Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grumpy old men

Statler: I know what's wrong with this show
StatlerIt's the theater. 
WaldorfWhat's wrong with it? 
StatlerThe seats face the stage! 

In May of this year, I had the pleasure of attending Pixar in Concert, a show in which music from Pixar films is played by a live orchestra beneath a screen on which the corresponding animated action unfolds. The show has been franchised to orchestras all around the world; the show I attended (along with my better half and costuming partner in crime, who bought the tickets for my birthday) was in Dublin, played by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Not being from the city ourselves, trips to Dublin usually entail trips to the odd store not found closer to home. A fixture of these trips is a visit to the country's only Disney Store. My aforementioned partner in crime has been a lifelong fan; moreover, given that 40% of the costumes on this blog derive from Disney properties, I can't pretend that her fandom has not rubbed off on me to some extent. 

On this occasion, our eyes were drawn to the wall of Muppets memorabilia. I'm somewhat of a returning Muppets fan; the original show was a little before my time, but I was a regular viewer of Muppets Tonight, its comparatively short-lived sister show. My interest has been rekindled in recent years through DVD boxsets of the The Muppet Show. As recently as last year, Muppets characters were being considered for the Halloween costume treatment; specifically, my two favourite characters Sam the Eagle and the Swedish Chef (bork!). In the Disney Store, the thought once again made its way into conversation; as fans of the show and its characters the idea made sense. However, as we looked upon the wall of plushy toys, one of us remarked that there was no combination of characters as salient a fit as Kang and Kodos or the LEGO Zombies Mr. & Mrs., our previous two projects. No sooner had the remark had been uttered than we turned to one another in one of those rare moments of collective epiphany, like a cartoon lightbulb was illumated above our heads. It was so obvious! There was one character combination every bit as good a fit as the extraterrestrial siblings or the undead bride and groom: the heckling duo, Statler and Waldorf. 

Since then we have been working on bringing the concept to life. Both heads have been constructed to roughly equal levels of completeness. We have utilised the approach that has served us so well the past few years: a wire frame, soft cardboard priming, and a papier mache finish. However, this year we have had an additional challenge. We decided that painting the finished constructs would not be true enough to the source material; it had to be a fleece finish. Thankfully, we managed to locally source material that is perfect in both feel and colour. The much trickier part has been attaching it to the heads, the stage at which we currently find ourselves.

I'm not sure how much I'm going to update the project via the blog for the remainder of the busy season. I've already been rather negligent of my annual writing duties (real life has been quite the distraction this year; particularly with the completion of a pesky PhD) and I think at this stage progress would be best suited to a single entry when we finally get past the finish line. Get there, however, we will. For now, I'm going to sign off with a video appropriate to both the source material and the season.

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