Thursday, December 18, 2008


Okay, so staying with the monster theme, I am starting another painting. This one is of the defeated Giant Ymir from the Sci Fi classic Twenty Million Miles To Earth. Considered one of Ray Harryhausen's masterpieces, it tells the story of a crash landed spacecraft returning from Venus that deposits a tiny monster into the Italian countryside. It grows exponentially, and eventually rampages in greater Rome before being killed by a wall collapse at the Colosseum. This sketch is based off of a still I found on the Internet, but I am trying to reimagine the scene a bit, so as not to literally transcribe the scene from the movie. I like to think that this is another Ymir that has been defeated by a new secret weapon that the military has been keeping for just such an occasion (hence the tank with the strange weaponry) but, in true X-Files fashion, there are some pitchfork wielding eye witnesses peering over the edge of the crater as well...

Defeated Ymir sketch
Watercolor on Paper 9"x12"

I've started the final painting this week, but will be interrupted by the impending holiday travel itinerary...I don't think I will get much done between now and the new year, so this may be farewell for a couple of weeks... When I return, I will probably have pictures of the dress rehearsals for Musical of Musicals the Musical!

Merry X-Mass and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have pulled out of the slump, and have started working again. I have thrown caution to the wind and started just painting whatever strikes, without further adieu, I present a painting of a giant leech!

Acrylic on Board, 16"x20"

I have a few more sci-fi paintings brewing in me (just in time for the holidays) which is good because I will have plenty of work to display at Yuri's Night 2009!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pulling out of the the three week funk

Yeah yeah, you've heard it all before, I have apologized for not blogging at the beginning of so many postings that its become a cliche...perhaps we can get past that by agreeing on a word that would substitute for the, say "Slogging" (combining Sloth and Blogging)...or perhaps an acronym like: NETBA, (Nothing Entertaining To Blog About) or NMGO (Not Much Going On) or AFCBL (Artistic Funk Check Back Later)...Suggestions?

Now that we have that out of the way, I will recap what has happened in the last few weeks: Not much. Well, not much by the standards here at BTT. Kyle Jarrow did stay with us when he saw President Harding is a Rock Star. He seemed impressed by the show (which I think he considers a callow work from his youth) and he was also impressed with KT's prowess on the Miss Pac Man machine at Chief Ike's...

Harding has closed, but fear not, a remount of A Very Merry Children's Scientology Pageant will soon be reopening in its place. If you didn't get a chance to see it last year, this will be your last best chance (see it this time around, before all of the kids voices change)

Thanksgiving came and went without too much hullabaloo...with the notable exception of my cat's colon troubles (He was literally saved from death row over the holiday...thank you Miralax!)

The day after Thanksgiving KT and I went to the They Might Be Giants concert at the 9:30 Club...they played all of the album Flood. It was a really great show that brought back all sorts of awkward memories of my misspent youth (sigh)

I did get some work done on the set for Musical of Musicals the Musical. I even made a model:

White Model for Musical of Musicals the Musical
Paper, Foamcore, Plastic Figures 1/4"=1'

Dominion is very excited about the show, and it has started building in the shop. They even made a Musical of Musicals the Musical promo video

If you are in Detroit on the 13th, go check out some of my velvet paintings at Chin's annual holiday show. You can go to the Cats Meow for more deets
And Lastly, just to prove that I have not been a total slacker, I have scanned some of my sketchbook pages from the past couple of weeks. As you can see, I have been "doodle until you get inspired mode"...I promise to keep you posted on how that strategy turns out...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bouncing back....slowly

I have been taking it a bit easy since the Spooktacular, gradually getting myself together for the next set of projects (its interesting to note that last years post had a similar theme... as well as 2006's second November posting...)

Aside from a minor artistic crisis: "oh god, I don't have a show next week to paint pictures for, what will I do with myself?" I have started working on the set designs for Dominion Stage's Musical of Musicals the Musical.

First Sketch for Musical of Musicals the Musical
Pencil and Photoshop, 1/4"=1'

I've already had a discussion with the director, who correctly points out that I have forgotten about the piano player. I neglected to design a space for him because I just plain forgot that he was to be onstage at all times. So this is by no means going to be the final version. One of the elements that will stay in future incarnations is the "light box" effect I have pictured above. You see, each of the boxes with the name of the show on it (there are five shows within this show) is actually a back-painted muslin flat. When lit from behind, the name of the show (for example "Corn!") will appear as if by magic...or at least that's the idea...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Harding and Halloween Scenery Photos

This past week has really been a blur... the historic election of Barack Obama has kinda eclipsed everything that happened just a few days before. But just for the record, I have compiled some photos of the scenery for Spooktacular IX and President Harding is a Rock Star. (you can find lots of the drunken photos of the Halloween Party here)
View of the backyard just moments before the party started

"Kong" Photo Op
Painted Luan and reed fence, 9'x10'

Karaoke Hell backdrop
Acrylic on Black Velour, 12'x8'

The photos of Harding are not the end all be all, because they were hastily taken during the first dress rehearsal. But they do help give a sense of the flow of the show...

Harding and Flossy

Harding, just before "death" scene

Oval office fight scene (my favorite part of the show)

So, it looks like I will be hosting Kyle Jarrow, the author of President Harding is a Rock Star (and A Very Merry Children's Scientology Pageant) at my house next week when he comes into town to see the Landless Production. (so book your tickets for the 15th if you want to see the author's world ROCKED!)

I have some news that I am kinda proud of...but I don't want to tell you for at least 8 weeks...when its official...stay tuned...

This upcoming week I am going to working hard on the preliminary designs for Musical of Musicals the Musical for Dominion Stage. I will also be working on Follies and Mumbo off and on in addition to starting to get back into the swing of that whole velvet paintin' thang...

Friday, October 24, 2008


One week 'till that means that all three shows (President Harding is a Rock Star, Diamond Dead, and Spooktacular IX Heart of Darkness...) are in full-on panic mode. So, I will only give you two small tastes of what is going on:

The Final Version of Harding...AND...A very big part of the upcoming spooktacular....

Friday, October 17, 2008


Do you like the direction the designs for President Harding is a Rock Star are going? I was working on a redesign and I started thinking that Obama has been called a "rock star" by those McCain ads with Paris what is the icon that has symbolized Obama's Rock star status? Why the Shepard Fairey "Hope" prints (stickers, etc) of course:

I have redesigned the set a tiny bit to accommodate the new direction, but I don't have drawings for you because I am going to have the darn thing built soon enough...Hopefully Landless will see fit to use the new graphic in their advertising...hopefully capitalizing on the Shepard Fairey excitement going on in DC right now...

Anyway, this has been a off balance week, which is why I am posting this late on a Friday. Last Saturday, KT and I went to the biggest Gay event in the DC area (perhaps the East Coast?) Here's a link to a video to give you an idea of what zanyness we stepped into

Gobo for Miss Adams Morgan Pageant in the "Hinkley Hilton"

We were rooting for our favorite Miss New Jersey, Donnatella Nobody...who was unfortunately unable to take the title this year (Miss Alaska won) but is only a few broken kneecaps away from being queen...

The other homefront news is that my cat cant poop (although an awesome name for a punk band....Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Cat Cant Poop!) Anyway, its costing me big bucks to have him irrigated from time to time...and it is a bit wearing on my psyche too...

Concerning the Halloween party, I have made lots of progress painting the tikis you saw the designs for last post. All of the following are 3 foot wide and 8 foot tall on black velour...and will be available for rent for your upcoming tiki party, right after they are used in the Karaoke Cave at Spooktacular IX, Heart of Darkness...





Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two weeks worth of postings...

Okay, so I am a slacker and I took a week off. I'm sorry. I have had trouble getting another post out because of the amount of time it takes for me to respond to all of the angry emails saying: "why didn't you post last week?" "I'm lost in this world without your blog!" "your lack of postings is causing the stock market collapse!", again, I apologize.

The Dutch Oven Oktoberfest went splendidly. I was even publicly singled out as the creator of the backdrop...that showed some real class on the part of the Dutch Oven! Its not every day that I get applause for the work I do, and it really felt good to hear such enthusiastic support. (he says wiping tear from eye)...unfortunately, my photos didn't turn out so well...but hopefully some of the photographers at the show will start posting the images soon, and we can get a better pic than this one:
Dutch Oven Oktoberfest backdrop
Palace of Wonders, Acrylic on Black Velour
(now available for rent for your German themed party! I'll even paint you a new barrel head!)

Well, now since its October, the annual Halloween Party announcement should be making the rounds. This year's theme is Heart of Darkness, so I whipped up a heart eating monkey as this years logo:
Spooktacular IX, Heart of Darkness Logo
Watercolor and Photoshop

Some folks that wont be attending this years shin dig are our good friends Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey (they are training in the danger room in an undisclosed location in Vermont) but they have been able to keep the Halloween spirit nonetheless:

But more to the point, I will be designing a show for them when they return this winter. Here, is a sneak peek of the first sketches for this top secret show, codenamed "Mumbo"
Mumbo First Sketch
Watercolor on Paper, 12"x8.5"

Looking forward into the weeks ahead, I will be working on lots of elements for the Heart of Darkness, (there is lots planned, a spooky walkthru, a karaoke tent, a giant carnival game, etc) so, postings and sketches may be lost in the shuffle in the coming weeks (not to mention that President Harding is a Rock Star and a remount of Diamond Dead opens the same weekend as the party) so I will show you what I have, when I have these sketches for some large velour tikis for the karaoke tent:

Heart of Darkness velour tiki designs
Watercolor on Paper 12"x8.5"

These are first sketches...and I may try to make them a bit spookier for the Halloween party (but then again, I like the idea of being able to use them at other tiki parties over the course of the year...) so they may need to be reworked a bit before I commit them to the full 8 feet of velour. I have tentatively named them (from Left to right) Fangs, Fezzy, Rummy and Doc.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barracks Row, and Ocktoberfests!

This week I am looking forward to finishing the "tent" season for art. I know, I only will have done two this year...but its really taxing, physically and mentally, being outside with your artwork all day, hoping that someone comes along and "gets it"...So, I will have one more this year, tomorrow, at the Barracks Row Oktoberfest. (8th St SE)

The Barracks Row Oktoberfest did inspire me to create at least one more velvet painting. I have been thinking of cool still life subjects that would translate well onto velvet, and I stumbled upon two pieces of hawaiiana that any tikiphile will recognize from their own collections...the ubiquitous Giant Tiki Fork and Spoon...

Velvet Fork and Spoon
12"x24" Acrylic on Black Velvet

Last Friday I talked to Lil' Dutch at the Yard Dogs concert at the Birchmere; and we discussed a project for her upcoming Oktoberfest show at the Palace of Wonders. She suggested that I create some scenery for the show, preferably something I could also rent out to OomPa bands during October when her show was over (slight tangent here...Remember Blobs Park closing? well check this out!) So, I spent the past few nights creating this:

Dutch Oven Oktoberfest Drop
8' X 8' (with 4' X 8' changeable "barrel lid" drop behind) Acrylic on Black Velour

Using the same velour I have been using since Diamond Dead, I have tried to paint a cute Oktoberfest scene. The problems that started to arise as I painted were that the skin tones kinda read as perhaps they are not Germans, but Black folk...This is mostly due to the nature of the "velvet painting" technique. But it is also compounded by the fact that I cannot build up heavy layers of paint onto a drop that needs to be folded and stored for a year at a time. So, unfortunately, the best I can do is try to make the whole thing look kinda dark, in the hopes that the skin tone will read as brightly as possible. The other factor was the Fraulein. She needed to be kinda sexy for the burlesque show, but also kinda innocent looking for potential OomPa bands in the future...I think I did okay trying to strike a balance...but at the same time, I think that I should have had a more solid model in mind, instead of trying to rely on my instincts to achieve this result. In any event, you should come out to see the show next week, The Dutch Oven, Friday October 3rd at the Palace of Wonders.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Comedy Tomorrow!

That's Right, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens tomorrow! Above you can see that the cast has really gotten into the spirit of the show...

The Set seen from House Left...

The Set seen from House Right
You can click here, and the flyer above for information and tickets...

In other, non theater related news, I will be exhibiting some of my new velvet paintings at the Washington DC International Arts Expo at the Washington Convention Center, this weekend! Click here or the flyer below for details...And Lastly, I have a first draft sketch for President Harding is a Rock Star, to show you:

Keep in mind that it is a rough sketch...and that the designs for any show with the restrictions of the DCAC (must strike every night, setup in 15 minutes by two women, backstage storage cannot exceed 8' square feet...) so half of the "fun" is finding ways to get more with less...but adding a band onstage has really compressed the for a first draft it isn't bad...hopefully I will be able to work with the director to make it a bit more "glam rock" and less "1920's DNC"...

Friday, September 12, 2008


I am rushing this post because I am late. I need to be over to the TJ theatre at 6pm to help put the paint touch ups on the Forum set that was loaded in last night...I don't have pictures yet, you'll have to wait for next week's dress rehearsal photos for that.

I completed two more paintings for the Adams Morgan Day, Arts on Belmont (This Sunday the 14th 9am-7pm)
Acrylic on Canvas, 16"x20

Velvet Tiki II
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 8"x10"

Both of these pieces have a sculptural quality to the paint. Benihana was painted entirely with a palette knife, so its clumsiness on the computer monitor looks better in the flesh (this was a purposeful departure for me, its slapdash-ness was an antidote for the tightly controlled methods that I need to use with velvet) I also thickened the paint greatly for Velvet Tiki II's abstract shapes on the left. In the flesh they ride on the velvet like pieces of candy displayed at a jewelery store...I hope to explore these themes more when I don't have so much going on...perhaps December?

The other events this week, aside from the completion and load-in of Forum, was the first production meeting for the (tentatively titled) Creepy Puppet Show...and I might be displayed at the Washington DC International Arts Expo this year (uh, next weekend)... and finally, the first production meeting for this years Spooktacular...where we settled on a theme for the year (also tentatively titled) Spooktacular IX: The heart of Darkness...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Planet Arlington 2008 is in the history books now...And new Still Lives

This year's planet Arlington was not as well attended as last years (and the first year we had to deal with hurricane Ernesto...) but all in all it was a good show. As you can see, the World Playground Drops complement the Iwo Jima Memorial quite nicely (in this photo you can see the memorial just to the right of the center banner)

The crowd was pretty into the music...(viewed from the SR Monitor Mix Tent)

Once it got dark, the last band (of 4 total), Solas, hit the stage and got everyone excited for some good ole Irish music...

Despite the pressure of having to Stage Manage a 10,000+ concert I found time to get some painting in. I stretched some larger canvases with velvet (16x20) and set up two still lives:

Head Hunter Still Life
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 16" x 20"

Studio Still Life
Acrylic on Black Velvet, 16" x 20"

(Here is the usual disclaimer that the photos don't do the velvet justice)

These canvases are yet another example of the discoveries I am making with the new medium of velvet. I am finding that I am being very careful (someone at TikiCentral said that it was like artistic tightrope walking) and that is affecting the quality of the outcome. I must say that I enjoy reproducing objects directly from life, however, I have started to stray from my original thesis of making the paint sculptural in places...I only have one more good painting session scheduled for between now and Adams Morgan Day, so I still have one more shot at making some work that fulfills my original intentions...(I only have one more session because I am closing in on the last days for painting Forum's set...after load in on the 11th, I will only have three days to get all of the "non painting" stuff together for the tent...BTW does anyone have a Wi-Fi Internet card for a laptop that I can use on Sunday the 14th? I'd really like to offer credit cards as a payment option, but I don't have a good way to get Wi-Fi to my laptop out on the street...)

Friday, August 29, 2008

PLANET ARLINGTON, or the reason I never get labor day off...

I finally got finished with the Planet Arlington World Playground backdrops, just in time for their big debut tomorrow! I had some technical issues with the paper sticking to the back (I thought I had the problem licked, but it still occasionally comes back to bite me in the ass) but other than that I think that they will look great! Hopefully they will be able to brighten the atmosphere at the festival...seeing as the weather is predicted to be a wet half hearted rain all day...

World Playground drops on the shop floor

Planet Arlington represents one more piece of the scheduling puzzle being knocked down, so I can concentrate on the other big looming Forum...

Painters Elevation for Funny...Forum
11" x 27" Watercolor on Paper

Completing the painters elevation was a huge step for Forum last week. I am now able to give direction to my (quite small and ever changing) painting minions. Next week should be the big, final push for painting the show. (we load into the theater on September 11th)

Progress has been made from last weeks photo...

And Lastly, this week I was only able to produce two more small velvet paintings (so I am a tad behind schedule for filling up a whole tent...but I always have Mr. TIKIHEAD to fall back on!) Also, I am learning more and more with each velvet painting I make...For example, this week I learned that painting sexy babes on velvet is really cool, but also that the faces are really hard to do on such a small scale...I have gotten a really high quality velvet, so the nap is very tight...but on a face that is the size of a quarter, each stroke is highly visible (and you cant make any mistakes with velvet...because you cant just repaint a section that has been "soiled" with paint!) I intend to paint more Space babes and Tiki babes...but on larger canvases...

Space Babe 1
Acrylic on Velvet 8" x 10"

Tiki Babe 1
Acrylic on Velvet 8" x 10"

I have a larger still life in the works this week...which may or may not be finished by next posting (I am learning a great deal from this one too)

Just a quick mention of some stuff on the horizon...I had the first production meeting for President Harding is a Rock Star this designs for that are coming up soon...and I have been talking with Trixie and Monkey about designing scenery for their upcoming (perhaps traveling show), codenamed "Mumbo"... I am totally psyched about that project...I just hope I can squeeze it in between all the other stuff between now and...does it ever really end...?