Archive for the ‘Burning Man’ Category

Burning Man 2012 recap #1.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I have returned! I did not get hopped up on the drugs, or infected with a “social disease”, and I only got a wee rash on the sides of my knees! Good stuff. It was a really interesting trip. Funny story: I did not wear my costume once. Not once. The weather was so sucky and dusty I didn’t have the opportunity. And I blogged about this costume for months! I wasn’t sad or anything, I know I’m going to get a chance to use it at Halloween and The Mermaid Parade and when I attend weddings of people I want to make uncomfortable.

About two weeks before I left, I contacted my friend B. who is a computer wiz and he made me a thing with a little computer Arduino brain and strips of LEDs that go frrrrrip, frrrrrip, frrrrrip in a similar manner to a jelly. Here’s a video that shows what I’m referring to.

Now, these jellies in the preceeding video are fairly small and the LEDs I was using are fairly large, so I had B. do a couple of changes. First of all, its just one color (sort of a sky blue). I didn’t want it to be all different rainbow colors because that made my brain hurt. Also, I had him slow it waaaay down (again, brain hurt avoidance). Since my clear plastic umbrella had eight sections, B. made eight strips that extended further than the bottom of the brolly and curled under a bit, increasing its jelly-like qualities. The LEDs are so bright that I bought white duct tape and taped over the strips onto the plastic umbrella and the lights shone right through (bam!). The I spray-painted some vague blotches (also light blue) to make the umbrella translucent versus transparent, and then I sewed some tulle all pleated-like and had them dangle down from the middle. Cricket carried my umbrella around Burning Man and no joke, we probably got close to one hundred compliments on it. People were chasing us down on bicycles to say how awesome it was. First of all, in the darkest dark, when Cricket walked by it looked like this:

And as the sun was setting we were standing watching people play dodgeball (more on that in a later post) and I realized you could really appreciate all the elements on the jelly-brella.

Wildly popular. Tomorrow I will delve into the other-worldliness that was Burning Man. Be ready for a lot of pictures and a bunch of videos.

Burning Man costume, part DONE.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I am DONE. Finished. I made it. I made my deadline. I know making the costume and setting a deadline is completely arbitrary and totally fabricated, but I like setting goals for myself and then achieving them. The Moomins came over and helped me pack, and bonus, everything except the umbrella fits in the suitcase. And in six hours I crawl out of my bed in the dark and board a plane to Reno, where Cricket and I will pick up our rented mom-van and trek out into the dusty wilderness to experience unbridled creativity (I hope).

I plan to take as many pictures as my 32 gig camera card will hold, so I anticipate many a tale upon my return. See y’all on Tuesday.

And here’s some reading about some other people who also spent a whole lot of time and money on fantastic creations:

Burning Man costume part 11 (just kill me now).

Monday, August 20th, 2012

So close to the finish line. Must hold on…

I am so tired of this. I mean, I love it and I’m going to wear it every day for the rest of forever, but I don’t want to work on it anymore. Thankfully, I am almost finished and Burning Man is in a little over a week, so then I’m good. Done. No more fussery. I must say, it looks amazing. I know it is gauche to compliment your own work, but it’s fantastic, so there you are. Check it out. Here it is from the left with the crab attached.

And here it is from the right.

I made that ropey thing as additional ocean detritus. It has transparent circle things and dangly gold beads and sparkly blue and lavender plastic beads (because The Moomins said I lacked blue and purple in that quandrant). It adds a nice bit of texture. And it sparkles but my camera is emo and won’t show sparkliness. I’ve complained about this before. I’m not going to get a rage-headache talking about it again.

Here is the costume from the back.

I took the pinbacks off of the seastars because they looked stupid and stuck out too far and sewed them directly onto the jacket, which looked awesome. I also sewed all of those little cuppy things onto various places all over. Here’s a close-up of those.

They’re generic ocean things. You want them to be seaweed? Then they’re seaweed. You want them to be coral? Okay. How about ginormous plankton? Fine by me.

Now, some of you may call me crazy, but hear me out. I was struggling with the corset and I decided to kill the corset, cut the scales off of it, and attach the scales to a tank top instead. It solves a bunch of problems. I cannot put the corset without assistance, it mashed my skirt in a weird way and stuck out oddly on top due to my lack of boobage, I can’t really sit down when I’m wearing it, etc. The tank top solves all those problems. I can now put on the whole costume by myself, it’s not crushing my midsection or my skirt or protruding like a giant colander where my chest should be. The only problem now is that my belly sticks out, so I’ll have to put on my Spanx – no biggie. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. So I bought a tank top and painted it bronze and peacock green.

Then I sadly cut the scales off my corset and spent a good chunk of the weekend sewing the scales onto this new garment. It looks great and it is not cumbersome to wear. Hoo-ray.

Random stuff n’ things.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

1. I am so sick of sewing. I’ve been sewing this damned costume since November and I am totally running out of steam. I didn’t graduate with a degree in Costume Arts for a reason! Luckily, Burning Man is at the end of this month so that will be the end of that. I miss drawing stuff. I haven’t been able to draw anything since I started this project. It will be nice to get back to that. I want to make a portrait of a jumping spider and I have a co-worker with a cool last name that sounds like a dinosaur, so I want to make a drawing of her as a dinosaur. Being my friend has its benefits (like dinosaur drawings of yourself).

2. The security guard at my job told me that if you mix Cherry Pepsi with the new Marshmallow Smirnoff Vodka, it makes a drink that tastes exactly like birthday cake. If I drank soda or vodka, that would be useful to me, but I do not. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share that vital information with you. Also, the IT guy says if you put a small amount of good-quality balsamic vinegar into Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, it tastes delicious, but more importantly, the drink has a sassy name (The Hipster Douche). What I have learned from this: the people I work with drink weird things.

3. I’m watching the Olympics like a crazy person. Cricket finds it endlessly amusing that I, the least sports-oriented human being ever, am obsessed with an entirely sports-related thing, but I think I figured out why I like it so much. I like to watch people who are the best at something do that thing. Everyone there works very, very hard and is very, very good at this thing, and I like to see them do that thing even if that thing is, in my opinion, kind of stupid (“I’m going to jump over this stick better than anyone’s ever jumped over this stick before!”).

4. In a related Olympics note, did you know that the divers who are jumping from a great height hit the water with their hands flat against the water, as opposed to pointing them as you would expect? That’s so their hands punch a hole for their bodies to go through which minimizes splash. Huh. Good to know.

5. Movies I Have Seen Lately:

Black Swan. What the hell was that? No, seriously. That chick needed a sandwich and a anti-anxiety drug regimen STAT. Also, fun fact, almost that entire movie was filmed at my college, SUNY Purchase, in the theaters and the cement tunnels that connect them. When she’s in the dressing rooms and the utterly depressing cement tunnels? I lived in there like a star-nosed mole rat for four years. Four years, people! Two fun stories about my college-theater experience there. One winter day I went into the tunnels and before the sun had risen. I came out later after the sun had gone down. People talked about the day and I had no knowledge of this “day” everyone had spoken about. The tunnels are like a casino. There’s no windows. Time becomes a foreign concept. The other story is when we all went into the theater before the sun had risen and we came out around 2:00 in the afternoon when the sun was a-shinin’. We reacted like vampires (hissing, covering our faces) and someone said, “The gods are angry, they have set the moon on fire!” To this day, I use that phrase. Use it yourself, it’s very handy.

Cedar Rapids. I really liked this movie. It’s a small-budget film, and it has a sweet small-budget vibe. I did not care for The Hangover and I don’t watch The Office, so this was my first real exposure to Ed Helms and I loved him. He’s a great actor and apparently a great banjo player, so that’s nice.

Bridesmaids. I truly, truly hate bodily function jokes in movies, so that one scene was rough for me. A lot of pooping, a lot of barfing.  But other than that, I liked it a great deal. I have always loved Kristen Wiig, and not just because she has two “i”s in her name. She is a hoot. The airplane scene hit home for me. I have also taken medication to fly, and it has also worked out not-so-well for me. I wasn’t escorted off the plane in Wyoming or anything, but I probably made some enemies for life. It also looked like the actors were having a great time, which is always a pleasure to see.

Burning Man Costume, Part 10 (getting there…)

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Alrighty. I accomplished a whole bunch of things. I trimmed the collar off my jacket, I attached all kinds of sea festoonery to my hat, and I glued my barnacles to my shoulders. The jacket now looks like this:

Do you see that blue stuff? That is a dustmop that I dyed and cut up. In real life they look like this:

Now I’m going to cut the sleeve-windows out. I’ve been postponing that because it’s scary and I’m a crap seamstress, but I have less than a month (eeep!) so things have got to get done.

Oh, and I can’t take a picture of the barnacles with camera flash because I covered them with teeny tiny clear glass beads that are really similar to whatever they put on street signs to make them reflect light at night. Therefore, when I take a photo with flash, it is blinding.

I’ve also been working on a lobster-inspired facepiece. I bought a pair of sunglasses and cut out the top part and took out the lenses. I looked like demented member of LMFAO.

I then made Cricket drive me to three, that’s right, three pet stores to find just the right cat toys to make antennae. It’s got coat hangers and plastic crystals and ribbons and big beads for eyes, all kinds of stuff. I’m almost done with it and after doing tons of research and basically taking it apart and rebuilding it (thanks, Mom) it now looks like… a Chinese dragon. Okay. That’s fine. I will wear a deranged Chinese dragon facepiece. I don’t care. It’s still awesome even if it doesn’t resemble a lobster in the slightest. After I attach the antennae I’ll take a picture and then all y’all will know the magic of my dragon-face.

Addendum: I now have pictures of the facepiece. They, not surprisingly, suck. When I’m all done and finished with this costume, I swear I’m going to a professional studio and getting professional photos. Where you can see the sparkly.

Without flash:

With flash (I left the red-eye in, I think it adds charm):

And up close, where you can appreciate that the red beads and crystals are free-hanging and can swing. I still need to paint the white coat-hanger part blue, but other than that, DONE. Check that off the list.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will most likely look like an idiot. I do not care. I am the ocean floor and I am going to own it.

Burning Man Costume, Part 9.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Because I’ve working on this costume since November and Burning Man is a little over a month away, I started assembling the seastars / crabs / other ocean whatnots onto the jacket and the skirt. And because I don’t want to screw this up, I invited my mother over to look at it. She really hadn’t seen the outfit before and I wanted a fresh set of eyes with fresh opinions. In addition, she’s an art-historian and has a very good eye, so I knew her comments would be worthwhile listening to. What I didn’t anticipate was how distressing they would be.

Comment #1: “Lose the lapels on the jacket. They’re unnecessary and distracting.”

Comment #2: “You have too many dangly crystal-type things on that. You should only have one or two. Cut the rest off.”

Comment #3: “You know what? The sleeves on the jacket make you look monolithic, like a football player. I would cut those off too, just have a couple of strips of kelp hanging down.”

Comment #4: “And that beaded necklace you spent a million hours making? Lose that entirely. It takes the focus away from the other, more important, elements.”

Here’s the problem: SHE’S RIGHT. SHE’S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ABOUT ALL THE THINGS. All her comments would improve my costume immensely, streamline it, remove unnecessary excess, etc. So I was forced to swallow that big lump of ego wedged in my throat and really examine my costume through her eyes. And except for the sleeves (which we reached a compromise on), I’m doing all the things she recommended. The lapels are gone. The extra crystals are gone. The necklace is gone. And the sleeves I will be cutting windows out of. Here is a picture of the sleeves as they stand right now.

She wanted me to cut off everything, but I truly love the detail work on there, so I will be cutting windows to remove excess fabric and bulk. I made a pic where the orange part is what’s going.

I’ll sew in some ribbons to support that now free-floating bottom bit (which will most likely droop under the weight of all that beading and decoration). The only thing I’m worried about is all this extra work and will I be able to finish it in time. I bet it’s going to be down to the wire, but I am determined to make this happen.

Burning Man Costume, Part 8.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

I for the life of me cannot make my damned camera take a sparkly picture. I think maybe my camera has some weird sparkle reduction built in and while that’s super-great if you’re taking someone’s photograph and they have a shiny top on, it is not even remotely helpful when I am taking shots of my twinkle-magic costume. For example, I made two… well, they look like boob pasties. They’re just additional sea-foliage. They are made with rocaille beads which have mirrored insides (sparkly!) and iridescent brown/green sequins (sparkly!) and plastic breads infused with glitter (sparkly!) and would you look at this picture? So very drab. I haz a forlorn.

I realized that my bottom hoop was sagging on my hoop skirt and was visible below the edge of my painted skirt, so when God gives you lemons (saggy hoops) you make lemonade (attach additional kelp fringe). There’s a place near my job called Trims de Carnival and it has some crazy bright snazzy trims and sequins and whatnot. I picked up some yellow and brick-colored hairy ribbon trim, dyed them so they had green tones in them, and sewed them along the bottom. Problem solved. No more visible hoop. Booyah.

I also sewed that lace beaded kelp on the back of the jacket and sequined both the back of the jacket and the base of the skirt. WHICH YOU COULD APPRECIATE IF MY CAMERA UNDERSTOOD SPARKLY MATERIALS… oh, I just give up.

And I finished the hat! If you remember, the last time you saw the hat the bottoms of the tube worms were visible and you could see all the stitching and glue. Now it is all covered with frilly ribbon and more of that lace kelp (tying the whole costume together, very important) and some gold beaded thingies that were on sale at one of the fabric stores. It looks like I’m wearing a demented doily on my head when I put this on. It’s kind of fantastic.

Even though I have seastars and a big ole crab and barnacles and anemones and some other things to attach to the costume, I still have a great deal of surface area to cover. To assist with that, I made some felt cup shapes that can fit in anywhere and add dimension.

And in my travels around the trim-n-bead shops of Midtown I discovered a few stores selling these acrylic gems with crinkled tinsel in them. They add a lot of visual interest to my costume, so I’m going to sew them in a few areas to make it more exciting.

Now I’m working on my lobster face-mask which at this point looks like head-gear from a parallel universe. I need to find ways to make it more lobster-y. I went to three pet stores before I found a specific kind of cat toy that totally resembles antennae. Once I attach that, I’m hoping it will be more crustacean-like. We’ll see.


Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I was doing research for my Burning Man costume (I’m trying to accomplish building a face-thingie), and when searching for “lobster face” on Google, once I get past the four million pictures of Lady Gaga wearing that glittery lobster hat, I found some really interesting lobster pics. Did you know lobsters develop each half of their body separately? I didn’t. The cool side effect is two-toned lobsters. One is even half male, half female, split down the middle. (S)he is an exceptionally confused crustacean.

Burning Man Costume, Part 7 – I got crab.

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Notice I said, “I got crab” singular, because if one says, “I got crabs” plural, it has a WHOLE other connotation. And it’s inaccurate anyway because I only made one crab. He’s pretty fantastic if I do say so m’self.

Crab from the back.

Crab from the front so you can see his cute little eyes.

Since the photos don’t show all the detail, I’ll take you through it. There’s a nearly identically-shaped backpiece that everything is attached to via twisted wire and coat hangers. and it has two clips on it so I can hook Mr. Crab right onto the waistband of my skirt. Also, I left about an inch of space between the backpiece and that top part there, then I drilled a myriad of holes into the top part so I can shove some wee Christmas lights in there and light will both emanate from around the perimeter of the crab as well as through the holes. Hopefully. That’s the plan. That may not be how it will end up, but I’m hoping that’s how it’s going to go. In addition to nighttime coolness, I made an effort to make the crab interesting during the daylight hours. I cut up some gold sequins and glued the bits on the claws, and I covered the orange butt-part with iridescent glitter shards. He’s a sassy jazzy crab.

Now I’m conquering my great white whale, the hat. I had Cricket take pictures in my get-up so I could assess how it’s coming along, what I should change, etc. The first thing I noticed when I looked at the photos was that my tube worms were too tall and the hat was sliding back on my head.

So I took a deep breath, got out my X-Acto knife, and hacked my two tallest tube worms way down. Then I reattached the flowery bits and I do have to say it looks a million times better. It looks tighter and more compact. Now I need to add all the frilly sea kelp and additional ocean whatnot to the base to cover up the mesh, but it’s coming along.

Dolce did not care one bit about my crab or headdress.

More Alien movie. Oh, you thought I was done? You was WRONG.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Sorry for not blogging in a while, a bunch of stuff has been going down which impeded my ability to share the daily detritus of my life. Did everyone have a nice Memorial Day Weekend? I did not go to a beach. I at no point attempted to tan. I did, however, work on my Burning Man costume and I will have pictures of cool elements shortly. First, here’s a festive bit of spam I received recently. I don’t get much spam nowadays since I installed a filter-thingie, but dribs and drabs get through. This one caught my eye.

It’s the usual collection of words that are unrelated but it ends with the sale of tinfoil hats. Where are they selling them? It seems like such an odd thing to reference. Perhaps the Russian computer dork in the dark basement concocting this spam had recently watched the Mel Gibson classic Signs, which features tinfoil hats rather prominently, who knows? One can only guess.

Back to Alien(s)(3)(Resurrection). Snorth came over on Monday to hang out and we went to Barnes and Noble, where she purchased Aliens (that’s the second one) and Alien Resurrection (that’s the fourth one, they didn’t have the third one in stock). And we watched them. And now I have seen them. I grow weary of the dark, Geiger-inspired hoohah that I have now seen for five hours. I have a couple of thoughts:

  • ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE DRIPPING AND THE WETNESS AND THE DROOLING. What the hell is the alien related to, a bull mastiff? I developed a moisture-related rash while watching.
  • I had the same problem with 1 and 2 that I had with Dark Knight, specifically it is very dark and when there is conflict and the camera is zipping all over I cannot tell who is fighting whom or what.
  • I don’t know if this is sacrilege or not, but I liked Resurrection best. It was directed by the same guy who directed Delicatessen which is one of my top four movies of all time, and his style was clearly present throughout this film. That made me happy. Also, it was a substantially brighter film, so I could see everything that happened, which was nice. Let me be clear, though. I thought it was good up until the humany-alien ripped its way out of the queen’s womb and then the movie got über-stupid. I did like the humany-alien’s death a bunch. Ripley breaks a window in space and y’all know how nature abhors a vacuum so the humany-alien sticks back-first to the window hole where he receives the most violent hickey of all time, courtesy of outer space. He looks like a sex doll deflating. The most revolting sex doll ever.
  • The aliens have yellow glorpy acid blood and sometimes when they get shot with high-caliber bullets or grenades they explode like fruit. Now, Publicis (the company I work for) made a series of web commercials for Pepto Bismol celebrating Cinco de Mayo which I will link to here, and I totally thought that the aliens going boom looked nearly identical to the pinatas filled with nacho cheese, which kind of ruined the magic a wee bit. It also made me want nachos.
  • Ugh, I really hate Bill Paxton. He’s that guy in high school that I would like to not be near ever. I rejoiced in his death by alien.
  • You know how the alien has the second mouth inside of its main mouth? That always reminds me of those fish that keep their babies safe in their mouth. It definitely softens the scariness. As do the silver teeth, which make me think of rapper’s grills, which makes me think of Lil Jon, which makes me think of Dave Chappelle’s impression of Lil Jon, which makes me lose my focus and then someone is killed by the alien and I don’t know who and then I’m frustrated. Here’s the impression I’m referencing: