Friday, November 20, 2009

The Wizard of Oz and Thai green curry

My how time does fly. It seems like only yesterday I was posting for Halloween. Now here I am planning Thanksgiving feast and trying to get a move on on my Christmas creations. You can find some at SpookyTimeJingles or on eBay under seller hohohhalloween of course.

I digress, most of last week as I was working away on whips TV in background, I notice that a lot of stations kept playing The Wizard of Oz. That film holds special meaning to me besides the obvious reasons, an American Icon, Fantasy, costuming, sets and of course Judy Garland at the onset of her meteoritic rise to fame. The following pictures are from that experience.

Many years ago, (Oh my this phrase seems to be creeping in on my vocabulary more and more, eegads!) I had a Murals and Finishes Business, a friend of mine recommended me to his client for a project that he thought I would be perfect for. The project involved a surprise birthday party for a family nanny that had not seen her own family in over 20 years. It seems this wonderful nanny's favorite all time movie was of course the Wizard of Oz. I know, I know the obvious comes to mind, "there's no place like home" click your heels and nanny is flown back for reunion with longing family members.

Well sort of, you see the plan was to recreate some of the sets and characters at the party then spring the family on the unsuspecting nanny (she had no medical conditions we checked LOL). Costumers, make-up (friend and me) and set designers (me) were brought in. It was one of the most magical experiences I ever had and challanging. Those backdrops where about 30' x 50 long, We had 3 weeks to prep. Needless to say the logistics and planning required a production coordinator, luckily we had all been in the film industry at one point or another so that made things easier.

The research was phenomenal I poured over every book on the making of the film, googled costumes, characters and ebay, and elndlessly watched the film. I primed, drew and painted to my hearts content as you can see in the pics.

How they managed to keep the nanny away from the house for that long I'll never know! We also had time for a bit of fun. One day some of the costumes that were too complicated to make arrived from Western Costume. One of those was the Flying Monkey. I had just finished the backdrop of the Yellow brick road that leads out of Munchkinland into the land of Oz. The temptation was too great. I donned the costume (it was hot! and didn't close at the back). Luckily this was a grand house with a landing that overlooked the Great Room where I was working and the set was laid out. I laid out on the backdrop in my best flying monkey pose and my assistant snapped away.

Next came the Emerald City. This was to be the backdrop for the actual Birthday dinner. Surprisingly that was done fairly quickly despite a little glitch in painting. My assistant, I discovered, has a classic color blind sensitivity to the color green, I'll say no more other than the Horror!

We came into the last week of madness. Final make-up and wardrobe test were completed and then the big night.

We pleaded to be there for the reveal of course, and as long as we stayed out of site and did not interfere with the events it was copacetic.

All the guest were hidden, the players in place when the Limo arrived. It pulled up to the Port-Coche. Out steps the Nanny who was under the impression she was to pick up and escort the children to the airport. She was greeted by Glenda who informed her that she had been such a good nanny that she would be taken to OZ. She was then escorted by the lollipop gang into Munchkinland, little houses and flowers included. They were of course interrupted by the Wicked Witch who was scared away by Glenda. Then she was greeted by the lullaby guild who took her to the Lion (the nanny's husband in disguise), they in turn met up with the Tin Man, and Scarecrow who finally took her to Oz. There she met up with Glenda again who told her to click her heals three times and close her eyes. When she opened them there, in front of her stood the her Parents and siblings (5 in all) and her husband revealed. The reunion was no less moving or joyous than the movie.

At that time we decided to exit quietly through the kitchen, sampling some of the catered affair.

the start of something big

Jorge went up the hill....

The costumes arrive

a little fun and some photoshop

Th crowd gathered at the Emerald City Hall. Don't it look like an MGM luncheon?

The three of us were starved the closest thing around was a Thai restaurant. As we sat there, reveling in having been a part of such a magical experience and how it seemed that we had somehow been transported back in time to work in the movie, the waitress arrived.

"what would you like this evening? We all looked at each other and almost in unison said "green curry anything" .........of course what else.


Len said...

HI. Those backdrops are wonderful. It's great finding out what you did when you were younger! I used to do display work and did props for parties for a woman in town. She was great to work for. It is exhausting but the finished look is always so rewarding. All the best, Len.

William Bezek said...

That is a fun story Jorge, what a cool project to work on! It would be so fun to have a grand mansion like that to throw a party in. I love that movie too. I don't own it and actually had a copy in my shopping basket the other day, until I thought...Geez Mary, how cliche can you be... and sadly put it back on the shelf. Wink

MarZel said...

What a charming story and wonderful experience. I am so glad you chose to share it.

Brandi McKenna said...

Jorge that was amazing! So cool...I always thought I would like set design. I too have dabbled in finishes and interior design stuff. Very fun...and I love Green Curry! I love your blog by the way, its beautiful! I'm going to put it on mine so I can see when you post...
Happy Creating!!!

Light and Shadow Studio said...

How I missed this originally, I don't know but what a wonderful story. The back drops are fantastic. Holy cow you are talented! You don't make a bad flying monkey either. Thanks for coming by and commenting on the "rosy cheeks" on my snow man. I kept waiting for someone to notice and you were the only one! I love your art, Jorge, you are one of my favorites. I always find you push your limits and come up with truly original and refreshing ideas. I am proud to be in STJ with you. Hope your hoidays are bright. Tammy

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

will you paint my dining room???? LOL