Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Long time, no blog...I know. I have been sick, moving my studio, and working on my favorite annual benefit, the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS 24th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition. This is a big two-day show every year (sometime near Easter, but never on it!) when the big Broadway shows put together a show and compete over who makes and presents the Best Easter Bonnet. Right up my alley, I know. Nine years ago, I was approached by one of the actors in the huge hit show, "The Producers" who was familiar with my work to make their bonnet. I was nervous as hell, just a couple of months in New York and I would be competing with the big boys. I did my best, including a spinning Swastika (remember it was for "The Producers"...we were making fun of Nazis, I assure you!) and we won. They were all shocked at my 13 foot tall hat with remote control motors, and they never forgot my name. Over the years, I made 5 bonnets for "The Producers", and then I was asked to make the special opening bonnet for their 20th Anniversary show...that had a drag queen pop out the top of it(!).
Fast forward, and they asked me to appear in a "Project Runway" themed opening number, and to be a judge for the competition...what an honor. This year, they also asked me to make the special bonnet for the opening number, and to be a judge again. How could I say no? Every year, a very special lady makes an appearance at the show, and this year she was to wear the opening bonnet I was making. She is Doris Eaton Travis, the last surviving original Ziegfeld girl. And she is 106 years old. That's right: 106! I was so thrilled to make one of my contraptions for a woman who was in the show that started it all, "The Ziegfeld Follies". In my career I have gotten to visit, re-visit, and work with many institutions and people that I consider to be legendary, and today's opening number brought alot of greats together at once. I was grateful to be able to participate.
Doris is a little shaky these days, but still teaches two dance classes a week (!) so I made her a giant Easter Basket to sit in, and she was "wearing" a pair of 10 foot tall bunny ears in a "Lady Gaga" themed sketch. She came downstage to thundering applause and a standing ovation. Like Cindy Adams says, ".....only in New York kids, only in New York."
PS--The show this year raised $3.27 million. Wow...
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Who will it be? Who will win? Who will lose? I am sorry to say, I really don't feel that much about it one way or the other. Okay, screw it. This season pretty much sucked, only I'm not supposed to say that. I just feel that after so many weeks of re-tread challenges, low-budget quickie outfits, cocky assholes, TEN designers showing at Fashion Week, and the most interesting person (in my opinion) leaving the competition in the home stretch, it made for a pretty dismal season.
Quick--name your favorite challenge--?? Your favorite garment? Pretty hazy, isn't it? I don't know what went wrong with the show this season....It had all the usual suspects, plus they were back in New York. Maybe that's the problem; we've seen it too many times before. I guess that was bound to happen. And, like people, we tend to get bored of them if they always have the same thing to say. I love Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I wouldn't want to eat it everyday at every meal. Not even that new "Double Down" thing they are trying to make people stuff down their throats.
You can grill it, you can put it in a bucket, you can even stuff it between two other pieces of chicken...I think the truth is, until they make some major changes to Project Runway, no one's going to want to eat it anymore.
So, who will it be? Who will win? Who will lose? Will it be the Super-Cocky Emilio? The too-old to be a Rocker Seth-Aaron? The color-blind Mistress of Black and White Mila?
I don't know who wins; but I certainly know who loses.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am so excited to be made into a line of greeting cards! What crazy people would do such a thing? The nice folks at NobleWorks approached me about the whole idea--and voila, you can see (and buy!) them for yourself at www.nobleworkscards.com
They took some of the images from my book (which by the way, you can also purchase on my website) photoshopped them, cropped them, gave them funny headlines, and now you can insult your friends with a Chris March original! They will soon be for sale across the country, damaging the minds of people everywhere!!
I will be making an appearance at the National Stationery Show here in NYC in May (the 16th and 17th at the Javits Center from 1 to 4pm, but I'll remind you later) to launch the new line, and meet people to sign cards and my book.
Who would have thought that breaking my neck in those headpieces would pay off one day?!!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I'm not going to say much about it, because I said it all in this video...
....but you can judge for yourself. The judging, that is. "Project Runway" went into the shark humping stage after they totally manipulated the outcome of last week's show, to be sure that their golden boy, Emilio, would make it to Fashion Week. Watch and see for yourself, then see if you also might think that he should have EASILY gotten eliminated for the above stripper outfit made of shocking pink cord and washers. I know, I know....reality TV is not real. Trust me--if anyone knows that, I do. But could they at least make their manipulations plausible? Because if you do the slightest research into the ratings, they are losing business right and left. Maybe THAT will perk them up.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
It was announced yesterday that Conan O'Brien would return to late night TV on the TBS network, bumping George Lopez to midnight while he takes over the 11 pm slot. I am so fucking happy Conan is returning to television--after the treatment he got from NBC and their favorite ass-clown, Jay Leno. Does anyone really like Jay Leno anyway? I have always considered him the iceberg lettuce of comedians--he's really boring by himself until you add bleu cheese and bacon. I probably watched less than 2 hours total of the "Tonight Show" while Jay Leno was the host. Only if the guest was just too irresistible to watch. His voice, his chin, his hair (with that one dyed-in black patch in the front so he looks "young") his motorcycle, his car collection and his Dorito ads have always bugged the hell out of me. That, and the fact that he was smug enough to think he ever deserved being on the "Tonight Show" in the first place. Maybe I am influenced by the first time I ever saw Jay Leno--25 years ago in Reno. I had to run from the building in the middle of his show and barf my guts out in the bushes.
I was sad when Conan left his New York late night spot for Los Angeles. I happened to be on their floor at 30 Rock filming some late night Bravo segment when they were unloading all their props and costumes. In front of the elevators, they just piled every thing you've ever seen on the show....the giant bowl of Nacho Cheese Dip, the Masturbating Bear costume, Pimp Bot, the collars from "the Year 2000" skits, wigs, shoes, rubber chickens and all the things they tried on the show, funny or not. That's what I love about Conan, he may not always be the funniest, but he never abandons his schtick just to be popular. And sometimes, sometimes, it is just downright hilarious in a way nothing else is. Even though NBC stripped him of some of his most popular characters in the buyout contract, we know Conan will be able to come up with some new ones, and have a blast trying. What will Jay do? Ask Miley Cyrus about her latest haircut? What an insufferable twit. Pardon me, what insufferable twits. I wish he would just disappear so we could all forget he ever existed. Like iceberg lettuce, would we really miss him?
I am counting the days until Conan starts at 11 pm, and we'll just see how many people turn the channel at 11:30.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I have had the original IPhone for almost 2 years now. It has basically replaced my computer (I don't know if that's a good thing) even though I hate typing on the tiny "virtual" keyboard. The software they came up with for that is sometimes hilarious, when it tries to figure out what you're going to spell--more than half the time when I go to sign my name it spells "Cher" for me. My friends and family would probably much rather hear from her anyway.
Recently, AT&T, the wardens of the imprisoned IPhone, were having some difficulty in my neighborhood (more specifically on my block), and my phone and all of it's "apps" (God, I hate that expression) became useless. I couldn't even call them to scream at them about my lack of service...I had to borrow a friend's phone. My phone had become as useful as a paperweight. This continued for several days, making business, communications, and plain old web-surfing as frustrating as talking between two tin cans attached with a string.
Now, they want me to go out and buy the (cue heavenly chorus) IPad. It looks like it gave birth to my IPhone. Does this thing work? All reports so far are that is doesn't really stay connected to the internet. That's like saying the brakes don't really stay connected on your car--makes it kind of useless. Still, I want to buy one, just to break free of the "big" computer, and, well, just to be "cool". How sad, really. That's how they sell millions of those suckers and nobody wants to say that it really doesn't work very well. When my phone is working at it's best, it's still a mediocre phone. Phone--isn't that in the name of this contraption? Shouldn't that be the part that works the best? If I had a dollar for every dropped call I could buy a large piece of Montana. That phone has almost made it through the window several times--I'm sure it flies well. Should I buy this overgrown IPhone? What did I do before this? Listen to people? Go out in public? Eat with two hands? Read? Watch more TV?
You know the second we all buy one, they will come out with something else--newer, faster, cheaper, cooler. What will it be?
I know--the IPorn.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I will be terribly discreet, but so many people have asked me to elaborate on how it happened, I will share with you what has turned out to be a fairytale come true in my life. No pun intended. I had the incredible opportunity to work with the one and only Meryl Streep, and create these two dresses for her, the first for the Golden Globes, the second (gulp!) for the Academy Awards. I have been friends with her right arm and make-up/hair stylist (who has been with her for 35 years or so. Where she goes, he goes.) Roy Helland since I moved to New York about 9 years ago. Roy told me that during season 4 of "Project Runway" the cast of the movie they were working on, "Doubt", were big fans of the show, and Meryl was a big fan of mine. She and her two daughters (also big "PR" fans) came to my finale show at Bryant Park as my guests, and I received a phone call from her the next day....
"Chris?....Hi, it's Meryl!" Four words I will never forget. Meryl? Meryl Streep? My heart lept into my throat, and luckily she had a lot to say about the show so I didn't have to talk much. As if I could have. She told me how much she loved it and called me a "creative genius". I don't remember the rest of the conversation, as I had died and gone to heaven. I stumbled to say goodbye, and all I remember is hanging up and sitting on my couch without moving until the sun went down. Stupified.
Fast forward to last December, when the Golden Globe nominations came out (she was actually nominated TWICE in the same category) and Roy gave me a buzz and asked if I could come over to his house on Monday afternoon. I asked, and he gave no reason....and then he had to tell me because he knew I would faint if it remained a surprise. Meryl wanted to meet with me and discuss the possibility of making her a dress to wear at the Golden Globes. I must have turned purple, said yes, and was in a dream state for a couple of days. We met, and she is the sweetest, warmest, smartest, most normal lovely person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She wrapped her arms around me and said, "What a thrill to meet you!" Me? Meet me? I have my arms around the greatest actress of all time and she is thrilled to meet me? Like I said, an absolute fairytale. We discussed the dress, I came up with an idea that she loved, and after about five fittings, the dress is perfect and I end up just hanging out with her choosing jewelry, shoes and bags before her trip to Hollywood. Fairy. Tale. Afterwards, she brought me the most beautiful bouquet of white flowers (pictured above)...yes, she actually drove them over to my house. That's what kind of person she is.
Then, after all the hoopla over the black dress, she contacted me about the Academy Awards, and I was REALLY reeling. The Super Bowl of World Fashion. Me, dressing Meryl effing Streep. Like we're pals. Certainly, some Fairy Godmother sprinkled magic dust in my Wheaties. The dress was discussed, we came up with a plan, and several fittings later, voila....She is all over the "Best Dressed" lists. Being gay, I never hit a home run. Until that night. I will never forget it as long as I live. Meryl Streep uttered the words, "Chris March made my dress..." on the Red Carpet at the Academy Awards. In front of millions (billions?) of people. I was thrilled, humbled, proud, teary-eyed and grateful to receive such an incredible moment in my life.
Tina Fey strikes gold again with her super-evil spot on spoof of everyone's favorite former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin. Sometimes people who are already so ridiculous are not easy to spoof, but Miss Fey drives the knife in over and over again in this video parody, even poking at the hand that feeds her, NBC, a couple of times. This is what I used to love about "Saturday Night Live", the irreverence. When I started watching the show (from the very first episode in 1974!) it was the most sarcastic, irreverent and non-pc thing to ever hit the airwaves. Racism, mental retardation, feminist issues, the establishment, celebrities, and NBC were always up for a good skewering--with the notion that the opportunity and the ability to do so are what freedom of speech is all about. I think this clip is hilarious, firmly believing that this is not a possibility; and that Sarah Palin couldn't possibly run for President, she's such a buffoon. Right? Right? But with Ms. Palin on Fox News, and with her own new show on TLC (which is enough to make me want to boycott their airwaves) "Sarah Palin's Alaska", who knows what will happen between now and 2012? She might be the next Oprah. For the redneck crowd. That votes. This is a scenario scarier than "Nightmare On Elm Street".
SNL helped shape my irreverent and somewhat sarcastic take on life, but like most things that were young and unfettered, it has aged into an old lady that rarely challenges or offends. Or entertains. That is why I was so happy to see this clip of Tina Fey--a glimpse backwards at the old days of the show, when opinions were stated clearly with no fear of losing advertisers or viewers. If someone was offended, so what? This is America--you are not guaranteed a safe bubble to live in. Turn the channel. If Sarah Palin runs for President in 2012, I hope Oprah runs against her...it might be our only chance.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I was blessed with a ticket to the opening night on Broadway of the new musical, "The Addams Family" from my friends Joey Arias and Basil Twist. I worked on the costumes for their smash hit show, "Arias with a Twist", and Basil did the amazing puppetry that definitely adds a whimsical touch that the "Addams Family" really needed. Nathan Lane was not too Nathan Laney (you know what I mean) as Gomez, complete with fabulously corny non-pc "Spanish" accent. He shows he is an old pro, and doesn't let himself get bogged down by some of the illogical material. Bebe Neuwirth, as Morticia, is droll and dry as you might imagine, bringing her best "Lilith" bite to the part. One of my favorite numbers is her opening second act song about Death being "just around the corner....Around the coroner, get it? " She is charming, but the whole show I couldn't help imagining one thing: the most brilliant piece of fantasy casting of the 21st century....Cher as Morticia. Oh God!! Could you just die? She would be a foot taller than Gomez (like Sonny), and so incredibly bitter, droll, and creepy. As well as super-funny. Cher can deliver a one-liner with the best of them. Are you listening Producers? Cher--give her a call.
I thought the evening was charming but uneven, especially the end of act one with a painfully embarrassing number that lasts for what must be an eternity. I must mention my friend, the amazingly talented Jackie Hoffman (Hairspray, Xanadu) who plays Granmama with exquisite gross-out appeal. Too bad she doesn't get to do much, but when she does, she brings down the house. The sets are fine, even though everyone keeps going on and on about them. The inside of their house is brown? Really? Where is the black, grey, cobwebbed, exotic residence we've come to expect? The Munsters live in a creepier house. And yes, as a costume designer, I will say this about the costumes: They should have hired me. I could have taken my finale collection straight from Bryant Park onto the stage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and it would have been ten times more interesting. Sorry, the costumes for the principals are just serviceable, even the ghostly chorus of dead ancestors upstages them with wit and creativity. Oh well...are you listening Producers? Give me a call....
"Eat a Kitten"....who would take such a name? Here is why I wanted it: My friend Gordon and I used to joke about which one of us was more bitter about life. One day in our garage, he said, "If I want something warm and fuzzy, I'll eat a kitten." This line has been re-quoted between the two of us for years. My personal favorite is, "You haven't tasted bitter until you've bitten into me." So, the gist of this blog will be bitter, sarcastic, funny, and maybe a little warm and fuzzy.