Multimedia & Collaboration

Article by E.G. Bailey

Many talented artist E.G. Bailey is a major force in Twin Cities performing arts; few disciplines are untouched by him. An activist through his art, E.G. has inspired many people through the years, myself included. I still remember meeting him for the first time - it must be nearly 15 years ago now - standing in the booth at Pillsbury House Theater. The fire in his eyes was palpable even then, and it’s an honour to have him write for us. -Wu Chen

For years I called myself a multidisciplinary artist, until I realized that it is not about the different disciplines but how you fuse them. How do you bring the knowledge and skills from other practices to what you’re doing in another field? Keith Antar Mason, of the Hittite Empire, who we worked with during our Sirius B rites of passage, often talked about the concept of transference. He explained it as taking the principles of one discipline and bringing it to another, and thereby push even further the boundaries of both. This in some ways describes what I’ve tried to do with the incorporation of media into my performance work. After years of experience and experimentation, I can bring in media into a performance work not simply for functional purposes but to serve as symbol, metaphor, analysis or commentary, sometimes all four.

The performance style Sha Cage and I have developed, which we call Freestyle Theatre, is a fusion of spoken word, movement, media, music, and theatrical performance, grounded in ritual, both in process and performance. Sha’s solo performance works, N.I.G.G.E.R. and U/G/L/Y, which I have developed and directed with her, are the strongest examples of this style of work. This process is also grounded in improvisational creation, found moments and materials, and artifacts collected along the process, woven into a into complicated non-linear narratives that may not always be easily digestible but necessary still the same. Our collaborative performance work, Patriot Acts, is the purest example of this. It was also a work that relied heavily on media, as it addressed our post 911 condition. The work, commissioned by Pangea World Theater, as part of their Bridges project, investigated international reactions and reflections of America following September 11. We traveled to the Belgrade, Paris, and Leeds, landing in London a week after the bus bombings. We spoke with artists, watched and recorded rehearsals, performances in the park, or impromptu sessions in cafes or hallways. We captured songs that played frequently in different cities, collected music from spoken word and hip hop artists. Once back, we took all this material, along with various fragments we wrote as we traveled, and started to weave together the performance. We gave way to improvisation and trusted in randomness, and let the synchronicity of the journey inform the work rather than a plan scripted structure. We created virtual collaborations. A poet we recorded in Leeds was paired with a musician via video. The Parisian pop song became the music for a contemporary dance piece. We recreated a spoken word cafe and a hip hop concert. But before some could experience the performance, they were ‘extracted’ from the line and taken for interrogation; unknown to the subject, the interrogation was being broadcast to the audience. It was challenging and required a great deal of technical resources but the process is something we’ve continued to pull from because of the freedom it gives us in creating the work.

Our first exploration of this methodology was a collaboration, birth strings and blessings, based on our respective returns to Africa. I returned to Africa for four months to see my family and reconnect with my home in Liberia, which was recovering from a recent bout with civil war. Sha had traveled to Mali to join a friend working in the Peace Corps. We explored the meaning of home, for a Liberian twenty years from home and an African American returning to spiritual and ancestral home. It was also when I began to more fully explore the use of media in my work, fusing documentary footage, interviews, spoken word recordings, along with letters, visual art, movement, and performance.

Soon after, I was asked to be the videographer for J. Otis Powell!’s performance work, Stigmatism, creating montages to be interwoven with spoken word and music performances. Following this, I joined the Langston Hughes Project as the videographer and technical director for their spoken word and jazz performance work, Ask Your Mama, based on Langston Hughes’ seminal poem cycle. A dense and heavily referential work, Ask Your Mama retells history through jazz poetics and the vernacular of the dozens. It required a great deal of research into Langston’s life and work, in order to best represent the images in the cycle and showcase the myriad of historical events highlighted in the work. It also allowed me to advance idea and techniques explored in Stigmatism, and move into a more directorial role. I hired a digital graphic editor and we created motion graphics to take the visuals of the show from a simple slideshow to an animated tour of Langston’s life and experiences using montage techniques Langston had use in his poetry. These visuals accompanied a spoken word and jazz performance of the cycle, which we toured to different colleges and performance halls. This was before motion software reached prosumers, so it was After Effects and Photoshop, then into Final Cut. The main hurdle was time but it also required an excessive amount of storage because visuals needed to be present the length of the show and layered archival footage, animation and photographs. I wish the resources and technology was there for us to push further than we did but audiences were happy with the results.

As the Hughes Project toured, and I with it as videographer and technical director, I continued to work on other theatre projects, including developing media for shows at the History Theatre and Mama Mosaic. The work with Mosaic included Brideprice, The Bi Show, Journals and others; it allowed me to experiment with media but also to refine the kind of animations we were making, eventually creating short films for inclusion in the shows. I expanded my skill set and began to work with a range of collaborators as I continued to direct spoken word and hip hop theatre projects and short films.

An extended sabbatical took me away from theatre and film for a number of years, as we ran two nonprofits and a record label. But have since returned after working with Amiri Baraka as part of the Givens Black Writers Retreat. Amiri has long been a looming creative influence, and to get an opportunity to work with him and begin a friendship was life-giving for me. It reinforced my need to get to return to theatre and film, to follow my passion. At the Retreat, I had an opportunity to share with him my vision of adapting his poem cycle, Wise Why’s Y’s, to the stage. I had first encountered Wise Why’s Y’s when Amiri performed at the Walker as part of the Beat exhibit in the mid 90s. I was working KFAI at the time, and working with J. Otis Powell! on the Write on RaDio! show. I was in attendance, recording the performances for the show. He was already in large influence, having studied his work with the Beats and the Black Arts Movement, but it was my first time meeting Amiri. It was also my first time meeting Professor John Wright, who would later ask me to become the videographer on the Langston Hughes Project, which was performing on the bill with Amiri. Later, as I worked on the Langston Hughes Project, a seed of an idea began to grow of doing a similar adaptation of Amiri’s Wise Why’s Y’s, since Wise was in many ways an evolution and an answer to what Langston was attempting with Ask Your Mama.

Where Ask Your Mama is expansive, Wise is dense and compact, and much of its power comes from that compression. It is only forty poems, mostly poems not longer than 40 lines, but courses through the history of Africans in America. After getting permission from Amiri to adapt the cycle, I begin to develop the work through different phases. It is currently in its third phase. The second phase was developed with Amiri through the Next Step grant from the Metropolitan Region Arts Council. I traveled to Newark to work with Amiri, who also participated in the presentation of the work. The second phase primarily focused on the development of the choreography and the music for the piece. The third phase will develop the media and staging of the work.

Once Wise Why’s Y’s was completed, I traveled to NY to train at the Edit Center, out of which grew an opportunity to work as an editor on the feature film, Petting Zoo. I love working collaborators, would often rather work with a collaborator than work in a silo. But I also believe that you need to continually study so that are no obstacles to facilitate the creation of your work. I often say that the work tells me what it will be, and if I don’t have that skill I learn it to create the work. Even if you work with a collaborator, the more you know about the discipline you are collaborating with, the more language you have to communicate about the work.

It was also around this time that I had the fortune to reconnect with Marion McClinton, who asked me to become his assistant director. We have been working together now for five years, as our collaboration as continue to change and evolve. It’s impossible not to gain clarity and confidence working with artists such as these. That clarity I have been able to take into my continued collaboration with Sha Cage, and new film productions currently in process.

Sightlines: What Does it Mean to be Human in this Place & Time?

Article by Corrie Zoll

Corrie Zoll brings an entirely different perspective to our work this month.  He has served as an arts administrator for a number of local arts organizations including Pillsbury House Theatre, and is currently the Executive Director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre.  He writes a thought provoking piece on the dilemmas facing arts organizations attempting to restructure themselves. - Mike Wangen

September marks one year since I joined the staff at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre as Executive Director. I’m not too proud to say this is the toughest job I’ve ever taken on. At the same time, more than any other time in my life, I feel I am doing exactly the work I was meant to do. I am privileged to be there.

It’s been two years since HOBT narrowly survived an almost complete financial collapse. HOBT’s money crisis was not unlike those weathered by more than a handful of our esteemed peers in the arts community over the past decade. Producing vital artwork is always a challenge, and continually adapting to a shifting nonprofit economic environment that supports the work adds further risk.

As with our peers, HOBT managed this crisis by cutting back on programming and making appeals to longtime supporters, but (and I'll assume this is true of our peers), the most critical part of survival was the heroic efforts of the staff and artists who stuck around, worked harder, and got paid less. I am grateful for these people and their work, but not proud that the instability of the nonprofit arts sector is so heavily borne by artists who often can least afford it.

HOBT has passed out of that most recent crisis. In August 2016, we finished a second consecutive year on budget, and have plans for aggressive growth. But there should be no doubt that, even two years from this low point of the crisis, we are still rebuilding. In August we hired a Development Director and a Marketing Coordinator, and added capacity for a volunteer coordinator. These are jobs that haven’t been adequately staffed for years. We have still other areas where more capacity is needed, and it will be at least another year until we get there.

In managing a nonprofit turnaround like this, I am often confronted with a choice between rebuilding something that was lost or starting with something completely different. My son told me about a Project Success workshop he attended when he was at South High School. If I remember the story correctly, the teaching artist led an activity in which students built a structure out of popsicle sticks to represent their goals in life. When they were done, they showed off their sculptures. Then, one at a time, the teaching artist placed each of the sculptures into a bag and smashed it to bits. This is when the students were told they were learning a lesson about what sometimes happens with your best laid plans.

The students were then instructed to rebuild something interesting with what they had to work with. When things get smashed up, the only way forward is to start rebuilding. My son told me that the second set of sculptures was without exception more fun to make, and made for more engaging art when they were done, with bits of the original intention showing through in wild, new ways. With popsicle sticks, it’s easy to see that there’s no point in trying to make things look just the way they did before they were crumpled. But, evidently, that is harder to see from within an organization experiencing a turnaround.

In the midst HOBT’s turnaround, I find I need to remind myself – and others – to pay attention to the things we need to restore, while acknowledging that some things will be more solid if they are built, as we say at HOBT, from scratch. HOBT has been through many business models over four decades, starting out with federal CETA funds, passing through the Ford Era, repeatedly reinventing itself through programs like Bush Foundation’s RADP program and implementing tools like the Benevon model. Each of those periods in HOBT history had their value, but they’re gone, and they won’t be back. 

At the same time, the ability to loop back in time is critical. Through various funding and management eras and after repeated boom and bust cycles, at HOBT we see the value in reaching back through these decades to root ourselves in our mission and values. Aside from our mission statement, at HOBT we identify a central question that we ask ourselves. What does it mean to be human in this place and time? It’s a question that withstands a lot of shifting context.

Other Twin Cities arts organizations are doing some very interesting rebuilding with their popsicle sticks. The Southern Theater saved their building by creating a new model for owning and sharing a theater space. Penumbra turned their recovery into a leadership transition and the building of a whole new area of work. And so, as HOBT’s recovery begins to gain speed, what will we build and rebuild?

The most visible question for HOBT is our building. HOBT owns the Avalon Theater at 15th and Lake in South Minneapolis. The Avalon was a 1920s Art Deco movie house, a porn theater in the 1960s and 1970s, and a decaying, abandoned eyesore in the 1980s. When HOBT took over the building in the late 1980s, it was already a distressed building. HOBTs loving renovation made it into what was called a “Puppet Paradise”, but that building is now almost 30 years older, only marginally physically accessible, and has challenges with air quality and safety. The organization has accepted the reality that the status quo is not an option, and that the ongoing future of the organization depends on making a preliminary decision in the coming months about moving toward a solution within the next 2-5 years.

Owning a building has been a challenge for many great Twin Cities arts organizations. Crises at the Southern Theater, the Soap Factory, Bedlam Theatre, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Patrick’s Cabaret, and others have been heavily influenced by issues of real estate, and for some of these organizations, more than once. HOBT experimented with co-ownership of a second building, and that could not be sustained. Personally, I think we need to move past the trite question about whether an organization with an arts-based mission should also be an expert in property management – as if this were different for a shoe store or any other business. The question is finding the right model to keep arts programming grounded in place for the next decades. Again, multiple arts organizations in the Twin Cities are experimenting with new approaches, with mixed results, some of which are very promising. I feel lucky to have such an interesting pile of popsicle sticks to work with, and am excited to see what we build.

 

 

Sightlines: What’s a Channel? The Good Old Days

Article by Paul Brown

I have known Paul for many years.  We first met at Penumbra Theatre in the early 90s when he was doing set design for them.  He is a man of many talents, set and lighting designer for theater and television, and a longtime member of IATSE local 13 here. He brings a story about what may not have been so good about the “good old days” but, also, what we can value from those days.  - Mike Wangen

 Photo by Megan Engeseth Photography

Photo by Megan Engeseth Photography

When asked, with a pressed schedule, to put together something for this edition, one of the themes suggested was practices no longer in play – experiences of “older” designers. Well as a scenographer/technical director, this theme found resonance while multitasking on a lift - the veil of past technologies and materials leading to forgotten time-consuming routines resurfaced.

I recall visiting a facility where a two story slider patch panel that was not complete due to a copper shortage – 500 receptacles funneling into I don’t remember how many dimmers and non-dims for projector fans. There was a library ladder attached that rolled along the face of the unit and I was reminded that I don’t really miss the geeky pre-memory board wonder of plodding through how a show is going to eventually be run once the cues were recorded. You know, finding where you plug and replug circuits into a limited number of dimmers that go up and down by clutching, or not, onto a master shaft. Don’t even think about channels in the tens being’ in one sides’, etc. Channels were not; a concept to come later. It was dimmers that needed to have an interface to patch to. There were sliders where circuits engaged, telephone operator switchboard-like patching with weights that kept slack cable under control, plugs from circuits to patch to dimmers, and other patentable solutions to the dimmers – operator run auto-transformers (hopefully not round dials) or resistance dimmers…

Yes, I said resistance; a scenario I walked into when a famous summer theater proclaimed, “Come, we have new light boards.” They turned out to be reconditioned forty year old resistance piano boards from a NYC rental house – two, each with 12 - 3000 watt dimmer plates – with added 500w, six dimmer preset cabinets to be patched into the individual 3000watt dimmers. – all big toasters. And yes, one evening I actually cried, working in a sea of wire and heat, with my handy custom made sticks that would engage varied numbers of dimmer handles at once. They were labeled by cue and dimmer range. There were two of us – my assistant had to park cars until the 5 minute call. He looked snappy in his white pith helmet and red cone flashlight and was not allowed to be ill. The board, btw, melted down the day after we left the building.

The deal in making art with these boards was to tell the lighting designer, who had hopefully spent some time thinking about this in advance – guest designers were difficult to train to local conditions - where the bottlenecks were in execution, large cross-fades being particularly tough. (This is why many moons ago, two scene crossfading consoles were so the rage!) The Master Electrician had to figure out repatching and sometimes ghost loading, and reconfiguring the initial dimmer hook-ups to put dimmers that moved in like patterns or levels near each other. Staffing might be based, for show runs, on how many hands it took to bring each “six or twelve” pack of dimmers up and down. Turning the handles of dimmers on the way to engage or disengage them from the shaft on the master handles at the appropriate level. Cues and patterns of movement had to be notated for each cue as levels moved up and down. So the strategy was to stare at your cue sheets for patterns…make the physical sheets look like a grid…levels for each dimmer were written down by cue, levels changing for each cue were written down, ways to physically read these things were formulated in a fractional notation system…overnight homework the designer also got involved in and had to respond to when the words, “It can’t be done!” were uttered, a defeat no one wanted. Oh, to be a union house and only have operators having to use two hands, vs.having to utilize your feet as well.

I do not miss the older lighting instruments. Resident designers and MEs in the days pre-quartz lamps, had to deal with the decrease in lumens with the aging of lamps, no TD wanted to replace them until they failed.Really large wattage lamps, like followspot lamps, often had scouring particles – like sand – in the lamp housing.When carbon from the filament built up on the interior of the glass housing, one could remove the lamp and swish around the sand to clean the carbon off. That did not, of course, redeposit the carbon on the filament. The lamp died a slow death, getting weaker and weaker as there was less filament to glow. In conventional units, one became very aware of which units had the weakest lamps, as the hang had to take into account what units got the most saturated colors, the degree of saturation, and where the brightest and weakest units would be deployed - also imagining the values each unit would be run at. Hell could be, as it still is, having an even stage wash in lumens and tonality on the satin dresses of a period piece, or musical chorus.

Seriously, this was a really difficult undertaking, which could consume many hours of tweaking and rehanging, sometimes interfacing with the topic above in the solution to dimmer values and intensity changes. Watching a costume parade and realizing you had to rehang the front light because of lamp life and color temp. was such a bummer! A famous early author of a lighting book was being honored at a USITT annual Conference. A seminar attendee asked him how it was possible to obtain such even lighting with primitive units. He laughed and confessed that his hobby was photography and all the black and whites he took that were in his book that we admired, involved countless hours of dodging and burning prints in the darkroom to achieve the look he wished he could have put on stage.

A student who had taken all the lighting offerings, at that first college I taught at, traveled to The City to sit In on a week of lighting classes at NYU. He came back to report that the most important theme in his time with Professor Gleason was the notion of knowing what the purpose of each instrument’s use was and what it could be. That was a lesson of additional import when the color medium was roscolene, brigham, or cinemoid and mixing for mood and tonality was an important conversation had before the set was painted with the scene designer, especially as unit set details might require warms or cools to radically change the nature of the environment onstage. With lower lumens and fewer color choices, dimming levels, changing color temp. and various combos of color could turn everything onstage to mud quickly. Jean Rosenthal’s The Magic of Light was a conversation of practical import in discussing techniques for insuring sparkle and handling the rigors of musical theater and the balcony rail position, moving away from the theories laid down by Stanley McCandless.

While we are touching on color that we are reflecting upon, it started as a set design student made paint with cooking flake glue, diluting it into a binder medium, and creating paint with powder pigments. Shadow and highlight washes were painted in, as were the tonalities the lighting designer was expected to light for after collaborative consultation with the director in playing the tonality of the scene. I found myself designing in value vs. color often, props needing to be borrowed, the costume designer limited in fabric choices, and the opportunity to catch a rehearsal in which the actors might inspire and/or confirm emotional tone in their readings. Casein paints were a treat when their price became affordable. Woe was the time during the mid-70’s energy crisis, when it became too expensive to have casein bussed and latex became a default necessity. And how wonderful the Rosco concentrates, solving some of that shipping cost issue and singing with colorful beauty of the super toxic aniline dyes of yesteryear and drop painting.

There were several other themes that could have served, but, deserving greater development, in this essay, mindfulness in collaboration and methodology raise their heads. The joy of collaboration is something to pursue fiercely; making the creative endeavor – insistence that the creative endeavor - be respectful and nurture ideas fostering the discovery of the better idea – truth applied to the immediate performance problem – new work is so rewarding for this. At an LDI in Vegas, the LD of “O,” was presented with the four feet of pipe he had not hung a lighting instrument on during the three month investigation of the piece in development.A choreographer, when presented with my lights for one of his pieces, asked me to tear it up, lose the clichés, and re-imagine. I have always been better for remembering his words (and never ever again showed him my first work.)

I was a radio lighting designer; btw, the best opening line to break the ice in a job interview I have yet found. The discipline of leading reaction on a live stage with a live audience and a live listening audience was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done, imagine an audience of millions unseen. Oddly, working with such incredible talent, loose with systems of light set-up to be a win-win in real-time was great fun with little in the way of heavy intellectual art-making but joy in the moment of communal sharing. And as a lighting director for TV (TPT), there is joy in creating in the round…trying to give directors and videographers images and opportunities to make pictures foreseen in the mind’s eye…communicating how the set is going to work, sweating the details of specular light, exposure ranges, depth-of-field, framing with color…ideas from photography and ever-shifting points of view. Personally, it has proved a great outlet for a life-long interest in making pictures in a cross-over industry.

Our quiver is rich with thousands of years of practice and techniques, machines and magic.How wonderful it is to fall into a group of explorers who speak a language that shapes ideas and adds to them…where you can say,“I would have done that if I’d thought of it, thanks for adding value and a point of view making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. “Lighting,” Lee Watson said, “is planned darkness.” When someone asks what I do as a designer, I ask them to close their eyes in a world of darkness as this is where it starts usually. Darkness…a choice of reveal and the way to reveal it in time - add script, score, movement and imagine. We begin to sculpt…to shape our perceptions… and finding the language by which we tell our part in the story…trying to discover truth in the tale and the telling.

Building a New Web

Article by Rebecca Bernstein

I met Rebecca when we were working on the Minnesota Opera Project Opera production together. She did a tremendous job on a daunting show - and it looked terrific, with a clear and spot-on aesthetic. I knew right away not only did I want to work with her again, I also wanted to get to know her better and learn from her. Then I found out that she was a recent transplant from New York City and I knew I had to hear what she had to say about these two major hubs of theatre. Keep an eye out for Rebecca. The Liar at Park Square Theater, opening September 16th is a good place to start. Visit her website to learn more -Wu Chen

   Hoodoo Love   presented by The Cherry Lane Theatre, Lucie Toberghein (Director). Rebecca Berstein (Costume Designer). 

Hoodoo Love presented by The Cherry Lane Theatre, Lucie Toberghein (Director). Rebecca Berstein (Costume Designer). 

Theatre artists are storytellers by nature and profession; we like a narrative and look for the threads that connect people, ideas, and places. We come together to create, a small tight-knit group of souls working to share a story. “Who are you working with?” is every bit as important a question as “What are you working on?” when we talk amongst ourselves. Not surprising then, is the monumental task it has been has been to build a brand-new story in a new city.

Nineteen months ago we packed our small Manhattan apartment into a large truck and hoped that the nice gentleman driving it could find Minnesota in late December...without getting stuck in the snow. Two freelance theater parents, two kids, and a rent-stabilized one bedroom had become too much. Our lives there were unsustainable, and we needed a new path.

After seventeen years in New York City, my whole adult life, I was starting over. In that time I had built a web that stretched from post-undergrad internships, to grad school, to designing Off-Broadway plays, to motherhood. My career ranged from commercial Broadway costume shops where I worked as a first hand to large regional Opera companies where I worked as a draper, from designing so-far-off-Broadway-it’s-not-even-in-the-description shows in basements to investor backed Off-Broadway shows (still in basements, but bigger ones), into classrooms where I taught costume design and costume construction. Like most theater professionals I had dipped my toe into dozens of genres, organizations, and temperaments. Everywhere I worked and everyone I spoke to became – at least in a small way – part of my orbit. The people adjacent to my path became my close friends and confidantes, but everyone touched me in some way.

I had confidence that my skills would translate to a new environment. I had training and experience at the largest (and smallest) levels of theatrical production. But that web of people cannot be translated or transplanted.

Where to begin? At first the Twin Cities seemed impossible, the well-established theater community was buzzing with activity but felt too well established to need anyone new. My two small children made it difficult to just get out there and see shows and meet people. Needing to drive most places felt like an unbearable burden. And it was the middle of winter.

Slowly I was able to make a few connections. As always, it’s ultimately about the people. I was able to reconnect with a director I’d loved working with once, in NY, a decade ago, before she moved to Minneapolis. An actor friend from high school introduced me to a wonderful director and Shakespeare company that have provided much of the work I’ve done since moving. My husband, who had taken a job at the Children’s Theatre Company, has given my name to people there. And each job means meeting new people, who have been generous in their willingness to share my name within the community. It is the start of a new series of intertwined relationships that carry us, and the theatrical endeavor, forward. I am starting to see the smile and welcome that I always knew was at the center of an artistic community. There is no amount of resume sending, cold calling, or job posting that can compare to this personal and public, hidden yet completely exposed social network.

But where do you buy fabric?!?!?!?!? Not only did I leave 17 years worth of friends and colleagues, I left 17 years worth of knowledge of resources. On my first sizable show here I seriously considered taking a flight back to New York to go fabric shopping. While New York isn’t the mecca it once was for fabric (stores are being priced out by luxury condos and snooty bars) you can still usually find all the fabrics, trims, and notions you might need in few block radius. Again, it comes back to people.  People I’ve met here, even if just for a minute, have been so willing to take time to answer my questions and share sources in town. Is there fabric beyond Joann’s? Where can I get shoes rubbered with a reasonable turnaround? Who stocks theatrical make-up outside Halloween season? Armed with their answers and my GPS I’m learning what I can expect to find locally and what I need to source from the internet.

Every time I’m able to answer one of these questions or make a new connection I feel more at home and more comfortable existing with confidence in my new theatrical world.

So now, nearly two years into this adventure, I can say that shopping Goodwill here is an organized, air-conditioned delight (unlike the dank, smelly, jumble of most second-hand stores I frequented in NY...and thanks to a tip from someone who knew that Salvation Army was far more common in NY than Goodwill, and that I’d probably head there first, I was able to quickly experience the fabulousness), being able to throw costumes in the trunk is much nicer than schlepping suitcases full of them on the subway (though I still hate driving), and please, please, please SR Harris, don’t ever close.

I still feel like I have a long way to go, but give me another 15 years and I’ll be there.