Summer is nuts. Totally nuts, I say! I’m down to 2 jobs for the season, and it hasn’t made me any less busy. Granted, I’ve done some other things on the side, too, like presenting a string of 6 Japanese/Chinese/Indonesian theatrical movement workshops for kids at the TNT (Texas Nonprofit Theatre) Youth Conference, which was conveniently hosted by Lee College (one of the colleges where I serve as an adjunct drama professor) this year. Mostly, though, I’m teaching a breakneck-accelerated Film Appreciation course through Lone Star College and performing a truly remarkable number of shows for Mad Science of Houston aaaaaaaaaaaaall over southeastern Texas. Incidentally, a very large percentage of those shows are hosted by local library systems, so if you’ve ever wanted to go to a Mad Science performance, it’s possible your tax dollars have already paid for your admission ^_^. Since I’ve been spending a lot of time making things light on fire and go boom in libraries lately, I thought I’d pop into this site to remind the world that summer reading programs are happening now, and all the libraries I’ve visited this summer have programs for both kids and adults. You should check out the schedule of events at your local library, and if you’re south of Dallas and east of Austin, I might just be headed your way with a show sometime in the near future… if I haven’t been there already in the past month!
Happy summer, everyone, and I hope you get the chance to beat the heat with a good book at least once in these crazy hot months- E.G.D.
As sometimes happens, I am posting this after the fact. In any case, this is something I did this afternoon at one of the three colleges where I teach:
I almost never post about my academic life on this page, really, unless it directly relates to theatrical academia, but this is pretty representative of the sort of thing I quite enjoy doing on-the-side, when I have the time ^_^. I was basically Lone Star College Atascocita-Center’s speaker for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, and I had a really lovely turn out of colleagues, friends, family, and students from other Lone Star College campuses! I had fun, and several attendees told me that they enjoyed it and learned something. I call that success!
Now, next time I do this sort of thing, I really need to post the flier here before I present. Ah, well! Sometimes I’m so busy I forget I even have a website. Have a great end-of-the-semester. Next stop, summer -E.G.D.
Well, the run of Rashomon is officially over! The play was San Jacinto College Central’s Department of Theatre and Film’s contest entry, and the show did so well that we wound up adding two extra performances. On Thursday of the regularly scheduled run, the powers that be came to see and critique/review the production, and the results were as follows: the show was chosen to be held in consideration to move on in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival competition, several actors and one student designer won individual Irene Ryan awards, and I personally am on the receiving end of a couple of multi-person awards: “Meritorious Achievement and Excellence for Ensemble, Production Crew, and Staff” and “Meritorious Achievement and Excellence for Directing” respectively. I was basically the Japanese movement director, and I choreographed and taught the ensemble dance work, so… woohoo! I apparently did a good job, and so did the entire production staff, cast, design team, and crew. I’ll keep you posted if we wind up advancing in the competition.
My master’s degree at work, ladies and gentlemen! Sometimes an MFA in Asian Styles of Performance can come in handy. Most of the time at SanJac, I’ll admit that I wind up focusing on the chops developed when earning my Musical Theatre BA, but I’ve never won an award for my work as a Music Director. Three cheers for having something cool to put on my resume, both as a theatrical professional and a professor. -E.G.D.
It snuck up on me again! Rashomon opens tomorrow at San Jacinto College Central’s Powell Arena Theatre. I have our official post-card graphic for this one, so I’m going to use it here:
For once, I wasn’t the music director, but the choreographer. If you are at all interested in Japanese dance or interesting theatre, I think you may enjoy this one! -E.G.D.
This probably comes as no surprise, but this year’s e-card is a little weird. I made some origami paper ornaments and took some pictures of the decorated tree and pineapple plant in my screened-in-front-porch, and this got me thinking about how peculiar it is that so many different location-related experiences have become part of my home for the holidays. I’ve lived in Albuquerque, Tulsa, Kashiwa (Japan), London, Tatebayashi (Japan), Honolulu, and different parts of the Houston metropolitan area, and the traditions I either picked up or fabricated in these places have colored how I celebrate the season. Soooo, I drew myself holding up a pudding with a Texas flag stuck in it, slapped it onto a card with the photo and pictures of my origami, and voila! I didn’t take a lot of time coloring and shading the drawing, I’ll admit, but I think the overall effect isn’t bad! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you have a happy holiday, whether or not you’re physically “home” this year. The way I figure it, I take my home for the holidays with me wherever I happen to find myself, and I think that’s probably the case for most people to some extent.- E.G.D.
It’s that time again, and I’m late again! Santa’s Christmas Magic started last night here at San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena, TX, and as usual, I am the music director for the show. If you’re in the area, come on out for family fun and a visit with the big man himself! Let me tell you, this is a vastly preferable alternative to waiting to see Santa at the mall ^_^. The Arena Theatre is a winter wonderland!
Dates and times are as follows:
Dec. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12 at 7:30 PM
Dec. 6 and 13 at 2:30PM
Hope to see you there- E.G.D.
That’s a little taste of last year ^_^
As pretty much anyone who has been to my site before knows, in an effort to keep my costume design and construction skills sharp, I design and build a group set of costumes for the Texas Renaissance Festival every year. For the past several years, our party claimed Fulshear as home base (e.g. The Fulshear Dragon Riders’ Guild and The Merry Folk of Fulshear). This year, quite suddenly, not one single one of the 7 of us lives in Fulsher! We had to re-locate our group name. The original concept name (provided by our one-woman think-tank, Kristie McLin) was The Fair Folk of Fulshear, but as you can see from the title of this post, we switched it to The Faerie Court of Fair LaPorte. It’s pretty amazing, actually, that it took us four years to get around to being a group of faeries. The progression was—> a group of rangers escorting a bard; dragon riders; a Robin Hood inspired band of noble thieves in a D&D style fantasy world; faeries. Crazy, right? Anyhow, this time around, I made a great big pile of faerie costume concept sketches (in the style of final renderings, but not in color), and passed them around the group, in hopes that everyone would find a faerie from the pile whom they’d like to be. Happily, that was the case, though I would have gone with any idea presented. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Faerie Court of Fair LaPorte:
As faeries tend to be, we are quite the mixed bag! Let’s start with Travis, The Collector:
Travis, The Collector, is a faerie who collects lost things (subsequently using their power to his advantage). This costume, you might notice, has several bits pulled from previous years’ costumes. The bandoleer of collection bits is new, and very elaborate! The shirt and one of the pouches is also new. The under-shirt, pants, and boots are all items that Travis already had in his collection, the stick was a LaPorte found-on-the-ground affair, and the belt sash and several other pieces were pulled from Travis’ dragon rider courier costume. The wings are actually part of the bandoleer! Not only are they sparkly, I suspect they’re black-light reactive ^_^.
Next, we have Spike (modeled by Liam):
Spike is a former tooth faerie who decided that all he really liked about teeth was that some of them were sharp, so he ran off with a bunch of pointy teeth then started to supplement his collection with sharp shells, claws, a very pointy dagger and other similarly sharp thingies. I crafted the horns using sculpey clay, and I made the wig out of a mid-back length pink wig that I cut into a bunch of pieces and re-worked using glue, a shamie rag, and the liberal application of heat (this works well when trying to get plastic to bend to your will). The belt is festooned with sharp objects, including a gold dagger (most silver-colored metals cause faeries harm!) that started out as my dragon rider dagger a couple years back. I re-embellished the piece and painted it gold for this year. The pouch, dagger strap, and gauntlets are made of the same material as Raggedy Anise’s wings (to be shown later in this post), and I used that same material to re-size Liam’s boot caps (originally from the ranger costume year. They were Oona’s boot caps for the Robbin Hood year, too, come to think of it) for his now much larger foot size. The shirt was a Good Will acquisition from long ago that a former roommate of mine left behind in our apartment when she left Honolulu. It’s Liam’s, now! Finally, the backpack contains the outer-wear I made for both kiddoes on our dragon rider year, and this year it was finally cold enough for both of them to need them when it got dark! I was glad they finally saw use, but they were quite the wrong color scheme for this year’s costumes 0_0. Ah, well.
On to Daisy the Garden Faerie (modeled by Oona):
Daisy the Garden Faerie (Oona changed the name from the original, which was just plain ol’ “Daisy”) is a faerie who loves flowers and uses flowers in her magic! Her wings are daisy petals, and so is her skirt and her little purse (all made out of the same very stylish brocade). The headdress is actually a mask, but it wasn’t very practically sized for her little face, when all was said and done. It is made of feathers and plastic daisies (the same plastic daisies with which I embellished the wings). The green shirt and the scarf I used as her wing harness were both purchased at the 99 Cents Only Store in Atascocita. I was going for a flower-being-held-upside-down sort of look, with stem up top and flower drooping down. As a point of interest: I built the skirt so that it can be easily re-sized, and she should be able to wear it well into her teens, should she choose to do so.
Next, we have Spider Silk (modeled by Kristie):
Spider Silk, as you almost certainly already guessed, is a faerie with a strong spider affinity. Her wings are delicate webs of silver, and her dress is draped and gathered with webs of silver and black. The dress also has silver-web inserts at the front and back that flare when she walks, showing off her web-looking fishnet stockings, but I somehow didn’t manage to get a picture that captured that feature well. I embellished the mask with that silver web and black paint, and she decorated the skin of her hands with black eyeliner webs. I embroidered the purse I built for this costume with a web design on both sides. If you look closely, there’s also a little spider ^_^. The harness for the wings is a spider and web patterned scarf I purchased at a halloween store, and the little gem spider rings that are decorating Spider Silk’s hand and hair were purchased at the same 99 Cents Only Store as Daisy’s shirt and scarf. Halloween season is very convenient for this sort of thing!
Next we have Raven (on Ryan):
This faerie is pretty self explanatory! He’s a faerie raven or a raven faerie, or quite possibly both. The boot caps for this costume are actually the boot caps from I made for last year’s costume, but I bought some good, black acrylic paint and changed them from hunter green boot caps to black boot caps. The mask is made of plastic, sequins, paint, and foam-board with black goose feather accents. The cap is wool felt, and I purchased it on Amazon, subsequently re-shaping it a bit and adding a feather plume accent on the side. I altered a pre-made crushed velvet cape (intended for vampire costumes, according to the packaging!) so that the collar turned down over a bunch of willy-nilly protruding black goose feathers, and I turned a button up shirt into a lace-up shirt with scissors and a grommet machine. The belt-pouch, I made from the same material as Spike’s accessories and Raggedy Anise’s wings, with a feathery-looking faux-fur closing flap. I think Ryan wore it really well!
Next up is Breeze, the Wind Fae (modeled by Alaina):
In several cultures, fox spirits have control of the sky and the weather, so Breeze has fuzzy fox ears (I used floral wire as a frame when I built the ears, so they’re fully pose-able) to compliment her feather hair ornaments and feathered mask . Otherwise, she basically wears the wind, which I represented with two shiny, translucent cloth drapes over a long shirt that features complimentary lines that suggest movement. Note: much like Raven, she does not have wings, but both she and Raven can most certainly fly!
Finally, I present the costume I built for myself! Raggedy Anise:
Raggedy Anise is the kind of faerie who is a mix of many things, most of them dangerous, though she is unlikely to harm you unless you do something to get on her bad side (of course, if we’re realistic about this, she’s a faerie, so that isn’t entirely difficult to do). I made the horns from sculpey clay and the wings from floral wire and sort of alligator-skin-ish pattern black and gold fabric. I designed the wings so that they can be either at rest or unfurled, and they provided some great sun shade during the hot part of the day! The cloth bits that make up the skirt are all from my scrap bin, and I left the raggedy and frayed edges at the bottom for that raggedy look. This is actually the third time I’ve revisited the bodice I used. I built it for my ranger costume that first Ren Fest year (though I wore it for Halloween, not the actual Ren Fest, at which I wore my bard costume) and re-worked it for last year’s Robin Hood look. I left it in Robin Hood mode this year and simply added the wings and unfurling mechanism. The boots, I embellished for last year’s costume, but what makes them special to this year’s costume is that the McLin family dog chewed a great big hole in the back of one of them, and I had to patch it up! The fact that the boots are now old and very well-worn, as well as patched, made them ideal for this particular costume. Both the belt pouch and the purse are from last year’s costume, as well. What is probably the most special part of this costume is the walking stick, which I found on Sylvan Beach after a particularly violent storm earlier this year. Driftwood is just so darn cool, and it was a truly special find! It’s also surprisingly lightweight.
So, there you have it! It’s nice that I can pull bits from previous years’ costumes, especially since Alaina moved to town and increased our number ^_^. It was a good year, and we all had a great time. We also looked really cool, right? What do you think the odds are that I can top these four years next year? Join us next time for Ren Fest 2016, and find out! – E.G.D.