Saturday, January 31, 2015

Aujourd'hui je couds pas

Today I will shop for food and do some prep work in advance of cooking for four guests—none of whom have ben here before. Two are a lovely couple I have met in my building. (They have a heavenly dog, Frank.) Also coming is my long-time friend and incredible actor, Jillian and her man, Mike.

I am happy and relieved not to be sewing. I have done nothing but, for a full week of 10 – 12 hour days of it.

I am not walking. Neither have I been cooking, and it is all due to my having so many things to do for Trudeau, the Felons & Me. I have head forms to make of the two actors once they are cast, and their wigs have to be built. And I have to build the costume for Vivcean’s partner, Basil Follycraft-Proud.

Plus, Vivicean has a parasol as part of her costume and I need to make a shawl for her for her second scene. (Each time she has a scene she must change visually.) For Basil, I must build a paper cane and paper medals, and of top of all that, two re-writes of the script.

My house has become a studio. I have dumped my rug to make cleaning simpler and I can re-arrange everything easily to create lots of space. In my living room, I can work in the sunlight and there is plenty of space to walk around the dress forms.

I have learned so much about sewing: I now value the right needles, the right thread, using paper clips and clamps instead of pins, thimbles, waxing the thread, etcetera. But more than skills, I have found unparalleled joy in sewing. I may never stop making paper costumes. And it is very nice to be a writer—capable of concocting narrative to support extravagant paper costumes.

I sew on my feet, working on the draped fabric. That is fabulous. And I sit for the “routine” tasks such as gathering fabric onto twill tape or sewing both sides of a meter of ribbon in tiny stiches on thin, thin seams. I LOVE the mindless tasks because at the end you have something beautiful.


“Oh my God. Why haven’t I been doing this all my life?”  I asked myself that today, and immediately remembered cutting up mothers clothing after she moved out of our home when I was in my mid-teens. I repurposed them; I converted all her furs into hats for friends who skied. And I made some of my own clothes in grade seven—that impressed the boys. Not. So this love of making things is not new; it is a reborn passion.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Finis

I am done… (for now). I have to finish it on the actress wearing the dress sometime down the line. Next I have to go back to re-writing the script. Then the gentleman's costume, also white papers and dollar store detritus.  Seventy hours work!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

J'aime apprendre

Oh my God. I am so lucky. Years ago, I hired Christine to work for me and we got along from the get go. That was 25 years ago. She went on to a career in theatre—we discovered we had that passion in common—making wigs and hats.

Well, today I went to visit her to learn how to make a base for the wigs I want to build. Well, she had everything ready to give me a fast course and she gifted me with all the supplies I need to build my wigs. I was humbled. I am taking her to Hawksworth.

Here’s what I will be doing: The actors will have to come here (or make time available at the workshop) so that I can wrap their head in cellophane. Then I use scotch tape to crimp it into the exact shape of their heads. Then I draw their hairline on the cellophane wrap.


I put the cellophane onto a head Christine lent me, and then I force a close-fitting felt hat onto the head and I clip it to the hairline. Then I paint the felt with a mixture of shellac and methyl hydrate and voila, my base for the wig. The rest is the easy part for me that I have been practicing on (see images).




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Plus en plus difficile ...

It took me all day to do so little compared to the first two days that yielded such dramatic results. Now, the seriously hard part begins: the sleeves. You see the first one, hanging below. But the cuff goes just below the elbow so the fabric bunches nicely making lovely puffy sleeves. I can't believe how much the sleeves add to the dress.


Beaucoup à célébrer ...

Hawksworth was FABULOUS last night. It was part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, so it was a price fix menu and spectacularly delicious. It was supposed to be duck, but was chicken instead. Bummer, but a delicious bummer. MY friend David and Bryan came with me, as did Warren and Janet.

We are on for a negotiation meeting with Shavick Entertainment next week. Yahoo!

Today I spent the whole day on the back bodice, and (temporary)shoulder straps. Now I am starting the sleeves.



The t-shirt does the dress no favour.
Movement is not restricted.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Le travail daujourd'hui

This costume can be donned in 30 seconds. It is in two parts sewn onto two aprons for quick changes.

It is made of wrapping paper, fibrous paper (sold as throw-away carpeting for the centre aisle of a church at a wedding and available at The Party Shop by the Main Train Station), 64" of duct tape, an entire spool of silk thread, interfacing, 40 meters of crepe paper ribbon, bubble wrap, 50 meters of large acrylic ribbon, 4 strands of plastic pearls, 7 paper doilies and a fourteen deconstructed fabric roses.

Only the back of the bodice and final hemming (when the role is cast) remains to be done.








Monday, January 26, 2015

Ma robe de papier


What you see here is about thirty-five hours of work. It is a dress for the character Vivicean Ferret in my play. Emily Carr pays me $60 to teach, so this dress, with another twenty hours of work remaining, will be "worth" $3,000 when it is done.

There is a bustle and four layers in the back, and six layers in the front. And all the pieces of all the layers are hemmed and the whole thing—every fucking stitch—is done by hand. (I have a sewing machine I just bought for this project, but so far I have not used it.) Tonight, I did the ruffles down one front panel of the dress, It took slightly over an hour for just that fringe.

The best design element: You can put this dress on in about 30 seconds. It is made for quick changes and I think this fact is its greatest success. The whole dress is built on two aprons: one for the back (the bustle) that ties in the front, and a second apron that goes on the front (and is everything you see in the photo) that ties in the back. Two velcro-bearing shoulder straps complete the harness that holds the costume in place. The sleeves are my next challenge, but with the sleeves and wig, the whole change will be able to be done in one minute or less.

Seriously, making this dress is an activity closer to "me at my best/happiest" than anything else I do.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Une journée très stressante

Holy crap, what a day. And it ain't over yet. By the time I got to the bus stop to catch the bus to Horseshoe Bay, my feet were soak and cold. There was so much water everywhere that cars were throwing sheets of water up on pedestrians all over town. Today was a classic torrential tropical downpour all day long. And it is warm, so you sweat in you clothes.

At the terminal, waiting for the ferry, I spent my time trying to dry my socks and shoes in the hot air drier in the bathroom. Thankfully, they sell socks on the ferry, so by the time I arrived in Nanaimo, I felt dry in my feet.

The class went well. Three hours of sweating. Now I am on the ferry, slowing drying my pits, happy and relaxed that at least the teaching part is over. Now I am on the ferry. I have an hour and forty minute ride ahead of me, then an hour-long bus ride and then I have to walk in the rain again—rain that gets under your umbrella—home. And boy will I be glad to get home.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vendredi: Aller à Nanaimo

Tomorrow, Friday, is the last booking I have from my long life in the visual arts. I am sure there will be more. Invitations seem to never stop coming, but I want to retire that career and immerse myself in writing dialogue—scripts and screenplays. I am still stunned I can do it.

Tomorrow I have to leave here at 8:30 am in order to catch an Express bus to Horseshoe Bay at 9:00. Then I take the 10:30 am ferry to Nanaimo where my host, Gregory, will pick me up. Then we drive to Vancouver Island University where I will deliver my lecture at 1:00 pm. I have a three-hour commission. Then a drive back to the ferry terminal for the 5:00 pm ferry home. The bus should have me back home before 10:00pm.

I get paid for the three hours. Hence the desire to stop.

Corné


I got this off Craigslist today. Another step closer to my first play date with the materials Jane and I bought for our costume building. Can you spell M-A-C-H-O?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rendant grâce

There's no getting around it… I have been far happier this week without any movie negotiations going on. When dreams come true, it's not entirely easy to cope.

I have been working on Trudeau, the Felons & Me. The "telegrams" are coming in. They are extremely  short anecdotes pertinent to the play from voices other than mine. They are all good; they must be. And I have to help them get there but two, so far, are wonderful. My friend John's is hilarious and Ann's is truly unbelievable.

John and I curated a show that toured Canada together many, many years ago and Ann went out on a long, long date with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as a result of my giving the Prime Minister her phone number. That was 35 years ago; only this past week did I find out what  happened.

On my way to counselling, the prism hanging in my window
scattered rainbows through my living room.
Right after my counselling, I went to Holy
Rosary Cathedral to give thanks for finding
the right counsellor.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Villa di Sammezzano

The is the spectacular Villa Di Sammezzano. I have spent an hour today reading about it, but mostly just looking at photos of its glorious interior.




The Peacock Room





Friday, January 16, 2015

Délicieux, je espère

Some of the caramelized sugar stuck in the pan.
My first flan and I am HAPPY!
For friends tonight, I am making a Mexican meal: Spicy tuna burritos with salsa I have made; prawn, black bean and corn salad with a cumin flavoured sauce, flatbread and flan for dessert.

Oolala



Oooooh. I have two display forms in my teeny weeny office. I really wish I had a murphy bed in my bedroom (it abuts my office) so that it could be a proper studio. I absolutely love creating with my hands; I love inventing design as I go. (I like "trying" rather than "researching;"I prefer to avoid the influence of others in order to protect my pleasure of discovery. The process is as much fun as a producing a successful outcome.

I have my drawings on one wall, my set model on my desk, three paper wigs I made on mannequin heads, also in my office, and now the two dress forms that will soon bear improvised paper dresses. I can hardly wait to post photos here. But …

I feel very vulnerable heading into a production that I wrote, appear in (and in the principal role) and for which I have designed the set and the costumes. It is a huge risk; perhaps if any critics come, they will be kind and recognize that. But the only critic that matters is the Georgia Straight’s, Colin Thomas, and Kim says he rarely ventures over to the North Shore. Phew.

I am working on the "telegrams" in the script.  The radiant event of family traditions is a wedding and part of the fun at a wedding is when the best man reads telegrams from guests who couldn’t attend. Many are funny; some are poignant. So I have asked several people involved with the events discussed in my piece to send me short anecdotes that can be presented as part of the show on tape or delivered by the cast. I call these contributions, "telegrams."

Well one telegram I wanted was from Ann Mortifee because when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau opened the theatre I designed and built, he asked me to get him Ann's phone number. That was almost forty years ago, and I have never known if they got together so I called her to ask—finally moved to do so for the sake of a "telegram" for my script.

Well am I glad I did! Her date turned into several dates as Pierre's companion during the entire royal visit, so she and Pierre and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip double dated several times. Come see my show June 4 - 14 at Presentation House.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prêt et excité

Spring is coming!
I am excited. My fingers are twitching because my office is full of costume making materials and tomorrow I am getting a (compromise) dress form. Eddie's Hangup has dress forms, not for constructing clothes, but for displaying them (real dress forms are really expensive). I got some amazing materials to work with today with Jane (my friend, a film costumer and a teacher of costume design at Cap College) who is helping me. I was able to buy stuff (including some delicious new scissors) because Cap has an account at N. Jefferson's—an incredible resource to which I now have access.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sauvé par la beauté

Pick any subject—any subject at all—and have a talk about it with anyone intelligent and you will end up in despair for our future. Something has to end what we are doing to the planet: plague or war. Perhaps "the people" will revolt. That's what we do when we are threatened or scared. And now, with social media, "we" have so much more power over our leaders.

When I was eleven, everything frustrated me. An awesome teacher drew a picture of a bell curve on the blackboard one day, and he said: "At this end, are the intellectually bereft; there are very few of them. At the other end, are the Einsteins and Darwins; there are also very few of them. The bulk of the population is average, he said. Then he drew a vertical line down from the top of the curve to  well below the curve's bottom plane. "This line is median intelligence," he said.

Then he asked me to go to the backboard and show him where I thought I was. Then he showed me where he thought I was. We both placed me on the slope between the vertical line and the Einsteins, but at different points. (He was an encouraging man.)

He then said something to the effect of: "Democracy serves those closest to the vertical line, closest to median intelligence.” And then, starting from the vertical line's end point below the curve, he drew an arrow pointing to the Einstein end. “And so the farther you are this way the more frustrated you will be by the actions of mankind, and now that you know this, for the rest of your life you have to find a way to accept this and live with this awareness."  

Instead of despairing, I "make hay while the sun shines."  I have dedicated myself to having a responsible but good time. I am saved by my reverence for and capacity to see beauty.

So, back to where I started: Perhaps "we the people" will revolt. That's what we do when we are threatened or scared.  Just remember:  The loudest voice comes from those closest to the vertical line. Thinking is dangerous.

"Party on Wayne."

   - Mike Myers

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bonne chance

Good news….

The first production meeting for Trudeau, the Felons & Me went really well and progress was made. I know now, that the workshop will be towards the end of February on a Sunday. Casting should be done in two weeks

And the movie deal is not dead. The line producer has not read the script so the meeting will not be this week. Likely in two weeks. I am FINE with that.

I lost my wallet tonight on my way home from Presentation House. I discovered it at 7:30 pm and went back to the 711 where I last remember having it and they had it there for me. I owe someone and I know who. Harish. I will reward him.

Dîner et un film!

It's tax time, HOORAY!!! You don't often hear someone excited about tax time, but I just had my annual chat with the accountant who does my taxes.

I do not mind paying my taxes. I think of them as country club fees to belong to one of the best clubs in the world and because Warren and I entered the Praxis Screenwriters Competition and won a finalist position, and because that status is posted online for my accountant to see, I can now write off all my movie admission tickets legally, ethically and morally. And it gets better. All those Emerenegildo Zegna clothes I bought, if I wear them in my show in June, are tax deductible. All I have to do is take photos of me in them in performance (to cover my butt). Woo hoo.

Last night my friends John and Bunny and I went to a fun Italian film—the Vancity theatre, the home theatre of the Vancouver International Film Festival, is two three blocks from my house and right now the Italian Film Festival is on. We saw Travelling Solo and afterwards we went to Le Comptoir, the French bistro garnering rave reviews here. It is a truly Parisienne experience, and when duck is on the menu, I am helpless. John had pheasant and Bunny had fish.

It was an impromptu evening. It was the most interesting film I wanted to see, J&B love all things Italian, I'd been doing nothing and has not seen anyone for days,  so I proposed the film and J&B were immediately enthusiastic. It was their idea to go to Le Comptoir after and they treated me. What a fabulous night!

And this morning: A production meeting about Trudeau, the Felons & Me. So that is exciting. I am bound to come out of it with interesting information and some concrete plans.

And this week, either Warren and I meet with Brad or we don't.




Sunday, January 11, 2015

120e anniversaire du cinéma



On the 28th of December, 2015, it was the 120th birthday of  the day the Lumiérè brothers screened the first commercial film images. So, we can say that that occasion was the beginning of movie theaters, the birth of the most emblematic location for all of us who love cinema. So Tàndem has paid tribute to this place where the magic of cinema best by assembling clips of films and the audiences who love them as portrayed in film.

Uncle Gus' Monkey: la pièce de théâtre

I've actually started writing this story of my life yet again. I am re-writing Knock Knock, taking out all the music, rearranging bits and using the ending of Uncle Gus' Monkey.  But most of all, I am reworking it for actors, taking me as performer, out of the script. The goal is to create a play that Warren can pitch to Canadian theatres.

"They" say, Write what you know. That is what I do. I keep reworking my same old story.

I say: I am sick of my story. I think about my history all the time. Is it because I am fucked up or is it because I am mining it for the screenplay and this play and for Trudeau, the Felons and Me. James, the new-on-the-scene therapist thinks I have every right to be fucked up given my past.

I worry that this blog and my telling friends about all that is going on in my life, is bragging. I am worried that I am turning friends off and that I have become someone unlikeable. Is that why I am always alone now?

Fodder for James….

Friday, January 9, 2015

Anxiété

4:30 and no call with a time for a meeting next week with Brad. Have we lost momentum? We could've but I don't think so. We have four more working days before Warren leaves, but he is only leaving town for a week. We could always meet when he gets back. Brad has moved so quickly up to now, and of course I have been so indifferent up to now but now I am excited/hopeful.

I walked the seawall today. It was really lovely at times, for winter. And winter is not as bereft of colour as one might think. My photo of a majestic yellow flouring bush was blurry, but here are the rest. Winter at home ain't so bad. I love not travelling and the regularity and ease of life.




Warlord(s)

I designed a logo for my screenwriting
partnership with Warren.

I went for my first visit to a counsellor yesterday. His name is James and I liked him very much. My objective in going is to see if I  can "calm the fire within;" less obtusely, I hope to feel less angry inside.

I am writing about my life, adapting Knock Knock for an actor other than me. And writing about my life for Uncle Gus' Monkey and writing about and memorizing my lines for Trudeau, the Felons & Me. Plus, I am leading my life. All this focus on my and my past is one reason I sought out James.

The other thing is the anxiety/pressure I feel and more and more people get involved with the book, the plays and the movie. Warren, Jane, Kim, Brad, the Director, the line producer, the actors, the techies, etc., etc…. sometimes they feel like fishhooks in my skin and I want to retreat from these things 

I said, "Yes." To them all, so I am responsible for all these hooks, I know, but that doesn't mean I don't feel pressure and so I am very happy to have James "in my corner" for the next while.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Aller au marché

The fog of recent days makes for incredibly moving
 panoramas. It removes the mountains and usual landmarks.

Yesterday I signed a partnership agreement—it's my first contract related to Uncle Gus' Monkey.

Warren and I have formed a partnership called Warlord Productions ("war" coming from Warren, "lor" coming from Loranger and "d" for "determined"). We are developing two properties: The screenplay Uncle Gus' Monkey and, starting in February, a derivative stage play. We are going to re-work the play that inspired the screenplay, Knock Knock, but as a straight play (we are dropping all the songs that were in the original play).

We are ready for our meeting with the Out TV producer who told us to come prepared to reveal: "What we want?"

It is rather amazing to know that every day this week, a member of Brad's team is reading our screenplay and that at some point they are all going to be sitting down in a room to discuss the pros and cons of producing it. That meeting will lead to a call that could go one of two ways: We will either be called in for a contract meeting, or it will be, "Thanks, but no thanks."

So far, however, every reader has been very positive so Warren and I both anticipate having to tell Brad "what we want." What we want is this:
  • Union scale for the screenplay
  • Points or a buy out of our production rights (fee per broadcast/viewing)
  • A fictionalized rendition of a my life story (we are willing to alter facts)
  • And we want all names changed (no real names)
  • Credit: "Written by Chris Tyrell Loranger and Warren Kimmel, based on the stage play, Knock Knock, by Chris Tyrell Loranger"

If the call is to come in (and not to piss off), it will be to sign an option agreement. Signing an option agreement is emotionally akin to selling your child to a pimp. We want a six month agreement but the industry standard is a year.  I consulted with an entertainment lawyer who is a friend and was very gratified to hear how much she respects Brad, the pimp.

It took years and years of encouragement from Dwight for me to write Knock Knock. And I chose to produce it myself in 21012 because I had no confidence in its worth. And I made it a fundraiser for a charity to get people to come for that reason, not out of interest in my life or respect for my capacity to write for the stage.

And it took another year of encouragement from Warren to turn Knock Knock (KK) into Uncle Gus' Monkey. We started in June 2014. It took three weeks to write the first draft and thenWarren and I spent about another fifty hours on the re-write that went to Brad. 

When I succumbed to Warren's pressure to turn KK into a screenplay, I did so without any expectations obviously. Neither of us had any relevant experience and we both knew we were embarking on a journey we shared with zillions of dreamers and that the probability of success was similar to winning the lottery. But here we are, way way beyond my expectations and—quelle surprise!—it feels really really great to pimp your kid.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cinéma vérité

What if the integrity required of art gallery curators, who program for the public, was required of screenwriters who pen the biopics that are presented to vastly larger publics? 

Recently I went enthusiastically to see Mr. Turner and The Imitation Game. It was interesting to see two approaches to filming a “biography,” back-to-back. I found Mr. Turner richly rewarding and masterfully done and The Imitation Game to be pretty much loathsome.

It all comes down to this: Do you understand the man at the end of the film? With Timothy Spalding’s portrayal of Mr. Turner, I think you can come away with a real true sense of the man and his commitment to art making. But at after watching Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing, you come away as you do from most film biographies—as accurate as a renaissance portrait of its subject.

Mr. Turner is an artist and Mr. Turing is a mathematician. Both of them are obsessive masters—perfect topics for another genius film that mixes insight with a gossipy look at private peccadillos that humanize their subjects.

Mr. Turner says: This is what he was like and it is the finest representation of a visual artist’s process that I have ever seen on film. It’s about his soul, and there is little to quibble with in terms of its truth. The Imitation Game, however is more narrative, it’s more a race against time to win the war. It is full of tension I never felt. It is about a mind, not a soul. It opts for the cliché ah-ha unexplained “moment,” providing little actual insight into the man’s genius and it takes gross liberties with truth.

I can’t imagine going to see The Theory of Everything but I may go, just to see Eddie Redmayne’s performance. Ask yourself: If a movie were to be made about Stephen Hawking, a man of unbelievable medical and mental accomplishment, what story would you tell? Would it be about his love life?

Sadly, we glorify misinformation in cinema made for massive global audiences yet hold our curators, who program for tiny audiences, to the highest possible standards.

The Lavender Postscript: "The Imitation Game" is the latest installment in the zillion-long list of films about homosexuals who, in the end, wind up dead or crazy. Brokeback Mountain, of course, having one dead and one crazy at the end.

Montage magistrale


This short animated film is beautiful but it is the edits that humble me—they seriously impress me.

Watching Downton Abbey with my Boys Tonight


For Beth.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mettre à jour


In two days, I am seeing a counsellor. I am not inclined to therapy, but I and others have noticed that there is anger in my voice and that concerned me so on Monday morning I was happy to be able to secure my Thursday appointment with a man I chose from a long list of professionals on the Counselling BC website. Then the shit hit the fan.

Nice shit, but shit is shit. With the new year came a perfect storm of issues to trigger an anxiety attack: First the probate documents for my ward, Rita, arrived and lawyers and bankers with conflicting advice were at me, as are the beneficiaries. And next week I have contracting meetings with the theatre with whom I have a complex relationship (writer, performer, designer) and with Out TV for a development contract for the screenplay I wrote for my partner, Warren (Uncle Gus' Monkey).

Those of you who have written screenplays about yourself will understand the complexities of copyrights, moral rights and life rights that come with the dramatization of a real life.

When I was fifteen my father got me a summer job in a logging camp. I had to share a cabin with Goldie who picked his hair out and chewed it every night and in the morning he always wanted to show me the chewed wad of hair. He had mental health issues I was too young to understand.

He was a kitchen helper and one day when he emerged with a large pan of ice cream in each hand for the room full of loggers, each of the eight tables started screaming at him to choose their table first and poor Goldie froze with fear and confusion. It seemed so cruel to me; you could see his upset in his eyes and on his face. He was a gentle fragile soul. So I got up, took the pans from him and gave them to two tables, thereby securing my outcast status for the rest of the summer.

I feel like Goldie right now with so many people wanting me to do this and that and so much of what is wanted involves understanding totally foreign experiences. Its very intense for a single person to experience so much alone. It produces a lot of tension so I am grateful that I made my appointment to see James, the counsellor, mere hours before the fan-bound material arrived.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mathu Andersen

Mathu Andersen is a make-up artist and the creative producer for reality television program RuPaul's Drag Race. He is also RuPaul's long-time personal hair and make-up artist.