Monday, March 31, 2014

Upcoming events at PAM for Hollywood Costume (Update)

I recently wrote a post about the new exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, Hollywood Costume, going on now through July 6th. You can see my review/recap of my experience going through the exhibition here.

But I also wanted to quickly tell you about some events coming up that would be worth checking into if filmmaking and costume design are of interest to you, or if you just enjoy a good party.

On Saturday, April 5th at 10:30am, there will be a special Student Program for high school and college students/instructors. PAM Curator of Fashion Dennita Sewell will be discussing the difference between costume and fashion, and working in the fashion and film industries as well as the challenges of preparing exhibitions like Hollywood Costume and Hollywood Red Carpet. This is sure to be an amazing morning of fascinating discussion with a premiere expert and speaker on this subject. Pre-registration is required by emailing and the program is free. Again, this is limited to high school/college students and instructors. [This event is now over. It was interesting and very informative. I'll post a recap soon.]

Friday, April 11th, from 7-11pm will be the Hollywood Costume Party. This is bound to be a wildly fun night that you won't want to miss out on. Dance the night away at PAM dressed as your favorite Hollywood icon or film character. This epic costume party will feature live music, light refreshments, cash bar, gift bag from Sephora (score!), a costume contest, AND access to the Hollywood Costume exhibition all night. Can you believe it?! It's bound to be an amazing evening and such a great deal. Tickets are available at for $25. Full information here.

The following day, Saturday, April 12th form 10am-4pm is the Hollywood Costume Symposium. You will NOT want to miss this. So get your tickets now! $50 includes admission to Whiteman Hall to hear several amazing speakers throughout the day, lunch, and admission to Hollywood Costume. Industry insiders, including Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Dale Wibben of Dale Wibben Studio, Dierdre Theiman Manager of Production Archives and Collections at Universal Studios, Beth Werling, Collections Manager of Material Culture at the Natural History Museum of LA, and specialty costumer Deborah Ambrosino. This spectacular line-up will be sharing amazing inside details of filmmaking costume design and production. I really can't emphasize enough how incredible this event is going to be, truly a once in a lifetime experience. Tickets for this event are also available at Full information here.

There will also be a selection of other lectures and film screening events that will give visitors a better understanding of how to look at films. For a full list see the events page at or see the image below. I'll be attending many of these events and will try to post recaps/reviews for each one. Hope to see some of you there.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hollywood Costume has arrived!!!!!

Hollywood has arrived in Phoenix!

Oh my goodness! It's here! It's finally here! The Victoria & Albert Museum's incredible exhibition Hollywood Costume has arrived in Phoenix and will be on show at the Phoenix Art Museum through July 6th. So you all will have just over three months to check it out, and if you're anything like me you'll want to go more than once. For more information you can click here. And also read on. Today's blog post is dedicated to this amazing exhibition, which I have been fortunate to have a lengthy relationship with.

It all started a couple years ago now (has it really been that long?) when I found out that the V&A in London was going to be mounting this landmark exhibition. Around that time costume designer, design historian, and V&A guest curator Dr. Deborah Nadoolman Landis came to the Phoenix Art Museum to give a lecture as part of the 2nd Wednesday lecture series for the Arizona Costume Institute. If you missed my post about that event you can check it out here. (That post has links to all of her books, you can also find a review I did of one of them here as well.) The lecture was amazing and I was so excited to both meet Deborah and hear more about the exhibition. I had already been planning to go to London later that year and to see Hollywood Costume while I was there. So this sneak peek got me super excited!

In January 2013 I got to see the show in person. And I was blown away. It's hard for me to fully describe it. By the time I got through it I felt so overwhelmed (in the best way possible). I only got to see it once in London so I was excited that I had Phoenix to look forward to. 

Then, finally, last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the special preview of Hollywood Costume and Hollywood Red Carpet (the current exhibition in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery upstairs, you'll want to see them both, click here for more info on HRC). It was a wonderful day and I'll post pictures of the brunch below.

There is no photography allowed in HC, for obvious reasons. There is also no texting or cell phone use inside and no touching. Seriously, they said, "no touching". Is that a thing they actually have to specify? We're in a museum! Some of these pieces are nearly 100 years old. Why would you think it's ok to touch that? *sigh* But yeah, no photos, no cell use, no touching. Those are the rules. Thankfully there are no rules against staring in wonder at these amazing pieces.

Hollywood Costume features film costumes from throughout the past 100 years of Hollywood filmmaking. Everything from Sex (1920) to American Hustle (2013) (costumes worn by Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale that weren't in the original show and I think are exclusive to the Phoenix show), Hollywood Costume has it all.

When you first walk in you'll see one of Nicole Kidman's "Satine" costumes from Moulin Rough on a trapeze above you (so be sure to look up). Make sure you stop to watch the film montage that plays outside, it will give you a peek of what's to come. After that you walk through a soundstage door and into a behind the scenes glimpse of all (and I do mean ALL) that goes into designing costumes for film.

The overall message of the exhibition is that there are a multitude of things that costume designers do to create character. There's a huge difference between fashion and costume, and costumes are not just clothing on an actor. The exhibition has great materials and visual/multimedia elements that help explain the intricacies of costume design (which as a designer myself I really appreciated). While you can certainly walk through and just "look" at the costumes you'd be doing a huge disservice to the work done by both the V&A and PAM and you'll miss the point of the whole thing. So make sure you take your time and read the materials that are posted, watch the videos, and really take everything in. Depending on the crowds I would say to plan at least 2 hours to go through, though I could easily spend much longer!

PAM did an excellent job, working with the team from the V&A, at setting up HC in it's current home. While in some ways it lacks some of the scale and grandeur of the London show, it still captures the heart and soul of the exhibition. As Deborah said to me when I spoke with her last Sunday, they managed to create a "mini-London" version of the show. But set up in the Katz wing of PAM it still manages to be quite impressive and not all that "mini". They were able to keep all the main elements, just perhaps in slightly different ways, but the overall integrity of the show remains and visitors to HC at PAM are lucky to have this incredible experience in our town. If you live near Arizona it would be well worth a visit while it's at PAM. I believe this is it's final stop, so here's your chance before it's over for good.

I don't want to say too much about the show, because (to me) it kind of feels like spoiling a good film. But it's amazing and awe inspiring and an absolute must see for any film and/or costume design fan.

But I will share some teasers: Darth Vader, Dorothy, Superman, James Bond (squee! Daniel Craig's tux!), Harry Potter, Neo, Fight Club, Ocean's Eleven, Capt. Jack Sparrow, Sweeney Todd, two Cleopatra's (Elizabeth Taylor and Claudette Colbert), two Marie Antoinette's (Norma Shearer and Kirsten Dunst), and at least two Elizabeth I's (but it might have been 3?). A chance to hear conversations between costume designers and their directors about collaborating on some iconic characters (ex. Tim Burton and Colleen Atwood discussing Sweeney Todd). Listening to Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro speak about the actor/designer collaboration on some of their most famous roles. Andy Serkis speaking about motion-capture. And so much more! Seriously, there's something for everyone. 

Once you get through the show make sure you check out the awesome gift shop set up specifically for the show (and check out pics of my mini-haul below). And if you really enjoyed the show you should consider purchasing the catalogue book (more info on that here). It's a great book, I bought it when I saw the show in London and it's one of my favorites in my collection.

There are a number of programs coming up in relation to the exhibition so make sure you check out PAM's website linked above and I'll try to blog about some of the ones I'll be attending in the next few weeks.

In the meantime here are a few pics I took from the preview event.


Members of the Phoenix Theatre company performing a medley of film music classics.

Walking the red carpet to see Hollywood Costume!

My haul from the gift shop! (Sorry it's a little blurry.)

Love this t-shirt!

And this one. :)
This book is soooooo good. And super heavy! My arm hurt the next day from carrying it around. I'll try to get a review of it up on here soon.

Day. Made.
Not only did I get to see the exhibition but Deborah signed my copy of her book. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Life since last summer....

So, a lot has happened since I got back from London last summer. And since I haven't kept up the blog since then and have also neglected Twitter until somewhat recently, some of you might have wondered what I've been up to and where I disappeared to. Well, the answer to that is....

....the PhD program in Rhetoric, Composition & Linguistics at ASU (wow, that's a mouthful).

Yeah, grad school. Part 3. Am I done yet? Lol. Seriously though, I do love it, it's just a TON of work. I thought with two Masters under my belt the PhD wouldn't be that much of a transition but boy has it been. 

Two days after I arrived back in the States from London I dove head first into 5 day a week TA training for my teaching assistantship. Forget 3 years of teaching experience in the community colleges. Teaching First-Year Composition to a bunch of 18-year-old Freshman has been such an eye-opening experience. But I'm loving it.

The year isn't over yet, but the spring semester is rapidly coming to an end (I think we have 6 weeks left? Yikes!). Anyway, I wanted to share what I've been up to the past several months. But rather than write a novel here I figured I'd dig through my iPhone photos and share the highlights of those. Because it's more fun to look at pictures, right?

So here we go. Hope you enjoy.

Very shortly after starting TA training, I move homes! After 5 years I finally have my own apartment again. It's lovely and gorgeous and has a nice big balcony with this gorgeous view and I love it! :)
In late August a friend and I ran up to Vegas for the weekend. It was right before the semester started so I had to bring readings with me, but after spending the first night and next morning walking around and sightseeing we spent the rest of our Saturday in the spa at the MGM Grand. You know you're a hard core grad student when you spend your time in the spa on a chaise lounge reading approximately 100 pages of theory. But it was probably the most fun I had doing homework so I consider it a win.

But seriously though, can I have this in my home?

I attended the opening of The Cape at the Phoenix Art Museum. And it was gorgeous and amazing and I took tons of pics on my Canon but I think they're still on there, because I'm really bad at downloading pics from my camera to my computer. But here's a taste of what that show was like.
I attended the ACI Nouveau fall party and it was so nice to hang out with my Nouveau friends.

Q&A with author Elizabeth Winder for her book Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953.
My copy of the book, newly signed by the author, plus other goodies from the night including these stunning earrings from Kendra Scott and makeup samples from Dior. 

There's a Starbucks within walking distance of my new home. As soon as the weather started to get bearable in the fall (you know, so where I wouldn't die of heat exhaustion at 8am) I started going to walks in the morning, stopping by Starbucks on the way home for a bit of a treat and to enjoy one of my UK magazines (I think this was InStyle in my lap) and, when I was lucky, a copy of The New York Times Sunday edition if someone had left it on the table.

It wasn't long before I had to start grabbing books from the library. Back to work for me!

I wrote a paper about St. Paul's Cathedral. Because if you're going to have random obsessions you should call it a "research interest" and write a seminar paper about it. By the end of the fall semester I still hadn't unpacked my apartment enough to get a desk set up (I thought moving before the semester started would be a good idea, but it was still just as stressful as it could have possibly been). So I did all my writing in bed, which actually was pretty nice and a trend that's kept up for when I hit the main drafting part of the process. *shrug*

In November my family went back to Kansas to visit our "Army family", the Barba's for Drew's wedding. I still can't believe he's married and has a family of his own. I remember when he was born! Life goes by so fast. But every time I come back to this farm I'm 16 again pulling in to visit my BFF. Memories. <3

Scruffy. Who truly lives up to his name. Love this dog.

Landing back in Phoenix. Hello ASU!

By November the weather had cooled down enough that I could start hiking. The McDowell's are gorgeous!

On Thanksgiving I made a new friend. I call him Harry. :)

I bought some new shoes! A few pairs actually, but I love these lace up brogues that go great with my "post stamp" satchel I got at a boutique in Oxford.

Christmas! My mom knows me well, she knew I'd love these great English themed ornaments....

...But she also knew I'd love the gift card to Ted Baker taped to the back even more. :) Yay!

Happy New Year!

Spent New Years Eve at home watching a favorite classic film and then at midnight watching YouTube vids of firework celebrations around the world. It was lovely.

Sherlock premiere advance screening at the PBS station downtown. Nearly 300 PBS Nerds/Sherlock fangirls and fanboys squeeing like the proper fans we are. So exciting! I think we all needed shock blankets when it was over.

I attended the Independent Women Luncheon at the Phoenix Art Museum. Each table was decorated differently and it was beautiful.

Valentine's Day was spent watching the Donmar Warehouse's production of Coriolanus as part of the National Theatre Live screening program. Josie Rourke did an amazing job and Tom Hiddleston was....amazing isn't even accurate. No words. Saw it twice. Wish I could see it a hundred times more.

I turned 33! And was reminded that I have amazing friends who love me and know me really well. Good friends send birthday texts. Great friends manage to work your celeb crush into the text as well. :)
I presented at my first conference! I was super nervous but still had a blast sharing my research on fashion blogs. 

More writing and revising. It's not seminar paper time yet but I had another project sneak in. I'll post more about that once I have more details. For now, the books on the bed might give you a hint.

New nail polish! Sale at ULTA, yay! Picked out some fun colors for spring/summer.

"Primrose Hill Picnic". This was the wildcard choice. I wasn't sure I would like it. But as soon as I put on the first coat I was in love. I have decided that this is the color of happiness. This will likely be my default color this spring/summer. :)

Ok, I think that gets me caught up. It's been a whirlwind year so far. And there's some super exciting stuff coming up, starting later today. So stay tuned!