Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Grab Bag

Lots of little notes today:

On my desk is a lovely old copy of Architecture, Gothic and Renaissance by Roger Smith.  My copy is old (found at Half Price Books for a whopping $5, love that place), with a hand written note of "1952" in it.  But after checking online, it looks like the book was actually copyrighted in 1908... which explains the lovely illustrations.  Public domain!  Wahoo!  No doubt you'll be seeing images from it in future posts too.

The Grand Canal, illus. from Architecture, Gothic and Renaissance by Roger Smith - public domain

Also in books, I'm presently reading, well, several things.  Among them the very funny and eye-opening history of the American '5os as a memoir by Bill Bryson, The Thunderbolt Kid.  Also a revisionist history of interior design since 1600 (whose title I can't recall this second), more on that later.

On the Film Fest front: I recently watched Cedar Rapids.  I was only accidentally watching it at first - it was on in the room - but I was soon caught up in the adventure and misadventures of the hero, a naive small-town-Iowa insurance salesman on his first visit to his industry convention in the wicked city of Cedar Rapids.

Epic!  The guy's an Odysseus on stormy seas indeed - harrowed to his soul by the temptations of this larger pond.  A fascinating and very funny movie.

Also movie related: Aardman Animations new film The Pirates! is open and I want to see it badly.  These guys are brilliant... Wallace and Grommet?  Chicken Run?  Brilliance in stop motion Claymation.

On the set design frontier: I'm scrambling to keep up with several projects.

Boeing, Boeing is being built.  Its flats (walls) are largely built, leaning around the shop ready to get installed, as the main stage level is built, using the stock steel joists WaterTower Theater has on hand.  On top of that will go a few steps and a slightly raised rear "hallway" with a French "wrought iron" railing.  I got to take a field trip to a shop where the decorative curly-cue part of the railing is waiting - not actually bent metal, but cut from plate steel by very high power and focused water jets.  Fascinating machinery.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Mistakes Were Made is also being built.  This show will have a puppet fish in it, so the real complications of this simple set are all around how to build this fish tank area to make the fish visible, yet the puppeteer screened.  Tricky.

At Kitchen Dog, Ruth is getting close to building.  The carpenter is considering the drawings - which have been revised a bit as rehearsals, the script, and the director have evolved the work.  Working with a live playwright and developing text is always interesting.  (Earlier post on living playwrights HERE.)

And, of course, there are a couple shows on the drawing board.


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