My Current Conundrum

How do I as a set designer walk a fine line on a set where bad painting might be appropriate to the location, and yet not make it look like bad scenic painting? If the setting that I am emulating would naturally be the site of some bad faux finishes, or bad decorative paint treatments, and I mimic that, will it just look like bad scenery? That's my question for today. Thoughts?

Chicken Liver

I stopped tonight at a very famous restaurant. Well... the front facade is famous anyway. It's Tom's Diner, the location used for the exterior shots of Monk's on Seinfeld. When I went in I had a look at the specials board and saw a dish that seemed... well... impossible? inedible? Unlikely, to say the least. A chicken liver omelet. Now, as a good southern boy I've eaten my share of chicken liver, and of course I've eaten plenty of omelets, but together? I suppose scrapple, (or livermush as we call it down south) is a liver product served with eggs, so there is a precedent.. but still... I couldn't stomach the idea of it. Is this a common dish? Has anyone ever tried it?

How It Went

How today was supposed to go: A quick drive up to the Ivoryton Playhouse to meet about the production of Steel Magnolias I am designing for them, then a leisurely drive back, doing a bit of geocaching along the way.

What was ACTUALLY involved: A missed road that sent me 40 miles out of the way and put me over the mileage limit on my ZipCar, meaning that I'll have to pay extra. A traffic jam that compounded the lost time from the bad turn and put me at my meeting 20 minutes late. A torrential downpour that only seemed to worsen every time I pulled over in the vicinity of a cache. ANOTHER missed road that dumped me into horrid Cross Bronx Expressway traffic as opposed to the much more leisurely and less used Hutchison River Parkway. It wasn' a pleasant day to be me.

Photo Phriday

I figure I've been mentioning my "inspiration wall" so often frequently that I ought to show it to you. These items have been collecting for literally decades. Some I consider to art themselves, some I keep because they make me want to make art. Some just make me happy.


Thought you might like a little look at the show that I've been working on for the past few weeks. It wasn't enormously reliant on my crafty side since I only got to make one costume piece. This was a modern play so it was all about shopping, and finding the correct pieces to streamline the design. Even with purchased clothes, it's all about tracking down just the right shirt, in just that shade of brown... the things that make a color story over the course of the show. Fr instance in this particular show my idea was that everyone would start in very clean, springy, pastels, and as the show progressed the color would drain away and be replaced with greys, browns, blacks... everyone would be dark and drab by the end.

The one piece I got to make was this fast food uniform top. The character works at the "Burger Barn." It was fun tracking down the worst, gnarliest polyester possible and then crafting it into a fast food inspired, low rent western shirt.

The show is getting... well... not so great reviews, but it was an enormous amount of fun to work on. The cast was great as well, though there were some challenges, like trying to figure how to clothe a size 00, 4'9" woman in lawyerly power suits.

I'm costuming a few shows at the children's theatre where I frequently work this year, and I'm looking forward to that. I usually get to sew a lot more for those productions, and create much more creative pieces.

A Collage

Monday evening I had a rare few minutes (these days at least) where i wasn't doing anything. The past few weeks I've been so swamped, projects ending, projects beginning, friends in town, traveling... and it doesn't seem like it is going to let up until sometime in September or October.

My desk had a pile of ephemera and papers that I had pulled out from various places while moving and rearranging my household life, including some stuff off of my "Inspiration Wall" and some things that were stacked on my table waiting for a home to be found. I noticed a common theme to the items that were in front of me, (in my mind at least) so I decided to make a little collage piece out of it.

Meeting Doodle

This is what I do during lengthy production meetings.

Another Degree Closer

From Vinnie in my comments regarding the 9 to 5 musical: "My friend Lisa is in the show. In fact, she is meeting Miss Dolly today, right now probably as I'm typing this."

Do you realize what this means? I am two degrees closer to Dolly Parton!! Previously I was 4 degrees from Dolly. Now I am just 2!

Me-->Vinnie Costa
Vinnie--> Lisa
Lisa--> Dolly

2! Two! TWO!!!1! Two degrees!

Ex-Files: Casefile 005

File: 005
Category: Dating
Met: CCC, Spartanburg, SC
"L" Word: No
Age Differential: He-22, Me-19
Significance: Slight
Reason for Break-up: Casual relationship, ended in friendship

History: Ex 005 was not a true "boyfriend," he and I had a lengthy flirtation and romance that ended up not going very far. I do, however, credit him with a lot in my learning curve of relationships. 005 and I were frequent customers at the only gay bar in Spartanburg, SC (at the time), and we spent nearly two years orbiting each other, flirting, occasionally dating and casually connecting. We spent one summer as a "couple" but were never serious about being together. 005 was the first relationship I had ever been in were I was not intent on being "in love" or making a permanent commitment of some sort. 005 taught me how to loosen up about relationship matters, and relax into "dating."

Current Status: Unknown. No social networking site turns up any information.

Photo Phriday

Is this:
A) The entrance to a REALLY underground nightclub?
B) The murder scene of a fairy?
C) The secret entrance to the Con-Ed Gay and Lesbian Center?


9 to 5 musical, book by the original author of the movie...

Completely new songs by Dolly...

Allison Janney as Violet...

ACK!!! It doesn't open until April!!! (Go watch here.)

Random Sketch

I've had a photo (actually several) of this guy on my "inspirations" bulletin board for years. I figured it was time to actually draw him.


Tried my hand at sketching Ted today. It wasn't easy. First, he isn't a "still" cat. Second... he's entirely black, so getting a likeness is... harder. These were very quick brush pen sketches, while he was being as still as he usually gets.

Speaking of Ted, this is his new favorite toy, a length of blue polyester rope that was in our camping gear. he pulled it out during the move and has been carrying it all over the house, tucking it into random corners and chewing on it. I have NO idea why he is so interested in it.

July 12 of 12

The 12th has come around again, so it is time for my participation in Chad Darnell's 12 of 12.
I've been doing lots oflate nights and long days to get a show that I was costuming finished, (on top of my regular work week) so I slept in a bit this morning. This is Sarah admonishing me for my laziness.

Some breakfast in bed courtesy of Kid Flash. A raisin bagel with walnut cream cheese.

The show went into previews yesterday, so I should only have a few notes here and there this week in order to finally get it on it's feet. Today's task is to make a hat band for a cowboy hat. I had a bandanna tied around the hat but the actor thought it was meant to go around his neck so he removed it and wore it that way. The director thought it was funny, so that left the hat bare.

On the way downtown I pass one my favorite fixtures in my new neighborhood, the sidewalk wig vendor.

When I arrived at the theatre I found that I had mistimed it and got there just as the matinee was starting so KF and I went down the street to see Wall E.

After the movie I went back to the theatre and fixed the hat.

A little lunch at Better Burger. They serve their fries with three ketchups, plain, chili, or curry and coriander.

An NYC view crossing 42nd Street.

On the subway on the way back to my neighborhood after doing a bit of shopping. Picked up season 3 of the Muppet Show, and a few books... shopped for a new shower curtain, but no luck. KF and I can't agree on a style, unfortunately.

We also stopped by the local grocery to pick up a watermelon.

My new neighborhood. I've been here less than a month, but it seems like so much longer.

Chopping the watermelon for our evening snack.

Subway Sketches Part CCXVII

Blog update: I restored my template tonight to a stored version that I have. That seems to have cleared up the problem of allowing me to make new posts, images and all. Now I just need to get the 4 posts that I have in limbo unstuck and I'll be back on track...

Blogger Ex-Lax?

Okay... so it has been brought to my attention that I haven't posted in a few days... which came as a surprise to me, because I HAVE! It seems that when I started the new blog and made the requisite changes to my profile, etc. I must have messed something up. Any post I make that has an image in it (sort of an essential for me) shows up in my archives as posted, but doesn't show up online. I have a note in to Blogger tech, but no reply beyond the automated one yet. For the time being I am still posting them as usual, and hoping that they will eventually make it out to the web as per normal. I am also considering doing a restore of the blog, pasting back in all my old settings and things that I have stored... Sorry.

Goodwill Quickie

Just a quickie that I scribbled out in the Goodwill store today while I was on the phone with my director. I am costuming a show that opens at the end of next week and I was running around all morning shopping for the last few pieces that I need. I'm trying to use this opportunity to get more in the habit of everyday sketching than I usually am.

Blog News

ITEM! I have started another blog. It will all be explained on the first post over there, but it has to do with this post that I made a few months ago. You can find my newest endeavor here.

ITEM! I was mentioned on io9 (the science fiction blog from Gawker) today. One of their writers spotted my tour of the Marvel Universe shots in my flickr feed, the ones that I made back when I was writing for MetBlogs and wrote the article about the real world locations of Marvel Buildings.

ITEM! Artwork to follow shortly, (in case you wondered where it was.)

Photo Phriday

Happy 4th Everyone! I spent part of the day downtown rolly skatering. Maybe someday I'll be good enough to play in the derby.

That Other Logo

While I'm on the subject of logos I'll post this one as well. These are the two logos that I created for the Metro New York Geocaching Society. I had actually originally submitted them as two separate ideas to be chosen between but the group decided that they liked them both so we are keeping both in use. The building/tree logo has gone through a half dozen variations, trying to make it look "more NY." The hiker logo is pretty much the way it was on the day that I submitted it, with the notable exception of swapping sides on the buildings and trees.

If you want to see some of the multitudinous variations of this you can check out my flickr stream. (Oh, and apologies to anyone who has already seen these over there!)

Evolution of a Logo

The Gotham Girls Roller Derby Jeerleaders are a tireless bunch who do an amazing amount to support the players, so a month or two back when they contacted me and requested that I redesign their logo I was very happy to do so. Artwork has proven to be my best contribution to the derby league to date, plus they were looking for something in the style of a vintage tattoo, which is a style I like but have never worked in, so it gave me a challenge.

My initial round of sketches looked like this:
They liked the top right best. I liked the top left. I turned out that what they liked best was the circle, because it echoed the actual GGRD logo the best, so I went back to do another round of sketches, hoping to convince them of my choice.

Combining the circle with my favorite body position, as well as a few variations based on requests that they had made produced these sketches:

After that we were all in agreement, my body shape and position, with the circle. So I tightened up the sketches a bit and started looking at text treatments. There was also the question of the clothing, the one on the left being my fantasy version, and the one on the right being their actual uniform, with Chucks and fishnets.

It was agreed that the fishnets were the way to go so we moved on to looking at color and the text. GGRD uses the stencil font as their font of choice, but I wanted to try a tattoo lettering style font to see how that worked.

The tattoo lettering won the day, and after a few more minor alterations we arrived at the final version of their new logo:

The girls wasted no time in getting it disseminated either, it is already up on their webpage, and for sale on t-shirts!

Subway Sketches Part CCXVI

Art Month is underway! So... normally I may not have posted this sketch, it is a bit rougher than what I would normally post, mainly because I spent a really like time working out her mouth. She spent the whole train ride chewing the inside of her left cheek, and contorting her mouth dramatically. It was a difficult thing to sketch, and I'm still not sure I captured it because I doubt you'd have known what was happening without me telling you. But that's the magic of Art Month!