October 6th, 2010
|02:04 pm - "The theme is Freaks, which really means be yourself."|
Saturday evening found us, along with a full motley crew of artists, musicians, writers, family and friends, descending upon Cynthia von Buhler's secret Manhattan penthouse loft birthday party... Here's the most adequate way I can think of to describe it, courtesy Mr. Wonka himself:
Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure imagination.
Take a look and you'll see into your imagination.
We'll begin, with a spin, traveling in the world of my creation.
What we'll see, will defy explanation.
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it.
There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.
Living there you'll be free if you truly wish to be.
Amanda Palmer and Kambriel, your faithful Ministers of "Party Propaganda" invite you to take a step inside:
There was an art installation of mermaids in which most were tragic "oil spill mermaids" in reference to the BP disaster, but Cynthia was one of the lucky mermaids who was rescued and cleaned:
The timeless beauty of the birthday girl.... I concocted some decorative "mer-hair" for the Countess' special occasion from various sparkly, seaweed/floral bits. Birthday mermaids should be indulged in a bit of added glamour:
C & I helped with a small, but tight team of mermaid dressers for much of the night (if there was a mermaid pit crew competition in the Olympics, we'd be set!). I think we ended up having well over a dozen throughout the various "mermaid shifts" as the night went on, first transforming them into mermaids, and then liberating them back into a vastly more mobile, re-incarnated human form. Lesson learned: it's an invaluable bonus to be experienced in yoga or pilates when being transformed into a mermaid (or when doing the transforming) ~ as there is a lot of lifting involved! One of our dressing/transport team got a bit scraped up in the process, and we warned him that he may indeed run the risk of turning into a merman at the next high tide:
We brought Neil backstage into the mermaid dressing room (you'll notice one casually laying on the floor here awaiting transport!) to try on his newly created Kambriel coat. This time the frock was made from lush, pitch black velvet and even more pockets... I (and I daresay Molly as well!) think he cuts quite the dashing figure in it:
If you could hear this picture, you'd be hearing the sounds of perfectly suited mermaid music being performed onstage right next to the dressing room, by none other than Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys.
Shortly thereafter, Amanda came back as well to do a quick fitting of a striped cheongsam I'm making her. The photo below brings to mind an old limerick I'd often hear as a child (even though my hair is naturally bone straight. The silvery-grey "Big Wig" I'm wearing here was specially commissioned from the exceptional Serret of Wig Witch Studios).
"There was a little girl, who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very, very good,
but when she was bad, she was horrid."
There was interactive art all around, and fairground fare a plenty to eat (though I never actually managed to ~ I got as far as having a veggie dog in hand at one point, but was immediately called away for mermaid-transformation duty!), consisting of popcorn, the aforementioned hot dogs, candy floss, and perhaps other delights which I didn't happen to catch in the fantastical blur of activity...
Performer extraordinaire Jason Webley played a raucous, accordion filled round for the Countess' assembled guests, occasionally accompanied by a rather massive glass jar filled with pennies:
John Cameron Mitchell during Jason's set (I did my best to crop my giant head o'hair out of the picture!):
The musical genius Sxip Shirey was marching throughout the rooms and down the halls with his own unique blend of festive aural majesty in tow. That man literally has music coursing in his veins.
Amanda takes the stage... I love the intimacy of this moment, framed by shadows and a softness of light:
Amanda said something about her life being made at the point when these mermaids unexpectedly freed themselves from the mermaid room and scooted across the stage so they could be serenaded:
Let us toast to art, family, and enduring love!
Neil and his enchanting daughter Holly:
I'm enamoured with how it looks as if Molly dreamed up these elaborately festooned stilt walkers in that very moment, from the depths of her own colourful imagination:
Watching the show from bed ~ is there any other way?:
Cynthia von Buhler, Molly Crabapple, and Kambriel ~ caught on film making merry mischief! (photo by Mark Hoffman)
Kyle Cassidy ~ in action, while Neil Gaiman plays with an eyeball gumball and yours truly looks on:
C'est moi, with two of the most warm-hearted and visionary gents one could ever have the pleasure of knowing:
Thank you Cynthia for bringing us all together, in that spinning carousel beside the Empire State building, underneath the light of the moon.
Crossposted to: http://kambrieldesign.blogspot.com/2010/10/theme-is-freaks-which-really-means-be.html
imagine, create, love,
Wow. There was a hell of a lot of talent in that room!
There should have been an empty book, or a giant blank canvas to fill... I actually thought about it at one point, but was travelling with carry on luggage only ;)
So happy you made it to the party after the window debacle. Lovely mermaid costumes....nice tail! I love that wig on you. The color is fabulous.
Edited at 2010-10-06 06:26 pm (UTC)
We already had everything booked, and were thusly determined to make it happen! A friendly neighbor kept an eye out, and the window's still holding... whoever invented double-paned windows with a lamination layer in between was brilliant.
Cynthia had the mermaid technique planned out in advance (very helpful!), so we just went from there adding touches and refining things as we went along. We reached a peak at one point (before some of our backs started going out on us ~ didn't foresee thinking of the actual lifting!), where we worked together as a very efficient team, wrapping them up smoothly, with each person doing there part. They looked quite nice with the two-toned blue/green effects!
I don't know why the majority of people are so hard-set against grey hair, I remember trying to dye a grey streak in my (otherwise burgundy) hair when I was just a teenager, and Serret did a fantastic job bringing my idea for this one to life :)
It looks like a wonderful, wonderful time! I'm so glad things worked out so you were able to go.
Things didn't get worked out with the glass in time, but we went anyway ~ Viva determination!
What a wonderful party! Now you can add mermaid wrangler to your curriculum vitae.
You look quite lovely with the grey. As one who has a bit of it already on my head, I actually like it because it's quite silver (along with a bit of violet).
Thank you for sharing this with us. A bit of fun we can have vicariously!
Oh yes, our little team can certainly claim to being expert mermaid wrappers at this point ~ we had it down to an art form by about halfway through the night :)
Your silver hair with the violet undertones sounds lovely!
What fun! Oddly, I have a sudden craving for cotton candy...!
Oh and I see you did find buttons for the jacket! ;}
I never got any of the cotton candy, but wish I had... maybe another time!
The buttons we went with are 100 year old silvered black antique glass Czechoslovakian ones based on the art of Alphonse Mucha ~ you would certainly approve.
How glorious, that wig is so magnificent! I am sad for the oil slicked mermaids, but happy about the mermaid theme in general.
Life is magical!
And you have a rare talent for capturing the magic in life!
Those mermaid costumes are just gorgeous :)
They were very much thanks to Cynthia's imagination and creativity!
|Date:||October 6th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)|| |
What a fantastic night
it truly was magical! You and the rest of the dressers did SUCH a fantastic job!!!
|Date:||October 7th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)|| |
Re: What a fantastic night
We tried! I'm glad some of them escaped to come up on stage towards the end ~ I didn't realize they had that much mobility ;)
It was a perfect touch having the band right off the side of the room since we could hear all of the music ~ somehow the sounds fit in just right, and seemed precisely what mermaids would be listening to...
*swoons* at how wonderous it all looks...
I wish we'd spent more time on the rooftop where the carousel was... that spot in particular felt like magic come to life.
|Date:||October 7th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)|| |
Nah, that would be the guy taking the photos ~ he's the drummer/award winning fop-man ;)
It looks like it was a fantastic party and an amazing mix of people! Neil's jacket looks unbelievable, he must be so thrilled with these exquisite pieces you make for him.
Thanks Dianna ~ I'd have loved for you to have been there with us; I probably would have tried to convince you to help us with the mermaid dressing too!
Neil's still in the "breaking in" period for the new jacket ~ whereas the other has become more of a second skin. What a special night to try it out though! He mentioned planning to wear it for his interview session at the New Yorker fest the next day as well... I just hope it serves him as well as the first.
That came to my mind as well when I first heard the idea for the mermaids. It's definitely something that could be taken as controversial, but in my mind, I feel it's better for people to at least keep what happened (the effects of which are of course tragically long-lasting) alive in peoples' minds rather than just quickly forget, deny, and move on. I'm glad she incorporated the cleaned & rescued part of the story into the installation as well.
I did find it strange that people attacked that editorial, when at least Vogue Italia was addressing something major that was going on in the world and making people take a moment to confront it ~ and how people would take more offense to that than if they'd just turned a blind eye and did some "typical/pretty" fashion spread. Seems to me, portraying obliviousness would be the worse of the two options (even if it's more palatable to some).
Thanks for the compliment ~ Cynthia was mentioning it's all that staying out of the sun over the years, and I really do hope Neil will like and get as much use out of this jacket as the first :)
|Date:||October 7th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)|| |
That looks like a load of fun.
And are you ever not completely adorable? Seriously.
Oh, and can I even express how exciting it is to be one degree of separation away from Neil Gaiman? Makes me squee like a little girl!
|Date:||October 9th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)|| |
The new coat for Neil looks great. But mostly I needed to comment to say that that wig is completely and totally awesome.
Fantastic work on those mermaids (and all the other outfits)! You truly are the seamstress of the stars. :o)
Hmmm, what would I design for an actual, celestial star?.... Something pale and shimmery.
|Date:||October 10th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)|| |
It looks so magical!!! I am so happy you were part of something so fantastic and spirited. Thank you for the pictures!!
You're welcome Tina! I think the rooftop carousel (which we managed to go up and find before things got to busy), twirling away under a starry October sky, might have been the pinnacle of all that magic. I'd have loved to see you riding it ~ perhaps in your amazing b&w wedding outfit!
Good lord, those are the most beautiful mermaids I've ever seen! ;)
I hope you don't mind if I friend you, your LJ looks fascinating and I'm on vacation, so I don't have time to check it out the way it deserves to be.
I absolutely don't mind ~ here's hoping your vacation is splendid!
All that talent in one building, looks like a tremendous time! It makes me wonder what other artistic collaberations will happen in the near future.
I know the seeds were planted for Kyle & Amanda's Australian photoshoot which just happened yesterday, but it's true ~ with all of that artistic energy buzzing around, I wouldn't be surprised if more delights came about as a result.
So how, precisely, did I manage to miss this post?! Just linked to it from Neil's LJ!
That looks a lot of fun, though slightly jealous because I have always wanted to dress up as a mermaid ~ but never quite worked out how!
(Or could, it would just have involved being able to afford this little number by Gaultier: (about half wa down the page))http://stylefrizz.com/200804/coco-rocha-superhero-daring-do-vogue-us-may-2008/
After all the experience we've got with it now, we could give you a few tips... Parisian metro performance art for next time? Hey, at least you know you'd have to be carried around ;)
Nice link to the Gaultier creation. It's ironic, because Cynthia originally asked me to make her mermaid outfit as well, but I thought she should go with a person who specialized in creating such things (she found a latex artist), as mine likely would have "just" been stretch sequins and such... looks like I would have been in very good company with that idea afterall!