Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thrifty Finds...

Well Readers,
Let me beg your pardon for being a bad blogger! I'm sorry for not changing the music out in two months, I'm Sorry I haven't been blogging as much,  I'm just amazed at how when I first started I tried to blog every day, then that went to every time I had a good find, to a standard three posts a week, and now... well im lucky if I get nine posts in for the whole month. So much is going on around here so fast I hardly have time to sit down and type it up before the next adventure starts!  Let me just say I have a few big ticket posts in the works, one that I was going to post today, BUT Im still collecting info on the subject and until im satisfied that item will remain secret, I will tease you with the basics I.E. (It has to do with a Mystery around the Theater I work in) and that's all I can say for now. Until that story can be published here are a few nifty thrifty things I've picked up in my sparse, spare time...
(A tea cup in the same pattern as my Grandmothers wedding dishes at the Casablanca $0.33 at Value Village)
(An old glass Fire King mug - free from Grandma)
(A 1950's ?  Ice-O-Mat Ice crusher)
I love collection things with "-O-Mat" on them for the Kitchen at the Casablanca! Not quite sure if the alvacado green is right for my kitchen, or if I'll keep this one but for $1.41  at Value Village it came home with me!
(Les Mis London Cast Album $1.41 at Value Village)
Last but not least is Patricia's find, the Les Miserables London Cast Album with Patti LuPone. Now I'm bracing myself for a slew of  comments about me being "uncultured" and having "no taste", BUT "Les Mis" really isn't one of my favorite musicals... (Its one of Patricia's favorites, She as well as most of our friends were in a production of 'Les Mis' in the summer of 2009) I mean it has its high points and I do value its ground breaking work, however about 65% of it just isn't my cup of tea... and since its one of those shows that seems to be an unwritten law that all theater people must know every word to every song, we figured why not add it to the ever growing Musical LP collection! Its a good thing we have two record players she can go to one end of the Casablanca and listne to her album, and I will go to the other end (or out in the yard) and listen to my current favorite...
The 1968 cast is pretty addicting... or maybe they were addicted....


Friday, April 22, 2011

HAIR-raising Road Trip!

Well Readers,
 (Emily, Patricia, Savannah, Myself, & Sheldon)
Tuesday was a whirl-wind adventure! Friend and Casablanca member Savannah is one of the assistant stage managers in the Oklahoma State University Production of "Hair". When she told us  we immediately made plans to drive up and see the production, Savannah is one of my number one "set dressing fans" and always believes that I can pull it off, and is always there to listen so OF COURSE we had to go see her! So with Patricia driving and myself along with Friends Emily and Sheldon we set off for Stillwater Oklahoma.
Let me tell you putting four die hard theater people in the same small confined space makes for an interesting eight hour round trip drive...

 (We were feeling Russian!)

 (Te-he, Please Pardon my swearing!)
Needless to say it was a wonderful adventure! We acted like "tourists" and had people taking  pictures for us at every stop!
(Sheldon being eaten by a Gas station Monster)
(Eating a subway pre-meal just outside of Oklahoma City)
Patricia was just about ready to kill Sheldon and I (as we had been acting like seven year olds for solid two hours) when we reached the town of Stillwater we had just enough time to find a parking spot and buy the tickets for the show...and WHAT A SHOW IT WAS!
 (The set of Hair, picture by Sheldon)
I value the Musical "Hair" about the same way I do "Jesus Christ Superstar"  It's  race-y,  taboo and I absolutely  love it! This production was well thought out and put together, it had smoke, lights, snow, fire, and soooooo much more. We were all wowed by the production and loved every minuet of it, from the great 60's music to the powerful message and ending of the show, it was worth every bit of the eight hour drive as well as getting to see our friend Savannah!
As a gift for her first big college show we got Savannah a dozen red roses, and the original 1968 Grammy Award winning "Hair" Soundtrack. (I'm starting to rub off on my friends, they are all getting record players and collecting albums!)  I ordered the same album for my ever growing collection and will keep the program and ticket stub in the cover.

After the show got out Savannah took us to eat at this local all night place called "Shortcakes"
This place was be decked in OSU Orange and smelled like one of those hometown places where you just know the food is going to be amazing!

(Savannah, Emily,Patricia,Sheldon & I. circa 10:30 P.M.)

Everything on the menu sounded good, but I finally settled on a Patty-melt on rye bread and a side of tater tots, and when it came out it was to die for!
(Nom, Nom, Nom!)
We laughed and chatted and just had one good old time over dinner, then after saying good byes three or four different times we finally had to head out on the four hour drive back home... but not before one last picture!
(While stopped at a gas station Emily becomes an O.S.U. fan, however she did not buy the hat haha!)
On the ride home on an endless maze of toll roads, we at times we had to roll down the windows and blast music to keep from going to sleep we finally arrived home about 4:30 Wednesday morning safe and sound. (all having to go to work or school bright and early the next day) However even with the sleep deprivation the trip was fun and so worth it! Who knows after everyone recovers we may just load up and go somewhere again!


Monday, April 18, 2011

All The Worlds A Fire!

Well Readers Friday had me in a panic, everything is fine but I was in a panic none the less!
Wildfires were EVERYWHERE, we get a few just about this time every year but with little rainfall and 60mph winds they are just out of control.Over the course of Friday as I was delivering I heard over the radio...

"Wild Fires in Archer County" (ears perk up)
"Wild Fires near Lake Diversion." (Concern )
"Wild Fires in Lake Diversion Park." (Panic)
"Wildfire in Lake Diversion controlled, One cabin lost. (Gut wrenching)
  (That little blue circle with the flame is right on top of where Lake Diversion is.)
Everyone started calling me, worried that our beloved Casablanca was the "one cabin lost". Thankfully the fire was nowhere near the Casablanca and the cabin that was lost was an abandon one. But it takes an eye opener like this to get everyone's attention and make them realize just how fast everything can disappear.
(sorry for the low quality it was taken on a cell phone, that's whats left of the cabin a pile of charred rubble)
The Casablanca was lucky, they say that fire was started by swaying power lines causing a short and that it could happen anywhere. we did have some minor wind damage as the gusts were anywhere from 45 - 60.
(Toppled bar & wind flipped lawn furniture)
This was the worst of it, and I don't think it will be that difficult to re-grout the tiles back on the bar top.  We did have a few things inside the bar break.
We lost a glass shaker that had red writing on it with recipes for various drinks. I think this has taught me to only stock the outdoor bar with metal stuff (There's a shaker at Target i've had my eye on) 
The other casualty (that I've been kicking myself for) the set of awesome six star-burst drinking glasses that Debra over at  Zootsuitmama sent us is now a set of five. I wish I hadn't left them out there but oh well we'll sweep up the glass and keep right on going. Thank goodness for now everything safe, I brought a few of the more important things home with me just in case we have another Wildfire outbreak before I'm back out there. Hope everyone's doing well!


Friday, April 15, 2011

503, 502, 501 Done!

I finally got my fridge set finished! Valarie over at Vonlipis Favorites sent the yellow 503 to the Casablanca's Kitchen all the way from Canada! Missouri Michael over at Cul-de-sac Shack sent the blue  502 as a get well gift. (I just recently bought a scratched up 502, to get the lid.) Last but not least my mother gave me one of the red 501's and I found the other red 501 at the lake, and just recently found a lid to go on it for $0.33  in my favorite thrift store Value Village.
(Ta-Da! The 1950' Pyrex in its native habitat the 1952 Custom "Mamie Eisenhower Pink" Norge)
It now resides on this shelf, before I just had a Pyrex measuring cup, a small pitcher that looks just like one on "I Love Lucy", and the most important staple in any household, Prince Albert In A Can. But all that got moved to make way for the new "Fridgie" set!
Here they will wait to hold meatloaf leftovers, and green beans, and all kinds of home cooked goodies... Now the question is what to collect next?!
I've already scored a primary bowl set for $50, maybe some Pink Pyrex next or maybe some square Pyrex?

*  *  *
It was a beautiful weekend at the lake kind of windy but peaceful, I cant wait to not be tied up in shows and get a good long stay at the Casablanca. I've just finished with The Sound of Music, If you missed the post about the sets click the link and have a look, they are my best work yet! Even at the Casablanca I cant fully escape the Sound of Madness  Music, Sound of Music... I sat down at the piano messed around with the keys for a while only to discover it Really Is just as easy as the singing nun says!


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Blog Is Alive, With The Sound of Music!

Well Readers,
 I'm still here! "The Sound of Music" has literally taken every spare second of my time, as well as everyone else involved for the last two weeks (were talking some 5:15 P.M. -5:30 A.M. work nights!) The planning for the sets however, started in February for me. You see this is not the Wichita Theater's first production of "The Sound of Music", the last time the show was put on was in the spring of 2007 seen here.
 (2007 S.O.M. Production)
When given the opportunity to do the sets for the show, I had one thing that ALWAYS bugs me about Community Theater productions of "The Sound of Music", that being the Von Trapp Villa... in real life the villa is a towering six stories and on stage in most productions we are lucky to see six feet high. I was determined to make this set better than the last productions and bring to life a without a doubt beleivable stage version of the Von Trapp Villa! So I took out my trust pencil & ruler and started drawing up plans.
(Seen here are the bare bones of the Von Trapp Villa, a towering 20 feet 7 inches high! literally a two story house on stage.)
I had a very stylized idea of how I wanted the Von Trapp Villa to look along with the use of color. On a set color choices can make or break the entire feeling of a show, I choose a monochromatic color scheme of blue using a light blue (later nicknamed "I wish my mother were alive blue") for the base coat and and dark blue (nicknamed "Dead Mother Blue) for the detail wainscot.  The paint colors received these nicknames due to the fact that from the time I opened the paint I had to constantly explain the concept of "all blue" to people. My reason for picking blue, I wanted to make the villa as "cold" but elegant as possible by using the varying shades of blue and painting the spindles in the banister metallic silver just makes them gleam like winter ice.  The other reason(s) - Captain Von Trapp was a sea captain and the sea is most times blue. Also with the Children's mother having passed away I wanted to create a mood of sadness, a blue mood if you will... Many times when people would ask "why is the house blue?" I would snap back at them in frustration "BECAUSE THEIR MOTHERS DEAD THAT'S WHY!" haha!
In a later sketch the wainscot was changed to a different style and a center door was added.
(you can see the new entryway to the grand hall in the top right corner of the sketch.)
I must say it was quite a thrilling sight when I came to the theater one night and the set construction crew Larry and his son Bryson had the studs up for the first and second floor.
 (Bryson about 10 feet up in the air)
I will confess, while I can design and paint and fix things up all day long, i'm pretty much worthless when it comes to construction, luckily we have the amazing Larry Petersen to do that! so while he and his son Bryson hammered away I got to work with the staple gun.
Another pet peeve of mine that you are all aware of is "repeats" we used this couch in "It's A Wonderful Life" in George and Marys house.  It was the closest thing we had on hand at the theater that could pass for "mansion furniture" So I went and got four and a half yards of this blue fabric, and after about an hour and numerous staples later...
I reupholstered two other chairs to match in a dark and light blue striped fabric, I wanted to make the grand hall of the villa understated yet elegant and did so with only four pieces of furniture the sofa, two chairs and a standing "study" globe. The finishing touch to the VonTrapp hall (and perhaps most elegant) is the floor. I found this picture of a 16 point nautical star parquet floor.
I showed it to set team member Chris, who sketched it out on a grid.
 Then set team Co-Captain Joe drew the pattern out on the floor using chalk, we then painted in the stair using the same light blue and dark blue from the grand hall walls.
(Joe sketching  and painting!)
The whole time I was putting the Grand Hall pieces together I had several doubtful people coming up to me saying things like "That's an awful lot of blue..."  "Are you going to put any other colors in?"  and each time I just had to tell them to trust me. They might not of been able to see what I did, and I cant tell you how many times I had to explain what a monochromatic color scheme was but as you can see it all came together beautifully.
The costumes departments work compliments the set so well, and the actors have plenty of room to work.

I love everything about this set, the colors, the dynamic, and the fact that it can honestly pass for a hall in a mansion!  My favorite scene in the Grand Hall comes just before intermission when Captain VonTrapp throws a dinner for the Baroness, everyone is in there dressed in tux's and evening gowns...
 When they light the room in blue and the couples begin to waltz, well, its like being in a dream. Its moments like this on stage that I live for.

 It's one thing to draw these pieces of a set out on paper, and picture them in your mind. There's just something so thrilling about seeing these things come to life! I've pictured gran parties in my head such as this one for as long as I can remember,  and im extremely proud of how visually dynamic the all around set is.
I choose a soft yellow and white scheme for Maria's room, although it's rather plain it feels like the more welcome room in the towering Von Trapp Villa (symbolic of the way Maria warms the hearts of the children & Captain). I thought it fitting to use an old pair of  curtains to make the European style canopy over the headboard (you'd be amazed at what you can re-purpose and use in the theater!)
Still on the estate of the Von Trapp Villa a quick scene change later we find Captain Von Trapp and the Baroness out on the terrace of the villa.
(Check the vintage Victorian "Greek" style patio set)
(But before a cozy moment can be shared by the Captain and Baroness, enter down stage left seven nosiy children and their governess. Take a good look at the festive clothes they are wearing, that's right readers, they are the curtains from Maria's bedroom! (Not that you were unaware of the plot line before now) Its moments from now that the captain rediscovers his love for the sound of music.
Last but not least, and quite possibly the most memorable set piece from the movie we have the gazebo...
Before I go on let me tell you what happened, the opening Friday of the show I had to work and could not get off to help do finishing touches. I stopped in a few times at the theater and did what I could, but I couldn't do it all. Before I left there was a discussion about bringing "garden lattice" on set. I expressed my feelings that it would look tacky and they they would not have had American 4x8 panels of lattice in 1938 Austria. None the less they were put up and the gazebo was decorated for opening night, this is the first picture.
A good attempt but not a lot going, another standard I quote to myself all the time while working on sets is "just because its community theater doesn't mean the setting has to reflect that" meaning, just because its all volunteer work doesn't give any excuse to doing things so/so when they could be spectacular.
So before the Saturday show the next day I reworked a few things on the gazebo, I added more hanging vines to the trellis (which I still don't feel 100% about) I also took the pink cherry blossom trees out of there stands and made them into bushes. People are open to their own opinions as art is subjective, but I feel it looks better. The perfect place for Rolf to court young Leisel after dinner...
(Rolf makes deliveries on the 1940's bicycle from the Casablanca.)

That about wraps up the major projects, of course I had scads of vintage props to find, and making sure everything worked whit everyone, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the director Kim H. She stayed as late (if not later) than the set crew to help get things done, and as you can see it was a totally WONDERFUL outcome of  teamwork and dedication to the show. We earned ourselves a shining review that you all can read here from the local paper, The set were mentioned three times and I can smile with satisfaction from this one line-

"This is a well thought-out, well put-together production: Magnificent, wondrous scenic design (the pretty stained-glass window in the abbey, the grandeur of the Von Trapp house, with its grand staircase and towering front door), and the perfect costumes,the details are all there."

The stain glass window was the work of four very talented people kudos to them!, the costuming department as you've seen got everything picture perfect, and I owe a TON of thanks to everyone who helped (Especially Mr. Peterson and his son Bryson on set construction) I dreamed up and drew all this stuff out, but it never would have been possible with out everyone's help! I owe most of the end result to these fine people picture below!

(The Team! Patricia, Sheldon, Me, Bryson, Chris, Joe, & Kim)

*  *  *
I also found an original 1959 cast recording of "The Sound of Music" starring Mary Martin, and this is what I had the cast sign!

Once again as simple as i've made all of this sound, it took a tremendous amount of work on everyone's part and I cannot thank then enough! We on set dressing crew have nicknamed the show "The Sound of Madness"  but it has been loads of fun and I look forward to working with Director Kim Harris later this year on "The Chronicles of Narnia (lion, witch, & wardrobe) The Musical", So until next post-

"So long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen .... well you get the picture...."