Friday, May 6, 2011


My month is up, it has been a long time since I have posted any pictures or written anything, and I have so much to write about today. Where to start?  Hmmm well let's start at the beginning with a vintage dress that I found at a church sale when I was 15 years old.  I bought this dress for a Family  Easter Party.  It fit like a glove and it was so amazing to be wearing something so on the fringe for 1995.  16 years later this amazing vintage find has found it's way into a Dress That Makes the Woman, Whoa-  Who would have thought?
So then came the sequins and lots of them, and then the idea that this dress needs to be apart of something more than just the dress that makes the woman project... it needs to be apart of a larger performance project.  This is where the circus comes in...
I am working on a Circus themed project with several other artists.  My assignment: To make something that embodies the feeling of circus, so naturally I go to the BLOW OFF.  No, the blow off is not exactly what it sounds like, although I do want to capitalize on this common misunderstanding... no the blow off is the performance that gets hyped up and people pay extra to get into to see it and then are kind of duped, or fooled by their very own expectations of what they were going to see.  For example "Step right up Ladies and Gents and see The World's Largest Red Bat!" and Then you enter the tent only to see a very large red colored baseball bat on display.  Ha Ha right?  So I am doing the Blow Off... and yes, I want to do it in a kind of sneaky pull one over kind of way, but I also want to pay homage to the darker and more lascivious side of old vintage circus as well with the ambiance of the "cooch tent"  (Ever watch Carnival on HBO, then you will have a better idea of what I mean).  My interest in this whole project is in the ambiance, the feeling and the duplicity associated with the circus... so I have been trying to get to the bottom of what makes the circus so appealing to me and I have concluded that it is the illusion.  You see an illusion of perfection with the performers.  You see it in their acts, their smiles and their costumes... but really the illusion is the way it is because of all the distractions that are provided to keep you eye moving.  If you were really able to study that performer on the nitty gritty, you would see a whole lot normal, wear and tear just like any performer and you would notice that razzle and dazzle under good lighting can transform anything and anybody.  
So Sequins-  Performers-  Illusion- and the jump to Burlesque-
As I was thinking about how to tastefully pull off my Blow Off, I started thinking about the expectations of someone entering a tent expecting to see something kind of naughty and what would happen if the performance were to still have that feeling, but not actually reveal anything... and then a light bulb went off... I need to study the old, old Burlesque stars.  And so for the past month I have been conducting research, and alot of it.. looking at costumes, old burlesque routines, getting to know who the current famous performers are, trying to learn moves and methods and to soak up what makes the art of the tease so amazing and alluring and empowering....something even feminist.  
Then I discovered Paula, The Swedish Housewife and my research started to inspire me to think about how movement and the power of suggestion can reclaim a very feminine archetype: the muse.  So what better inspiration to lead to me deciding that Thimbelina/Thimbilina (still on the fence about the spelling) needs to become a kind of anti-burlesque burlesque dancer for the Circus Blow Off and as a persona for my dress project as well.  
So here were are, but we're really only 1/2 way because I realized that Thimbelina needed more layers to add to the performance, so I decided that she would have two major parts/components ie. be made of two dresses, one that pulls on over the other.  So I chose this Prada Dress that I have had since I was 18.  When I was given this dress, I was so thrilled!  I loved wearing it so much, that it became a kind of "summer romping dress" and I wore it for almost a whole summer.  And now Voila, here it is in the dress project as the second half of a potential performance piece as well. 
The pairing of these two dresses, both from when I was a teenager also got me thinking about quite a bit... why did I choose them for Thimbelina?  Why were they so important to me when I was younger and why were they so important that I have saved them, and brought them with me no matter where I have's been almost 16 years of moving, and living with these dresses from my past just hanging in the closet...why bring them out now? and why together?
So I had to get back to that mind set... I needed to reconnect with teenage Wylie... and <deep breathe> I have to admit I started to watch some TV shows from that past... including My So Called Life.  I began to listen to my old play lists... although they were just mix tapes.. I needed to go back.. not just in spirit, but in reality too... So I visited Houston, drove past old haunts trying to get a memory recharge... driving past school, old friend's houses, through Montrose, through Down Town... everything is different, but there are still some old feelings that surface... good fodder for the project, good fodder for my inspiration, good for getting the creating going too. 
I have to admit that I may have to refer to this month as the month that Pajamas made the woman.  I found myself wearing pajamas alot this month... but the dress kept needing work and to get washed... and then there was work, and being a mom, and the basement flooding and the beautiful days that just swept me away.  Like I said, I got distracted and I escaped the project a little...but still remained true to my loop holes and just stayed in Pajamas a little longer.... or all day but still went about business as usual. 
So now with that admitted, I am feeling a little better about what I am going to do.  I am going to continue to wear Thimbilina for one more month.  She is made of Two Parts, two dresses and I need the time to finish her in time to film the dance and to make sure that the Circus Show goes on!   So there are no final pictures, except for a few quick pics I took at the studio.  I have also received a new camera on loan to use for documenting, YEA that is about to really professionalize the set up. 
So there is alot here to "chew"on and there will be alot more, but for now at 11pm my time I am ready for bed.  I kind of feel like a politician here fighting for another term... one more month Thimbelina, One more Month! 

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