A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

27 Dresses Wardrobe

27 Dresses is the latest screenplay from Aline Brosh McKenna, who also wrote The Devil Wears Prada. The common thread (oops, pardon the pun) is clothes. Katherine Heigl plays Jane, who has been a bridesmaid 27 times and now must stand up for her younger sister as Tess marries the man Jane secretly loves. Imagine the opportunities for outfits inherent in that plot.

The movie opens with a flashback to Jane and Tess's childhood, setting the stage for their relationship. It's 1986 and the girls are--surprise, surprise--at a wedding. Jane is shown helping little sister Tess, as she will throughout their lives. It's an over-the-top wedding, with lots of big hair, shoulder pads, sequins and glitter, Cleopatra makeup, deep stained-glass colors, etc., etc. And I got to be in that wedding scene.

Hair, wardrobe, and makeup was pretty extensive for this movie. I brought several outfits but ended up with one of theirs. When they loan you clothes or props, you have to leave your employment voucher as collateral; you get it back when you return their stuff. Off you go to a gang dressing room (like Filene's Basement in the 60s), then back to wardrobe for a wardrobe check. If they don't like the way you look (and in my case they didn't), they re-fit you and send you off again. Then it's into line for hair and makeup. When they've got you looking like they want, you hang around in holding until you're called to the set. Sometimes everybody gets on a bus, but in this case the church hired for the event was only a couple of blocks away.

A procession of a couple of hundred people dolled up in big hats, teal, purple, fuchsia, electric blue, mauve and peach polyester gowns, snakeskin belts and shoes, skinny leather ties, Miami Vice-style suits, and so on and on, must have looked pretty bizarre to passers-by. Time warp? No. Only a movie.

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With your sliver tongue
A slick shiny beetle
Like a collar-pin
On an enamelled leaf.
Did you dart
Or creep up on him?
Did your colors change
From gray of rock to foliate green
Or did the beetle see
Yet freeze,
Hypnotized by your golden eye?
The sun, the sun is over everything.
Under its staring gaze
You seem caught interminably.
All focuses
For a motionless eternity
On a point in space.
In the blink
Of a transparent eyelid
It will vanish.

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