Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Kiwi Style

As Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here, we always celebrate it on the Sunday after. This year we had 16 people including ourselves, all of them either originating from America (11) or espoused to an American (2), or us, (2) or Conrad, who we have all decided is an honorary American.
Shell took this photo and there is something a little Julia Child about it, I feel - the colours and all the food in big flat dishes, it just reminds me of those 1960s cook books. With the happy chef. I am not sure what Paul is doing in the background, possibly making the MOST DELICIOUS Caesar Salad EVER.
This year, noone volunteered to make pumpkin pie, so I gave it a go. I've never been a fan, as I dislike nutmeg and clove in food (I love the smells though) and it's all I ever taste. So, I made it my way.
I used Chelsea Winter's Pumpkin pie recipe as I wanted a recipe that spoke Kiwi. Adaptations I made were:
  • I subbed out the 1/2 cup each of white and brown sugar for 3/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • I had already cooked the pumpkin before hunting down a recipe so I just put it into the cream and reheated it.
  • The spices I used were one teaspoon each of mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger
  •  I sprinkled a fine but even coating of coconut sugar over the top instead of the topping she uses, which sounds amazing but MrC doesn't like coconut (coconut sugar has no coconut taste, it's just tasty and not as sweet as cane sugar)
 I really liked it! It's like a more interesting, less rich baked cheesecake to my tastebuds.
Anyway, we had a lovely, relaxing afternoon, enjoying each others' dishes (I do the turkey, gravy and the pies, everything else is contributed).
How did your Thanksgiving go, if you celebrate it?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Frolic Lounge - Popping my EMCEE Cherry

Constance and I have been busy lately - it seems incredible that she is a mere 10 months old, although she was a glimmer in my eye for a while before that.
This week we did TWO shows over three nights. So why I am writing this at 6.20am on a Sunday morning (having been awake since before 5am) is a mystery. Why I am yawning my head off while doing so probably isn't.
The Friday and Saturday show was Frolic Lounge - the last graduate show of Miss la Belle's House of Burlesque. Constance and I are also graduates, which is why the divine Sadie von Scrumptious graciously handed over the microphone - she has been Emcee for most if not all of the previous seven shows.
While CC and I have performed a few times this year, this is our first Emcee gig. And Oh My Goddily God, it is tough work! Me with a brain like a thing with holes in it, trying to remember who is next, what I am going to say about them, who to thank...
Anyway as I sit here writing these things, knowing I have NO PHOTOS YET therefore breaking the rules again, I am reflecting on the whole performing thing.
After our first gig at Caburlesque's Madonna tribute show, I was so wired I dragged MrC down to the beach for a swim. At midnight. In my full makeup still. Last night, I departed fairly quickly, had a wine, took off the slap, and went to bed.
There's always a sense of satisfaction at a job done. Sometimes it is a quiet sense, sometimes a big loud, shouty RARA sense. I guess I was expecting the latter.
Will I do it again? OH YES. :)
OK, one candid shot from lovely classmate Amber de Luze's  mobile phone then. Me with Flic the Stage Momager.
One of three costume changes.
When the official photos come through I will a proper piccy type post. But for now I wanted to catch the moment.
And now, I am off to stuff rice up a turkey. As you were.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dead Tragic opens tomorrow night!

And we're done! I am so relieved that everything is functioning as it ought to. Nothing is too tight or too loose, or too big to get behind the set or too delicate to crawl around on the floor - all that functional stuff that you only find out about once a couple of full dressed runs have taken place.
We had the "Preview" on Friday, which is like a dress rehearsal with a paying audience (cheaper price tickets of course). It's a great idea as it gives the cast the chance to really test the show with an audience reacting (laughing their heads off!) with the extra buzz of not being able to just stop, but the option to do so.
It was a perfect run.
Because video is king, and this one is only shirt, here's the promo video:
Here are some fantastic photos taken by Jasmyne Chung, who laughed so much during the photo run I thought all the photos would come out blurry! She's quite marvellous as the light is not ideal for photo taking and the colours are amazing!
 Running away together, Angelo! Darren Young, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford, Emma Kinane, Jon Pheloung
 At the Copa, they fell in loooove...
 Some rock and roll number, probably about a motorbike accident. SO many songs like that in the world!
 Emma being cool, not entirely sure which song this is!
And Honey, I miss you, and I'm feeling good...Note White satin curtains. Thank you, yes I made them.
 Emma and Michael looking gorgeous together as only they can :-)
Michael Nicholas Williams, musical maestro. By the way, he was interviewed on NZ Radio recently and it is a delightfully entertaining interview for anyone interested in the machinations of musical theatre. Here's the link if you're interested.

Now there's just a month of laundry duty to look forward to ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dead Tragic!

Why I am so quiet, because as usual I am insanely busy.  Working six days plus extras takes its toll on my blogging time. The next thing looming at me is this:

Circa Theatre is the "proper" professional theatre in Wellington. By this I mean that real grown ups pay real money to see plays there, and I've never seen a show there I didn't really enjoy.
So it is great fun to be assisting the staging of a show in the smaller of the two theatres. I am working with dear friends, whose professionalism just blows me away. Really, throw some choreography at them, a new harmony or a move or a joke and they pick it up and run with it.
This show was first put on in 1991, and you can be entertained by the youthful zest of the cast 23 years ago.
This time everyone is 40+ or even 50+, and the production values run to more than red t-shirts and jeans.
That's where I come in. The last time they did it was four years ago, this was the advertising image, and methinks the designer was a fan of Baz Luhrmann.

 Our new approach is about the TV variety shows of the 60s and 70s.

We really love the orange suit on Middle Brother Brady far left.

 Oh Donny, we love you!

We ended up much closer to the Partridge family formula, but more on that soon.
This was the stuff of our family evenings around the Telly, and the time from which many of the hilariously tragic songs in this show come from. So, we've gone for a 'basic' look for each of the five performers entirely inspired by these fabulous early '70s looks. Big collared satin shirts, fitted vests and flares. Because the stage is wide but shallow, we went for black overs and coloured unders.
A publicity photo taken this week of the cast who had just nailed Bohemian Rhapsody Live. Queen never even tried. They rock! From left clockwise, Emma Kinane, Jon Pheloung, Darren Young, Lyndee-Jane Rutherford. Not pictured in genius music man Michael Nicholas Williams, who is directing and musical directing and performing in this show, while also being Musical Director to the only two other musicals on in Wellington this Christmas! His colour is blue, BTW.
It's easiest to see on Darren, the fitted scoop neck vest out of textured polyester with silver zip front, over satin shirt. Jon's shirt wasn't finished so he is wearing a t-shirt.
Every character is assigned a colour and every costume piece they wear is also that colour.
So, when Lyndee-Jane is Lola the show girl in the Copo Cabana, she really does have yellow feathers in her hair. Darren's Running Bear sports a red feather, and the guys have t-shirts for several of the Biker type songs like Teen Angel, Leader of the Pack etc. I had to dye them to match their shirts as it's not as easy as you would think finding plain t-shirts in specific colours!
The only exception is the Angels, a necessary device in a show with so many tragically killed heroes and heroines going to Heaven. They will have white wings and halos, of course!
More soon...
PS I have cheated and got a fantastic pattern maker to make up the basics while I concentrate on the extras. I just don't have time to do so much sewing, Although I am hand hemming and button holing and button sewing on the basics so it's not all beer and skittles. And while this is going on, I am frantically writing more material for my own shows in late Nov/early December.
More soon...!

The Sewing Blog World according to Dr Seuss

The Star Bellied bloggers are testing Francoise.
The Plain Bellied bloggers have none upon thars.
I open my blog feed and what do I see
A galaxy of Francoises staring at me.
I'm sure it is lovely,
I'm sure it is fine
But no Francoise will be gracing
This body of mine.
When Indie designers like BHL and Tilly
Go looking for testers,
They are not THAT silly!
Their sizes are teeny!
Their testers are cool!
With multitude followers - the unspoken rule
But watch it, I tell you,
For Dr Seuss showed
That this kind of behaviour
Your fans can erode

Seriously, this is becoming an ever decreasing circle of boring. No matter how fabulous the pattens may or may not be, I'm not interested in patterns, or pattern designers, I am interested in sewing and those who sew and their adventures. But increasingly all I see every time I open my blogfeeds are RARA posts about the same pattern. Therefore the adventures are all the same.
Hey if you follow my blog and I've never commented on yours, how about you leave me a comment about yours? Especially if you sew and you are not cool enough or popular enough to be on the same-old same-old circuit? I could do with some fresh blogs to follow :)
 Welcome pattern testers!

Update: I've had a lot of unexpected traffic from my flippant little poem. I really want to be clear that I am all for indie patterns, and I can understand the usefulness of using popular bloggers to test or promote your patterns. I would probably do the same. My prime gripe is the constant and unrelenting overuse of blogs to promote commercial endeavours from books and patterns to online sales. I don't mind these things in smaller doses, I just think there is too much of it flooding our relatively small community. I wish those doing this would back off. We are a community first, not a 'target market' to be exploited, and the lack of diversity in content this has created is going to alter the landscape considerably. Take heed, Star Bellied Bloggers, we Plain Bellied types may just go and have our own barbecues, and we won't be around to buy your sausages in a bun (to overuse a metaphor!)