29 November, 2009

creative nostalgia

While home for Thanksgiving I went looking in my old room for a few things to bring back with me. What I didn't expect was to open a box and find my life circa 1990-91. I found my first pair of Chucks, which I wore into the early part of college. Size mens 3 1/2, a full size smaller than I wear now. Two pair of tights: hot pink and lime green, both worn bunches in my early 20s (and also sadly a full size smaller than I wear now). But then I also found a hat. The most ambitious one I'd ever made at that point, and probably my second or third hat ever.

First a bit of backtracking; I received my first sewing machine in 1991, an exchange at Sears for the microwave I actually was given for Christmas. Before that (and if I'm to be totally honest for a good six months after as technology scared me), everything I worked on was exclusively hand sewn. So when I started making hats, it was absolutely done with a needle and thread and a lot of craptastic stitching. When I did this one in the fall of 1990, I wanted to make something romantic without being pink. Something to wear out on the town. Well, that didn't exactly happen, though I did wear it out; the hat made its debut at a campus screening of "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover." Yeah, I was kind of a weird girl.

Memories of social awkwardness aside, I have to admit I'm pretty fascinated by this hat. I mean, despite the fact it's a lint magnet, and that the lining looks like it was stitched by Dr Frankenstein, it's not half bad. I learned with it that buckram takes patience (which I don't completely have) and that oversized floppy hats are not necessarily a good look for me. It's fun to look at it and realized I've grown in taste and skills. Technically speaking I have greatly improved as a designer, which makes me happy. All I can do is hope to improve.

17 November, 2009

friends pimping, part 7: creative fusion

One thing that gets me really excited is the idea of artistic mediums merging with each other. Currently on stage in Minneapolis is a show that both acts as art installation and theatre experience. It's totally awesome, heavy on the AWE.

Sandbox Theatre generally creates their shows from an idea, not a script. This means those participating in the production all bring something to it, eventually creating a performance-worthy piece that is a little more three dimensional than most scripted theatre. The official term is process-driven. An ensemble-created production lends itself well to experimentation and risk-taking, and Sandbox's newest work, .faust, is no exception.

Most people are familiar with the idea of Faust, even if they haven't read the story themselves. A brilliant man who makes a pact with the Devil to open up the universe and the power it holds, with tragic results. But when coming to this production, it's best to leave any preconceived notions behind. As it is said very early in this piece, A New World Deserves A New Faust.

In the Sandbox production, Faust's personality is split into three beings, each who explore a different facet. Depending on the persona, Faust is at anytime obsessed with apothecary and healing, sex and emotion, and science and the way the world works. The three actors begin as one Faust, and the act of their division is as fascinating as everything else on stage. The costumes and set both envelop a Steampunk aesthetic, merging Nature and Industry with total ease. Considering the time of Goethe held both the Age of Enlightenment and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, it's as appropriate as it is unexpected. Mephistopheles himself is a visual wonder that is both captivating and intimidating.

Why do I think people should see .faust? Because this kind of storytelling doesn't happen very often. It is at any point dance, performance art, music, sculpture and theatre. Constantly moving and always interesting to watch. They only have three performances left- this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (November 19-21). You'll also have the pleasure of checking out the Red Eye Theater venue- one of the coolest black box spaces around. All the show details are at their website or their Facebook and Twitter pages. Don't miss out on something terrific. Sandbox definitely knows the importance of art to one's soul.