Raise Your Skirts and Bob Your Hair

I’ve been considering a haircut for a while now and trimmed it up myself to buy a little time a few months ago. I’d been trying to grow it out for a while now so that when my partner Ben and I get married I a few years, I’ll have style choices. On paper, that’s a great idea, but when I didn’t have my hair all pinned up and hidden under a bandanna, I was sporting a serious young-Hermoine-Granger ‘do.

Then I discovered that Emily, one of the girls on my student wardrobe crew, has her cosmetology license and takes clients to help supplement her college income. She gave one of the other crew girls a fantastic haircut, and I was definitely next in line.

I went home that night and agonized about how much to cut off and what would look good. Should I stick to my original goal of growing it out even if it didn’t look good in the mean time? I was planning to donate it when I got sick of it.. Well, hell, let’s see how long it is now!

I broke out the ruler and discovered that my hair was around 14 inches long from the nape of my neck. You need 10 inches to donate, so my decision was made. I went to work the next day with a huge grin on my face and told Emily my plan. She cut an 11″ ponytail, one more inch went to shaping my hair, and that left me with 2″ of hair – which, since it was backstage at Millie, she “smartly bobbed.”

It was a smash hit with all the BoCo kids, and they should know – they’re far more style-conscious than I’ll ever be. Blown out straight, it’s a jaw-length asymmetrical bob, and when left curly, it’s very Amelia Earhart. I’m loving finding exactly the way to pin it back and I definitely need to invest in a large collection of cute barrettes.

The ponytail itself is hanging from a clippy hanger until it is thoroughly dry so that I can braid it and mail it off. It will go to either Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths – I’ve had friends who’ve donated to both, but I want to do some research on their programs before I send them off (like you should with any donation, really).

So here’s the before-and-after, with maybe some curly photos coming soon:

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Millie Continues

Millie has been a LOT of work, but the show really looks great. We even had to make some last-minute adjustments to put Millie’s understudy in when, after all her hard work, the lead got the flu and couldn’t sing without damaging her vocal chords. The performers, director, stage manager, and costume shop all really pulled together to make it work and the show still looked fantastic. Speedy recovery, Kathleen!

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Photo by Costume Designer David Cabral.

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Tonight we open Millie at Boston Conservatory.I’m continually impressed by the talent and hard work of the Conservatory students. Aged 18-22, these kids have professional-level skills in acting, dance, and singing. They are not only a delight to watch, they’re also completely charming to hang out with. They are constantly encouraging and supporting each other in their quest to better their own art and eventually become working professional performers. Their fresh eyes and hearts remind me of the magic of live performance and why we do what we do.

This is my student crew, learning to sew name labels into costumes.

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Back to BoCo!

It’s been a busy few days here! I’m back at Boston Conservatory for the Winter Dance Concert... There are four pieces; two premiers and two reconstructions. My job as Head of Wardrobe is to keep all of the costumes in clean, working order, and to teach my student crew the basics of special-care laundry and backstage protocol.

Wardrobe is a position that often goes overlooked because of the misconception that, well, anyone can do laundry. In truth, anyone can be taught to do laundry, but there are specialized skills that most folks don’t need in their daily life. Many dance pieces and historical garments can’t be washed in a machine at all, but still have to look and smell fresh for each performance. And these days, most modern clothes have at least some synthetic content, making garment care much easier – but it also has the side effect of making most people unaware of how to properly care for a natural-fiber garment.

A lot of working wardrobe is also very personal: you have to get into another person’s space, make sure every garment they wear fits properly and facilitates the actor’s work. You might have to assist with makeup application or securing wigs. You will have to wash undergarments, deal with sweat, and occasionally take a half-eaten cough drop out of the mouth of someone about to walk onstage.

There’s a lot of trust involved, and as always, trust is earned, not demanded. The performers must know without a doubt that their costume will be clean and in full working order each day when they return to work. They must trust that when they come running offstage for a quick change, a quiet, confidant, encouraging wardrobe member will be there to facilitate the change. And they have to know that if they split their inseam, you’ll be ready and armed with safety pins. Like they say, if you’ve done your job right, no one will ever know you were there.

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The cast of Boston Conservatory’s Way of the World.

Snowed In!

Well, The Storm has us hunkering down and cuddling up. Governor Patrick declared a snow emergency for the state and ordered everyone off the roads at 4pm, which is a great idea because the roads were almost impassable by 2:30. Here at the Humanist House, we still have power and heat, but no intentions of heading anywhere for at least the next twelve hours. I’m working on another Shawshank sampler and my Owlie socks – but only after frogging them back to the middle of the cuff and nearly starting again. I decided I didn’t like such a tall cuff and discovered a bit of a problem with the heel turn that I wanted to think about a little further.

One week from today, I’ll be back at Boston Conservatory as head of wardrobe for the Winter Dance Concert, and I’m hoping to have my current projects finished up by then so I can think a little more about a few machine sewing projects I have on the horizon.

In the meantime, I’d like to share this website with you: Toward The Stars features fantastic gender-neutral and stereotype-breaking toys and clothing for girls, all of which encourage education, independence and confidence. I really enjoyed looking throughout their catalogue and I’m definitely looking forward to purchasing some of these onesies one day.

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Photo from Toward The Stars