Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Giving Tree

Oh, I guess before I tell you about how Mardi Gras turned out, I should show you the project that was running concurrently...

Before that, however, I would be remiss if I did not mention the C2YN Countdown Clock:

T-Minus 23 Days Until Countdown To Yuri's Night 2014!

Okay, back to the giving tree event. Well, it was actually a benefit for Children's National Hospital, called the Heroes Curing Childhood Cancer Gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. The reason I have called it the giving tree event is because they were basing the theme of the even on Shel Silverstien's book, the Giving Tree. They wanted something that referenced the book, but did not a direct copy of his artwork (which is one of the first things I brought up at the first meeting). So, I whipped up this sketch:

 They liked the tree concept, and the light up heart carved into the tree, but they thought that it was too thick in the I whipped up a second version with a thinner trunk, after consulting with Walt to make sure that I wasn't making it too skinny to support itself:

 They approved of this version, and added a pair of portals to the order, using the art from Shel Silverstien.
 So, in the end, Walt did a fantastic job of making the armature and branches. He wired up 100 sets of leaf groupings with a small LED that would twinkle when plugged in. The photos I have below do not do the installation justice because A) they were taken with my phone B) the twinkle LEDs are not lit up C) the rest of the room is not set up or lit because these photos were taken at 2am the night before the event....I show them here to give you an idea of how close we got to delivering what was in the design...

Stay tuned for next week, when I show you the final product of Mardi Gras!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

WATCH AWARD and Part One of DC Mardi Gras

Right off the bat I should mention that on Sunday I received a WATCH Award for outstanding set design for a musical 2013. It was for Dominion Stage's Avenue Q. It was my tenth nomination. Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially my wife Kate, Dave Moretti and Arlington County Cultural Affairs.

Before I start this weeks blog post, I should also kick off the the C2YN countdown...

Countdown to Yuri's Night Countdown Clock: 
T-Minus 30 days. 
Be sure to get your tickets

So, it's impolite to show designs of a project that is still in progress, because much of the magic of live theater is, well, seeing it live and not a few weeks beforehand on the Artbyjaredblog. So, now that the 2014 DC Mardi Gras is a distant memory, I can share some of the early false starts and progress sketches...

So the client is the DC Mardi Gras, which is the "Expat" New Orleanians annual version of Mardi Gras here in DC at the Dupont Circle Hilton. I have helped design elements for this event off and on since 2002, particularly redesigning the portals for Thursday and Friday nights last year.

This year they wanted me to redesign the ceiling of the main event, Saturday Night. There was not much to go on, other than that they wanted something different and less "Tinseltown" in late September, I made a first sketch that I knew would be rejected, simply to "start the conversation". I proposed a giant crown, that would light up, rotate and have large fabric swags:

So they did not like this because it was too similar to what they had in the past, and was still too "Tinseltown". So, I went back to the drawing board and came up with a couple variations on a theme.

The puppeteer jester would be a giant sculptural jester puppet that also had puppets he was, he'd rotate and move his arms to control the puppets...below is the sketch showing what he would look like in the space:

I also made a version that would be much larger...
And if they didn't like that, I had a "Jester Band" sculptural centerpiece up my sleeve:

But, as it turns out, these were not what they were looking for at all. So, it started to dawn on me that "Tinseltown" meant something significant to them... These designs were all very "Contemporary" Bourbon Street. That is, they were the type of thing you would see covered in glitter and going down the street in today's Mardi Gras. What they wanted was something that was much older looking...classy...not glittery and gaudy...not "Tinseltown"....Next week I'll show you what came of that epiphany, and actually made it on to the floor of the Hilton...

Thursday, March 06, 2014


I actually have lots of things I want to share with you that have happened in the past few months, but it has become a lot of information to pass along, which means that I have been putting it off every week. And the list gets longer. I will parcel condensed versions of the exciting things that have been happening to me next week, but THIS week I am going to share the announcement of this year's COUNTDOWN TO YURI'S NIGHT!

From the people who bring you Elvis' Birthday Fight Club...
April 12, 2014  |  Anacostia Arts Center | Tickets $25  |  21+
Tickets Now On Sale!

Boldly Going Where No Yuri's Night Has Gone Before...East of the River!

To make getting to our new C2YN location easier, we are securing free parking and free shuttle service from and to Eastern Market Metro and Anacostia Metro stations.

This year we have awesome additions to the performer roster, better views for the show (smaller capacity...reserve early), hard liquor (you may need those shuttles), and an even more ridiculous celestial costume contest planned for you.

Details below. See you April 12!
C2YN Mission Control,

Phase 1: An intimate SCI-FI Burlesque Show starring...

MR. GORGEOUS, who is winging his 6'6 inches of colassal allure down from NYC for his second Countdown to Yuri's Night; Cos Play cutie MAKI ROLL; the classy, sassy  CANDY DEL RIO; and the glitzy glamour of GIGI HOLLIDAY!

The show would not be complete without antics from the Crew of the S.S.S. Gagarin

Matt Grant as Number Two, Kittie Glitter as Capt. Ballcrusher, Drinkbot as himself, and Special Guest Patrick Doneghy will try very hard for their fourth episode NOT to be the one with the whales!

Shows at 8 pm, 9:30 and 11!

Phase 2: Live Bands Keep the Party Engines Running... may think the "Mothership" has landed when JAMES TERRELL THE COLOR OF SOUND mixes some P-Funk Covers into their original rock, blues, reggae and soul music...

and BUZZING into the party are the crowd-favorite Surf-Rockin Mutants, ATOMIC MOSQUITOS who deliver a full-on surf assault sprinkled with the with the sci-fi sounds of a Theremin.

Phase 3: Make Sure you've packed your moon boots for the
Lunar Dance Party...

with DJ Adrian Loving!

Phase 4: Art Exhibition

The opening of SPACE TRUCKIN', an art exhibition where 15 local artists, with an inferior mastery of physics and an abundant admiration of Science Fiction, explore modes of futuristic transportation.


Celestial COSTUME CONTEST at midnight, Complimentary Space Junk, retro-future Airstream Tours...and more!!!!!!
Tickets Now On Sale!
The 2014 Countdown to Yuri’s Night is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
C2YN also thanks Anacostia Arts Center and Zip Car for their support!

What the Heck is Yuri's Night?

On April 12, 1961 Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin embarked on the historic first manned space flight. Twenty years later on April 12, 1981, the US launched the first space shuttle flight. We think that's something worth celebrating! Every year on April 12, Yuri's Night parties are held all around the world; it's like the Cinco de Mayo for space. Whereas many Yuri’s Night parties focus on the science-fact of the holiday, Countdown to Yuri's Night (C2YN) celebrates the holiday with silly, creative, and edgy artistic interpretations of space exploration.
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