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New photo gallery posted on Mrshawking.com!

"Act II of Vivat Regina at Watch City Steampunk Festival '17"

Photography by John Benfield
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts

DSCF7541


Featuring Cari Keebaugh as Mrs. Hawking, Circe Rowan as Mary, Christian Krenek as Nathaniel, Matthew Kamm as Arthur, Jackie Freyman as Clara, Sara Dion as Frau Gerhard, Remony Perlman as Mrs. Braun, and Andrew Prentice as Herr Austerlitz.

See the photographs on Mrshawking.com!
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New gallery of show images on Mrshawking.com!

"Vivat Regina at WCSF '17 - Act I"

Photography by John Benfield
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts
 


Featuring Cari Keebaugh as Mrs. Hawking, Circe Rowan as Mary, Christian Krenek as Nathaniel, Remony Perlman as Mrs. Braun, and Jackie Freyman as Clara.

Check out the images from Vivat Regina, Act I here!
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New gallery on Mrshawking.com!

Photography by Annushka Munch
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Makeup design by Jessicalee Skary
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts

BI Performance-85

"Base Instruments" Act II
by Annushka Munch


from "Base Instruments" at Arisia 2017



Featuring Cari Keebaugh, Circe Rowan, Jeremiah O'Sullivan, Arielle Kaplan, Eric Cheung, Sara Smith, Matthew Kamm, and Ava Maag.

Click here to view the gallery of images from the show!

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New gallery on Mrshawking.com!

"Gallery – Base Instruments at Arisia ’17 - Act One"

Photography by Annushka Munch
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Makeup design by Jessicalee Skary
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts

BI Performance-121

Arisia 2017

Base Instruments - ACT I



Featuring Cari Keebaugh, Circe Rowan, Jeremiah O'Sullivan, Arielle Kaplan, Matthew Kamm, Eric Cheung, Sara Smith, Andrew Prentice, Isaiah Max Plovnick, Ava Maag, Sara Dion, and Travis Ellis. Photography by Anna Muench with costume design by Jenn Day.

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A new gallery of images is available on Mrshawking.com!

Vivat Regina at Arisia 2016, Act I

Photography by John Benfield
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Makeup design by Jessicalee Skary
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts







Check out the rest of the images on Mrshawking.com!
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)

This past Monday was Veteran's Day, and since I had the day off, I took the opportunity to organize a photo shoot to have more images for the Mrs. Hawking website. I thought it would be good to have more images specifically depicting events that happen in the play. My beautiful models [livejournal.com profile] crearespero and [livejournal.com profile] nennivan were kind to oblige me, and they are both lovely, perfect for the look of the characters, and wonderful to work with. I haven't had time to process all the photos yet, but I hope to be able to have them ready to post shortly.

I photographed them in a number of costumes, but one that turned out especially well was Mrs. Hawking's widow's gown. Mrs. Hawking finds it necessary to outwardly appear to conform to normal standards when dealing with other people-- her nephew Nathaniel in particular, because the more he worries about her, the more he well-meaningly meddles in her life. So, since her husband has only been dead a year, when in company she concedes to the standards of widow's dress. That meant I needed to make a very traditional looking black gown for her.

I do most of my costuming by adapting pieces I find in thrift stores to my purposes. Global Thrift in Waltham has been incredibly useful to me over the years, and it was there that I found the basis for this dress. Honestly, I kind of hated it on sight. On the hanger it looked like a garbage bag, black and shiny and chintzy. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with dresses made of moire-- an iridescent fabric that looks like it has water ripples or wood knots in it --because I always find it pretty when I first glance at it, but the longer I look at it, it looks cheap. But it had a lot of the details I'm looking for in the basis of a Victorian gown, a ruffled collar, puffy sleeves, a cloth belt at the waist.

I bought it without high hopes for it. It just looked so damn tacky in the store. The checkout girl used it to wrap a glass decanter I bought in the same trip, and I never even bothered to unpack it. When this photo shoot rolled around, I hadn't even tried it in combination with the other elements of the costume, so for all I knew it wasn't going to work at all. But when I tried it on Frances, with black long gloves and over two layers of full tiered skirts kindly lent to me by [livejournal.com profile] inwaterwrit... it transformed. Charlotte pinned the collar closed with a black and silver brooch, and cut a slit up the back of the dress so that it spread out over the skirts, and they even puffed out through the slit in the back to make a sort of bustle-y detail. The moire looked appropriate for the sort of tapestry appearance of fancy Victorian fabric. All together, it made for a shockingly beautiful, and shockingly accurate-looking, costume. I'm really pleased at how well it turned out, but also that I think this is evidence that my eye as costumer is developing, as I'm getting better and better at spotting pieces that will work in combination even if I never actually see them together until they're fulling assembled.

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Made a graphic that I would like to use for the planned Mrs. Hawking website. I am by no means an expert with photography, Adobe Photoshop elements, or anything even vaguely related to the process (I pose for pictures, I'm no rock star at dealing with them otherwise.)

Take a look at it before I tell you anything about it.

header-edit

I used a picture taken in the Mrs. Hawking photoshoot I did a while ago. I combined it with a stock, free-for-use background I found on DeviantArt. I faced a myriad of different challenges, especially since I'm only passingly familiar with Adobe Photoshop Elements. The picture of the ladies was not nearly so sharp and crisp an image as that of the background (which may be entirely digital, I'm not sure. The environment, designed to look like nighttime, had a darker light quality than the ladies. Also, the ladies were shot against a blue wall, and I needed a transparent image. And finally, weirdest of all, the best shot of the two was framed such that the very top of Charlotte's head was cut off. So she had a very strange-looking flat spot.

A selector tool, the Magic Wand I think, was very effective at getting rid of most of the blue wall. But I had to be very delicate in some places so the girls themselves were not selected. And it left a little ring of color around them. which I had a very hard time getting rid of. I succeeded it at least darkening it to fit the environment's lighting and palette, if not removing it completely. To fix poor Charlotte's head, I used the burn tool, of all things, to use its darkening effect to just color in the last little bit that was needed. And finally, I wanted their faces to be illuminated even while preserving the appearance of nighttime, preferably seeming to be by the lamps. So I flipped the background image to put the gaslamps on the proper side of their faces, and spent like an hour messing with the ambient lighting effect.

I put a bit more light on Charlotte's face. I also, somewhat clumsily, used the dodge tool to brighten up the knife in Frances's hands. But it's not bad, especially given how inexperienced I am.

I need to get better with this program, among others. I'll need it for making this website. 
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007

An important part of how Mrs. Hawking goes about her work is her stealth. She is a skilled cat burglar to infiltrate the strongholds of her enemies, a spy well-versed in the ways of avoiding detection while gathering information.

I remember how when, at the Bare Bones reading, I said I imagined Mary as being quite tall and Mrs. Hawking as being very small, the audience laughed in surprise. I think it was mostly due to how [livejournal.com profile] lillibet playing her is much taller than [livejournal.com profile] polaris_xx, who was playing Mary, but I think it's also that she's such a formidable presence that people tend to picture her as physically imposing. But part of her struggle with her place is that nature made her a small woman, someone that is not immediately recognizable as physically dangerous. So she has to work around it. She uses her small size to be sneaky, to slip into small places where larger people can't go, to be quick and agile. She can't count on being able to overpower her enemies, so she uses what she does have to evade, to outmaneuver, and to strike before being spotted then vanish without a trace.

When she's out on such missions, she wears a special stealth suit, designed for maneuverability, camouflage, and anonymity. Black with a mask concealing her face. I decided I wanted to make an outfit for this look to, and to have [livejournal.com profile] crearespero, my fierce and mighty physical inspiration for the character, to model it for me. I didn't have a good plan for this shoot, and it would be better done in lower light, but I wanted to get an idea of how the costume looked, and mess around with the composition.

001

Here is a reference for the outfit. To make it, I bought two loose-fitting dark gray tops from the thrift store and overdyed them twice with black dye. One top is worn like a shirt, and the other one, the turtleneck, is the mask. I had Frances put on her head with her face showing through the neck, then tied the arms in the back. I struggled with what pants to use. I thought at first maybe black trousers with some stretch to them, in hopes of at least vaguely looking like something a Victorian would have access to. But then, when I was digging through my pants drawer, I found a pair of black riding britches. (I haven't ridden much recently, but I've ridden dressage and hunt seat for years.) They're made of a space age material but they are highly flexible, and I like the idea that a sort of "activewear" they actually would have had in the time period would be adapted to Mrs. Hawking's purposes. The belt and gloves (not pictured here, but visible in all other shots) are leather and belong to me. The little leather box hanging off the belt is also thrifted; it's a jewelry box meant for traveling, but I thought it would serve as the box that holds her instruments while she works.

I hadn't seen the whole ensemble together until today. I think she looks absolutely badass.
More pictures of the ninja beneath... )

We used the public library in Waltham for our backdrop mostly. I think I will have to redo this shoot in better light-- ninjas do most of their work in the dark, right? --but I am pleased with the proof of concept for the look. :-)
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5.6.13

I've started a new Tumblr, in addition to the one I use as a purely self-indulgent collection of pictures I like (which ends up being mostly just shirtless shots of Captain America.) This one is dedicated to images of men who have a presentation that reads as traditionally masculine while participating in an activity that reads as traditionally feminine. I've always loved this combination, as it suits both my aesthetics and my belief that shouldn't be any proscribed gendered behavior. I like men who are secure enough in themselves to do whatever it is they want to do, regardless of whether our society traditionally codes those activities as "unmanly." Feminism of course requires women to enter into fields they were kept out of because of their genders, but it also requires celebrating instead of devaluing the work women traditionally did-- sewing, childcare, nursing, teaching, and all other such fields. And, as valuable pursuits, to encourage men to participate in them too.

The thought that inspired this was when I learned that apparently Jeremy Renner, the hard-as-nails-looking actor who plays Hawkeye in The Avengers, paid the bills while struggling to make it by being a makeup artist. And not like, movie monster makeup, traditional feminine made-up-face kind of makeup. I love the idea that somebody who reads SO HARDBUTCH was interested in something coded SO SOFTFEMME. It's very attractive, and I just love the extremity of the contrast.

One of these days I would like to design a costume that if you boiled it down to its literal component parts, the ensemble would be coded as feminine-- like, high-heeled shoes, a skirt, a corset, items that tend to read as gendered female --but designed in such a way as, when worn by a man, would instead come off as masculine. Like, give those gendered clothing items enough characteristics that read as masculine as to cancel out their feminine signifiers. "Harder" styling, dark colors, metal, leather, geometric shapes, heaviness, solidity. The corset would emphasize a masculine shape rather than a curvy feminine one. Stuff like that. I'd love to design a look like this and then take pictures of some male-bodied person wearing it. I like how it would mess with people's perception of societal coding. 
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
And here is the second half of the Mrs. Hawking photo shoot. These images are the ones meant to suggest the scenes in the play where Mrs. Hawking and Mary go to Cedric Brockton's ball. And that meant dressing them up fancy!

Mrs. Hawking, version 1
Photography by Stephanie Karol
Hair and makeup by Gabrielle Geller
Directed and costumed designed by Phoebe Roberts

with Frances Kimpel as Mrs. Hawking
and Charlotte Oswald as Mary Stone

mrshtest9

Mary in awe of all the fancy people and the splendid surroundings. She is unaccustomed to doing anything so grand.

More pictures beneath the cut... )
breakinglight11: (Cavalier Fool)

I have to finish the second draft of my seminar paper for the class I have to teach as part of my graduating requirements. It's slow, but it's coming. I should finish (need to finish, really) by the end of the night. But I realized it's been weeks and I never put up the pictures from the Mrs. Hawking themed photo shoot I did with some lovely compatriots. I am hereby posting some of my favorites, with a few notes on my thinking behind them.

Mrs. Hawking, version 1
Photography by Stephanie Karol
Hair and makeup by Gabrielle Geller
Directed and costumed designed by Phoebe Roberts

with Frances Kimpel as Mrs. Hawking
and Charlotte Oswald as Mary Stone


mrshtest3

This image is in replication of those "family portraits" that were often the standard of photography back in the Victorian period. The mistress of the house, and her beloved maidservant.

Frances, while much younger than Mrs. Hawking is supposed to be, was my visual inspiration for the character. A small person, deceptively pretty with her wavy golden hair and capable of being disguised as something non-threatening, delicate, and socially expected. But, like Frances, she is fierce, agile, and much more physically powerful than you might immediately guess. The dress does a pretty good job of hiding just how ripped she, and the character, are.

Charlotte not only has the right look, she is around the right age. She is tall and strong, and I liked the idea of Mary having her statuesque Amazonian figure, her pretty face, her long dark hair, her freckles. I thought a girl of the lower classes who had to make her own way in the world should be physically capable, and I like the contrast between her kind of presence and Mrs. Hawking's. Also, a tall girl gets noticed, can't be ignored, for well or for ill. She has both the power, and the responsibility, to answer for herself.

More pictures beneath the cut. )

breakinglight11: (Cavalier Fool)
I love vintage images of people of color. I love vintage images, period, I've gotten extremely into period pierces that are immersed in the trappings and the zeitgeist of a different time, particularly of women. I love the differences in the way they dressed, how they decorated their homes, the music they listened to, it has this beautiful particularity to it. But it's especially compelling to see a woman of color with a sharply classic hairstyle or dress. It's very aesthetic to me, first of all, but it's more than just I find it pretty.

It's a powerful statement against erasure. Media, advertising, whatever until very recently only had white people in it. It's very easy to get an image of periods in the past as very whitewashed. But America had other people in it too, people who wore clothes and did their hair and participated in culture just like everybody else. It's one of the reasons I love the TV show Cold Case, which I am going to have to do a full review of some point. It solves murders from a long time ago, and it encapsulates fabulous period pieces that very often tell the untold, underrepresented stories of marginalized groups-- women, people of color, queer people, trans people. An in doing so, it depicts those people as we very rarely get to see them. Here are two images from particularly good episodes, one of a family that was sent to a Japanese internment camp during WWII, and one of a woman who traveled South to support the freedom schools during the Civil Rights Movement.

Family 8108

Belinda_Hutchins_1964

I love their vintage hair-- rolled in the forties, styled up and out in the sixties -- and their vintage clothes that are the marks of the time, and all the experiences, through which they lived. Vintage images of people of color, bearing the marks of the time and place in which they live, scream, "We were there! We experienced! The things that were going on then, we went through them! We mattered!" I love how Cold Case depicts this.

And, seriously. Are you going to tell me they're not fabulous?

Alice_Stallworth_in_1947

daniela cold case

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Seriously. As a side note, go watch Cold Case. Start with this episode, Best Friends, from which that last image is drawn. If it doesn't blow your mind with its fabulousness, well, I don't know what kind of person you are.
breakinglight11: (Femme Fatale)
mrshtest

London, England, circa 1880, by S. Karol.
Society widow Mrs. Victoria Hawking and her beloved maidservant, Mary Stone.


Just a taste for now, but more to come... ;-)

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