Monday, April 7, 2014

"Give me a cool haircut, but not TOO cool"; Me vs. Hipster Guy

Some of you may or may not know this but I am a licensed Master Barber.  My Natural Hair License is on its way as well, if you're at all curious.
12 years in this entertainment bidness and I'm taking a step back.  Am I switching careers?  Absolutely not.  Costume Designing and Wardrobe Styling will always be my passions BUT picking up hours at a shop has helped me keep my sanity.  I am able to turn down work  on projects I don't believe in, support, or really just don't want to work on.  Its a great feeling.  From now on, I don't have to work on garbage! I can choose what I want to contribute to, without wondering if I can afford to pay rent or not.  I can also mix this into my charity work and continue to help those in need--in this case, those who can't afford to groom, but really need to, in order to find a job.
Now that that's out of the way, let me tell you a story so true, you will convince yourself it is false, but reassure yourself its true because its just too stupid to be made up.
This bearded guy sits in my chair.  He's wearing skinny jeans, glasses, and an ironic tshirt.
"Give me a cool haircut, but not TOO cool", he says.  I ask how he usually wears it, and he messily parted to to the side.  "Okay....it just looks like your fade is grown out.  Want me to give you another one?"
"No way!  All those hipsters have fades.  I'm going to London for a conference and I want to look really different and cutting edge!  How about something really short and tight on the sides and long on top so I can really show off my beard?"
Being me, a Korean, Aquarian, Asshole, I cannot hide my disdain.  "So...you're a hipster who doesn't want to look like a hipster, but still wants a hipster cut?"  
"touché...but I'm not a hipster.  Sorry i'm a little sweaty.  I just got out of yoga"
"pright"
I'm cutting his hair and he asks what I'm into and I tell him that I'm a Costume Designer.  I then made this mistake of asking what he did for a living and dude just goes on and on and on about how he's a writer--scuse me..a journalist who lives in Brooklyn Heights and how he has a beautiful view from his window blah blah blah and then he asks me if I'd like to get a lunch drink with him.  I told him I'd given up drinking for lent, to which he asked, "Mmmm have you ever thought of forsaking your faith just this once?  Scotch in cappuccino is a wonderful mixture."
Please picture my face right now.  I will use no words.  I leave it up to you. In fact, please make a doodle and post it as a comment.  I'm still making the original face as I type this.
We're nearing the end of the haircut and dude says "Oh and will you clean my kitchen?"
I took out my straight blade and held it up to his face, "da fuck did you just say to me?!  clean yo kitchen?! mothafucka wtf do i look like to you??"
He laughs and points to his extremely hairy neck.  My blood is still boiling.  I need a second to calm down, "bro, where i come from, we call that a neck.  be careful when asking someone to 'clean your kitchen'"
He steers the conversation back to my career, "so you're a costume designer.  I'm going to a wedding at Burning Man " -eyeroll....- "the theme is Enclave.  what are your thoughts on that? "
"The theme is 'Enclave'?  None.  I have no thoughts."
"Well I was thinking of like a steam punk aviator...."  -omg barf-
"...yeah that sounds amaze balls....maybe you should rewatch The Rocketeer and Wild Wild West"
"OMG that's totally what i'm going for! you really get me!!"
At this point I am shaving his neck, you know to really enhance that beard of his...
"wow.  you're so gentle.  you're not going to cut me right?"
"i'm looking for reasons not to..."
We are finished.  Clearly there were other nuggets in this 45 minute long haircut that I've left out...sorry for that..he was making my head hurt and I've done my best forget him as much as possible.
The best part: "I dunno why you called me a hipster.  I'm a writer!  Hipsters are not bad people.  They make really good coffee and bring so much business to bad neighborhoods.  I like good coffee and I'm pro-gentrification.  So yeah I guess I am a hipster but I'm not a bad person."
My fellow barbers are laughing.  This dude is really proud of himself right now.  I had no witty retort to this.  Its not that I thought he was bad per say...I just thought he was super douchey and loved to hear himself talk.  I told him to have fun at the enclave party and spent the rest of my day saying "I like good coffee and I'm pro-gentrification," while pushing up my invisible glasses on my face and stroking my imaginary beard.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blue is the Hottest Color

I watched the Oscars last night.  They seem to get longer and stupider every year, which makes me end up focusing on what people are wearing as opposed to who won for what talent (if you can call it that).  
It was absolutely REFRESHING to see so much navy on the red carpet!  Mindy Kaling once wrote how much she'd loathed navy and called it "the thin lipped spinster sister of black" and even got mad at a stylist for trying to dress her in such a 'hideous color'.  
I think one of the biggest misconceptions of navy blue is that you must purchase additional accessories and shoes to go with it, and black is an absolute "no" with blue.  I've never followed that rule, I always thought it was actually a nice mellow combination.  See below.
There's a nice range of size and silhouettes going on, and its paired with black.  Imagine that!

not a huge fan of Sandra Bullock but am definitely a huge fan of that Alexander McQueen dress!







The biggest hit for ME, was Lupita N'yongo in that beautiful dress from Prada.  Her silhouette was serving it up!!!!!  Cheekbones for days.  Eleganza extravaganza for days.  Profile for days!


My biggest disappointment was Charlize Theron.  I have had venus envy of her for YEARS but the top part of this dress was a little too high and I found it a bit unflattering.  I'm still in love with her though.  She can make a paper bag look good.  


I suppose I'm pleased with Catherine Martin winning for Costume Design and Production Design....oh wait did you know she's Baz Luhrman's wife?  Eyeroll....
Andruitha Lee and Robin Mathews won Best Hair & Makeup for Dallas Buyers Club.  I haven't seen this film yet but from what I did see, it looks like they earned it.  They, along with Jared Leto expressed how badly they wanted to make this film (it almost didn't get made at all), to share this story, as well as their passion to continuously raise AIDS awareness; yeah I need to watch and support.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Some 2014 Hopes/Dreams/Goals

2013 has been an interesting year.  I'm a year older, but I feel like I've grown decades into my wisdom. Work has been fruitful, and I feel like I've gotten closer to God.  When I first moved here, I did so with the goal of becoming an Oscar and Tony winner.  I wanted awards.  The last couple of years have molded me into becoming a workaholic with realistic dreams.  Nowadays, I just like staying busy and helping artists execute their visions.  I don't think this is a downgrade, or me settling.  I think I've grown more passionate about my career(s), with the goal now being that I want to do it for me and my crew/team rather than me and my imaginary fame.  Less selfish, more selfless.  That being said, here's to the older, more mature me.
My Hopes/Dreams/Goals for the New Year:
-Listen To My Body More
"You can't argue with the body, Jerry.  Its an argument you can't win".  Kramer was oh so right.  I am not a machine, and its time I accepted that.  I need to rest more often.

-Filter out all the haters and the shitty people in my life


This is great because you just make my really good friends seem saintly. Like it takes a lot for me to just cut people off, so just know you're like way more fucked up than I ever expected. Remember, that is your problem, not mine, even though you try to make it seem otherwise. I also appreciate the amount of shit you talk about me. That just shows you have a rather unhealthy obsession with me....again, your problem, not mine. I know now to keep my heart guarded more than ever.  

Its emo for sure, but being a grownup presents grownup problems.  Unfortunately, grownups seem to know less and less about what it takes to be a good friend.  

-Lose 20 pounds
Its a healthy goal.  

-Get scuba license
I've put this off for too long.

-Quit putting off the Krav Maga
I've signed up so many times and have had to cancel.  I need to do this!!

-Wear More Black
I've decided to become one of those New Yorkers who dresses in all black.  Those who know me personally will find this a bit shocking since I'm known for my love of bright colors.  No, I'm not trying to be in the elitist clique…I'm just not "wowed' by fashion anymore.  I just don't see a point.  I'd rather just keep it simple and solid.  Just black.  We'll see how long this lasts.

-Do More Good
This needs to be the reason I wake up in the morning.  Not money, not glory, not work.  Simply do more good.  

-Skydive
I keep putting this off as well.  I just need to hurry up and get it over with.  

-Turn Down Work and Feel Okay About It

-Work More Outside of NY
I'm currently bi-coastal.  I was also blessed to work on 3 shows longterm that required extensive travel.  I need to get myself more acclimated with more production cities and just be ready to hit the ground running.  There is life outside of NY!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12 Years an Oldboy


   I saw 12 Years a Slave and the American adaptation of Korea's Oldboy.  Care to guess which one was heaping pile of garbage?
    Steve McQueen is currently my favorite director.  I've pretty much enjoyed all he's put out because of his unapologetic style and charisma.  Spike Lee has also been a favorite of mine for sometime now, also for his unapologetic style, but I find myself questioning his choices this time around.
   12 Years a Slave, was a gruesome film to watch.  I must say that I really appreciated the period dialog used in this film.  It wasn't just people trained to speak in Southern drawl, it was people actually speaking as if they were in that time, heavily influenced by the King James Bible.   Except for you, Mr.  Benedict Cumberbatch.  Good try, but your accent was a dead giveaway.   I'll let it go because you're such a charming Englishman and otherwise incredible actor.  
   This was quite the all star cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Adepero Oduye, Michael Fassbender, Michael K. Williams, Brad Pitt, Paul Giatmatti, Paul Dano--I mean the list goes on, and not once did I feel like I was taken out of the story due to an all too familiar face.  However…what was up with the dude from Raising Hope and an SNL funnyman making their way in this movie?!  
   Anyways, I appreciate McQueen for tackling such a difficult project but I absolutely commend him, Fassbender, and Dano for really showing the PSYCHOTIC MADNESS of it all so well.  If I was to shake either of Michael or Paul's character's hands, my inner monologue would definitely be saying "yeah….this motherfucker is crazy.  He's smiling, but he's definitely got some crazy behind the eye that I don't think I want to get to know…" and back away slowly.

   I had some issues with costuming....I always will because that's what I was trained in.  The aging and dying of the costumes appeared almost nonexistent.  I found it rather hard to believe that Patsy and her crew picked over 500 pounds of cotton a day and were never offered soap but still had nice outfits on.  The fact that we "are working in mud and dirt on a scorching hot super humid day in the South and our clothes look brand spanking new"  sort of made me give a side eye but what can you do...Some of the nicer period costumes looked a little off as well, but I can't really put into words why/how.  Sorry about that.  If I can figure it out, I'll be sure to update.  

  

   Oldboy….oh Spike, why'd you do it?!  As I said before, I do love Spike, but I'm sorry…I will be reading this movie for filth.  And…here we go:  Foreign films are better left as foreign…the language and the style used all supplement the story in its own unique way.  Just because a foreign picture is a huge success, doesn't mean we need an american version of it to make it more marketable!!  I honestly think American remakes are like a "dumbed down" version which makes audiences here seem rather....stupid...?  I will not fully blame Spike.  I know he was frustrated and lost a lot of creative control, to the point of even removing his usual "Spike Lee Joint" from the title cards.  
   The makeup was awful.  Do you know why it was awful?  Because I could tell it was makeup.  Bad makeup.  The wardrobe looked like it was all shopped at Walmart, in the clearance bin full of things from 1998 that no one would take, even after being marked down to nothing.  The effects were cheap.  The music sounded like the free loops you get on Soundtrack Pro or even Garage Band.  What the hell was up with Samuel L.  Jackson's look?!  Apparently, he's some sort of gay space alien who has his own boy band??  ....and I won't lie.  I was a bit offended by the asian ninja girl who protected Adrian...


   WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT HAMMER SCENE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
   The whole way this relationship happened between Joe and Mari was so artificial and forced…I'll stop there and go back to what I know:  wardrobe.  We've already discussed Samuel L. Jackson….how about that flashback??  One of the best ways to convey a flashback is through wardrobe.  I feel like all they did was change the lights and hairstyles but kept the same shitty Walmart clothes.  Don't get it twisted…I'm not saying they should have been in head to toe Armani…I'm just saying it shouldn't have been so obvious that you had a shitty budget.  
Semi-Conclusion: 12 Years a Slave=yay; American Oldboy=nay
I don't think I could work with either director simply because the pattern I see in their work is that they don't really care what their characters are wearing and neither do their producers and probably cut as many corners as possible starting with wardrobe.  
I will say, I loved seeing both directors' trademarks in their respected films…its always good to see those.  McQueen's excrutiatingly long takes and Lee's floating actor


   While 12 Years was the better film, the experience of watching Oldboy was more fun.  The theatre was about three quarters full.  In front of me was an African man and his girlfriend.  To the right of me was a group of younger black adults.    (I only mention race here because of an interesting exchange of words that occurs later)  The group was being loud so the African man got angry and yelled at them.  So the group retaliated and they were at each other's throats during the movie, all while the African man's girlfriend was sitting there saying "seriously?"  over and over again in what sounded like her impression of The Nanny.  It doesn't stop here.  
The African man threatened to beat up the entire group and call the cops on them.  One of the guys felt hurt by this and walked up to him in the middle of the theatre, pointing his finger in his face, "Calm the fuck down, brah.  Don't even joke about calling the cops.  I am black just like you.  You ain't no different.   If they take us, they're gonna take you too.  WE ARE BLACK LIKE YOU. CALM DOWN."  The man actually did in fact calm down and even apologized.  It still doesn't end here. 
The group eventually got louder and apparently drunker.  One of them even drunkdialed his girlfriend, Josephine during the movie and started yelling at her.  In his frustration, he lit a cigarette.  This caused management to step in and force the group to leave.  They did not go quietly.  All of this was happening during the big sex scene in the movie.  The group was finally taken out right at the climax, to which the African man applauded, causing the group to call him and apparently the rest of us all 'faggots' and threw a water bottle at him.  Thankfully, I was not in the splash zone.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Schenanigans


I spent today prepping for the upcoming job.  Its going to be a doozy.  It will be filled with white supremests, murders, and club kids.  All actors, of course. 
I started the day traveling to NJ to cut one of our main actor's hair.  MOHAWK.
Next, I went to a tattoo parlor I used to frequent to get some unique stencils.  Stencils are what the artists use to transfer the image onto the body before using the needle.  It leaves a blue copy of the image on the skin. I had to go to a tattoo parlor because these pieces are going to be rather big.  This isn't something I can just buy at the local Party City.  One of those pieces happens to be a swastika.  The first artist turned me down.  She's Jewish.  I felt awful having to make such a request in the first place.  I'm happy to say that all of us collectively felt uncomfortable projecting a large swastika out in the open like that.  I now have 12 of them, along with some other large chest and naval pieces.  I WAS supposed to go to church tonight but I just felt really really uncomfortable walking around with a bunch of delicate swastikas.  
While I was at the tattoo parlor, the owner, Hellen studied me and said I was pretty but there was one thing wrong with me, "You're too smart.  And worse, you actually look too smart.  You don't have a boyfriend, do you?"  I shook my head 'no'.  "That's why.  You look so smart, the guys are afraid of you.  Try to look a little stupider."  I stuck out my overbite and drooled on myself.  "That's it!  Now the guys will be all over you!".
Thank you, Hellen but I'd rather stay single than act stupid to attract stupid.  
Super tired, now...gotta wake up at 4:30 to go back to NJ tomorrow.  We start with the swastikas tomorrow.  I wonder if this will mess with the actor psychologically at all.  Its one thing to have it on 'your' body as an actor but I wonder what will happen when he gets home and looks at himself in the mirror and sees that symbol on his chest...?  stay tuned.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

3 piece & a Biscuit!


I recently had the pleasure of doing Paul Feig's hair and makeup for an upcoming segment honoring Steve Martin.  Paul is responsible for hilarious works like Freaks & Geeks, Bridesmaids, and The Heat.  He looked extremely polished and rather dapper, all thanks to his bespoken three piece suit.  I complimented him numerous times.  I just could not shake how amazing he looked.  Paul admitted that if it wasn't for Steve Martin, he'd never have come to terms with the importance of the three piece suit.  It lengthens the torso, it holds your tie in place, and it separates you from the rest of the dudes in the room who are probably sporting clip on ties from TJ Maxx.
Gentlemen, if you have the right type of body (as in NOT short and stout),  go for it....and I mean go all the way.  If you half-ass a three piece suit, you run the risk of looking like an old time door to door salesman.  Get tailored.  Go bespoke.  Don't you dare be cheap and do not go boxy/American.  Do not be afraid to go slimmer than what you're used to.  Experiment with colors--ties, shirts, pocket squares, even socks.  Paul was wearing a navy suit with fuschia socks with yellow accents, along with a pink & white shirt and matching pocket square.  In text, the outfit sounds like it would look a bit loud, but in actuality, it was a perfect outfit for the fall for a rather modest looking gentleman.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Importance

I decided to blog examples of why Hair, Makeup & Wardrobe are so important in this industry.  These are positions that are getting screwed more and more with the ever shrinking production budgets.  They end up being jobs for the director's girlfriend or wife or something of the like.  Sometimes, one person ends up doing all three.  That is happening to me lately, and while I am grateful for the work, I end up getting paid for only one of the three jobs that I do.  To the outsider, its like "Pff...its not that big of a deal.  Its just clothes, some light powder and getting rid of flyways...."  
Idiots. 
Its so much more than that.  I've preached so many times before and I won't stop until vanities are given the respect they deserve.  
Here are some unexpected films that had excellent vanities departments.  I mention that they are unexpected because they're not period or fantasy pieces.

Short Term 12:
It takes a lot to make well known actors look normal, to make them blend in with a cast that isn't so well known.  Can you pick out who is who in the cast photo?  I couldn't either when I first watched the movie.  I only found out after I researched the movie that Brie Larson and John Gallagher were the leads.  Everyone looked extremely natural to the point that I could imagine what these people smelled like in that california heat.  I highly recommend this movie, not only for the looks but for the story and the performances as well.



Fruitvale Station:
Wow.  Just wow.  From the main characters to the very cops that bring the story to a brief halt, this film is full of veteran actors.  You never would've noticed it  because this movie felt like you were watching some goings ons in the Bay Area.  From the look, to the overall swagger, this film is a great example of vanities excelling in dressing characters to fit their environment.   Definitely catch this flick as well!  Its fantastic.


Invictus:
Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe did a great job making Morgan Freeman look like Nelson Mandela.  Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman did not do a good job portraying Nelson Mandela.  His cringeworthy performance is similar to Halle Barry as Storm.  I hate inconsistencies in speech or impediment work.  That just goes to show that vanities can only do so much...


A large responsibility vanities have is to make actors not look like actors, but to make them look real in the world they are living in on stage or screen.  It is up to the actor to exist in said world.