Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Queen of the Night, Christian Dior, NOLA Carnival, More!

So far 2014 has been nothing short of an art marathon. When I began working on the show Queen of the Night at the end of September, I had no idea I would be building new installations in the scintillating netherworld of the Diamond Horseshoe through March. Just when I thought the venue couldn’t get more opulent (or decrepid- depending on what room you are in)- set designer Douglas Little says ‘It needs MORE!’ Over the course of the winter months, I worked diligently with my seasoned cohort Jessie Flynn. We built bizarre sculptures out of champagne glasses lined the spiral staircase. The venue staff watched in horror as our flute towers grew. How could these seemingly precarious glass towers withstand the impact of the drunken masses? Never underestimate the power of precisely placed Loctite epoxy- and prayer... So far, so good!! We styled a rope tassel installation for our beloved mascot Luisa the Jaguar, revamped the ‘coral’ columns in the main ballroom, (changed the color, made larger, and sculpted dozens of golden jewels onto the fa├žade,) and began an overhaul of the Mad Distillery bar. Next week I will be back on set to touch up a hot wax installation. Every time I step foot inside the Diamond Horseshoe, I am grateful for the life experience of getting to be an artisan hand in creating such a beautiful and unusual place.

In between jobs on set at Queen of the Night, I worked on a few installations in the Bergdorf Goodman windows. It is my 9TH year as a freelancer in the BG visual department. In March, we did an uber ornate tropical rainforest Christian Dior spring extravaganza. My favorite aspect of working in the windows is when we are creating over the top surreal environments, that then become the ephemeral, bizarre backdrops of my life. I found myself at midnight in the spray booth, painting and glittering life size tropical plants and had a moment of satisfaction acknowledging that this is what I love to do and am especially grateful for the times I get paid to do it. 

                              Fashion by Christian Dior, Window design by David Hoey

Shortly after installing the BG Christian Dior windows, I found myself in another ultra surreal environment- styling decor for the Black Party at Roseland Ballroom with the team from ARCH Productions. This job was especially bittersweet because it would be the last time, I’d ever step foot in this hallowed venue. I fondly remember Roseland from my teenage years of going to massive raves and concerts (hanging out backstage with cypress hills!!) and as an adult working fetish events and tattoo conventions. This month the historic venue shuttered its doors and will soon be demolished to pave the way for yet another god-awful high-rise luxury condo. As a native New Yorker and an artist this trend is excruciatingly painful for me. My history has been paved over to the point that none of my coming of age landmarks are left. NONE. At times this makes me downright venomous. However, working on the new Diamond Horseshoe venue was healing in creating something new and beautiful in the heart of NYC that also paid tribute to my showgirl past life. As I spent my final day in Roseland setting up a sensual harem in the VIP section for the most epic gay sex party on earth, I thought maybe I will come back and help build a futuristic leather daddy rave club in my next life. R.I.P Roseland Ballroom. I will always love you.
So while the NYC I love is being gutted by ravenous developer vultures on a daily basis, leaving town and visiting other inspiring cities is great medicine. In March, I went down to New Orleans during Carnival for a fantastic adventure with my dear friend, costumer designer Charlotte Lily Gaspard. This talented maven can be found working in the costume shop at Julliard, the Public Theater, and the Delacorte for Shakespere in the Park. Our entire trip to the Big Easy was a whirlwind of decadent parades and parties, that required a minimum of three costume changes a day. Within two hours of stepping off the plane, I was at the 9th Ward Marching Band parade and realized that for the denizens of New Orleans, costuming is SERIOUS. It is a visual representation of status and cultural pride. Charlotte brought me to a bonafide ‘Ball’ in Chalmette that featured a few enormous costumes she had been commissioned to make. The scale of the costumes was nothing like I have ever seen before!! Many were the size of a NYC studio apartment. Thus the term ‘costumes on steroids’ was born. I left New Orleans so deeply inspired with visions of getting wayyyyyy more ambitious with my own costume designs. Charlotte is currently teaching me how to make more sculptural headdresses and is taking orders for her unique custom designs.  Cheers to new inspiration, and a life of art adventures!!

The stars are on the ground in New Orleans!!!
For more pix from our epic New Orleans Carnival adventures, check out the full album on the Parades, Parties, and Protests page.