strange doll

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Josh’s work is currently being exhibited in a show called Art of Horror. We attended the opening last Friday night. Of the event, I will say that 1) it was very nice not to be the only person wearing a cloak, 2) THERE WERE FINGER-SHAPED COOKIES, and 3) after oohing and aahing over Josh’s piece, I spent most of my time browsing the room devoted to Beth Robinson’s Strange Dolls.

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Beth Robinson might be my favorite local artist. Her work is one hell of a spice in my glitzy, gothy glop of inspiration stew. Today I took advantage of the abandoned shed in Josh’s backyard and delivered my own rendition of a Strange, Strange Doll.

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I really like the visual mindfuck of a broken old doll wearing an antique cameo. It suggests a matryoshka quality, an infinite recursion of uncanny-valley porcelain skin. If the miniature human has her own miniature human, how far can it go?

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I considered whitening my neck and hands too, but I think I prefer the look isolated to my face. I would much rather stylize a costume than precisely duplicate its source material. I like the allusive and the heavily symbolic. My whole body needn’t be stark white, as long as the parts I do whiten clearly scream “creepy-ass doll”. The cracks needn’t be photorealistic, as long as it’s clear what they’re supposed to be.

Often, though, I wonder whether my takes on classics are too subtle. Too lacking in obvious, translatable tropes. As a costume designer, I think way more obsessively about clothes than most people do. And I want to make sure I’m designing for the more casual onlooker as well as for Srs Fashion Ppl. That’s the challenge I have in designing for the Haunted Forest. Each scene is only three or four minutes long. Any exposition time is precious stuff and will sure as hell not be spent examining the costumes. My task is to rustle up clever, innovative costumes that don’t require more than a cursory glance to understand. And I think I’m doing all right, but only opening night will tell.

(I’mma take this opportunity to plug the Haunted Forest. We run at the Catamount Center in Williston, VT, from the 25th to the 27th. This year’s theme is Olde England – prostitutes, plague doctors, and all.)

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Jumper: Battery Street Jeans Blouse: Downtown Threads Necklace: Vintage Marketplace Bow: Spirit Halloween Tights & Shoes: Gifted

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wicked west, sordid south

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I’ve always been drawn to the “weird West” and “southern gothic” aesthetics and assorted paraphernalia. Spooky, ghost-dripping Americana tingles my spine and makes me yearn to crawl beneath the skin of the world, into the underbelly of fog and freaks. My mindscape resembles Deliverance, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and a Flannery O’Connor novel. But only in the summer does this particular demon haunt welcome me: something about the way summer trees are just a little too ripe evokes its specter like nothing else.

(Before you ask: every other season has its associated ghoulies and ghosties, too. But this one has long been my favorite.)

Today in theatrics: the forest is just slightly too bright not to harbor some atrocity or other. I also pulled inspiration from Amy of Amy Flying a Kite, whose romantic prairie aesthetic often informs mine.

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“Follow me.”

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Weird West and southern gothic are all about queering traditional landscapes and mythologies. To find my place in that tradition, I (GASP!) modernized this prairie look a little with printed tights and generally eclectic accessories. As a costumer, I love exploiting and/or squashing expectations of a particular look, and today I did this by pulling the eye out of the past and a little more abruptly into the modern than usual.

And let’s be real: my pink hair always does that whether I intend it or not.

Also, if I have to choose between hewing to every period detail and setting the mood I want to set, I’ll usually choose the latter, even if it means a little imprecision.

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Oh lord, these boots. I found them at Battery Street labeled only with the tag “very old boots!”. They’re so fragile they seem about to liquefy. One is missing most of its tongue. And they fit me almost perfectly. A little pinch at the toe is well worth it to wear a piece of history.

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This is my pet gremlin. We call him Nick Teppelin.

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Dress, Hat, & Boots: Battery Street Jeans Tights: Plato’s Closet Belt: Goodwill Necklace: Handed down from Mom

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One of my favorite photos of myself ever.

if you’re hallucinating, then we’re hallucinating in unison

I’ve officially broken my no-pants-ever streak.

I know. It’s hard for even me to believe.

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Surprise!

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I wore these pants all the time in high school. I was also a lot skinnier in high school. The t&a I grew after graduation made me feel awkward in baggy clothes. My body’s found equilibrium, though. I no longer care much about “flattering” fits – I like interesting clothes, end of story. How they make my ass look is not a priority.

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These are the comfiest heels ever designed. I suspect Old Gold heels are made for drag queens: they’re supposed to support a man’s weight, so they fit my flat, enormous feet.

Blouse: Battery Street Jeans Pants, Shoes, Belt, & Pin: Old Gold Hat: Handed down from cousin

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I took these photos this morning, but they’re already out of date. I got my hair cut very shortly afterward. It’s bouncy and wonderful and the last of the nasty bleached bits is FINALLY gone. Pictures soon!

“You look like a gypsy,” said my friend who works at the shop across the street where I get pizza every day. Preach it. I wish I had a crystal ball.

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I keep trying to believe the fact that not only did this sweater and skirt not come as a set, I got them at two different thrift stores.

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Sweater & Blouse: Battery Street Jeans Turban & Necklace: Old Gold Skirt: Goodwill Tights: Sox Market Shoes: Danform

“that redhead with the polka dots”

A friend of a friend referred to me by that very epithet yesterday. “Hey, Cassie, who’s that redhead with the polka dots I always see you with?” It’s nice to know I’ve got a buzz going, though it’s funny to consider how utterly distinctive I wouldn’t have been just a few decades ago. What was commonplace then is quirky now.¬†In fifty years, skinny jeans and Ugg boots and bodycon dresses will be vintage.

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Wearing pigtails every day, as you’ve perhaps noticed I have been, seems to have structured my hair into a natural flip. I can work with this.

I’m going to miss the pigtails when I get my hair cut (mostly) off in nine days.

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I’m feeling like Solanah of Vixen Vintage today.

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Skirt, Necklaces, Belt, & Bow: Old Gold Blouse: Battery Street Jeans Ring: Chatham Caravan Shoes: Gaiam

This song is srs bsns, you guys. It’s my favorite song on my favorite album by my favorite band.

hopping around pretending it’s spring

Here’s a squicky factoid about me: I have some issues with seasonal depression and anxiety. (Trust me, I’m squirming mightily as I write this. I don’t like talking about feelings. But it’s necessary in establishing a context for this post. And I’m consoling myself by remembering that it’s not feelings feelings, just misfiring serotonin.) I look forward to the January thaw weeks in advance. For a precious few day, I get an infusion of spring. Today it was fifty motherfucking degrees and smelled like awakening. I had me a little adventure down on the slowly thawing docks.

I’m truly sorry about the drawn-out atrocity that is this borrowed webcam. I should have my computer back by Monday. Until then, try to focus on the gist of the outfit and ignore the engorged pixels.

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I’d been planning this outfit for a while. I liked the overarching theme of grey and red. All I was missing was the grey cardigan. Yesterday I found this one in the “free” box at Battery Street Jeans.

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I took pictures of my dock-hopping:

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Sometimes my city looks really bohemian. And I mean that in the literal sense. It reminds me of old Prague.

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Half the docks were still mired in ice and half weren’t. The divide was almost exactly down the middle.

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Motherfucking lampreys.

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It’s a sad day indeed when my flip phone takes better outfit pictures than my webcam.

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I want spring winds to follow me everywhere I go.

Dress & Belt: Handed down from Mom Hat: Handed down from cousin Shoes: Danform Jacket, Cardigan, & Necklace: Battery Street Jeans

~

This is my favorite warm-weather song.