Boxes of Parts and Doodles on a Page

Hey All,

So. An update on the Halloween Happenings around here. Even though I have been SUPER busy, (My first Dance Showcase is THIS WEEK…. insert hyperventilating noises here) I have managed to get some work done. It’s really a good thing I decided to document it here… it’s keeping me motivated. lol.

My little orange helper... my kitten Ivy

My little orange helper… my kitten Ivy

We had three boxes and a tupperware hidden around the house with our existing Halloween decorations.It took me a while to find them, but once I did, I split them between three big bins. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t kinda excited about it. Some of this stuff I hadn’t seen in years; Donations from my Momma, Phoenix,  who was more then happy to give them to me since she mostly just decorated when I was young to appease us kids. It brought up for me little waves of warm recollection as I slowly unpacked the little pieces of my childhood…. but that is a completely beside the point.

What I was really trying to do was separate the stuff out into categories. The first bin was for stuff that didn’t fit the theme. Basically that will just end up being the stuff I used to decorate the house. The second was for stuff that was usable, and not in need of any alterations. Things like the fog machine, the big fake spider, plastic skulls, the cobweb-y cloth, etc. The last bin was for stuff that needs to be edited or fixed up. The pieces and parts, if you will. There wasn’t a whole lot of that to begin with, but Green Lantern and I have buying little things here and there to add to it. You know… fun stuff like body parts, pots and silk flowers for my soon-to-be mutated plants, ping pong balls which will become eyeballs, and baskets which will soon become the cage for my new “pet.” So excited. 🙂

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Two of the Sorted Bins… Sans Ivy

The other things I have been doing with my time is sketching. Lots and lots of sketching. I think that is the graphic artist in me. We were taught in design school to make thumbnails or draw out our ideas so we can get a clear picture of where we are going. I have never really let that go. I was a sketcher from way back anyway, so it just helps me clear my head of all the jumbled mess of ideas I have for this. Likewise… I would like to make a note and say I love Pinterest for this. It has give me a great inspiration for what kind of creepy contraptions to build. More excitement.

At Phoenix’s suggestion, I am entertaining the idea of just building my shop outside of the house and not a real and actual “haunted house” in the garage like Green Lantern and I had originally planned. The point is that I probably just don’t need as much space as we needed for our original theme. So I have played around with layout a little, and have in place a working vision of what I think I would like it to look like. I think it might still be a little ambitious… but what is life without a little risk, right? Maybe I won’t get all the way there… but I will have fun trying anyway.

An Early Concept. Don't want to give it all away!

An Early Concept. Don’t want to give it all away!

So I’m not expecting to have any updates on this for a little while. It is gonna be a killer week (which I might feel the need to comment on later), and my focus is going to be entirely on work and dance. However, I am hoping to maybe have a project to talk about next time. Way cooler, right? Have a good week everyone!

Cheers,

BG

The City of Shifting Lights

Hello All,

Today I am missing Europe. It has been months now since we moved back to the states. Enough time that I am starting to feel like I can’t say I JUST moved here from Germany anymore. And maybe it’s just because of the deployment, but all I want to do right now is hop on a plane and travel somewhere. Specifically on my mind right now? Scotland.

I got behind on my blogs last year during the summer, so there was a whole set of stories I never got to tell you guys. I have saved them up, and I hope someday to get to all of them. Maybe I will someday. But It was a year ago today that Green Lantern and I were wandering around the city of Edinburgh. I didn’t know or understand at the time how much that one trip would change everything. Melodramatic? Maybe. But I would be hate myself if I didn’t say that there was something about this city that spoke to me in a way that most other cities did not.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

When we stepped out of the airport… It felt different to me. Like… immediately, but in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Later I realized that Edinburgh was a city built for people like me. It is home to brilliant writers… artists… actors. People who value tradition. People who believe in a little magic, and even some people who were not afraid to cause mayhem and create a colorful and interesting history. Robert Louis Stevenson. Alexander Graham Bell. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All of these men came from Edinburgh. Even Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Hogwarts within the borders of the city. It is a wondrous place drenched in History, and I wanted more than anything to immediately be part of it.

The First thing we did off the plane (after dropping our stuff in the hotel) was visit the Edinburgh Dungeons. I’m not going to go into excruciating detail about it, because the concept is the same as the passage I wrote when Green Lantern and I visited London. If you want to read about that, the link is here. I will say, however that I enjoyed it just as immensely as I did in London, and have a great love for the Scottish-specific pieces of history lodged there. My favorite sections were Sawney Bean (He was the head of a 48 person clan who lived in the caves near Bennane Head. He and his inherently incestuous family would capture travelers off the road, dismember them, and eat them.) and Burke and Hare (Whose story I will explain later). I was so interested in the subject matter, that I have since read a few books about it. Knowledge is power I guess. 🙂

That night we realized that we were visiting Edinburgh during an amazing time. It had literally become the crowning jewel of festivals. Obviously the big thing that was going on was the military tattoo, which were so disappointed about not being able to get tickets to. However, what little bit we saw at night as they marched out of Edinburgh Castle was enough for my Lantern and I to look at each other and promise we would come back someday to actually see it. But that was just the start of what we saw. There was an open market for crafters and artists selling their wares… a book and writers festival… and of course the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is an ode to all things comedic and dramatic. There were performances in the street, and special venues with events all over the city. It was can’t miss.

The following day, Green Lantern and I visited the Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral and a few other of the historical churches, the Royal Mile, the Writer’s Museum, and the Queen’s Gallery at Holyrood. I could go on for days… literally days about all of the things we saw and did that day. Green Lantern and I were in love with everything we saw. The castle was beautiful, with so much to do and see. We spent the whole morning there before we ever moved on. We had pictures taken in traditional Scottish clothing taken on the Royal Mile that I look at fondly whenever I am on the stairs in my house. Everything was just beautiful and so full of history and life… I was drunk on it.

Something else really interesting happened while we were visiting, but that needs a little extra explanation. You see my Lantern is actually Scottish on both sides and from too different clans. I am way more of a “cultural mutt” if you will; However, I do have a strand of Scot-Irish that runs through my mother’s side. The strangest part of being in Scotland was seeing the natives in Edinburgh. Everywhere I looked I could see the similarities on my own husband’s face. It was as if those men across the street where his brothers, or those old men sitting in the pub were his uncles. Good to know I suppose, if we ever decide to have kids, that the Scottish gene is so strong. 😉

My favorite part of this day though was the ghost hunting tour. Maybe it sounds a little silly, but I begged Green Lantern to take me on a tour. Edinburgh is considered by some to be one of the most haunted cities in the world, and I have always been fascinated by stories about paranormal activity. It started when I was very young. They say that everyone has a certain degree of sensitivity to things that they can’t see… and I do believe that. I have been prone to boughs of deja vu, displaced and odd feelings (that later corresponded to times of events that changed my life), and dreams that come true are things that I have been privy to since I was a child. It was so interesting to see and explore pieces of the underground city which claimed so many lives years and years ago, and then conclude the tour wandering through the Greyfrairs Kirkyard Cemetery at midnight. You could definitely feel an energy there. It is said to be the home of the Mackenzie Poltergeist; a particularly violent entity who tends to pick one person in the group and terrorize them. The reports say that people have experienced everything from cold spots to unexplained bruises or scratches to being knocked unconscious.  I would never tell someone what to believe; It is simply not my style. But I will say that when the environment is right, it’s easy to feel like there is something else out there.

Home of the Mackenzie Poltergeist

Home of the Mackenzie Poltergeist

The next day we visited the National Museum of Scotland, Holyrood Palace, and Mary King’s Close. We used a hop on/hop off bus tour to get around it was fabulous. We learned so much history there that we hadn’t gotten anywhere else and it was a blast. I found the tour of Holyrood particularly interesting. Maybe it’s a little morbid, but I was fascinated by the story of Mary Queen of Scots. The story goes that Mary had a private secretary named David Rizzio. Mary’s husband at the time, Lord Darnley, was jealous of the friendship and was convinced that Rizzio was the Queen’s lover. On March 9th, 1566, David Rizzio was stabbed over 50 times and  murdered in the presence of the pregnant queen while in the palace. You can still see the bloodstains on the floor. How chilling is that?

Another cool thing that Green Lantern and I did that day actually had to do with the pub we ate lunch in. The name of the pub was the White Hart Inn and it is one of the oldest businesses in the city. It is located in the Grassmarket, where the public hangings used to be held, and has been operating since the 1600s. It was also the pub where the infamous serial killers William Burke and William Hare found their victims. The West Port murders, as they were called at the time, took place in the 1828. They killed 16 people and sold the bodies to a doctor who used them as cadavers in a prominent medical school of the time.

The White Hart Inn

The White Hart Inn

We had enough time on our last day to hit the Edinburgh Zoo before we left for the airport. It was a wonderful zoo, well planned and with a wide variety of animals. The pregnant panda was the bug news of the day, and we did get to her. As we made our way to the airport, I remember being quiet and lost in my thoughts. It was one of the few places I was overwhelmingly sad to leave. I had told Green Lantern early in the trip that I thought we should retire there, and I was only half kidding. I was positive I could work in the Edinburgh Dungeons and just be blissfully happy for the rest of my days. We both agreed though as we boarded the plane that we should have taken longer than a four-day weekend to explore. What about the Highlands? What about Loch Ness? I think we could have spent weeks exploring and it wouldn’t have been enough for us. It is one of my dearest wishes that someday we will go back. Maybe a 10 year anniversary? I’m looking at you GL! 😛

I spent the weeks that following the trip full of inspiration. I wrote. I mean, really wrote for the first time in years. I went back and researched the culture and the stories I had heard during our visit. I tried to become more in touch with the roots I knew I had from Scotland. The legends and myths of the early religions even made their way into my Necronomicon reproduction. I wish that I still had that magic streak that Edinburgh gave me. I wish I could wander those gorgeous streets again. I wish I could sketch in the castle from the park surrounded by flowers, or write quietly in one of the pubs in the early afternoon. I find myself, even now, so completely taken by Wanderlust and the ease of travel that here in the states I sometimes feel isolated. I would even say it’s alienating, especially since my Lantern left for his deployment. Let’s hope that when he finally finds his way home again, he is just as ready to pack a bag and run away for a while as I am.

Cheers,

BG

The First Step

Hello All,

It’s August! And you know what that means! It’s time to start thinking about Halloween!

Ok… Well maybe you’re not ready to start thinking about Halloween yet. The kids aren’t even back in school yet. But for me, it definitely is. See, this is a big year for us. It is our first Halloween back in the states together, and the first year where we would really be able to celebrate the way we wanted. Green Lantern and I are definitely Hallow’s Eve Enthusiasts. You know, the decorate the front yard/House and carve pumpkins and get costumes and watch scary movies all month and maybe even turn our garage into a haunted house kind of Enthusiasts.  And to top it all off, we had come up with the absolutely perfect theme. Like… literally perfect from the garage design to the costumes. The point is… when you have to make everything from scratch, time is key. Starting early is a must.

But… that didn’t happen. Because, as happens when you are married to a super hero, the universe called and the world needs saving AGAIN. So Green Lantern went off on his surprise second deployment a few weeks ago, leaving me in our (relatively) new house alone for the third time since we moved in. And this time, for much longer. Hooray military. Whenever you make plans… they go up in smoke.

Anyway, needless to say the plans had to change. That really awesome perfect theme (Which I will be filing away in the back of my mind and not saying here because SOMEDAY my Lantern will be home and we will do it) had to scraped. It just isn’t feasible for me alone to make it work. I needed something a little easier. Probably with a little less mechanical work. Definitely with less heavy lifting. I wasn’t ready to give up… I still wanted to make something amazing and impressive, and I still wanted a theme. So I started going through the normal themes that would be easier to pull off. Pirates. Witches and Covens. Alien Crash Site. Spider Queen. Cemetery and maybe Ghosts. Zombie Virus. Arkham Asylum. When Green Lantern and I started discussing ideas, I had settled nicely on either Nightmare before Christmas or a Demented Alice in Wonderland. However, I have to give credit for the actual theme all to my Lantern. He had literally come up with the perfect theme for me to run alone that combined a whole bunch of things I loved.

So… my 2014 massive Halloween undertaking is…. (Insert drumroll here)…. The Mad Botanical Genius.

Ok…. so it might sound a little out there. Maybe it could even be considered a bit of stretch. But let me paint a picture. In her garden of mutated plants, the botanist takes on an aura of Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy in the Batman Universe). She has an intense love for plants and a passion for science. Her experiments lead to these mutants… abominations that are half plant – half human. This is truly a perfect fit for me. Poison Ivy is my favorite villain in the comic book universe. But the theme also allows me to incorporate my theatre love… Little Shop of Horrors. I can just imagine an Audrey II, maybe holding the candy in his mouth, as the crowning jewel of my lab.

The last piece of the puzzle though, what makes it truly original, was made at Green Lantern’s brilliant suggestion. My flower shop isn’t struggling to survive on Skid Row in the 50s or 60s. Oh no. Mine is a little more… turn of the century. In order to create a comprehensive theme that was clear and easy to understand, all the way down to my costume, we decided that a little steampunk would really add to the ambiance. Personally… I love this. I love everything about it. It allows me to create a whole character and persona to embody, and that can only add to the strength of my theme. The best way to get people to go along with it and buy into it is to commit completely… and I can definitely do that.

I have decided to use my blog here as an outlet for the process, and a way to measure my progress. I am planning some really cool stuff, and it would be nice to share it with someone since my Lantern is off being busy. Hopefully, I will be able to document the whole process from start to finish, and maybe even include some how-tos for some of my prop making. I know it is going to be a long and drawn-out process. Let’s face it, other than my Necronomicon last year (for the production of Evil Dead the Musical), I have never  really taken on a really huge project. And this… well this is bigger. But… It’s good to have goals, right? I simply cannot wait to take this frightfully fun and delightfully creepy trip with all of you. So stay tuned… and I will definitely be updating this soon. I have to go sort through my Halloween collection and see what can be used.

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The pile of Halloween Stuff we have acquired over the years. As good a place to start as any.

Well… wish me luck. 😛

Cheers,

BG