Friday, February 22, 2008

For the last three days, it’s felt like I was back at work painting my scenery at MIT. We’ve been making huge advances on the painting but it’s been exhausting. As it’s all newly primed surfaces, the darker accent colors require two or three coats to cover. And there’s lots and lots of taping to do around the many, many windows and around the ceilings. Still, it’s all coming along. We’re really happy with the colors we’ve picked, particularly one called camel, a golden sand color that looks wonderful with the light pouring in the big south-facing windows.

There’s been one unexpected problem. In one corner of the master bedroom is a concrete pier. On the inside, it had been covered with blueboard and a coat of plaster over that again. I painted the pier Wednesday around 2pm and when I came in on Thursday everything in the whole room was dry and cured except the paint on the central portion of the pier, which was wet and runny with condensation.

Once I determined that the paint was just as wet as the moment I had applied it, I got some paper towel and wiped the pier down to get rid of as much of the drippy mess off the plaster as possible.

When the general contractor showed up, I asked him why this pier of all the others I had painted should do this. He finally decided that as it was facing southeast, it was not getting anywhere near as much sun as the others and had retained all the chill from the previous night’s ten degree weather. Moisture from all the drying paint in the house and the tile-setters’ mastic was condensing on the pier and gathering into drips.

I had a very evil thought that if I’d painted a mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the pier instead of a flat coat of camel-colored paint, I could have had every Catholic within 50 miles flocking to the house to see the icon weep.


Stage Source, a central clearing house for all types of communication and other services that nurture the performing arts community in the greater Boston and new England area announced this year’s nominations for the IRNE awards and I caught the following in the lists:

Best Set Design:
Janie E.Howland for MAN of LA MANCHA (Lyric Stage), TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (WheelockFamily Theatre) and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (New Repertory Theatre)

Janie’s a former student of mine and I was able to help her with recommendations to get into grad school in design at Brandeis where I did my own grad work. She then took the ball and ran with it, becoming perhaps the leading professional set designer in the Boston area. I’m extremely happy for her and glad to have been some small part in her great success. She’s already a two time Eliot Norton Award winner for scenic design, the award named for the noted theater critic and lecturer with whom I studied during my undergrad work at Boston University.

Eric Levenson for PONIES (Gloucester Stage Co.)
A great colleague of mine for many years in Boston theater.

Best Lighting:
Karen Perlow for PARADE (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
Our lighting designer at MIT for the last seven or so years of my career there, an extremely talented designer, not afraid of color, and a genius at solving bad lighting angles and other inhospitable space problems.

Best Costumes:
Kimmerie H.O. Jones for CABARET (Metro Stage Company)
Another former student who did brilliant work costuming several student-designed productions at MIT.

It’s a joy to see the work of friends and former students recognized like this. Boston was a terrible theater town when I arrived for college but it has developed a vibrant theater, dance and opera scene over the years. The two flagship regional theaters (The American Repertory Theater, housed at Harvard) and the Hunting Theater (housed at Boston University) are surrounded by a large number of smaller companies that do excellent work, draw good crowds, and that have fostered the development of a genuine theater and performing arts community in the Boston area.

So, I'll bet you're enjoying the painting the sets thing, eh? At least a little? Reminds you of the old days?? Church ladies and naked guys? Oh my.
Oh sure ... recognize THOSE nominations. But I'm up for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars and not a peep out of you. Sheesh...
Lewis--I'm having a "deja-view." Yeah, church ladies (very nice and great at cleaning up after themselves) and a dozen beautiful, naked men (who brought wonderful food for the pot luck). Life is good.

Scott--you'll always be up for an award with me. Actually I was waiting to see what designer's gown you were going to wear on the red carpet.
I'll be wearing a low-cut Lasoff from his International Male line.
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