Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wall Art

I had a large, bare wall in my studio. I had originally intended to hang a large Amelie poster on this wall, but what that wall is made out of proved too hard to drill a hole into.
So the wall sat bare for almost two years, until a recent purchase at Ikea gave me an idea. The small drawer unit I got came packed with several bricks of Styrofoam. Looking at the bricks, I thought that they would be the perfect thing to stick on the wall, since they were lightweight enough that I'd be able to use sticky tack instead of nails or screws and I could have some fun dressing them up.


My original idea was to cover the Styrofoam with fabric. I have some Marimekko Kioto fabric stretched over two small frames hanging over my bed, so I considered wrapping the bricks with that pattern.

I played around with it and fabric-wrapped Styrofoam looks really really crappy. I mean, ick. It was going to look like I wrapped the Styrofoam up like a birthday present.

I changed gears a bit and decided to paint the bricks. As much as I love stitching and sewing, sometimes I love painting more. It's more visceral and quicker, a bit more satisfying creatively, even if you are only painting solid colors on Styrofoam. I did a test brick, to make sure that nothing crazy would happen when I put acrylic paint on Styrofoam.

It turned out all right. I put a second coat on and started with the other bricks. I laid the bricks out in a pattern that I thought would look nice on the wall. However, once I picked the bricks up to paint them, I promptly forgot what the design was. I applied the paint lazily. I just squirted it out of the tube directly onto the Styrofoam and spread it on. There was no mixing of colors, no concern about brush strokes showing.

The project took longer than I anticipated, but was finished within a few days. The end result is a bit De Stijl ish, I suppose, though I was originally going for some sort of mid century look.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love Never Dies

I like the The Phantom of the Opera. I used to play songs from the musical on the piano (and sing along) when I was a whippersnapper. I've read the novel several times. It wasn't until 2008 that I got to see the musical on the West End. Even 20 years out, the spectacle of the show was still breathtaking (though the music was a little dated).

When I first heard that there would be a sequel to Phantom of the Opera opening on the West End this year, then on Broadway, I was skeptical. I mean who is Lloyd Webber to just add onto the story?

Then I realized I was being a bit of a hypocrite. Why is okay for people to add on to and modify older stories, you know, those of the Greeks, but I'm getting all up in arms about Sir Lloyd Webber adding a new twist to this one? At the very least I owed this show the benefit of the doubt.

Now it's opened on the West End and it's apparently not too good. Confusing, stiffly acted, slow moving. But I still want to see it. I actually want to see it even more knowing that no one else is enjoying it. Aside from what is perceived as poor acting and weak choices, does the story warrant being extended? Can we find anything of value in transplanting the Phantom, et al to Coney Island ten years after the original ended?