Friday, December 29, 2006

Just a few things before the new year...

I have been working on the Lobsterboy New Years Eve all week, and I just wanted to share some photos before I get back to it...

First, Heres the Post Article that came in the Weekend section:
Anyone recognize that snazzy backdrop?

Next, I want to share some of the photos from the Xmas Show, all taken by the wonderfull people over at
Saw Lady in front of "Sparkle"
Lobs doing his "doodie"
What the dog ate

And Lastly, I'd Like to give you a taste of what NYE will look like...See you next year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December is just too crazy!!!

Hey there, just got back from LA, and everything is crazy. I have too many projects all of a sudden, and I am barely keeping up...So you will have to forgive me if I don't have a rundown for you just yet...I'll try to give an honest rundown before the year is out!

Oh, despite all the craziness, I still was able to pull together a rudimentary MySpace page...(sorry no link, haven't figured that out just yet!) so you'll just have to look me up ( I was surprised how many Jared Davis' there are on myspace...So try "artbyjared"...)

P.S. Come to the Lobsterboy show this Saturday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hot dog for Thanksgiving

I will be jetting (no really, KT has got me on a plane to go back to Detroit...I've taken an "online fear of flying course" and I think it actually helped) to Motor City for Thanksgiving with the fam (that is, my parents and KTs parents and my new Ohio relatives) at Hal and Ellen's new digs in Royal Oak.

But always looking ahead, I have already started to think about Xmas, Lobsterboy style.This is a Vectorworks rendering of the stage (floorplan and elevation) at Chief Ike's Mambo Lounge. The space is very small, and they usually don't have any scenery, but I think that some scenery helps make the place seem, well, more special.
This is the first sketch of the "portal" idea for the Xmas show (which BTW is on Saturday, December 16) Its a wiener dog, with "Lobsterboy Revue" shaved into his side. He's eating tinsel...and...Well, you can figure out what happens after that... This design is rooted in one of the most traumatic memories I have of Christmas. My friend, Don, had a Shitzu with this problem. And it was a very festive Xmas indeed!

Lobs wants to show some films at the show, so part of the challenge is to find out how much room I can use for the Dog, while still providing access for the projection screen...More developments to follow...

Before I leave you, I just wanted to touch on some of the other developments that I have not been sharing with you...I am the Scenic for Rep Stage's production of Your a good man Charlie Brown. It has been taking up my mornings...and I could write a whole book on the goings on there...I have made very halting progress on the Velvet Animals project...The Palace of Wonders Valance is slowly getting into Sketching step II...I have had several meetings, including sketches and a white model, for Hexagon's Strike While the Irony is Hot...and I am flying to LA next week, for a week of fun (mostly being part of the "wide eye" posse, for the group show that Scott Brooks is in at the Luz de Jesus gallery)

Have a great Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Velvet Revolution

I finally got around to taking a treo photo (BTW, I have the Treo 700 now...Its a really long story) of the "Roy being attacked by white tiger" velvet painting I did for the Halloween Party:
Roy Being Attacked by White Tiger, 2006
Oil on Velvet 48"x60"
I really like the way it came out, and I am thinking of making more work in this vein. It is thematically identical to my earlier "versus" obsession (remember the poor astronaut being attacked by a lion?) but the velvet gives this one a permission to take itself too seriously... Unlike the astronaut, which, being watercolor, had a "trying too hard" feel...

Anyway, this realization has prompted me to do some prepatory sketches for more velvet paintings...with animals, doing un-animal-like things...
This bear is my favorite...He's a sloth bear, the kinda bear you want to buy a beer...The hardest working monkey in showbiz!who could leave behind a bear on a bike?

These are all white colored pencil on black paper (treo photos). I am hoping to get an idea of how they might look on velvet, but the black paper gives them a haunting...perhaps ponderous, or worse...Gothic...feel. I don't quite know what to make of them just yet. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Too much Burlesque?

Looking at all the projects I have lined up, I have to step back and ask,"have I gotten too deep into burlesque?" You see, I am involved with adding a valance (the thing that goes above a curtain) to the Palace of Wonders "stage", Hexagon wants a "Sequin Circus" theme, Lobsterboy is doing back to back shows in December, and my personal painting projects are starting to explore the Victorian/Edwardian poster genre (when I muster the motivation to get them out of the sketchbook and on canvas)... I am a bit concerned that I am engaging in a "passing fad" with the whole thing...I mean, lots of people who embraced this sort of work in the 90's are not "freaky" enough these days to turn a buck (who wants to see someone hammer a nail through their tongue now when every 13 year old girl has a tongue piercing?)

Setting all that anxiety aside for right now, here are some initial sketches I have cooked up for the Palace of Wonders (sometimes known as the "Showbar")Photoshop sketch...Before I saw the space...
Keeps with existing "old timey/surrealist" theme
Photoshop Sketch with Treo Camera Phone photo of actual space (vectorworks dimensions overlaid)
This one is a bit more (unavoidable pun ahead) "in your face"

I will be making a few more sketches tomorrow, so that I can present a variety of directions that this piece can go in...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back from the Dead

Well, its been a few weeks, but I am officially back from the dead. The Halloween party was a blast. As you can see from the photo below, KT and I were both Elvis.The Karaoke basement (technically called the "Spooktacular Spooktacular Karaoke Floorshow") was a big hit. The skeleton Showgirl cutouts went a long way towards setting the "Haunted Vegas" theme...Below, Kirstra and Sara show those skeletons who the real headliners are!

We also made out, into a wedding chapel/funeral home, for the party. The velvet Elvis paintings all went, by party's end...And even the "Roy Attacked by Tiger" painting went...(I'll have pix as they become available)

The party was so great, that writing about it wouldn't do it justice...So lets just say that you are going to have to start looking for a costume for 07 right now!

One bonus I have to share is that we finally exhausted the film from the spongebob squarepants camera, and I found some Hot Rod Hula Hop 2 booth photos...
And Vern Came through with a good photo of the Trixie to Dine for event:
And I finally got some photos from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD...
After a such a productive time, I have started to organize and take stock...Which means that a few more "here are pix that I didn't get before" postings will be coming down the pike...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Fall Collection...

Token Cup Designs for SPOOKTACULAR VII
Sketch, Photoshop, 3"x7" wrap around

The fall collection refers to this weekends shopping extravaganza. I do, on occasion, need to clothe myself in new garments, thank you very much.

Anyhoo, I have been doing the "reset" button on my thang since the last posting. I got my phone back, I was a zombie (twice) and I cranked out a cup design for the SPOOKTACULAR...I am going to be doing a skeleton showgirl theme for the basement, so it seemed like killing two birds with one stone, by making the cup design coordinate...The cups are going to be green, with black ink. Which of the above versions do you like best? Hurry with your comments, cuz they are going to the printers on Monday!

I have also been amassing a bunch of library books in preparation for the HEXAGON show, as well as research for the velvet painting of Roy (of Siegfried and Roy) being attacked by a white tiger!

Friday, October 06, 2006

And Two weeks Later, still catching my breath

I have been focused like a lazerbeam on a few projects, that have given me very little room to breathe; until now. Its really a paradox (a most ingenious paradox...More on that later) that whenever I am over-worked and hyper productive, I feel like I am slacking off and should be doing more...I guess its just the over-achiever in me (I guess there is a fine line between self-flagellation and over-achievement...)

Part of the reason for the lack of postings has been my piss poor documentation of late. I have no good photos of CANNIBAL!, TRIXIE's TO DINE FOR, PIRATES or NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD....But I will make up for it soon...To appease your visual needs, I do have some crappy cell phone photos:
Painting the Backdrop for PIRATES of PENZANCE
50'x20' muslin backdrop painted on the floor.

It really seems like a few months ago, but it was really just since the last posting that we were painting this puppy. It really went fast due to the cleverly constructed cradle that was made by Pete S. to use the projector. This technique was instrumental in getting unskilled labor to execute the same "English woodcut/engraving" texture that I designed to run throughout the show.

Once this drop was finished, I grabbed my wife and we made tracks to the Nissian Pavilion to see the Dark Side of the Moon show. It was great, But Nissian Pavilion really sucks from a getting there/parking perspective.

So, Pirates load in went well, and I was able to use Jared R. to take portfolio shots (he bought a new camera and wanted to send it through its paces) Unfortunately, I don't have those photos yet, since he couldn't get them into a format I could take away that day. SO I am still waiting for them, but when they arrive, they should be pretty good. In the meantime, here is another crappy phone photo:

Arlington Players, Thomas Jefferson Theater
(note the backdrop from before)

In the brief respite between the completion of PIRATES and the beginning of the build for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I was able to develop a "logo" for this years Halloween Party. It is (hopefully) a beginning step towards a giveaway at the party, mini velvet Elvis'...With a Halloween theme...
"Skull-vis" logo for Spooktacular 6 Evite
Drawing, photoshop, Illustrator

And then just like that, I was building NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It took me a total of three days to fabricate and paint the thing, all by myself. Since I rarely build what I design, it really took a lot out of me. But I think, given the constraints the DCAC has on LANDLESS THEATRE (no screwing to the stage, remove everything every night, no setting or moving lights, a shoebox to store the scenery in...etc) It is the best set they could ask for. I did not, however, take any pictures...I need to do that soon! BTW, it opens tonight...where I will be starring as a ZOMBIE EXTRA!

My Phone died. I couldn't hear or be heard on it. Radioshack needs to send it off, and then "they" will send it back and make them give me a new one...It's a real pain in the butt. It is a bit unsettling how much separation anxiety I have over not having my phone....(which is also a camera, PDA, MP3 player and so much more....)

This week marked the first official HEXAGON production meeting. The theme is something I think will be a very productive theme..."Sequin (sic) Circus" is what the director seems to want to push...I wont even begin to think about the thing until after the Spooktacular.

I saw Tim Gunn last night at the Corcoran. He is one class act. If fame were ever set at my feet, I pray that I would have the poise and grace of Tim Gunn...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

To Dine For Photos and the Finger

Here's the first bad camera phone shot of the "To Dine For" event. But you can still make out a naughty monkey...
Trixie Doing her Thang...
And the final result, without all those pesky Burlesque performers.

The "To Dine for" event went really well. I even sold a painting...And its always a good feeling to get some more mileage out of the old Toxic Tikis.

Speaking of Lobs...Look for this on a T-shirt soon:The rest of this week has been Pirates, Pirates, fact I need to stop writing now and help with load in!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pirtates have taken my Sphadoinkel

PIRATES has really hit a full head of steam. As I write this I am worried that we will not get the whole thing painted by load in...But I did paint the Trixie portal, and I took it to Charm City this morning. Here is a shot of it at the shop....See you at the event on Saturday! (I'll even have some paintings for sale...) I'll post pictures from the event, next week!Center pannel of Trixie's "To Dine For" Portal.
8'X4', Luan, Foam, Leopard Print fabric

Left and Right Pannels of Trixie's "To Dine For" Portal
Each 6'x4', Paint on cut Luan

Friday, September 08, 2006

Really been slippin'

Hey there, looks like the end of summer, and I have been slippin' on the whole blog thing. Here is the most succinct account of the past two weeks events I can muster:

Fire at the CANNIBAL! Dress rehearsal
Fantastic party at Amy's
Shipped Paintings for MotorCityTiki3
Painting begins on Pirates
Art festival mural project went south
Prep for Meat and Greet party
And finally,
Trixie Little's To Dine For event portal
Digital Sketch. 1"=1'

More next week, I promise!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Too busy and Two pix

Backdrop for CANNIBAL the MUSICAL
12'x12' Acrylic on Muslin

I'm sorry that I skipped a week, but I was at the Hot Rod Hula Hop, and it has had me so frenzied that I havent had a moment to do any blogging. So, above is the final version of the cannibal drop, and below is the final shots for FIDDLER. I will post HRHH2 shots as they become avaliable....

Set for FIDDLER on the ROOF
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Stage.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bye Bye Fiddler. Hello Cannibal, and BUGS?

"Bug Bedroom" for an aspiring 8 year old entomologist
Audition project for KidSpace, Photoshop/pencil sketch

There are some major developments that…developed, this week. First, as I cryptically alluded to some posts back, I auditioned for an HGTV program called KidSpace. This involved cranking out a hypothetical design for “an aspiring, eight year old, entomologist.” Yes, on top of all of the other stuff this week, I needed to design a “Bug bedroom”. I had very little time this week because it was the last push for FIDDLER. I did another all day Sunday and an evening Monday, but the darn thing is up and installed (I even shot photos today…sorry, still using film, they will be developed tomorrow) Other than the slight miscommunication about the supports from JOSEPH still being visible over the skyline of Annatevka, it looked pretty good.

Monday was the audition, which overall, went well. I am going to be one of the “backup” people, since the other design positions have been filled. Its kinda weird, because that sort of puts me in the position of “understudy” which entails a secret desire to have someone else break they’re leg…well, in the end, I am only out a weekend of research and drawing, and the embarrassment of knowing that there is an audition tape of me out there now…

Layout Design of backdrop for Cannibal the Musical

Photoshop/Pencil Sketch

I have hammered away and resolved the final layout of the CANNIBAL drop! I begin painting this monster tomorrow, with high hopes of pulling it up Tuesday!

By this time tomorrow, it will be only one week until the HOT ROD HULA HOP in Columbus OH. I have lots of work laid out, to help fill the tent (oh, and I need to assemble the tent for the first time, and do all of the little things…but my amazing wife, who secretly loves to sell things, has been taking the helm on that end of things. My gratitude runs eternal….)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Camera for the County

We bought a new camera for the County, and I just took these photos...they sure beat the heck out of my Treo 650 phone photos!

1/8"=1' model, shot with Olympus FE-140
1/8"=1' model

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rumble in the Juggle

Initial Sketch for backdrop, CANNIBAL THE MUSICAL

Pencil Sketch with Photoshop, scale sketch, final drop dimensions 12'X12'

The week that was, blow by blow:

Round I: PIRATES came out swinging in the early rounds. I needed to make a second act for the model (no photo here…you’ll just have to come to the opens September 29th, FYI) so that I could show it by the Tuesday deadline. The model was approved with minor changes by Malcolm…who was a bit distracted by the auditions he was running at the time.

Jared wins this round, but only on points, because he will still have to create Vectorworks drawings for the carpenters later on in the fight.

Round II: Wall Mountables opening. Jared looked a bit sweaty and tired at this point in the fight, perhaps he was looking forward to the BBQ in the upcoming round, or was it that there were a gazillion people at the opening? Most of the work looked good, but major damage was caused to Jared’s sense of taste, due to the “low blow” by an anonymous “artist” who used the space directly next to Jared’s for his poorly stenciled “Free Palestine now”…er…artwork. However late in the round Jared was able to regain his composure with the support of longtime supporters Scott and Mike, and fellow blogger Alexandra Silverthorne.

Round III: Leaden footwork dominated this round because of the relentless punishment that model making for Pirates was handing out. However, late in the round, the BBQ in Petworth provided a well deserved respite in the corner. While there, Jared’s fight coordinators kept him plied with beer and kabobs. Jared appeared to be a bit punch-drunk at this point in the fight, and he was given a litany of Trivial Pursuit questions to determine if he was able to go on…

Round IV: The most punishing round in the whole fight came when FIDDLER needed to be painted. After fighting off an early round hangover, Jared came out swinging. Hour after hour, the FIDDLER would not give in. In the end, Jared was able to only eek out some progress, and definitely lost on points in this round. He knows that FIDDLERS day will come. “I’m comin’ for you next Sunday FIDDLER! You hear me?” taunted Jared from his corner at round’s end.

Round V: Jared’s Mouthpiece needed adjusting, early on. Then punishment was metered out by the striking of electrical equipment at TJ. However, late in the round, Jared showed off some fancy footwork at the first production meeting for CANNIBAL the Musical. The judges scored Jared high for his deft handling of the initial sketches…

Round VI: This last round encapsulated the tone of the entire fight. It started early with some light design work for PIRATES, then moved into moderate progress towards making more work for the HOT ROD HULA HOP, but the end of the round was punctuated by promises and trash-talk. At the end of the fight, a new challenger threw down the gauntlet. His name…”CHILDRENS MURAL PROJECT”

Jared’s response: “Bring it, fanboy.”

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Too Busy To Blog....

Despite what the sign says, I got this baby for only $59.99!

Well, here it is, my $60 tent for the Hot Rod Hula Hop in Columbus OH. Now I have to make enough work to fill it!!!!

I have been busy. Like a one legged man at an ass kickin' a one armed paper a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs (maybe not that last one...) So busy in fact, that I have little work to show, and not enough time to complain about it. So I will leave you with a bad phone camera shot of the model for PIRATES...Oh, and one more tease...I might be in your living room sometime this fall...

See you next week!
Model for Pirates of Penzance
1/8"=1' (sorry for the low quality)

Friday, July 21, 2006

So, I'm not going to Detroit?

Suddenly, our hero finds that he has a free weekend…what will he do?

As it turns out, after working hard on a series of new Tiki paintings, the show was canceled. (Actually, it was moved to Labor Day weekend, which I cannot attend, but I will be sending some work along to show my support for the Detroit scene…) It certainly isn’t the greatest feeling being the “last to know” about something like that, but in the end, I got a whole new set of paintings out of it

Bucky's Lamp
Acrylic and cut paper on Board 4"x10"

Edgar's, Lee's, Vera's, Frank's Lamp
All Acrylic and Cut Paper on Board, All 4"X10"

They are based on a set of camera phone photos of the Mai Kai in Massachusetts. (See previous post with a picture of me looking somewhat drunk in a well lit Tiki bar) I have been toying with the idea of making my Tiki stuff more situational. I have resisted narrative for a long time, which has prevented me from making characters to inhabit my paintings. I feel that this is a bit like playing with paper dolls. You might create a narrative, but outside the sandbox it doesn’t amount to much. So I have been keeping to just depicting objects. However, in this series, I have tried to make an absent character the “subject”. That is, each of these paintings is named “(insert name…like Bucky)’s lamp”. This provides the viewer with the idea that this is a lamp in a particular Tiki establishment, owned by a particular proprietor, with individual tastes. For example, Bucky is a modernist-loving owner, who serves Suffering Bastards to the lovelorn patrons at his leather upholstered bar. So I have tried to indirectly show the type of person the proprietor is. Perhaps I have been pondering the death of Marvin Chin a bit too much when I was making these…who knows. Overall, I know that I have given these much more thought than the average hedonistic Tiki consumer, but perhaps they are a signal of a change in my work.

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead, and this week has been one of diligent painting, but thankfully all the deadlines were mine, and not set by others. However, the time for sloth has ended; I have to put the nose to the grindstone for the next month before I get any breaks…wheeeeeee

Go support the fringe festival. I went to the opening, last night and saw Greg Ferrand’s work at the warehouse (along with too many others to mention) and the new club Avenue. Although I have seen that painting before, I still think its one of the best things he’s done…even if it is an over-the-top “Spanish” painting…someday he and I will attend a bullfight together, before they are banned.

Tune in next week when our protagonist (No, I haven’t forgotten about the naming/ re-branding thing…) hangs up some work at the DCAC Wall Mountables show…plus can he paint an entire children’s theatre camp show in one night, again??????

Thursday, July 13, 2006

JOSEPH ends, PIRATES and Palace begin...

The palace of wonders is a great addition to the H St. corridor. However, at the grand opening on Friday, it seemed that if they anticipate having as large of crowds as they did for this special event, it would be a venue doomed to “not have a good seat in the house”. I can only hope that it will be all it professes to be, and is around for a long time. It does not promise to be a good venue for more than 40 people at a time, and therefore may not be a viable venue for people like Lobs, or Trixie (and especially not their scenery!). Scott and Mike joined KT and me, where we drank Magic hat number 9 and hatched evil plans, while the flea circus boomed and the lasso twirling whizzed by our heads.
Sketch for Arlington Players production of PIRATES OF PENZANCE

The next day I committed myself fully to making a good first draft for PIRATES OF PENZANCE. I came up with a “colored etching” look that would be consistent with the constraints of this particular production. Because of the lighting renovation at TJ, the show may have to be moved. Hence, I need to make a predominantly 2-D set, that can pack up and be moved in a single truckload. What you are seeing in the sketch are all cut flats (some attached to a 7’ high rolling platform…), and a backdrop. I presented my designs at Malcolm’s poolside to an agreeable reception.

The next day started early, when I took my sorry butt to Seat Pleasant to paint the entire set for JOSEPH. Because of delays in the design for another show that was being produced at Imagination Stage, I was delivered the set to be painted on Friday (the show opened Wednesday!) So, I spent the entire day painting. I started to get loopy around midnight, and decided that that was good enough.

The next morning Dan T and I went the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse to help repair their grand curtain. Due to a purchasing error (and an inability to diagnose the situation on my part) we decided that more parts needed to be ordered and that the day was pretty much a wash. So we’ll be back to finish the job when the parts come in.Production photo of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Imagination Stage @ CESJDS

I took some portfolio shots of JOSEPH today. Ayun Fedorcha is the lighting designer, and she always makes my work look great. My photos are only so-so. I guess I need to break down and buy a digital camera soon!

I will be fully committed to making a whole bunch of Tiki paintings for the Motor city Tiki show this week. Hopefully I will be far enough along next Wednesday to have some to share digitally! It’s nice to not have a million things going on for one week…just one big one!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Contest Extended!

Thank you so much for your comments. I realize that I have inadvertently sparked some confusion when I announced my “contest”. Some of you thought it was a contest to change my legal name. Some more cynical folks pointed out that it was vain enough to have a blog at all, let alone hold narcissistic contests. But the overwhelming majority responded: “you have a blog?” Just to clarify, yes. I have a blog. But it could be much cooler. In fact, my whole “thing” could be much cooler. And that is where you come into the picture. I am holding a “contest” (no purchase necessary, void where prohibited) where you, the general (Art-appreciatin’, theater-going, tikiphile, pastie-twirlin’, America-loving, John and Jane Q.) Public will have a say on what shape my next website and “brand” will take. I realize that I announced said contest right before a major holiday, so I am going to extend the deadline until the end of the month, so that everyone will have a chance to add their $0.02.

There have been some pretty good suggestions so far. And some sage advice too…It’s not an easy thing assuming a pen name. People like Mark Twain and Lobsterboy make it look easy. But as we all know, being a superhero is much more than wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants…you have to back it up with being able to leap buildings in a single bound. I will try to live up to that you give me, wearing it proudly on the outside of my pants!

Before I get into the humdrum of the weeks update, I wanted to point out that I have added some links to my list on the right, in hopes of spreading the cyber-love around a bit…so please visit some of my friends!

With the summer rains come thoughts of adding bathrooms to the basement…after all, were spending lots of money installing that pump, why not just demolish the whole basement and add a bathroom?
Floorplan for Fiddler on the Roof for Imagination Stage
Created in Vectorworks

I turned in the final drafts of Fiddler…It continues to surprise me how fast the summer is clipping along. Ill have to paint ALL of JOSEPH before they open, next Wednesday. (!)

Sara’s Birthday was celebrated at Glen Echo, in the Spanish Ballroom. If you even remotely like swing dancing, this is the place for you. We had a blast. In an effort to be authentic (or cheap) they don’t air condition the place, so we all lost our own weight in sweat by the end of the night. In fact, the website recommends that gentlemen bring additional shirts to change into!

Before that was the closing reception for ReMastered. I guess my Laocoon will be on permanent display in the dining room. Anyone got a fish tank I can put below it?

And just like that, I have started researching for PIRATES of PENZANCE. My first production meeting is on Saturday. Perhaps some sketches for you to see next week!

The 4th of July is a long story this year, so I’ll try to sum up in one sentence. Because of the budget crisis in New Jersey, our planned escape for KT’s birthday was changed to a hotel in Virginia, with a stellar view of the fireworks, followed by a day of shopping at Potomac Mills. God bless America.

Finally, mark your calendars! On July 22 (about two weeks!) The MOTOR CITY TIKI Show will be held at Chin’s in Livonia, MI. This is a great Tiki show; at a really great specimen of a Tiki restaurant (it’s got its own page in Tiki Road Trip). I will have (hopefully) about a dozen new paintings for sale, and will probably take home more Tiki stuff than I bring! More info at:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Toxic Tiki wrapup and pseudonymity VOTE!

The Lobsterboy Toxic Tiki Party is over. If you missed it, you missed it! Don’t worry, there will be others, and I will be here to keep you up to date on all of the scenic scoop. Before I go to the blow by blow of the event, I want to tease you with a challenge. You see, I know that the Betweenthetines readership is small. And I know that deep down some of you voyeuristic types actually want to be involved. So I am soliciting your advice by inviting you to post a comment about a “rebranding” issue I am considering. See the last paragraph of this post for details.

Bouncing quickly back from the wheel debacle, I set about laying out the old cyc from Theater Two to paint the Lobsterboy review banner. I worked up several designs on Thursday night and presented Lobs with two options, Friday lunchtime. It came down to a choice between the squid and the whale and a polluted riverbed. Lobs had always discouraged me from a design that would distract from the show, so I was certain that he would pick the more “backdropy” riverbed. But to my surprise, he chose the squid and the whale. He asked if they could look more “stoned” or something, and I immediately seized on the idea of making the whale more like an old time fight promoter and the squid a drunken dockworker, in order to keep the E.C. Segar (Popeye comics) feel. I added a derby, cigar, martini, anchor tattoo, and presto!

Since I was using the old cyc the material was very thin. So when I put air under the drop after priming (in order to keep it from sticking to the paper/homasote) it floated a good 18” up off the floor. Consequentially, this stretched it out somewhat, and I never got that tightness that I usually look for (in fact, it fell back and wrinkled quite a bit…) but overall it made the drop look more “old timey” and “underwatery”…

I brushed up the tikis and reworked the knife effect by swapping out the aluminum plate (that never got carved for Tom Sawyer) for a steel one I ground and shaped myself. I was finished with everything Saturday night just in time for a celebratory steak dinner at Outback and a trip out to the Moai lounge!

Scott and Jen at the Moai lounge are just fantastic. They are a real connective tissue that the tiki community needs out here. I saw lots of familiar faces and was able to pass out a few comics too. As it turns out, much of my announcing the show had not fallen on deaf ears…half of the party pledged to be there the next day!

Scenery for the Lobsterboy Toxic Tiki Party
Cut luan flats 4'x8' and Muslin backdrop 12'x12'

The day of the show was clear and other than having to wait for the world cup to stop we loaded in smoothly. There were some sound issues and even bigger lighting issues, but overall the tech side of the show was in capable hands (I think I made fast friends with Mr. esoteric, who was a big hit at the show). The curtain was held for Lucky, since she got lost on her way from NYC…and the audience filled up. I was surprised and flattered that so many folks I had asked to come actually showed up.

The show was pretty good, and Lobs seemed to be on his game (sometimes when the audience isn’t into the show, he can fall flat) and the first half flew by. The second half had the knife throw number in it, which, lets face it, sucked. The knife didn’t have the spring in it that it had when it was aluminum and the body language wasn’t 100%...and once the thing had been triggered, it went “thwup”, and there was silence. The audience didn’t know how to react, hell; Lobsterboy didn’t plan that far ahead. Anyway, we should get style points for trying…

Once the show ended, the back door to the theater was opened. It was raining so hard that you could not see across the street. I decided that strike would have to wait till the rain had cleared, after Attack of the Giant Leeches. The rain did not let up. I unfortunately had to press Scott and Mike into service getting the truck loaded and unloaded in the rain. We then spent a long time trying to get home. At one point we were being waved through a flooded intersection on the Mall by a police officer who was standing in knee height water. I misjudged the flooded road and rolled right over the curbs…

Got home and found that we had ¾” water in the basement! This happened the next day, even deeper! I am going to spend the rest of this week talking to contractors about how to fix my basement (along with everyone else in the DC metro area)

I have been procrastinating on getting the final designs in for FIDDLER this week. I just need a break for psychological reasons….fortunately the meeting was moved to Friday (on account of me)

Okay kids, here’s the last paragraph. I have been considering ratcheting up my efforts at branding my work, which is practically nonexistent now. I was struck by the fact that when Lobs gave me a shout-out at the show, that “the sets were designed by Jared Davis” the words didn’t have any “ring” to it (especially since everyone else in the show had pseudonyms: Lobsterboy, Cardgirl, Fullbladder, Lucky, Kitty Victorian). So I have been toying with the idea of chucking it all and giving myself a recognizable nickname which can double as a kind of brand. I want to change from “Jared Davis” at to a punchy/catchy name by dropping the first two letters of my first name to get “Red”. (I’ll let that soak in for a second)… Okay, I don’t want to go to some one name thing like Bono or Madonna, but “Red Davis” has a snap to it. Or Jared “Red” Davis, could work too. With the name change would also come the change of website. Some of the contenders are: ,, and . But someone has suggested that I go with and just use the Red thing for show pseudonyms...NOW HERES YOUR PART! I am opening a two stage contest. Over the course of this next week I will be accepting nominations for stage name and website name (website name must be available as a domain name…I have been using Next week, once the judges make a decision on the final contenders, the voting will begin. Just like American Idol…America, you be the judge!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Remastered, Comics and Wheel, Drop

You would hope that the craziness would ramp up and then die off…but it just seems to keep coming. This week was definitely a high-water mark for craziness. It really started with a very early trip to the airport to drop KT off to go to Detroit. I used the rest of that day to finish the Lobster Comic. I am proud to report that I pushed the send button sometime around 7PM, thereby completing another project. The comic turned out well, I think the writing came together with the images, and it is a proper parody of the religious pamphlet without becoming viscous. They are being sold for $0.25 at the show, or you just might find one under the wiper of your car!
Lobsterboy Comic Episode One
Print it and cut it out...fold it whichever way you think makes sense...

I took a short break from the comic to have an initial production meeting for Night of the Living Dead with Landless Theatre. There are some technical issues with the show (they need to barricade themselves into the farmhouse, so they will need something solid to bang against…which will be hard if the set needs to be struck every night, for example) but I think that it will be a very fun production overall. The Director doesn’t want to do it campy, which I happen to agree with, but that will be difficult to pull off around Halloween, when people are expecting to go for camp…

After that (same day!) I went to the Cinema and Drafthouse, to look at their main drape…it looks like my technical theater skills will finally pay off…I am being contracted to fix the ancient thing….

The opening for Remastered at Studioneight (which is how I spell it, but the website is which is not as much letter sharing fun as my spelling) was perhaps a bit mellower than I had anticipated. It was quite hot in the gallery, and I was sweating bullets, which caused me to be much less social than I should have been…Unfortunately, my Laocoon did not sell. But I don’t feel that bad because I understand that sales were slow across the board. Perhaps people will have a second bite at the apple at the closing reception on July 1. I will permit myself to wonder aloud about Studioneight’s strategy…perhaps theme shows like this one need even more marketing than they are currently doing, in order to give people a chance to “get” it. I also was not really able to market it on my own this time around because I have been so busy (And that my name does not appear anywhere on the website, or by extension, I assume, the press packs…)

Chagall-esque backdrop for Fiddler on the Roof and Joseph and the... 32'X24'
It may not look like much while being stapled on the floor, but its going to add a lot to the show!

The day after the Remastered show I started work on my Chagallesque backdrop for FIDDLER and JOSEPH…I am proud to say that it can be checked off the list as finished as of Tuesday.

Wheel of Death before its retirement

On Wednesday, Lobs and Co. came to test the wheel (and prospectively rehearse with it). After much debate and a few test runs, the wheel has been cut. We determined that it was not 100% safe, and it was not operating as we would have liked. (i.e. it did not rotate freely, and the straps did not hold the person in well enough to keep them from slipping out) I am not really disappointed. I know that the structure of the wheel is well built, and can be used again. I have learned a lot making this contraption. When I start to make the Mark II, I will make the wheel itself out of steel, and provide a “rollercoaster-like” harness for the pilot. Hopefully I will have the kinks out of it by Halloween! To be honest, Lobs seemed even more disappointed than me. But they have a great backup skit that involves my giant Tiki cutouts…

So, that has been the week that was…Next week I’ll be giving you the wrap-up of how the Lobsterboy show went! (Last ditch plug: Lobsterboy Toxic Tiki Party at the Cinema and Drafthouse in Arlington VA, SUNDAY NITE June 25!!!!! More info @

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Don't trust Greeks with oversized horse art!

Laocoon (after Hagesandros, Athenodoros and Polydoros of Rhodes)
Cut paper and Acrylic on Canvas, 48"x36" 2006

Isn’t it a great feeling when one of your projects is finally complete? This week marked the completion of the Laocoon. It was looking kinda dicey for a while there, I was pasting large areas of paper one morning at a time for a few weeks, putting off the moment when I would have to deal with the face of my poor priest of Poseidon. The lessons learned about the spacemen were: A. I can paint realistically if I have the object in front of me, or a bunch of great photos (but Apollo spacemen are not easy to find) B. Realistic rendering makes things too serious. I am a painter of “the Funky”. I need not pretend otherwise. Consequentially, I put off the face for as long as possible. In the end I wound up putting an art deco helmet (perhaps a bit too “rocketman”, admittedly) in order to keep the expression up to the viewer. (Although I confess that moving around the cut paper eyes to create different expressions of distress, presented a whole new set of problems)

You can come by Studioneight this Saturday and check it out in the flesh. I guarantee that the crappy phone photo does not do it justice! (be sure to read the artists statement…it’s a cute piece of writing, if I do say so myself) I just hope that someone has a fish tank or spaceman themed sushi bar to put it in…

The other business of the week entailed, making progress on the wheel, vectorworks drawing of the proscenium of the Cinema & Drafthouse, Watercolor elevations of the JOSEPH set, finished first draft of FIDDLER, and a very productive meeting with Gabe.

As it turns out, I think that the meeting with Gabe was the best move for the Lobsterboy comics. We pared down the original script so that it stuck pretty close to the parody of the Jack Chick religious pamphlets. If I can get them done by Friday, they’ll be hilarious.

I also received my pipe and drape last night. I am really excited about being able to paint backdrops for these shows…and now I don’t have to ask for such a large investment from the artists! Yay!