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As you may be able to tell from my previous posts, I love theater.  To quote Molly Shannon: I love it I love it I love it!  When I was a little girl, my mom took me to the small local community playhouse, the Glendale Centre Theatre, to watch Camelot and The King & I and other theater-in-the-round stagings of popular musicals.  As I grew older, I watched my friends perform in their high school plays, sometimes seeing their performances five and six times each.  Later, two of my friends – Erica (Stevens) Smith and Dore (Beynon) Marott – performed themselves at GCT – Erica in Annie and both girls in Fiddler on the Roof.  Let’s just say I saw both shows combined almost as many times as I have fingers and toes.

In my teens, my first serious theatrical love affair was with The Phantom of the Opera cast recording.  I think many girls my age were enamored with those romantic songs and the seductive voices.  From then on I sought out high-spectacle shows like Into the Woods, Les Miserable and Miss Saigon, the latter of which I was lucky enough to see in Chicago starring another long time and talented friend, Jennie Kwan. Since then, I’ve breathed in as much theater as my pocket book and schedule will allow – sometimes a lot and sometimes a little.

With the economy and my commitments being what they’ve been, I haven’t been able to see much theater for the past few years.  But thanks to some great friends and some interesting twists of fate, 2010 has been a thrilling year of theater.  🙂

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Before I share a look back at the past year, I thought I’d start with the last production first:  Next to Normal.  My friend Catherine and I spontaneously ran downtown on Thursday and saw the matinée performance starring Alice Ripley, who won the Tony Award for the role.  I didn’t quite know what to expect – I’d only heard a few of the songs – but it was excellent.  With just a cast of six, the show was compelling and I still have the music floating through my memory.  Here’s a clip from the Tony Awards with two amazing songs and three incredible voices:

Alice Ripley’s voice is out of control amazing.  You can tell when she’s on stage that if she wanted she could blow the roof off the theater.  There is incredible power to her sound, but the only criticism I have is that she has a very affected way of singing with overemphasized vowels and R’s and such which can be hard to decipher in large doses.  The clip above doesn’t have as much affect, but it was very prominent in the show that I saw.  If I had my preference, it would be used sparingly, but regardless her talents cannot be denied.

As Carrie Fisher stated in the clip, the show is about a mother’s mental illness and the toll it takes on her family.  The set, though very simple, supports the story beautifully. It’s a simple grid of compartments with heavy bulb lighting to back-light the set  and semi-transparent sliding doors to open and close the compartments.  Though it represents the family home, it also keenly symbolizes the mother’s mind and brings up notions of mental compartmentalization, having the lights on when no one is home, hiding things in the back of one’s mind, and other psychological associations.  The lighting design reinforces the rock opera score and other electric story lines.  With multiple levels that showcased the musicians and actors, the set allowed for maximum movement and interest.  Here are a few shots:

And here’s a quick article from Live Design about the set with set designer Mark Wendland and lighting designer Kevin Adams:  http://livedesignonline.com/theatre/0615-next-to-normal/

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Other than Next to Normal, I saw two great shows at the Ahmanson this year.  Most recently, I went to Leap of Faith, which I wrote about here.

In February, I took my mother to see Mary Poppins for her birthday, which was a fun surprise.  I told my mom to come to my place on the afternoon of her birthday, and just to trust me.  When she arrived, I gave her a vintage hat and a bag of penny candy and told her we’d be heading downtown for an afternoon to relive her childhood – way way waaaaay back to her childhood. After driving through LA with 50’s music in the car, we arrived at the Biltmore for afternoon tea, where I told her we had tickets to Mary Poppins!  In typical mom fashion, she had a good cry.  Here’s a picture of my mom at the Biltmore in her hat from the early 60′.  She’s lucky I couldn’t find white gloves on short notice!

Mary Poppins had an amazing set by Bob Crowley and a variety of surprises that made it a very special experience for the child in anyone.  The songs and the dancing were memorable, but the effects like Bert tapping upside down and Mary ascending over the crowd to the balcony were the true stars for me.

In late May I was given an amazing gift by a co-worker, Brett, who was moving out of town: his season ticket to the Mark Taper Forum.  I hadn’t been to the Taper until just a few months prior when I went to see Parade, which is a serendipitous story of its own:  I had been totally obsessed with the song “Old Red Hills of Home”, which I occasionally heard on the Broadway station on XM though I had no idea where it came from or what it was about.  It’s a soaring yet melancholy song (just the kind I tend to like, which is probably why I’m such a Jeff Buckley fan).  The vocal performances had a beautiful, longing quality that sucked me right in to the point that I emailed complimentary messages to the main performer in the song, Jeff Edgerton, and the composer (which is something I rarely if ever do), and I purchased the song on iTunes and played it ad nauseum for days.  In seeking the song out, I found out that the musical was the story of a Jewish man who was accused of murder and eventually lynched.  Um, not what I was expecting.  Though I couldn’t necessarily imagine seeing such a heavy musical, I was saddened to think that I probably would never have the opportunity even if I wanted to since the play had run in the 90’s and hadn’t been revived since.  As luck would have it, a new production was being staged in London and was coming, you guessed it, to LA.  And not only that, but the Center Theatre Group, which runs the Taper, wanted to reach the wider community and teamed up with the non-profit I work with to present a lecture with the composer Jason Robert Brown and the playwright Alfred Uhry.  Minor obsession to composer at my doorstep in twelve months or less.  How about that!  Of course, my shyness kicked in and I didn’t say much to either Brown or Uhry, but no matter.  The CTG kindly gave me tickets to the play and it was a perfect first time at the Taper.

This year, thanks to Brett, I saw the following excellent plays and musicals:

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – An absurd yet haunting story of the aftermath of war in Iraq with Kevin Tighe as the wandering philosophical tiger.  The realistic sets by Derek McLane, including large topiaries and “tile” floors, gave an immediate sense of place and complemented the surreal events of the play.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore – A brilliant farce about a possibly dead cat, Wee Thomas, and his very, very, very upset owner – the head of an Irish terrorist group.   I wish I could find a picture of the stage at the end of the play, which was so pooled in blood and “body parts” that they literally had guys in white crime scene coveralls come out after the lights were up and pick up legs and arms and hose down the entire stage.  Major props to set designer Laura Fine Hawkes and team.  I was screaming and laughing in hysterical horror.  So crazy and so good.

The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams classic play about delusion and separation.  I didn’t know what to expect from this play – the only thing I’d heard about it was in the great PBS documentary “Broadway: The Golden Age” where actor after actor told of the amazing performance by Laurette Taylor in the 40’s, which was unlike anything they had ever seen or would ever see.  It’s times like those when I wish performances could have been taped!  This production was beautiful and sad, and the set by Michael Yeargan conveyed a faded elegance complete with the long-lost father’s photo projected onto the wall like a permanent stain that couldn’t be touched and couldn’t be washed away.

Harps and Angels – A retrospective of songs by Randy Newman that was staged like a theatrically-bent musical revue. Stephan Olson’s set with Marc Rosenthal’s projections were fine, but I must say that the costumes seemed cheap and thrown together.  This was probably my least favorite of the productions but still a quality show overall with great talent including Katey Sagal and Michael McKean.  And clapping and singing along to “I Love LA” did the Valley Girl in me good.

I cannot thank Brett enough for the priceless gift of live theater.  THANK YOU!

And a special thanks also goes to my other co-worker, Perla Karney, and her always-jovial husband Ami who introduced me to a small but wonderful group in NoHo:  The Antaeus Theater Company.  A year or so ago I was treated to a trio of staged readings at the company’s current home at the Deaf West Theater.  Antaeus focuses on classical plays from Shakespeare to the 20th Century, and I was most especially captivated by their reading of Lillian Hellman’s The Autumn Garden about the lives of unfulfilled friends and acquaintances at a summer retreat.  The company mentioned they might stage a full production of the play, and this fall they mounted the show with two full casts.  I went to see the cast with Jane Kaczmarek of Malcolm in the Middle fame, who is not only a company actor but also the company’s biggest supporter.  It was again a beautiful play, and the set by Tom Buderwitz was the epitome of an elegant southern manner whose time has passed, with fragments of open molding from the ground and from above framing the stage  so as to give the audience the impression of peaking through the windows and eavesdropping on the characters’ assorted private conversations.  It’s a great little theater company, and I recommend you check them out.  Thanks again Perla and Ami!

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Thank YOU for indulging me in my little trip down theater alley – I’ve really enjoyed every minute of time spent in those fold down seats.  If any of these productions interest you, there are plenty of photos, text and video to be found online, so go to it!

Happy New Year to you, and I wish you 365 days filled with amazing experiences.  As the new year begins, here’s some inspiration to push you toward your own goals…from Tick Tick BOOM starring a young Raul Esparza, here’s “Louder Than Words”:

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Let’s see what surprises 2011 has in store.  😉

This fall, I returned to school to continue in the Interior Design program at UCLA Extension, which is now a joint venture with Cal Poly Pomona leading to a Masters in Interior Architecture.  The class I took this fall is my seventh so far, which means I’m about two quarters in (tick tock tick tock).  I’m hoping to accelerate the coursework in 2011 so that I can get through the remaining 8 quarters in 2-3 years – it takes time since I have to keep working as I go (darn work).  As mentioned in a previous post, my goal (once I finally get through the program!) is to delve into a variety of experience design projects – anywhere from restaurant design to exhibition design to theatrical design.  The sky’s the limit, so we’ll see where things lead as time goes on.

For this class, Fundamentals of Interior Design taught by LA design aficionado and history professor Eleanor Schrader Schapa, which ended earlier this month, I was instructed to tour two spaces and compare and contrast the two designs.  Below is my paper, which I thought I’d post since it pretty much fits the bill with this blog.  😉  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to post.  Here you go!

 

 

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Segerstrom Concert Hall

 

 

COMPARISON OF SPACES:

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

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Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa

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In the past few years since delving into the study of design, new depths of meaning have been unlocked for me when I enter spaces.  No longer do I merely notice how pretty a space is, or how grand – I am now better able to sense the message the space is trying to convey, as well as the way the designer is trying to guide me through the space.  It was my pleasure to tour two very similar spaces:  The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, and in doing so I was able to see their architects’ visions through their designs.

As a lover of theater and live experience, I was particularly interested in viewing the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH) for this project.  I am sad to say that I had never been inside the Hall before – though I had taken a stroll through the grounds previously – so the recent tour was quite a treat for me.  WDCH was designed by LA’s most famous architect, Frank Gehry, who is known for his bold, deconstructivist style.  In partnership with benefactor Lillian Disney and the City of Los Angeles, Gehry was challenged to create a venue for the Los Angeles Philharmonic that would be an unrivaled landmark as well as a gift to the people of Los Angeles.

Though WDCH was completed in 2003, it had actually been designed in the early 90’s but was held up due to financing and other obstacles, so the concept actually reflects Gehry’s style from over a decade prior and mirrors his work at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao – completed in 1997 – which has the same metallic and glass forms.  As a deconstructivist, his work is centered primarily on form, with function finding its way behind it.  We can see that in the 90’s, Gehry was playing with these loose shapes in the way a sculptor plays with clay and found metal objects.  Regardless of the location of the project – Los Angeles or Bilbao or elsewhere – his concern was evolving those shapes rather than trying to work in the context of the site or its people.  That’s why when we look at WDCH and the Guggenheim Bilbao, we see very similar works on two entirely different continents.

Gehry is not totally self-serving in his design, though, as he brings in touches of WDCH’s benefactor throughout the venue and mixes her interests with his own thematically.  Though we may not pin down the exact inspiration for the design, we can see elements of Lillian Disney’s love of roses and nature interwoven with Gehry’s fascination with the sea, especially once inside the venue.  Looking up at the large stylized wooden columns, and surrounded by warm materials and nature-inspired textiles, you can imagine yourself inside an immense tree house or as an ant winding its way through a rose bush – especially when taking into account the site of the venue high above the street.  Alternately, both the exterior form of the venue and the design the inner Hall give way to visions of sails on a ship.  Both of these expressions intertwine to produce a multi-dimensional space with a variety of interpretations.

Alternately, at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (SCH) we see architect Cesar Pelli’s desire to serve the site and the context of the venue.  Much like WDCH, Segerstrom Concert Hall is part of a collection of performance venues each serving a particular purpose under the banner of the Orange County Performing Arts Center (OCPAC).  The Center has been supported entirely by private funds, most especially from chief benefactor Henry Segerstrom and his family, who originally donated their lima bean farmland for the Center’s use in the late 70’s.  Each step of the way, the Segerstroms and other local donors have been instrumental in developing the land and adding venues to the Center’s cache.   In the late 90’s, the Segerstroms made a large commitment to add a concert hall and other venues, and engaged Pelli to act as architect.

Though Pelli was trained and influenced by modernists like his former employer Eero Saarinen, he specifically chooses not to follow a particular style.  Rather, he creates works that suit their environments and their particular audiences.  Unlike Gehry, you can view Pelli’s projects and see a variety of styles in assorted contexts.  And actually, at OCPAC you can look up at Segerstrom Concert Hall and just beyond it see a Pelli-designed office building in an entirely different, more classical style using distinctly dissimilar metallic materials.  The one through line that seems to tie the projects together is Pelli’s interest in cladding and glass or metal facades, which is expressed in a variety of ways.

Completed in 2006, Segerstrom Concert Hall rests firmly on the ground and holds no particular site prominence over any of the other venues at OCPAC.  Actually, it’s somewhat tucked back behind the neighboring, lesser South Coast Repertory (also designed by Pelli) and only comes into view as you continue to walk toward its general direction after first seeing the similarly named Segerstrom Hall opera house and veering to the right.  Once in front of the Segerstrom Concert Hall, it is clear that it is intended to relate directly to the earlier stone-laden Segerstrom Hall (designed by Charles Lawrence), especially as you step inside SCH and turn to see the opera house’s grand arch with Richard Lippold’s hanging sculpture Fire Bird through SCH’s clear glass façade.

Thematically, SCH evokes waves – both water and sound – and relates to the Southern California lifestyle in which it is set.  The exterior undulates peacefully, as do the interior balconies in the main Hall.  Looking down at the floor in the rotunda, a contemporary Archimedes Spiral pattern – used in ancient times to pump water – is laid into the floor. Overhead, the ceiling and lighting design, Constellation by Francesca Bettridge, recalls the sky at night.  Like WDCH, nature is a theme, but here it is expressed in dreamy, soft shapes and colors – as if you are listening to a soothing piece by Debussy – a stark contrast from Gehry’s exuberant space that seems as if it’s an instrument that’s trumpeting and crashing all at once.

Art is another area of departure, as pieces by other artists – like Bettridge’s light piece inside or Richard Serra’s monolithic Connector just outside the venue – are provided to SCH usually with strong input from the Segerstroms, while at WDCH Gehry has personally designed the venue’s main art piece, A Rose for Lily, in honor of Lillian Disney.  This speaks to Pelli’s desire to serve the client and Gehry’s desire to serve the design.

When considering balance, Gehry’s design is totally asymmetrical inside and out, with the exception of the Hall itself, which allows for moments of discovery and surprise.  You can walk all the way around the space inside and out, and though set high on a hill, it gives a feeling of accessibility and invitation to explore.  Pelli’s design is asymmetrical on the exterior, but as you reach the rotunda and look further into the space it becomes much more symmetrical and straightforward.  SCH is smaller than WDCH and doesn’t allow for much exploration or moments of the unexpected.  If you exit the venue and walk to the side of the exterior, you can see that the façade flattens entirely as the building is only meant to be viewed and accessed from the front.  The interior halls at both venues are symmetrical and even somewhat radial in that the performers are centered to some extent with the audience encircling them.

Both spaces use large scale elements for dramatic effect, but Gehry takes it to the extreme using these throughout the venue – from the exterior shapes of the venue to the interior columns, bold doorways and sweeping ceilings – whereas Pelli plays with large scale elements primarily in the undulating waves inside and out.  Both treat the organ as a focal point in their Halls, with Gehry allowing the organ to create a dissonance reflective of the building’s exterior, and Pelli choosing to smooth out the organ in reaction to the wave shapes around the room.  Other than the organ as centerpiece, emphasis is added over and over in each area of WDCH, while at SCH it is only provided sparingly as in the wave shape that creates the entrance overhang outside or the central staircase in the foyer.

Rhythm is expressed differently in both venues.  Gehry uses his materials like the bold textile pattern, the wood slats in the ceilings, or the rectangular shapes of the metal plates on the façade to create textures and patterns that activate the space.  Pelli, on the other hand, subdues the textures by using stone, paint and carpet in creamy colors and instead adds rhythm with his wave shapes.  It’s only in the inner Hall that Pelli injects more rhythm through the wooden pattern in the walls and the adjustable wall sections that open and close to control sound.  It’s through these sections that we get a glimpse at a brilliant blue glow that further denotes the sea.  This blue combined with the red velour of the chairs is a marked difference from the neutral entrance spaces. In addition to the blue openings, repetition is provided in both venues through the use of horizontal bars, which seem to nod to musical bars and sheet music.  Pelli uses these as part of the glass façade’s support structure, and Gehry uses these more subtly as part of his interior railings, which swoop through the necessary spaces.

It was a treat to tour both venues and to compare such similar spaces – both designed for the same purpose and both created within 15 years of each other from concept to opening night.  I have always admired Pelli – the office building that shadows SCH has long been a favorite of mine.  I often look for it when driving down the 405.  Gehry, on the other hand, always struck me as rather self-indulgent.  But in comparing these spaces I can see the power in Gehry’s work, and why it’s so thrilling. Both venues are beautiful – both are harmonious – but WDCH’s variety and mystery create a much more inspiring and satisfying experience.

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Here’s a handy-dandy slide show of quick pics I took on the two tours  (all photos were taken by me unless noted otherwise).

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Raul Esparza…

Last night I went to see the new musical Leap of Faith at the Ahmanson – just two days before it ends its brief introductory run here in LA and heads to Broadway.  I absolutely love musicals, but I was particularly interested to see this one because during my time working at Appleton & Associates Architects I was afforded a bit of a behind-the-scenes look into the musical in progress. Writer Janus Cercone and her husband Michael Manheim are friends with my then boss, and would often send updates on the highs and lows of the process – directors coming and going, rewrites and so on.  With the final product in place, I was curious to see how it all turned out.

I really enjoyed the show, and the songs were just fantastic.  Gospel music hits me right here (yeah, I just pointed to my heart), and the show is filled with great gospel numbers by Alan Menken and amazing voices to back them up.  The story is a bit predictable, and Brooke Shields’ voice is certainly not the best, but the whole of it is pretty darn good, and I look forward to seeing how it’s going to do on Broadway.  I think it has all the potential to be a success.

One of the main reasons it really works is Raul Esparza.  WOW.  During one song in particular, Jonas’ Soliloquy, I just watched him and thought, “I’m lucky enough to see a true theater legend in action.”  He really is THAT good. His performance in particular led me straight to YouTube when I got home so that I could keep the Esparza high going.  He takes his material to some sort of gutteral depths and rhapsodic highs and intensifies everything with a swooning quality – sort of like the unabandoned emotional swells of greats like Judy Garland (but much more masculine, of course!).   There is a natural, in-the-moment, extreme passion to Esparza – I think in a way that many of us would like to be but are just too afraid to be.  In honor of Raul, here’s one of his best roles: Robert in Company.

If this inspires you to see all things Raul, there’s plenty of good stuff on YouTube (thank God for YouTube!), including pieces from Tick Tick…BOOM, Taboo, and other performances.  Company, as well, is an amazing show by Sondheim that explores marriage and fear of commitment – there’s plenty about it on the internet, too, so check it out!  This performance in particular was directed by John Doyle so that the actors also served as the orchestra musicians.  He used the same technique for the Sweeney Todd revival that came to the Pantages a few years back (the set for that show was excellent, but very similar to the set for Spring Awakening which I think was more successful, but I digress).  😉

By the way, the sets for Leap of Faith were designed by Robin Wagner, who’s designed some top sets for productions like The Producers, Young Frankenstein and Kiss Me, Kate.  There was a spareness to it that really worked with the story.  I usually favor using levels on stage to take up both vertical and horizontal space, but for most of the show the action is kept on the bare stage floor, with low corn and a high sky as the backdrop, and it works perfectly.  He brings in levels during the revivals, and it’s a solid choice.  There’s even a surprise at the end that washes over the stage.

If you’d like to learn more about Leap of Faith, check it out here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/10/theater-review-leap-of-faith-at-the-ahmanson.html

And for anyone who loves going to the theater but can’t always afford it, the Center Theatre Group often offers Hot Tickets or day-of available tickets for $20, so go see those shows!

DeAnne Millais?….Here!

Why hello there.

Today, I just realized, it has been four months exactly since my last blog post.  I guess I decided to take an unplanned summer vacation from Dandee.  I’m surprised it hasn’t locked me out after showing signs of abandonment anxiety. 

It’s been an interesting summer, sort of.   I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say I was a tad preoccupied with work-related surprises (both positive and challenging).  The good news is that, after a couple of years away from school (thanks, economy) I finally returned to continue in the Interior Architecture program at UCLA Extension. It’s only one class, but it’s a start. Yay progress! 

Interestingly, UCLA Extension’s Interior Design program has joined forces with Cal Poly Pomona’s Architecture program to create a Masters Degree Program in Interior Architecture.  So at the end of the curriculum, graduates will recieve a Masters Degree conferred by Cal Poly Pomona, though the program follows Extensions curriculum and takes place at UCLA (faculty are a combination of UCLA and Cal Poly instructors).  So you see where I’m headed?  My one class this quarter takes me one step closer to that Masters.  You heard it here first. 

Now what, do you wonder, am I going to do with the degree?  That’s up for debate.  I am committed to experience design of all types: live events, theatrical design, experience marketing, theme park design, and even restaurant and hospitality design.  I am returning to school so that I can shift from the production side of the process to the true design side.  I suppose while I’m slowly but surely moving through the program the right path will reveal itself.  I have plenty of time to figure it out.  Considering that I still need to work full time to make a living, it’s going to take a few years at least to finish the program.

So along the way I’ll keep posting about interesting experiences and design, including reviews of the best and worst of said experiences.  And I’ll sprinkle in some of my school-related goings on.  If there’s anything you’re interested in exploring here at Dandee, just say the word. 

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By the way, yesterday – as part of my class – I took two architectural tours that I would recommend to any of you.  The first was a wonderful docent-led tour of Los Angeles’ Historic Core by the Los Angeles Conservancy.  One of the many tours the Conservancy offers, the Historic Core tour covers the heart of Downtown and includes exteriors and/or interiors of some of LA’s finest early buildings including the Bradbury Building, the Central Library, and the amazing Southern California Edison Building.  I hope to check out their other tours soon, especially Art Deco and the Theater District.  You should check ’em out, too!

Southern California Edison Building (photo from latimemachines.com)

The second tour was at the Heritage Square Museum just off the 110 freeway a few miles north of Downtown.  What a gem of a place.  I honestly didn’t know much about it prior to showing up at the appointed time for the tour.  It’s tucked away at the end of a residential street, in what seems like an extension of that street but from another time long ago.  Basically, it’s a plot of land on which sit eight structures: a depot, a barn, five houses and a church – all from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  A staff-member led us to each structure and told about the history, architecture and societal rules and expectations of the time for each.  We were able to go inside about half of the buildings – some of which were very nicely restored and some of which were still in disrepair (which gave an interesting alternate view of how things were, actually).  All of the structures were rescued from other parts of Los Angeles (where they were about to be destroyed if not moved) and taken to their new home at Heritage Square.  I highly recommend the tour, and for those of you interested in all things Halloween, or death or Victorian, here’s a fun event they have scheduled for the end of October:  Halloween and Mourning Tours.

Heritage Square (photo from heritagesquare.org by Ken Johnson)

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I still have some catching up to do on posts (see my last post!), so I’ll try to get to that soon.  But it’s just nice to be back.

Oh, and my fabulous friend Kelly Thompson of 1979 Semi-Finalist is in the midst of a three-part series on women and comics (aka Ladies Comics Project).  She very nicely asked if I would participate, so my review of the latest edition of Black Widow will be featured tomorrow in her column, She Has No Head!, on Comic Book Resources’ blog.  I’ll link to it when it’s up, so please check it out!

Until then, sweet dreams….

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping…(i just remembered how much i hate that song).

Between working on a major fundraiser in April and May, and then preparing for the finale of my all-time favorite show ever (Lost, of course), I’ve been MIA here on this blog.  While away, though, I briefly started a Lost-related blog with a friend – http://welovelost.wordpress.com – which led to cross-promoting #ThankstoLost Day on Twitter, and further led to being quoted in the Los Angeles Times in what has to be my most embarrassing moment, in the last few weeks at least.

I have a few posts I need to catch up on, but until then, here’s a ridiculous video via Nerdist (Chris Hardwick’s Blog) created by Improv Everywhere.  Enjoy.  🙂

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Hey, you! Follow me on twitter…please? @fancfl

I’ve been meaning to write my “magnum opus” review about a new destination that opened a few blocks from my place, so that’s to come shortly.  In the meantime, I saw this quick little article about the importance of scale models in exhibition design (which gave me flashbacks to my exhibition design course and my behind-the-scenes tour of the Getty!). 

Click HERE for the article from the San Francisco Chronicle

So, to all aspiring experience designers: become solid model makers and hone your visual presentation skills.  These are the things that best communicate your ideas to the powers-that-be… from donors to curators to clients.

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See you soon with my review.  Until then, happy April!

David Stark, my all-time favorite event designer – who occasionally crosses over into the realm of merchandising and retail spaces – has created (yet another) amazing pop-up store for Target.  This time, he’s produced an environment for Target’s new Liberty of London collection – a floral explosion of complementary products for fashion and home.  Layers and layers of eye-candy and dense sensory experience = a most successful shopping adventure!  Check it out:

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The projected prints in motion and the patchwork skin on the exterior are my favorite elements as they celebrate Liberty of London’s chief commodity: its patterns.  Beautiful work.

Click HERE for David’s debrief at David Stark Sketchbook.  

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And stay tuned later this week for my review of a great new store just a toad’s jump from my place…guaranteed to transport you to a magical world.  😉

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