Archive for April, 2012

It’s like we’re artists and this is how we screw ourselves.

— Daria

Hey, remember that time I said I was gonna do a DeadPool act?

One of the best reasons for me to play DeadPool is that my brain kind of hates me.  We fight a lot.  My brain doesn’t so much hate me as it is horribly annoyed by my physical inability to do absolutely everything a human being can do.  And it’s annoyed that I can’t do it all right now.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I come up with at least one act a week.  If I have a specific assignment (i.e. come up with a comic book act) odds are good I will at the very least conceptualize, if not totally choreograph in my head roughly 3 to 5 acts and then choose one. My brain is annoyed that I have not done all of these acts.

My brain is fuzzy on the whole possible/impossible spectrum and difficulty rating scale.  Sometimes it’s obvious that I can’t do something, like an aerial act.  Sometimes it is not so easy to tell.  When my boyfriend said I should do a Heath Ledger Joker act my response was “What?  That’s impossible…. but let’s watch the movie again.”  We watched the movie again, my madness took over, and now it’s my signature act.  However, when I came up with my idea for my DeadPool act, where I would have a full muscle suit that ripped away in sections, no “That’s impossible” alarms went off in my head.  Not even really any “That’s really fucking difficult” alarms went off in my head.  Not one.  I didn’t think it would be easy but I didn’t think it would be that hard.

Guess what, Self-from-a-year-ago, it was THAT FUCKING HARD AND THEN SOME.  IT WAS SO FUCKING HARD I WANT TO KICK YOU IN THE FACE YOU ARROGANT TOOL.  For reals, what was wrong with me?  I estimated that the whole shebang would  take me 60 hours.  In my original estimates the cutting and shaping of muscles out of foam would take 6 hours.  I was so very fucking wrong I could cry.  I lost track of how long it took carving  those things but I think two or three weeks would be a bit more accurate.

If you want to make a muscle suit, my advice to you is Don’t.  Seriously, DON’T.  It’s just not worth it. Buy this and modify as needed.

Still, I’ve decided to document my folly, because maybe I will need to make something else out of foam that can’t be easily bought an modified.  But man, I hope not.  At least not for, like, several years.  Ok, one year.

First I had to make a full body mannequin, which was relatively easy but very time consuming.  I already had a torso mannequin so I put some tights on my legs and arms and had a friend wrap them in duct tape.  Then we cut  them off *very* carefully, taped them back together, stuffed them with newspaper, and taped them to the torso mannequin.  This you CAN do at home but be aware that it’ll take most of day and not the 3 hours I originally expected.  Also, if you can get something less stretchy than tights, like leggings or something, that would be a good idea, but it’s a bit more expensive.

Once I had my mannequin, I wrapped it in newspaper and sketched out on the newspaper where the muscles would be.  Once I took of the newspaper I had a pattern for the shape of the muscles I wanted.  I traced those shapes onto 2 inch upholstery foam (You can probably use 1 inch.  I wish I had) and cut them out with badass kitchen shears.  Easy right?  So far, yes, kinda.  Then it started getting complicated.  See, humans aren’t flat,  they’re curved.   Especially their arms and legs, which was where most of my muscles were going.  So if you want the foam to conform to their curves you need to cut wedgelike channels in the back of the form and then glue the sides of those channels to each other so that the foam has the necessary curve.  The deeper and wider the channel, the tighter the curve.  Odds are good you’ll need more than one channel to get the curve right.  I generally had 3 per piece.  I hope that made sense to anyone who isn’t me because I don’t have pictures.  For glue I recommend spray adhesive.  There was another glue that I used that worked really well but I’m not sure what it was called.  Possibly contact cement?

So now that you have your basic shapes and they conform to the body part you want them to.  Now it’s time to sculpt it into something that actually looks like a muscle.  If you are working under any kind of deadline, kiss the rest of your life goodbye because this will take FOREVER.  I’m not kidding.  FOREVER.  Use the same badass kitchen shears and just start cutting.  Keep a trash can nearby because you will get foam shavings EVERYWHERE.  If you’ve never done subtractive sculpting before (I hadn’t) there are worse materials to learn on.  At the very least it’s cheaper than marble and, I would guess, more forgiving.  If you have no experience with sculpting, try to think of it as a 3D drawing  First you want to get the general shape right, then you get into details.  If you have no experience with sculpting or drawing, you may be screwed.  But maybe not.  I wouldn’t know.  Just try to get a really good 3D mental image of what you’re going for and slowly cut away whatever looks like it shouldn’t be there.

THIS WILL TAKE FOREVER.

Many times I thought I was finished and found that I was not.  Once I thought I was finished I glued the muscles onto a black body suit I’d already made and put it on the mannequin.  It looked awful and I spent two more weeks sculpting till it was done.  Many times when I thought it was done, I had to put the DeadPool body suit on over it to see if it A: looked awful and B: the suit would fit over it.  And then it was back to sculpting.

Finally it started to look not crappy!

That’s how I made the muscle suit.  I’d like to have some good shots of the full costume and preferably shots of it coming off before I post the rest of the making of.  I’m debuting my act in Portland Oregon this saturday at Geeklesque Saves the World!  at the Bossanova Ballroom If you are in Portland you should come see the show!

The first rule of flying producing is Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as a turn of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ before she keels. Makes her a home.  Seriously.  You must love your show with all your heart or it will fucking fail.

Simon and Kaylee

Things will never go smooth.  Problem solving is one of the best skills you can possibly learn.

It never hurts to have a hot man with a large gun to back you up.

Never fucking give up.  Ever.*

*Ok, sometimes you give up on a specific project because it’s just not going to work.  But then you take the heart of that project and put it into a different medium (i.e. comic, movie, whathave you)  You can’t stop the signal.

What’s going on? you ask.  Who are these naked people?  Why haven’t you updated this blog in FOREVER?!?!

I moved.  And then it was the holidays.  And then I went to Japan.  And then I went to Mexico.  And then I produced a Firefly burlesque show.  And then my oldest friend got married.  And then I produced another Firefly burlesque show.  And then I had to finish my Deadpool costume.  And then it was right now.  And I don’t know what happens after that.

So let’s back up to the part where I produced a Firefly Burlesque show.  And then another one.

I produced a show!  And did a good job!  Most of me did not think I could do this because I am SUPER ADD and not good at organizing things or finishing projects.  On the other hand, I’m SUPER ADD so I’m really good at working under tight deadlines and problem solving in crisis situations.  So they kind of balance out.  Also, a Firefly show was a really good idea and I had an incredibly good cast.  Also I had the help of a great venue and the already awesome and established Epic Win Burlesque.  It was their support and good name that got the show into Time Out New York, so we sold the hell out and had a line of people around the block waiting to see the damn thing.  It was one of the best feelings in the world.  And everyone had a blast both seeing it and doing it.  And since we had to turn away a bunch of people, we did another performance a few weeks later.  It was awesome.

And I got to do an act that climaxed with this

Yes, those are sparks flying from my crotch.

Holy crap, you say, how did you do that?  Easy.  I cheated.  I hired someone who was already good ad working with leather and metal to make me panties out of said materials.  DIY is awesome most of the time but when you’re putting a metal grinder that close to your genitals, it’s time to hire a professional.

More photos can be seen here, in Time Out New York

I know most of the people who read this are people who follow me on FB, and you’ve already heard all this.  But just in case someone else is reading, I wanted to post it here.  Because I’m so very proud of this show.

Next, the creation of Deadpool.  It will be epic.  There will be poems and songs (not really. But it took for-fucking-ever.)