Sunday, April 12, 2015

Twice-bought Dress

I used to have a lovely 1970s black dress.  If it wasn't a Gunne Sax, it looked like one.  Made of black crinkle cotton with black cotton lace trim, it had a square neckline and a flounce at the hem.  It was a bit long--everything was--so I hemmed up the flounce about six inches, which brought it up to my ankle.

I wore it a lot.  It was flattering, washable and just all sorts of awesome.  After a while, it began to look a little rusty, so I re-dyed it.  Chandra wore it for Halloween in 1989, when she was Scarlett O'Hara In Mourning.  I do have a picture of that, somewhere, so I shall have to scan it into the computer.

Eventually, styles changed, and I had nowhere to wear it after SSS and I split up, so I donated it to Goodwill.

Years later, shopping at a different Goodwill, I was perusing a huge round rack of such dresses, and came across it.  I was a bit taken aback, thinking it was an identical dress, but when I examined the inside (like you do) I realized that a) it had been dyed and b) the hem was definitely my work.

So I bought it.

It's probably not still around, but I was thinking about it a few days ago.

Because it was awesome, and I bought it twice.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Are We Having Fun Yet?



Well, Dearly Beloved, isn't this nice?  Remember this from Hamlet?  That's me being Prologue.  I just threw it in because it's April First, and some attention must be paid.

However, it has been an interesting month.  Or so.  I was Costume Mistress for Avenue Q, produced by Austin Theatre Project.  In all my years of theatre, I had never been a dresser for a puppet.  I had, of course, mended a few of them for Jim's puppetry classes at Cedar Valley, and those skills came in handy, too.

Remember this?


Rex's gown from Rex's Exes was something of a challenge.  I bought a size 20 gown, and let it out as far as it would go, adding all the pink lace, net and fringe to make it as crazy as possible.  Lynn Beaver did the hat.  John Iacoletti is the actor.  Well, it got used again in Avenue Q:


having been reduced to a size 10, just for grins and giggles. Pictured are R Michael Clinkscales, Michelle Alexander and June Julian.  Michelle was a student of Jim's at Cedar Valley.  It is always wonderful to meet people that he influenced, and especially so to meet them in theatre.

I auditioned for Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest at City Theatre, and made it to callbacks.  I am still chuffed about that.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  And, I sent my brand new shiny resume (thanks, Darr) and my brand new shiny headshot (thanks, Doc List) to a director doing a music video, and got cast in that.  I assume I will have a copy of the finished product for my demo reel (listen to me, sounding all professional and shit), so y'all will get to see it too, even if it doesn't make Cannes.

Speaking of films, Brandon Harris, alumnus of both Jim's class at Cedar Valley and Sam Bass Theatre, has landed his happy self a lead in a movie.  I will share as he does.  Something about knights and magic...

I went to Sherwood Forest Faire with Vanessa, Addy and some friends.  Here's Addy.  She had fun.


I made this out of a curtain, after dyeing it and applying some trim that I had knit last year:


Vanessa wore one of the corsets I made for The Tempest Project:


I love the blue and bronze colour combination.

So.  That's what I've been up to.  How about you?

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Manson Madness Continues

Scroll to the bottom for the latest updates.  It gets better and better!

Here's a link to a story of the latest madness to issue from Charles Manson.  Now, Dearly Beloved, you would think his story pretty much over, wouldn't you?  Not so fast!  By god, he may be locked up for life, and 81 years old, but he hasn't given up.  No sir-ee!

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/spawn-devil-mass-killer-charles-5081569#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Here's a nice picture of him with his new wife:


As the article states, she is the spitting image of one of his minions from back in the day.  She looks a little whack...well, she would have to be, wouldn't she, to marry him, with his mohawk (there's nothing sadder than an old man trying to be hip, especially in prison), swastika tattoo and murder conviction?

Now, here is a picture of his son:


Quite a family resemblance, isn't there?  One might even say, a cultivated resemblance.  That, or the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

From the article:
Notorious mass murderer Charles Manson is planning to become a dad again – by smuggling his sperm out of prison.
The 80-year-old cult leader, who married besotted superfan Afton Burton, 26, behind bars last year, is desperate for her to have his child.
But because he is serving life he is not allowed conjugal visits. The closest contact guards allow them is a peck on the cheek during weekly visits.
So instead he plans to sneak his sperm outside to enable Afton, who calls herself Star, to be artificially inseminated.
Dad-of-four Manson confessed his bizarre plan to son Matthew Roberts, 47 – conceived after Manson raped his mum during an orgy in the swinging Sixties – and incredibly he has agreed to help raise the child.
“My dad has wanted to be a father again for many years.
I can kind of understand why his son would not be horrified by this crack-brained scheme--after all, if Manson has already fathered children, what's one more?  This son was adopted and raised far from his sperm-donor's vile influence.
A later DNA test confirmed Matthew was Manson’s youngest son, a brother to Charles Milles Jr, Charles Luther and Valentine Michael.
So two of his sons have his first name, and a third is named for the protagonist is Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," whose name was Michael Valentine Smith.  No overweening ego there, nope, nope, nope!
“Part of the whole thing with him marrying Star is that he would love to have kids and he was waiting for someone to come along and provide that,” says Matthew, seemingly oblivious to his father’s heinous crimes.
So, still the manipulative asshole he has always been.
He adds: “He wants to see what it might be like to raise a child with more of his own ideas.“He is starting to think about how he wants his legacy to be left once he’s gone.”
Oh, boy.  Where to start?  In the first place, he will not be "raising a child."  He is in prison for life.  Oh, he comes up for parole every few years, but it will never be granted.  Would you like to see a child raised with "more of his own ideas?"  I thought not.  Let's move on to "legacy."  This murdering bastard knows perfectly well what his "legacy" is.  Dead people, and the death of the hippie "movement."  Putting more of himself into the gene pool is not going to change that.
But Matthew argues: “Dad is legally married and deserves time to enjoy the benefits of marriage. Other prisoners in facilities around the world enjoy that privilege when they wed.
“I feel my dad and Star’s love is genuine, and that they have the right to consummate that marriage.
Yeah, right.  He saw another little minion coming his way, and is using her, and his son, to do this thing.
 "I believe he is still physically capable of that. But, obviously his options are limited. Somehow he hopes to smuggle his sperm out of the prison.
“Some of the guards have sympathy towards him, but I’m not sure if they can help. It is illegal trying to smuggle anything either in or out of there.
"Some of the guards have sympathy towards him,"

Those need to be ferreted out and removed from his sphere of influence.
 He admits: “My plan sounds crazy, but this seems like the perfect opportunity. It’s synchronicity and I believe things like this unfold naturally.”
Matthew, who describes himself as a “hippy DJ”, says his “spiritual understanding” of means it is irrelevant what the wider world thinks of the plan.”
Sounding just like rambling Manson – who told followers he was Jesus – Matthew goes on: “I like who I am and I’d like this genetic bloodline to be passed on and continue in this world.
...And, in that, he stands alone.
 “I would make sure, wholeheartedly, that they were safe.”
Better build a big wall.
Matthew says: “I do feel like Star and Dad are communicating with each other on a higher level.They really believe they have something very special.
“I think she thinks he’s a victim who didn’t murder anybody and was falsely accused. I do believe now that she does have genuine love for him. I don’t think she is bulls****ing, I honestly think she has feelings for him.”
So.  Two more people he has managed to manipulate.  IMO, this man should be in solitary, with guards changed every week.  Not rotated in and out, replaced so that no one else, ever, falls under his influence.

And I am unanimous in that.

UPDATE:
2/2/2015
Found this link today:  Perhaps Matthew and Star have been putting us on:  http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2015/02/serial_killer_charles_mansons.html.  It seems a license has been purchased, but it expires this week.  A new license (good for 90 days) will be needed if the happy couple is, indeed, going to tie the knot.

Another Update:
2/9/2015
http://wgntv.com/2015/02/09/charles-mansons-fiancee-allegedly-only-wanted-him-for-his-corpse/
She wanted to stuff him like Trigger and charge the masses to see him.  If this is true, she is as sick as he is and they deserve each other.  Kind of nice to see him taken for a bit of a ride, though, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It Has Been A Hell of a Year!

So, once again, Dearly Beloved, I look back on this year as it scurries out the door.  As I contemplate the ups and downs and round and rounds of the past 365 days, the ups dominate my thoughts.  Of course, the biggest of these was the addition to my life of my beautiful granddaughter, Adelaide Margaret Blevins.  Thanks, Vanessa!  Named Adelaide for Addy Prior, who enriched my life so much, and Margaret for my birth mother, Margaret Eilene King, without whom none of us would be here, she was born on February 17th, and is now about to drive us nuts with her speedy escape tactics.


Of course, other things happened as well.  I hit 65 and now have Social Security and Medicare. While I have not yet needed to take advantage of the latter, I will now officially be able to stop complaining about my personal battles with the health care non-system.  Things may still be tight, but I am not as constantly terrified of being on the street or under a bus or something.

You may recall that, a couple of years ago, I lost my directing moxie when Ben Weaver walked out of a show I was directing at Sam Bass Community Theatre, just over a week before the scheduled opening.  As it was a three-character piece, we had to cancel and I was immediately plunged into the well-known Pit of Despair.  Even rereading the awesome reviews garnered by Waiting for Godot and the good ones for Frankie and Johnnie in the Clare de Lune didn't help a whole lot.  Last season, I didn't even submit a show to Sam Bass, but did participate in a Directors' Workshop.  That went pretty well, so I submitted The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for this season.  I figured that, having directed it three times and acted in it once, I could probably turn out a decent production.  That show closed a couple of days ago, and was an unqualified success, so I am now back on track and feel much better about myself than I did this time last year (Photo courtesy of Henry Huey at the Round Rock Leader).


My oldest grandbrat, Aidan Vargas, prompted me to take him for a drive during the summer, and we had a blast, visiting St Louis, PetitJean Mountain in Arkansas, Prentice, WI (the destination of the trip), and Indianapolis.  I am happy to report that, at 16, Aidan is a good travel companion and can read a map.  No small feat in these days of wildly inaccurate GPS.  Here he is on PetitJean Mountain.


As well as all that, I received several nominations among Austin critics' blogs and popular polls for my efforts in costuming with Austin Theatre Project and with Sam Bass.  Competing with shows such as The King and I, my efforts have no chance of winning, but it is nice to know people are watching.

So, while there have been losses, and tears, and fears, this year is definitely one to be remembered fondly and affectionately.

Onward and Upward to new adventures!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever--2014



Well, this edition of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is one for the books.  Due to a most excellent cast and crew, we told the story and told it well.

Here are some links to galleries of pictures, some taken by a member of the audience and some by the Round Rock Leader.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/henry_huey/sets/72157649298955790/

http://rcmckee.com/wandering/archives/1314

I'm telling you--when you see these, you will wish you had been there!  Many thanks to Henry Huey of the Leader, and R Clayton McKee for the awesome photos!

I got a very young cast this time.  Usually, my cast is mostly teenagers, but this time I had more in the 8-9-10 range, and it gave the show an electricity it might lack with older kids.  Not that it doesn't work with older kids, and they usually grasp the concept more easily than younger ones.  I have done some very nice shows with kids much older than suggested in the script.

The cast of brilliant Assistant Storytellers had fun, and it showed, right up to the final, "Hey, HEY!  Unto YOU a child is born!"

The Theatre is magic.  There's magic in this theater and blessed are they who share their talents with others.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

On Getting Old--A Grumblement

Mostly...on good days...I look like this.  Many thanks to Doc List for this shot, which he took while doing show shots for Godspell with Austin Theatre Project last summer.  I was the Costumer and Wardrobe Mistress for that production.  It's nice to have a (heh) Project.


However, there are days...  This is another of Doc's shots, cropped out of a show shot for "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds," an earlier Austin Theatre Project production, in which I played Nanny.  I was amazed at the small amount of time and effort it took to make me look this bad.



I must confess, there are days when this image is burned onto my consciousness.  Days like today, when it is cold and everything hurts.  My knees, which I was told (at 21) would be a problem "later," are now a constant hurt.  The thumb on my left hand no longer bends.  My eyelashes have migrated to the general vicinity of my eyebrows, which are going wild.  Don't even get me started on the incipient mustache and the chin hairs!  I am, also, beginning to acquire a bunion.

My skin is dry and flaky; I find a new Brown Spot every few days.

On the plus side, I have flown free of some of the things I used to allow to enslave me, such as shaving my legs.  I mean, really--who cares?  Who is even looking?  I no longer wear underwired bras.  What the hell would I do with perky boobs, at my age?  I keep one such bra around, in case of theater need--

~cough~  ~Bitsy~  ~cough~

So that's my assessment of my physical condition at 65.

How are you doing, Dearly Beloved?