Tuesday, April 19, 2011

THE PEOPLE WE MEET - Pants Free Zone?

One afternoon a man came upstairs to the rentals department, where he asked me if we had any pinstripe gangster suits. We have a plethora of them, so I started showing him the various colors and types of suits.  He went into the dressing rooms to try one and came out with it on.  I started pulling fedoras, sidearms, all sorts of things for him to try, both of us having a good time.  He ended up loving the whole ensemble.

"I'll take it!" he said, so I sat down at my stool behind my computer and opened the program to begin the transaction.  I looked up to ask him a question, and he'd taken off his pants!  He was standing there for all the world to see!  I didn't know what to do.  What do you say? "Excuse me sir, your pants have fallen off,"?  "I'm sorry, this is not a pants-free zone."?  My mind was racing, trying to think of what I should do without embarrassing him or me.  I know that sometimes when someone does something embarrassing, you should do it too to make them feel less alone, but somehow I figured taking my own pants off wasn't the answer.  Would a shoe count?  I didn't know! So I just stared at his face.  O_O  He was completely nonplussed.  I was trying not to smile from embarrassment and was failing miserably, so while he was cooly finishing the transaction, I had this derpy half-smile-half-not expression on my very red face.  Somehow I got through all of my questions, we completed the transaction, he changed back into his clothes and thanked me on the way out.

I continued to sit there in shock.

Yep, we run into some interesting people here.            

Monday, April 11, 2011

Five Tips for Costume Parties

I had a conversation the other day with a customer who wanted some tips on throwing a costumed party, as she had never hosted one herself.  Dot (my coworker) and I immediately set into different ideas for themes and why they would work, and it occurred to me that there really are some good costume party themes and some that are... less appreciated by the guests.  Believe me, I know, for guests are much more open with their costumer than the host.

1. Good ideas are ones that can work on a variety of levels and complexity.  Hollywood Movie Stars is an easy one, as you can twist any costume to fit the theme.  That way your guest can find a costume they like, and with a little ingenuity we'll find a famous actor to suit it.  Say your bff Betty found a renaissance gown she loved.  Great! If she's blonde, she's Kate Blanchette as Queen Elizabeth, or Gweneth Paltrow from Shakespeare In Love.  If she's brunette, she's Sigourney Weaver from 1492, Judy Dench from Shakespeare In Love, or Rachel Weisz from The Fountain. Does Bob hate dressing up?  Jeans, a white T-shirt, and slicked back hair and he's John Travolta from Grease.  How about a slightly overweight dark haired friend who hates costumes because she (mistakenly) feels like there aren't any costumes out there for her?  She can wear what she usually wears from day to day, bring along a sledge hammer, and she's Kathy Bates from Misery.  The possibilities are endless, and it accommodates wall flowers and limelight lovers, penny pinchers and spendthrifts, creative types and those of us who are forever chained, Prometheus-like, to creativity's writer's block.  Another accommodating theme is Decades, where guests can wear anything between 1910 and 1980.  That theme is particularly fun if you have guests of highly varying ages, as you can request they dress from the decade they were born in. Masquerade Ball is also versatile, as it allows guests to go all out (think Marie Antoinette style gowns) or minimalist (simple black dress with a cool mask).   

2. Keep in mind how much skin your friends like to show.  In example, a 1920s party is always fun, but flapper dresses (what most people envision for that era) are usually sleeveless and above-the-knee short, making it difficult for women who desire a little more modesty.  It's not impossible to find dresses with more coverage in that time period, it just requires a touch more work and creativity.  Playboy Bunny is not a good theme for the modest crowd.

3. I know we've all at some point gone to a Halloween party dressed in a head to toe replica gown of Queen Elizabeth the first, only to find the other guests didn't bother to dress up at all, am I right?  Help your guests avoid that awkward misstep by letting them know how all-out you're planning the event to be.  You can tell them in person, include a dress standard in the invitation, or make an arrangement with your local costume shop.  Here at Mask Costumes, if a host lets us know they're throwing a large costumed party, we'll sometimes bring in more of that type of costume, give discounts to the party goers, and we can tell people how extravagant or simple people are going.  Encourage them to dress up by having a costume contest with a worthy prize, or by decorating the venue to the hilt in the theme.  Set up a photo op spot where guests can take their picture in costume.  Include costume suggestions (with pictures) as well as local costume shops' addresses with the invitations.  And always, themed music is a necessity for getting people in the spirit.  If you can't think of what music suits a Vikings party, find a movie that feature vikings and go from there. 

4. If you want to host a small crowd, How To Host A Murder mystery games are a great way to go.  They're fun, funny, they guide you through the process step by step, and the invitations include costume suggestions.

5. In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is the comfort of your guests.  If you run in an economically challenged crowd, don't require them to shell out a lot of dough on an expensive costume.  If your friends tend to be shy, Pimps and Hos is not a theme for you. Surprises are fun, but erring on giving guests too much information vs too little is the better way to go.

Here are some more theme suggestions, and may the Hosting Force be with you!
  • Hollywood
  • Decades
  • Famous Musicians (anywhere from country, Mozart, to 80s hair bands)
  • Carnival (ring master, bearded lady, lion tamer, tightrope walker, patron, the lion itself, magician, etc)
  • Famous Book Characters
(and a few more themes that are fun though not as versatile)
  • Vikings
  • Comic Book Characters
  • Video Game Charactres
  • Rock and Roll
  • Famous Couples (Sonny and Cher, Ketchup and Mustard, etc)
  • Zombies
  • Pirates
  • Renaissance
  • Medieval
  • Brand Mascots (mermaid of Chicken of the Sea, Land O'Lakes Indian Princess, Mr.Peanut, etc)
  • Cartoons
  • Anime
  • Individual Decades
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Disney
  • Fairytale (Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Three Blind Mince)
  • Greek or Roman
  • Black and White (where everyone wears only black or white, or any monochromatic scheme makes for dramatic results
  • Animals
  • Hats  
  • Heroes and Villains              

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Rogue Makeup Artists

    There are perks to being a makeup artist, like the chance to work with models.

    Naked models.
    Yes folks, this woman is wearing naught but polyester blend skivvies, everything else is paint.  I came across this photo through a friend, who was eager to let me in on a secret: the model, makeup artists, and the photographer are all local Salt Lake City-ites.  I knew Utah's citizens were talented, but I had no idea these kind of jaw dropping shenanigans were going on, and it's my goal to let the rest of the world in on the secret my friend already knew: Utah has some brilliant artists!

    Let's give credit where credit is due: the beautiful model portraying X-Men's Rogue is Leigh Zimmerman,
    the photographer and editor is Chelsea Dawn with Urbanite Imagery, and the makeup was done by Shanna Painter with the man behind the project, Brett Hamilton.

    I had a little Q & A with Brett, who was eager to answer my questions.

    "What was the inspiration behind this project?"
                "Thanks so much for your interest in this series and I say series because this is going to go until there is no more response. I've wanted to do a hero/villain shoot for a long time and I finally had a friend push me to get it going. I plan on doing at least twelve, if not more.  I'm sure you recognize that Rogue is not my idea or design and is an X-men character owned my Marvel Comics, I just wanted to show my idea of what the real life characters would look like, and do a photo shoot to add to peoples portfolio and just have fun."

    "How long did this take?" 
                 "The over all make up took approx 5 hours with about 2 weeks of prep before the shoot."

    "What tools did you use?" 
                 "We used Kryolan Aqua Color Cakes, Mehron Paradise Cakes and Mixing Liquid, Badger Airbrush paints, Ben Nye Magicolor Liquids and Ben Nye Liquid Hair Paint. Also used Ben Nye Final seal to set the product. Stencils were used for the detail, Smashbox, Cinema secrets and Ben Nye Paint Brushes, Paasche Airbrush's and Iwata Airbrush's and Sea Sponge."

    "I'm going to ask it, because I know people are wondering: How did you conceal her nipples?"
                   "Spicy Spot Silicone Nipple Covers (AKA Pasties)."

    Spicy Spot pasties.... Spicy Spot.....silicone..... anyway..........

    "What is the hardest and easiest part of doing a project like this?"
                   "The hardest part about the project is getting the other people involved to understand the characters, the way to get what I was looking for and finding the right model for each character. Easiest is when a model just pops out of nowhere and screams what character she is, as in Rogue, Leigh was perfect."

    "What about yourself?  What is your makeup background?"
                    "I started out doing special effects makeup at Rocky Point Haunted House, and now have a background in horror, beauty / fashion, special effects and body painting. I've worked on short films and also helped on set as an Assistant to the Special Effect Makeup Artist on the movie Frozen. I've body painted a lot, started about six years ago painting at private parties and helping clubs with promotions. In 2009 and 2010 I won the Chic Elite Body Art Showcase and plan to enter again this year."

    "What is something you want people to know, something you want to say, but are rarely asked?"
                    "Body painting is changing with the times and I'm trying to help push the changes and make it an acceptable form of art. I do not require or request a model to be nude and will work with what ever I can to make the model comfortable."
     "What is your favorite and least favorite part of something like this?"
                     "I love to be able take someone and turn them into something or someone else and I don't think that when you truly love what you do you can find something that you don't like about it."

    Very sage.

    As Brett continues his series, I'll continue to post about his fantastic projects.  It just goes to show that you never know the talent that's in your own backyard.  Thank you Brett, and we're all looking forward to your future endeavors!