Trashion/Refashion 2011

March 27, 2011

W00t! That about sums up the Trashion/Refashion 2011 experience. What a fabulous time!

I volunteered to be a model for this fundraiser for the Center for Sustainable Living. It features clothing made from materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Refashion focuses on taking existing clothing and making something new out of it. Refashion tends to be more practical and Trashion is more wild and creative.

Due to my social anxiety and persistent dissociation, I alternately obsessed over the event and put it out of my mind entirely. Reality hit last Sunday, however, when we had our first rehearsal. The dress I was supposed to wear went to someone with a taller torso. The next dress went to someone with a bigger bust (sniffles). I was finally given a white slip of a thing with a few rows of lace tacked around the bottom. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed, especially considering the complexity and creativity of a lot of the other work.

My first and second walks down the runway were pretty lame. Yael Ksander told me to get the “eat shit and die” smirk off my face—is this how I’m viewed by the world?? 🙂 I really wanted someone to coach me as I walked the runway but I was too chicken to ask. It was made all the worse when I saw two or three of the women who looked like they were professional models. Eek!

Thursday was a dress rehearsal and it was then that the white slip was settled on. The designer (Stephanie Matsell?) had dropped it off before I got there and couldn’t be at Saturday’s show, so I never got to meet her. Never had a chance to discuss her vision. So it was up to me, and I was determined to liven it up! It was entirely too virginal for me.

Saturday was dress rehearsal at the convention center, where we got one practice run down the walkway. While waiting (and waiting and waiting) for everyone to get ready, I made a few practice runs myself. I’d decided to try my pointy goth boots, but my Docs were in reserve in case I fell over. Success!

After our part of rehearsal was over, I scooted over to Hair Arts Academy for make-up. The stylist I got said she hated doing make-up, then proceeded to do an outstanding job after I requested a Black Swan eye treatment. We debated lip color, but I was really already set on doing my blue lipstick, bought long ago but still serviceable.

The challenge then became to keep from smudging my make-up and getting my hair under control. The dress is a size 4, and while it mostly fit, I couldn’t get it over my hips. It was hard to get the hip line down past my bust (the one time in my life I actually felt like I had boobs), so I had to do all sorts of contortions to get it on without mussing everything. I should’ve asked for a dresser but was too self-conscious.

The show itself was great. I wasn’t nervous before going on, due to a combination of meds and dissociation. While I had practiced my model walks and poses, I wasn’t really in my body, and I’m sure that came across. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I spent Saturday morning watching the video of the fashion show we did at Nottingham Polytechnic in England back in ’92 to get ideas for walks and poses. The women were so graceful and polished in their movements. The men just schlepped out and stood around looking manly. The women sashayed and actually displayed the clothes to their best advantage.)

Right when I stepped onto the stage, I realized in a flash that an open-mouthed smile would ruin the whole look because my teeth are so ugly, so I was left without a clue as to what to do with my lips. Perhaps I settled for a glower, or worse, a rictus of pain.

I sort of blacked in and out during the runway walk. I do remember the sort of gasp that went up when I first appeared, and the very generous applause as I went through my moves. I couldn’t coordinate my body when I hit stage right, which is where the official photographer was, so I don’t know how that will turn out. Fortunately I ran into Julianna Burrell backstage and she was kind enough to take some shots of me there.

At intermission I’d planned to flee backstage and hide until the Trashion runway show, but it turned out that I could chit-chat with lots of people and I ran into many that I knew. I spent the bulk of the time chatting with Yelena about Paganism, of all things, mostly comparing notes between my practice and what she’s familiar with in her native Belarus. Several people took photos of me with their camera phones.

That was one thing that was weird—I’d expected to have lots of flashes going off during the shows and the sound of apertures whirring shut. But everyone was using their camera phones, so it was pretty quiet on the western front.

I sat next to Dena El Saffar for the Trashion show, and she kindly fed me M&Ms from her kids’ stash. It was such a pleasure to set with her because we got to gasp and applaud and comment together on all the creative stuff coming down the runway. The work was just outstanding.

I’m so proud of Jeanne for pulling all this together. This really is her vision and it’s a beautiful one. I loved all the creativity on display—I was soaking it up like a sponge. It’s like love on display. A pure jolt of energy.

Epilogue: I went to the Irish Lion afterwards for fish & chips and chocolate cake & ice cream and was pleasantly surprised to find that no one made a reaction to my Black Swan look. I was unmolested. It was lovely. I then came home and spent 15 minutes tackling the beast—getting the make-up off. I had to resort to using this plunger to get a contact off my eye—it’s a rubber cup that you stick onto your eyeball and it suctions up the contact (if you’re lucky—sometimes it just hurts your eye). I then got most everything off with a combo of lotion and soap. How I suffer for my art! 😉

I don’t know if I’ll model again next year but this year was certainly a great learning experience. I’m really glad I did it. Thanks and love to Jeanne.

Cairril Adaire Trashion/Refashion 2011

Photo by Julianna Burrell

Kaia returns—UU gig

March 27, 2011

Friday night was the first Kaia gig in many months, since a Farmers Market last October. In the meantime, we’ve been hard at work on new pieces and working on our forthcoming CD, but man, have we missed performance!

We had a rough run-through last Sunday, which was made more complicated by the fact that two sistahs were out. Then had a white-knuckle rehearsal on Thursday where we screwed up every song, particularly our new song Lu Lops, where few people could remember the words. I was pretty concerned.

We met early on Sunday to do a cue-to-cue and run through our most problematic songs. Even then, some people sang the wrong lyrics on Lu Lops or didn’t sing at all. Not exactly awe-inspiring.

But when it came to performing, the lights were dimmed, a spotlight was on us, the audience was warm, and away we went! We had great energy as the adrenaline and endorphins kicked in. Unlike the night before, we ended up in one key on our opening number! A miracle! 😉

Lu Lops was placed after Pastevecke Helokanie, our Czech mountain holler. It’s a difficult transition to make. So I paused longer than usual before counting us in. And I think that really helped. It collected us and created a more somber mood. And boy, did the audience respond! Felt great.

I think Lu Lops is one of the most important pieces in our repertoire. The challenge will be to keep the interpretation fresh over time and not get complacent.

We also debuted Pata Pata, Miriam Makeba’s classic South African piece. Our version is really different, much more soft in feel rather than rockin’. Lara did a great job arranging it. I love the vocal percussion section she came up with. And the Sexy Quartet gets to do coordinated back-up singer moves! I’ve always wanted to do that. It’s so much fun.

We had the distinct pleasure of performing Monkey Puzzle‘s Marge with the writer and lyricist in the room! They were very complimentary and we shared some laughs after the show about how hilarious the song is. They were talking about how dated it was (“A car phone?? What does that mean anymore?”) and how they changed the lyrics even when they were performing it. Jane and I explained how we decided to keep the “voted Dukakis in ’88” line because it’s just so priceless—plus Jane actually voted for him! I may have, too—or that may have been the year that I wrote in Paul Tsongas. He may even have been dead at the time. I was trying to make a point. Well-noted by the election officials, I’m sure.

Anyway, came home on a performance high and couldn’t sleep for hours. Between that and the Trashion show last night, I feel like I’ve got a hangover and will never be rested again. We’re back in rehearsal this afternoon to start a very challenging Bulgarian piece and also start adding body percussion to Las Amarillas—eek! I’m intimidated by both. And too tired to be much use. Let’s hope for an afternoon nap! 🙂

Really glad to have such a positive performing experience, especially after last fall’s disasters where I was a zombie from being over-medicated. Light dawns!

Possible Story Theatre show

March 23, 2011

Thanks to my tax refund, I was able to make Nell’s Story Theatre workshop Saturday at Janiece’s. It was invigorating as always. Everyone wants moremoremore. Meryl wants us to do a show (“Hey kids, let’s put on a show!”), maybe in July, maybe at Rachael’s Café. I love the concept but fear the execution. I mean, it’s one thing to be up in front of people, improvising, in a small room where the crowd is hand-picked and pre-disposed to love you. It’s another thing entirely to be up in front of strangers who may get hives in the presence of performance art. Plus I’m always afraid I’ll run out of stories. Horror of horrors, what if that happened 5 minutes into a 20-minute set?? Horrid Dada-esque stumblings about would ensue. Ack!

Nell and I have a separate thread going about a possible Story Theatre intensive for a hand-picked crew, possibly in May. I’m not sure my tax refund goes that far. But I do know that I seriously want to develop artistically in this form. And Nell’s got the goods! She changes what she teaches at every workshop, so there’s always something new happening. My challenges include staying in my body, using similes, and using sound instead of words. If I could get those to be more regular denizens of my creative toolbox, I’d be much more effective as a performer.

Who’s Who entry

March 6, 2011

Yowza, what a blast from the past! I did a vanity search on YouTube in the hopes of finding my speech for Tony Mullane’s induction into the Cinci Reds Hall of Fame, when I stumbled upon a video that claims to be a Who’s Who of the Pagan community. And I’m the first one listed! Right before Margot! WTF!! 🙂

I think this is based on a book published in the ’90s. I remember I got listed in one of these Who’s Who things at some point. The bio (at 1:05) is very brief and pulls on stuff I’ve already published elsewhere. It’s way outdated, since I don’t even know if PEN publishes Water anymore and the Wiccan Community Fund ended long ago. The only thing I do now is moderate the list and maintain the website for the Our Freedom Coalition.

Odd that I should stumble upon this now. This last week was the 10th anniversary of the first (and only) national Pagan Summit. Angie and Andras are making rumblings about my calling everyone together again. So I’ve had that on my mind, wondering how I would organize it, remembering the Great Event That Was.

I’ve done little for the movement since leaving PEN and starting my own business. I miss feeling part of something bigger. I don’t know if I’ll organize another summit but it would be nice to connect with my peeps in a deeper way. I miss my tribe!

Well, this has certainly given a nice jolt to the day. Makes me wonder who I am now and if I’m really on the path I should be. Did I consciously choose to be here? Augh, this is too deep for a Sunday afternoon! Must go drink milk and find chocolate….

Update on Kaia CD

March 4, 2011

Kaia has been working since last summer on our first studio release, scheduled to be released this Fall. But due to a death in the family of one of the sistahs, we will probably need to cancel this week’s recording session. Since we can’t get any more studio time until May, and we start losing sistahs to vacation in June, it looks like we may have to push back our release date. Sometimes it feels like the Fates conspire against us! Oh well, this will give us more time to road-test our newest pieces and do more performing. And tonight my heart goes out to my sistah, who has lost a loved one near and dear.