Save a Pocket Monster, Change the World

Sarah McLachlan, that angel of the 90s, just filmed a promo for us. It’s for a cause we both care about deeply.

If you can find it in your heart to spare a dollar or two, please join us in our fight.

Pika approved!

Pika approved!

If Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Had a Best Friend

It might be this little gem of a show, Lizzie Borden, a rock musical about the most infamous trial of the 1800s that’s currently receiving a treatment at the Village Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals (where both Next to Normal and Million Dollar Quartet were developed before their successful Broadway stints).


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Belting ladies, Victorian Versace-inspired rock wear, and a whole lot a venom in this powerhouse of a show. And the entire show’s told only using four female characters! Lizzie, her sister Emma, the housemaid and the next door neighbor/possible secret love interest.  Here’s hoping that it makes the hop over to New York soon.

Let It Shine On Me

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is rakish, wild and unapologetically in your face. Its score: tongue-in-cheek emo rock goodness.

But in order to create the feel of arriving at a concert (that happens to have Jackson as the headliner), creative lighting both inside and out are a must. These shots display great use of visual intrigue. The creative reimagining of found objects gives the lighting an extra pop.

Image Credit: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 + 8

If You Don’t Like Gay Marriage, Don’t Get Gay Married

“And that’s what we did, we put fear and prejudice on trial.”

-”8″: Dustin Lance Black’s Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

This weekend marked the premiere of “8,” a play that took a magnifying glass to the infamous Proposition that shook California just a few years ago. The story revolves around the court case to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Spolier alert: If you’ve been keeping up with politics, you’ll know how this show concludes. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to see George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and other fantastically talented individuals in action.

It also doesn’t mean that we can stop caring about the issue. A theatrical piece bringing some of the gritty details to life is wonderful, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. has a long way to go on the issue of marriage equality. The fact that only six states recognize and offer same-sex marriage licenses and that there is no federal recognition of same-sex marriages is a problem tantamount to those issues at the heart of the civil rights movement. It creates a strata of second-class citizens in a nation that purports itself to be the world leader. Leader on plenty of fronts, sure – but not a leader in tolerance.

The fact is, other nations are miles ahead of us on recognizing that allowing gay marriage doesn’t lead to a country’s downfall. Or the apocalypse. Or donkey-human relations. It leads to a culture of  compassion and understanding. Oh, the horror!

Let’s grow up, America. Let’s stop standing idly by as kids get bullied for being gay, stop using the phrase “that’s so gay” as a way to signal something stupid or off-color, and stop making designations between individuals based on who they love.

Love is perhaps the single most important thing that we have to share. It costs nothing, and we as humans are endowed with an unlimited supply.  So let’s give some away, shall we?

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If you haven’t had the chance to watch the play yet, full show is available here.

Take Me Out to the Theatre

So Polyvore’s been around for a good long time now, and it’s proved itself to be one of the most entertaining ways to dabble with would-be fashion ideas. This post is a take on the threads you could wear for show-hopping some of the memorable musicals currently playing on the Great White Way.

Anything Goes
Anything Goes: Show off more than a glimpse of stocking with this little number.
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon: The picture perfect outfit for proselytizing…or taking in the most talked about show of recent history. 
How to Succeed (In Business Without Really Trying)
How to Succeed (In Business Without Really Trying): You have the cool, clear/ Eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth;/ Yet there’s that upturned chin/ And that grin of impetuous youth. 
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Dare to be fabulous.
Sister Act
Sister Act: Raise your voice…and your height by at least 5 inches in those heels.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: The perfect outfit to watch the boy fall from the sky…Literally, he may end up in your lap. The audience has been warned.
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Why You’re Probably Better off Than Most Famous Theatre Couples this Valentine’s Day

We’re getting close to Valentine’s Day. Of course that means we’ll have those few who are grumbling “what’s so great about it anyway?” Whether you’ve got a special someone or if you’re celebrating your own awesome self this year, it’s always helpful to take stock of how much better your life is than those of these classic couples of the stage. By definition, these couples needed to have drama going on in their lives.

Romeo and Juliet, Romeo & Juliet

Ah young love. What could be more romantic than hiding your crush from Daddy since he’s not too fond of your new beau? Super cute until you learn that faking your own death sends your quick-to-react boyfriend to pull a little stunt of his own. If you’re still alive, than you already have it better than either of the main characters in this Shakespearean classic.

Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, Carousel

Boy meets girl. Girl lets boy put arm around her on the carousel and gets banished from the ride. Boy mocks his boss at the carousel and gets fired from his job. Thus begins this charming love story. But ah, soon the two are wed! And Billy only gets involved with a little bit of robbery, wife-beating, and gambling – nothing enough to stop their love. Billy kills himself after a theft-gone-wrong, leaving the now pregnant Julie alone. And while second act sees Billy sent back down to earth to redeem himself, this love story ending is no where nearly as charming as Ghost (maybe a sexy pottery scene would’ve helped).

Porgy and Bess, Porgy and Bess

Bess, a beautiful cocaine addict, meets Porgy, a sweet disabled beggar, after her ex-boyfriend/dealer kills another man over a game of craps and flees. Porgy falls madly in love. Bess can’t decide if she prefers the more glamorous life of gamblers and drug dealers. She shows her love through the little things – like going to a picnic across the lake and leaving Porgy behind when his disability prevents him from getting on the boat. But nothing stops Porgy from loving that woman. He seeks her out endlessly, even when she leaves for New York with another drug dealer. If your love life is less coke-fueled, and a little bit more reciprocal, you’re already doing better than good ol’ Porgy and Bess.

Jane and Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte’s famous tale has been adapted for the stage, yes. Meaning these lovebirds qualify as some of the theatre’s most tragic.  Jane, once an abused orphan, is now a bookish governess. She goes to work for the “gruff-on-the-exterior-but-of-course-he’s-got-a-heart-of-gold” Rochester. They fall deeply in love then Ed lets an itty bitty secret slip out on their wedding day: he’s already married…to a crazy lady…who now resides in the attic. Jane gets mad and runs away. Years of broken-heartedness later, she returns after hearing that a fire destroyed Rochester’s mansion, killed his (other) wife, and left him blind.  Love triumphs. If you have successfully avoided polygamy, horrendous natural disasters, or losing your eyesight – you’re doing worlds better than these two.

Aida and Radames, Aida

Seen in both opera and musical theatre, this love story follows Aida, an Ethiopian princess who is captured and enslaved in Egypt, and Radames, a sexy Egyptian hunk. Forget that Radames is supposed to be loyal to the Pharaoh, or that the Pharaoh’s daughter has the hots for him. Forget that Aida should probably be pissed off that his kingdom is trying to force her into slavery.  Their love is so wrong it’s right.  Eventually, Pharaoh sentences Radames to death and the two are buried alive. If your room still has air in it, you’re doing just fine.

Peter Pan and Wendy, Peter Pan

I’m not even going to touch the potential Oedipus complex going on here.

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Almost Better than the Real Thing

Our culture gives great weight to authenticity. We are constantly reminded to “be true to ourselves” and to “be original” – whether we choose to heed this advice is up to us. In the case of fine art, we want to know a piece’s history, its origin. It’s what differentiates the multimillion dollar gallery painting from the one that never makes it out of the garage.

But who are we really to decide what marks one for fame and the other for obscurity?

In a new Oxford study, a set of researchers set out to explore how much of out perception of “great art” is tied to seeing a famous name grace the museum placard beside the work.

Their research experiment was relatively simple: 14 subjects were placed in an fMRI machine and told the following:

In this experiment you will see a sequence of 50 Rembrandt paintings. Before each image appears, an audio prompt will announce whether the upcoming painting is ‘authentic’ or a ‘copy.’ A blank screen will appear for a few seconds after each image to allow you to relax your gaze.

But of course there’s no experiment unless they shake it up some. The scientists told half of the participants that the authentic Rembrandts were actually forgeries and vice versa.

The results blew them away. They discovered that there was no detectable difference in the response of visual areas to Rembrandt and “look-alikes.”  All of the paintings garnered identical sensory responses.

However, what is interesting is that the scientists were able to pinpoint brain activity that occurred whenever a painting was said to be a real Rembrandt.  When this happened,  “subjects showed a spike in activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, a chunk of brain just behind the eyes that is often associated with perceptions of reward, pleasure and monetary gain.” This orbitofrontal response happened even when a forgery was labeled a true Rembrandt – suggesting that the quality of the art itself mattered significantly less than the name attached.

All this to say that great art can be found in more places than you think. The finest painter in the world may not have made it to the galleries yet. The best show on earth may not be on Broadway with the highest ticket price. The world’s best musician may be scrambling for rent this month and busking in the streets to help make a few bucks.

So look around. Keep your eyes peeled and courageously decide who the most inspirational artists are for you. Then support them passionately. Who knows, you may end up with one of their works before they start selling for $3 million a pop.

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Fashion So Good, It Should be Illegal

And it is.  Everything had to be created from “found, recycled or stolen materials.”One of the costume designers that I had the chance to work with last year, the brilliant Ann-Closs Farley, recently took the idea of “Forbidden Fashion” onto the runway. The following photos and excerpts are from China Shop Mag’s writeup on the event.

“When the lights dimmed for the series of shows, models bearing everything from comic book accessorized suits to dresses made of playing cards and Dixie cups took to the catwalk with ease. The shows were a success, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and occasionally bringing them to laughter.”

Ann’s inspiration for the event was the idea of a fundraiser Fashion Show for The Bootleg Theater using their offbeat name.

“I thought it would create a sexy line of clothes. I also didn’t want the participating designers to have to spend any money in building these clothes that we would auction off. They so generously were offering their time and talents. So, I added a twist to the fashion construction challenge by asking the designers to make their designs from found, recycled or stolen items. I thought it would give the show this black market feel and create a desire for a “hot property” purchase with our audience.”

She created three tracks for the show and divided the outfits up by the following themes:

1) Track 1: Guilty Pleasure

2) Track 2: Illegal

3) Track 3: Fatal

See more photos from the event below:

French Fashionista Ready to Fire

Shazaam

Comic Book Couture

Alley-oop

Swattin’ Flies, Breakin’ Hearts

Animal Pelts Abound

Dixie Cup Drunk

Great Gobs of Green

52 Card Pin-up

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever worn? Stuff like this makes me want to dig through my closet and create something wild.

Le Petit Post

How gorgeous is the scenic design and setup for this song? Take a look at this excerpt from Le Petit Prince, une spectacle musicale par Richard Cocciante et Elizabeth Anais.

Brilliant directorial idea right at the start of this clip: the little prince takes his magnifying glass down and the rose  appears “in the glass” beside him. This clip ends with the rose bidding her new friend “adieu.”

Creative. Bold. Inventive.

More, more, more please.