Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well met by sunlight

In which our Diva has a full weekend ahead, outdoors and close to home

Friday: I'll be joining other singers from Elgin OPERA on the main stage at FoxFireFest on the banks of the scenic Fox River in downtown Elgin at 6 pm tomorrow evening.

Saturday and Sunday: What with Shrew taking up all my time and brain, I've barely mentioned it this year, but I am performing again this weekend at the World of Faeries festival in South Elgin. This is their fourth year, and it's shaping up into a fun outing. Quite an eclectic array of vendors, good music on the stage, and the street cast has tripled in size from last year with some fun and entertaining stuff planned. Yours truly is Larkspur, the flower-faery village crier and gossip-monger ('cause I gotta have news, even if it means making it up!).

Check out last year's highlights video, in which I wander through a couple times as the blonde lorelei blowing bubbles or playing my bamboo flute:

Local folks take note!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

They like me! They really like me!

In which our Diva wins a metric heap of stuff 'cause she likes to make pretty clothes

I'll probably pay for it in sleep over the next week in order to get everything done for Shrew, but taking a few days to drive over to the lovely city of Toronto for Polaris was well worth it for many reasons, not least to show off the "clockdroid" (based on the Doctor Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace") in a major competition. Not that I wasn't happy with the Best in Shows from two previous, much smaller events, but it's vaguely embarrassing when you're the only one in the Master division. In a jawdroppingly-well-run masquerade (kudos to Barbara Schofield and her crack organizational team!) that always attracts at least three or four Master-level competitors as well as the best and brightest of up-and-comers, it's a whole different ballgame.

So I was pretty stunned to walk away with Best in Show for workmanship and Best Master for the on-stage presentation, as well as one of two special awards from the International Costumer's Guild with an attending membership to next year's Costume-Con. I've been to one CC before, and picked up all kinds of nifty new techniques in various seminars, so I'm all kinds of stoked.

And now it's back to Padua.

(For those interested, my much more geeky-fangirl overview of the weekend is on my Livejournal here and here.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Great food, great music

Café Magdalena is now the newest location of Villa Verone, and Elgin OPERA will be back with the newly-christened Villa Verone Festival of Singers every Sunday in July and August from 6 to 8 p.m at 13 Douglas Ave in downtown Elgin.

Come on out and enjoy classics from opera and Broadway in a fun, intimate cabaret setting, with FABULOUS food and the best voices in town! (I'll be missing July 13, August 3, and August 31 due to other commitments, but there are plenty of other fantastic singers slated for those nights.)

No cover, though donations are, of course, always more than welcome. Check us out on the Downtown Elgin Top 10! The young lady in the picture is Madison, one of our children's chorus members and a frequent soloist at these evenings.

I'll look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Big in Japan

In which our Diva appears opposite foam-rubber monsters and has a blast

My knowledge of kaiju and its fandom is, generously speaking, scanty. I've seen the original Godzilla and whichever movie has the teeny little sparkly twins, and probably bits and pieces of some others, many many many moons ago. I think I might be able to identify three monsters on sight.

So how, you may very well ask, did I end up on a panel at G-Fest yesterday afternoon?

Well, about twelve years ago, I answered an audition listing in the Columbus Dispatch, and wound up with my first on-camera experience in this little movie. When I say "little", I mean "these guys give 'guerrilla filmmaking' a whole new meaning." This being before a middle-class joe could pick up a digital camcorder at Best Buy without taking out a second mortgage, they shot entirely on VHS (no, they don't do that anymore!), in Austin's living room, his aunt's basement, and (thanks to a very tolerant management accustomed to hosting Marcon and Origins) various locations around the Hyatt Regency Columbus.

It was a lot of craziness, a lot of fun, and the end result -- obvious production-value issues aside -- was surprisingly not too bad. (I would also like to note that Austin is the one and only filmmaker I've ever worked for who came through promptly with both my copy and my contracted salary.) But until yesterday, I believed that nobody who wasn't involved in the production had ever seen it.

Bzzzzzzt! Turns out this weekend is the tenth anniversary of its first screening at G-Fest. And not only have people seen it, they liked it. A lot of that is because Austin is pretty well known in American kaiju fan circles for building really cool monsters. Also because he and Jeff have spent a lot of time and trial and error learning (and inventing a few of their own) lighting and how-to-use-found-objects tricks for making miniature sequences work. But also because there's just something about the way they do things that seems to capture the spirit of what people love about the genre. The con chair is very supportive of TG2WAC's endeavors, and plugs their stuff right in there with the real Japanese classics and the far-better-funded fan films.

So, on a very small scale, I got to be a movie star for an afternoon. I even had a couple kids ask me for autographs. And I'm in the Raki booklet! Even though it comes with a later movie (the only one the guys have available on DVD so far because it was their leap into digital) it has details on all four, and notes that I'm a "highly accomplished stage actress" -- hee! -- and that I "eagerly" contributed to the fight work. Which is quite accurate. Fun times, man.

I think I might actually head over for a full day next year. I'm kinda sorry to miss meeting the original man in the suit.