Saturday, July 13, 2019

"Wig school" was so much fun!

DePaul University's Theater dept. offers a week-long wig styling & maintenance class, which I attended at the end of June.  There were only 7 of us, plus 2 students who worked in the university wig shop and were assisting the instructors.

I was a little intimidated to learn that I was the only amateur in the class.  Everyone else was a theater professional, most of them in some aspect of costuming (cutter, draper, wardrobe) who wanted or needed to learn about wigs because they sometimes got tapped for "wig duty" for one show or another.  Two of us had also taken the wig-making class taught the week before.  I might consider taking it in some future year, but for now this was plenty.

They showed us SO MUCH!  The size curls you get from different rollers, ways to color a wig (temporarily or permanently), how to wash a wig, how to wear and clean the lace on lace-front wigs, how to do your own wefts, how to do fingerwaves, and so much more.  Most of our time, however, was spent on styling wigs - setting the styles, drying them, brushing them out, then styling them.  I wasn't terribly successful - only got 2 right on my first try - but I took a lot of notes on what I didn't like and how to fix it, which is probably more helpful.

It was very productive, in that sense - we each styled at least 5 wigs in just 5 days' time:  an 18th-century man's wig, a modern man's wig, and at least 3 add'l styles (1940s, 1640s, and pre-Raphaelite for me).  I took so many pictures that I actually maxed out the data usage on my phone, for the first time since I got it 3 years ago.

Now I want to re-do some of the wigs I styled for my spring shows - the 1920s curls would look better, the 1780s "hedgehog" wigs would be bigger, bushier, and generally better.  As for the Duke's buckles, well, my first lesson was to use yak hair instead of the slippery, silky, static-y stuff on the wig I was trying to work with.  (Those side curls were the bane of my existence - I had to reset them for every performance!)

Gimme a period show to style, somebody, please!  I'm itching to use all my newfound knowledge! 😁

Another lovely birthday bash

Several years ago we learned that my former pastor and the Chief both have July birthdays, so we started having joint birthday parties.  Sometimes it was just the 3 of us, sometimes more; sometimes we grilled, or cooked in, and last year we experimented with having an Italian place cater it.  (Not bad, but not as good as we'd hoped.)  This year the Chief decided he wanted to host a group for lunch at the Italian place.

Today 10 of us assembled at noon and filled up a round table, so we could all face each other.  The restaurant serves groups of 8+ family style.  This meant that we chose a salad, an appetizer, 2 pasta dishes, 2 meat dishes, and 2 desserts for the table to share.  They brought out 2 plates of each item, with the salad & appetizer coming out together, and starting around the table.  We quickly found that passing the dishes around, and "who wants the last stuffed mushroom?" or "anyone want more lasagna?" only added to the fun.

Not only were we celebrating the 2 birthdays, but 2 of our number were newlyweds, adding to the fun.  M, who's a talented photographer, got pictures of everyone on her phone, including the plate of pretty little cookies w/ lit tapers anchored in a strawberry, presented to each of the birthday boys.

The service was leisurely, which was just fine - we had a group that didn't get to gather nearly often enough, and the new groom was new to most of us, so we had time to get past introductions.

What a wonderful way to pass nearly 3 hours on a perfect summer afternoon - the day was not too hot, the humidity was (finally) low, and there was a nice breeze.  The Chief is already talking about what he wants to do next year - go back to this restaurant, find a different one, or do something here at the house?

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Practicing theatrical owies

The director for this show wants 3 of the characters to look a bit the worse for wear when they make their entrance at the end of Act II (they've been in prison).  To practice that makeup, I gave myself a black eye last night.  Not as realistic as it could be, but not bad for a first effort.
Tools of the trade

You should see the other guy! 😁

Saturday, June 01, 2019

What a semester it's been!

It's been a very busy semester musically.  The MT workshop did 2 cabarets and performed at the university's annual "open house" (every department pulls out the stops to entertain and advertise to family, friends, neighbors, and more).  The concert choir sang a world premiere with one orchestra the week before spring break (good thing my boot was "concert black"), then sang with a 2nd orchestra at the end of the semester, including a performance at CARNEGIE HALL!!!

I learned a lot, sang a lot, and generally had a good time.  Good thing I only took those 2 classes or it would have been a lot more stressful.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More crocuses!

Maybe because the winter has been SO wet, my crocuses seem to have generated more new ones than usual this spring.  I even have some yellow "volunteers" in the tomato bed, several yards from where I've had any even last year.  Looks like I'll be doing some separating come fall. 

While I'm at it, I may plant some snowdrops too, so I'll have flowers that much sooner.

New "shoes"

I have new "shoes" as of last week


I've been dealing w/ plantar's fasciitis since at least December, but a coupla weeks ago it was getting worse.  (Dancing a cachucha barefoot in Gondoliers' Act II probably didn't help.)  My GP sent me to a podiatrist, who told me that, in addition to the plantar's fasciitis, I have 3 inflamed metatarsals.  Who knew bones could become inflamed?!?  Anyway, left untreated, the periostitis could become a stress fracture!  He sent me home in the boot on the left. and told me to get the night splint on the right in the pic.  I have to wear the night splint to bed, to keep my foot flexed and stretch the plantar's fascia.  Yes,  it's as uncomfortable as it looks.  I've been wearing it since Friday night, but only last night did I finally get the straps adjusted so they're tight enough to keep the thing on but not so tight they dig into my foot.  Next goal - sleeping through the night.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

MT workshop has only met twice and I'm already learning a lot

The Musical Theater Workshop I'm taking this semester meets once a week for a 3-hour class period.  We've only met twice so far, but already I'm getting a new perspective on auditioning and performing an audition piece, and about how I need to rethink both.

I've sung in choirs and choruses on and off, but mostly on, since grade school.  That's a LOT of singing, but no instruction on technique.  It wasn't until I was fairly well established in my career, and had done community theater with a lot of excellent singers, that I decided I both wanted and could afford to take voice lessons.  Over the ensuing coupla decades, most of those lessons have been remedial work - unlearning all the bad habits I developed because a choir director doesn't have time to correct singers' vocal production techniques.  Only recently have I gotten to be a singer, not just someone who likes singing.

This class has already shown me that I've spent so much time working and concentrating on my technique that I focus on that when I sing, whether in performance or audition.  They don't care about my technique (unless it's awful, of course); they want to hear me put my heart & soul into what I'm singing, bring it to life.  A pretty voice is all well & good, but directors want to cast someone who inhabits the music.  Now that I realize that, I need to work on trusting my technique to take care of itself while I learn how to really deliver a song.

Cancer, the serial killer, is at it again

Not only is the Chief undergoing treatment for cancer, but a friend's MIL has a stage-4 diagnosis, and another friend at church was recently diagnosed and will soon start chemo.  One of her daughters, also a church friend, lost her husband to cancer just a few years ago, so she's having a particularly difficult time of it.

Last week, a couple we know who for the past decade or more have done fund-raiser bike rides for cancer research came to the show I was teching.  (She's a cancer survivor.)  I shared about how VERY many people the Chief & I know who have had cancer, and how many we've lost to it.  "Kill it with fire!  Bury it with a mouthful of garlic and several stakes through its heart!"

This is the first January in 3 or 4 years when we haven't attended a funeral.  When I start to think of all the people I've known who've dealt with cancer, I keep thinking of more - there are SO MANY.  😢

Wow, it's been a while!

Let's see, what's been keeping me busy?

  1. overlapping shows since October
  2. the news that the Chief's cancer is back
  3. dealing with all his pre-treatment tests and assessments
  4. a relatively last-minute decision to host another Christmas open house, once we knew the Chief's medical schedule
  5. a quick trip to visit my family over the weekend between Christmas and New Year's
  6. a show that loaded in the first weekend in January
  7. rehearsal and design work for my late-February show
  8. TONS of pre-class homework for my musical theater workshop
Yep, been busy lately.