Sunday, March 28, 2010

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ziggy before & after

James has been finishing his dissertation, and with me it's been one Glitter Emergency emergency after another. Certain household chores have been neglected, like grooming the dog.

This became intolerable after two people in one week shared their opinion that Ziggy was getting fat.

A few days ago Ziggy's Andis Easy Clip Clipper Kit arrived in the mail and last night, while James was preparing to be in Kevin Clarke's completely amazing Space Oddity number at Trannyshack, I put Ziggy on the kitchen table and gave him a haircut.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Glitter Emergency Part II: I am full of fire and music

Monday, first day of shooting for The Glitter Emergency, began at dawn and ended many agonies and ecstasies later. Here are some of the results:

Paul Festa as Stringendo in THE GLITTER EMERGENCY
Music by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Queericulum and the Glitter Emergency concentration

With the Center for Sex and Culture, the congenitally glittery boys and girls over at Comfort & Joy - a Burning Man camp that spreads playa dust (the good kind) throughout the year in SF - is hosting a daylong series of classes and parties tomorrow (Saturday March 13) that include a seminar that can help you get your Glitter Emergency fashion together in time for our big shooting party which is this coming Thursday March 18th at the Supperclub. Capping the day of classes is the ultimate extracurricular activity - the Queericulum Glitter Prom. I'll be the one in seven-inch silver glitter platform boots. They just came in today's mail. You are going to die when you see them.

Queericulum details here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Glitter Emergency Part I: How to glitterbomb a violin

Sorry for vanishing - I've been in preproduction for a new film. It's called The Glitter Emergency and it combines elements of silent film, music video, dance film and drag number, set to the second and third movements of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto performed by yours truly, live or canned. The video storyboard, which describes what happens in every measure, is posted to the Glitter Emergency Website.

There's much to write about the film but this first post is reserved for a photo series on how to decorate the violin of a mephistophelean superhero, in this case named Stringendo.

Step #1: Hit pawn shop on Mission and plunk down $80 for Chinese violin, bow, case, crumbling cheap-ass rosin, Suzuki Method Vol. 1 and pad of manuscript paper.

If violin is cheap enough, you should be able to do your make-up in reflection.

Step #2: Strip violin of pegs, strings, bridge, tailpiece, fine-tuners, and tailpiece. Get your sandpaper ready.

Step #3: Summon all the frustration you ever felt learning the instrument, and sand.

Step #4: If you intend to play the violin after makeover, protect the fingerboard and neck with painting tape.

Step #5: Hang the violin in a well-ventilated area.

Step #6: Blast Prince in well ventilated area, shaking paint can for two minutes after rattle engages.

Step #7: Spray away.

Numerous light coats work best and prevent unsightly drips.

Step #8: Figure out something fancy for the ribs. Decide on a piece of holographic contact paper you have not quite enough of, and turn San Francisco upside-down in search of comparable replacement. Six hours later, give up.

Step #9: Consider alternatives.

Step #10: Despair.

Step #11: Put violin aside in frustration and paint bow. Protect horsehair in Ziplock baggie.

Step #12: Remembering theme of your movie, drizzle fine glitter onto wet silver-glitter acrylic paint.

Step #13: Repeat for bow.

Step #14: Repeat for scroll.

Step #15: Repeat for bridge.

Step #16: Glue rhinestones to purfling.

Step #17: Replace parts and have a photo shoot.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Flossie Lewis in print!

Susan Sanford's illustration for Flossie Lewis's essay in The East Bay Monthly

For those of us who studied English with Flossie Lewis as high school or college students in the Bay Area, and who read her published short fiction (in Commentary among other places) and writing how-to book (Getting Engaged: Falling in Love with your Paper), it's a welcome rare event to see the master in print. It just happened - Flossie's in the January edition of The East Bay Monthly. I didn't catch this early enough to get a copy on newsstands, but her essay - an affecting sensory snapshot of her daily life in Oakland, where she's been living for the past few years, in a retirement community called Piedmont Gardens - is online here.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Alef Ayin and John Hilinski, as fellow tragedians, as two smiling accomplices, friends, courtiers - two spies (photo credit: Calvin Jung)

I haven't posted for a while, mostly in the interest of keeping quiet how farcically "365 consecutive days of uninterruptible bliss" has fallen short (because whoever you are, you are not my therapist). The only uninterruptible thing about this year has been my work schedule, editing video and doing archival research for the Rapt Productions theater documentary by day and going straight from there, most days, to rehearsals for the TheatreFIRST production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which opened this past weekend and runs through Valentine's Day. Rehearsals were at Berkeley Rep School of Theater, performances are at the black-box theater in the Fox Theater building in Oakland, Rapt is 6 blocks up Telegraph from there, so James and have found our usual whereabouts precisely reversed, with me calling him from across the bay or cutting out under it, and him at home with the doggy.

Andrew Hurteau as The Player pops out of a trunk aboard ship in Act III - behind him, on the ladder, is Harold Pierce as Hamlet (photo: CJ)

The last time I worked with this director and several of the actors, also as a violinist with a small dramatic role, was in the North Bay Shakespeare Company's production of Twelfth Night in 2007. That was staged at the old stone amphitheater at Hamilton Airfield and was about as fun as a Shakespeare comedy with a great director and a brilliant and amiable cast in a public park sounds. Downtown Oakland isn't quite as much fun, and neither is doing a play while holding down a job. But working with this group - especially now that that rehearsal schedule is receding into memory - has bounced me out of the deep and narrow space where uninterruptible bliss was meant to be. To anyone in the market for a good antidepressant, may I recommend a small part in a good play - even one about death.

Kalli Jonsson as Rosencrantz (photo: CJ)

Stoppard is my favorite living playwright based primarily on my experience of one production of one play - The Real Thing, which I saw twice in London and once in New York several years ago. I'd only seen a videotape of R&G before doing this one and was very glad to get the opportunity to know the play from the inside out. The production is great, but don't take it from me - here's yesterday's Oakland Tribune review. (My pull-quote from the review: "funny...equipped.")

Kalli and Harold with TheatreFIRST artistic director
Michael Storm, as Guildenstern (photo: CJ)

R&G runs through Valentine's Day - Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30, Sunday at 2PM. It's a block from 19th St. BART and they're not checking IDs on the "under 30" pricing. More about the show and tickets here.

Graham Patzner and Paul Festa as tragedians as Player Queen and Player King (photo: CJ)

Left to right: G. Randall Wright (tragedian), Siobhan Doherty (Ophelia), George Killingsworth (Polonius), Graham, Chiron Alston (Claudius), Kalli and Michael (photo: CJ)

My own pix from rehearsals:

Natasha Noel (Gertrude)

Michael and Aleph