leaves against a perfectly clear sky
2) True silence
1) The sheer volume of stars in the sky (Billions, and billions…)

As an interesting aside to these lists: I was sitting on the grounds today sketching and heard a bird that sounded distinctly like a car alarm. It seemed like the perfect synthesis of worlds.

A Little Peek

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Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
So there it is... the glorious stage that I will be bedecking for the next three months. What you see is the remnants of a set from last year that I am reassembling into the set for the first drama of this year. It's a bit of a "Frankenstein" job, but it will get the job done, and will look DRAMATICALLY different in a few days, just you wait.

This photo was taken by Bohb, the assistant technical director. Thanks Bohb!!

Quantum Shifting

The Actors arrived today, (yes, you have to Capitalize it). So the shift into actual production mode begins, rehearsals start on Tuesday, and a fast short 12 days from now the first show opens. (SCARY!)

With the arrival of the actors many things besides the focus of the work shifts. The actors mean that the "pretty people" have arrived as well. Anyone who has ever been involved in theatre from the technical side knows what I mean. There is a natural schism between the technical crew and the actors, stemming from centuries of tradition. I am sure that the guy who made the mask for the Greeks absolutely hated what some actor did with it, and that the guy who focused the gas jets footlights always wondered why the diva onstage couldn't manage to actually find her mark and get into the light. Actors are also inherently needy, I think it is part of what drives them to be onstage. This particular theatre asks that their resident actors aid the tech crews, in fact for the next two days they will be ours, cleaning the theatre... carrying lumber... so they will get a taste of what we are going through. They also have a lot of work of their own, besides the shows that they act as ensemble in, they perform in children's plays and cabarets.

There is also a sharp upturn in the intrigue and drama with this new addition. The summer stock hook ups begin, the interaction that leads to confrontation begins. Don't get me wrong, the techs will have their share of this too before the summer ends, but there is something about actors that pushes the drama of any situation to its breaking point very rapidly. There are already bets going on the first hook ups that will happen, and of course debate about the gay/straight allegiances among the new arrivals. Those of course will get played out VERY quickly, I expect by tomorrow I'll know the entire sexual history of about half the acting crew.

So there it is... the real meat of the summer has begun. Let the drama begin!

Sister Blogging

My sister is leaving tomorrow for an adventure that I am quite jealous of. She has decided that a blog will be the best way for her to keep in touch with the family while she is gone, so head over there and follow her adventures too. She's a bit nervous about this whole thing so feel free to give her some encouragement.

Country Sketchin'

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Here's my first attempt at a sketch for my new location. This is a storage shed that sits at the back of the theatre's property. It has been quite a long time since I used watercolor for anything besides set rendering, so it is a little rough. I'm hoping to get plenty of practice in though, so I'll get my sea legs back.

Keepin Myself Entertained

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
Here I am, in the mountains of New York, literally cut off from the world. My cell phone doesn't work, I don't have internet access unless I drive 8 miles to the Equity Actor housing to use the wireless network there, there is no TV in my housing, and the radio gets three stations, none of which are at all attractive to me. The rest of the technical crew is of course in the same boat, so we have begun to find alternative forms of entertainment.

Drinking is of course an instant favorite. Tonight we had the first of what will probably be many poker games, (I was the first one out... turns out my 10's and Kings couldn't stand up to the three kings the other guy had).

Yesterday we spent the entire day cleaning out the remnants of scenery from previous years and the leftover bits of wood from the various shops. When the sun went down we engaged in that most primitive form of entertainment, The Bonfire. Why is it that we, as humans I mean, get so much enjoyment from this simple act of destruction? Simply sitting in a field on a slightly chilly night with a roaring fire was more than enough to keep us happy for a couple hours. Joking, and talking, and throwing wood and old hemp rope onto the fire was the height of entertainment. It was good, and we didn't even have marshmallows.

On Sunday the actors arrive and the atmosphere of the theatre will change drastically. For the last few days it has been technicians only, and everyone is easy-going and the camaraderie of a shared goal has kept us together. Actors bring in a new goal, and a new set of egos, and often a sense of competition with us. Somehow the idea that technicians and actors are actually working for the same end goal, and not competing never seems to occur to them. Maybe this group will be better, who knows?

In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions for how to pass the night in a technological black hole, with 15 theatre technicians, please let me know.

Country Livin'

I have arrived at my home for the next three months, a small room underneath the stage right wingspace of the theatre... yes, I sleep under the stage... you have to love small theatres. What can I tell you so far? Not much. Lots of mosquitos, some scary scenery left over from previous seasons, my brand new $200 cell phone gets worse reception than the cheapy free-with-plan cell that I had when I visited the theatre a few weeks back, and no... I haven't successfully gotten my laptop to use it as a modem yet. Right now I am using the wireless access point at the Equity actor housing, which is 8 miles from the theatre itself. I foresee this happening a lot.

Tomorrow starts the day, cleaning my office space so that I can actually begin drafting, sorting through old scenery to see what is useful. I fell better about it all than my friend Shima who is doing the costume designs for the first five shows. She is horrified by the state of the costume shop. I'm sure she'll adjust to it, but unlike me she had not seen the space prior to today so she didn't have the three week lead period of coming to grips with what was coming.

Sometime tomorrow though I will find time for a watercolor sketch. The vista off of the back of the theatre calls out for it.

Subway Sketches METAPOST: Farewell, NYC

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
As anyone who has been reading this blog knows I am leaving today for a lengthy season of doing summer theatre in the mountains. Sadly that means no more subway sketches for a while. I'll miss this activity, but daily sketching has become an important part of my life at this point. So, I don't know what I'll be sketching, or what I'll be posting for you guys, but rest assured that there will be SOMETHING on these pages in the months to come.

I will miss NYC, and my beloved A train, but I'll be back soon.

Subway Sketches Part XXVII

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

Subway Sketches Part XXVI

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
This guy fascinated me. He was so skinny and slight, but had an enormous turban bundling up his hair. I did the frontal view on the platform at 42nd street. I had to follow him around a bit since he was a "pacer" but I just HAD to get the sketch done. Then I made sure I got onto the same car with him so that I could get a side view, because I felt like you couldn't get a good idea of his turban from the front. It felt like stalker behavior, but I'm sure he never noticed, the train was pretty crowded and he was distracted by something, I could see it in his eyes.

Subway Sketches Part XXV

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

I'm going to do a mini sketch dump today, the last of my Subway sketches for a few months. Enjoy!

Apple Store Sketching II

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.
Without all of the movement keeping me from having a steady hand I decided that I should attempt a sketch with a new tool that I've been trying out, a Sakura Micron Brush Pen. I've done a few sketches with this pen in the past week or so, (but nothing that needs to be put out into the public). It will take some getting used to, Craig Thompson I'm not, but I enjoy the line I get with it, and the ability to get solid blacks, and more expressive strokes.

Apple Store Sketching

Originally uploaded by Iam2814sGL.

I spent a nice LOOOOOONG time at the Apple Store today, making further attempts to get my phone connected top my laptop. The basic update is that it is now working on the computer side, but I do not have the proper settings for the phone side, so I still have work to be done. I see some long phone calls with a Cingular rep in my future.

Of course while I was waiting I decided to get the sketchbook out. Of course there was a lot less bouncing and jerking around, so maybe this is closer to my "true" sketching... can you tell a difference?