The current strange thing project is a benefit for Choices, a reproductive health center in my home town. It's called Condomonium and it involves designing wearable art made from condoms which are then presented in a big party/fashion show event to raise money to help pay for reproductive health care for those who can't afford it. HIV and other STD testing and treatment, birth control of all types from condoms to pills to implants to IUDs, hormone therapy for those who need it whether post menopausal or transgender, fertility treatments, cancer screenings, basically all types of health care pertaining to the human reproductive system. And yes that also includes abortion care.
So back to Condomonium...I'm in the process of finalizing my design for the event tomorrow evening. It's Steampunk themed. I'm converting a 70's suit jacket to a tail coat and creating all kinds of fun strapping for a harness/holster/skirtlifter for an overskirt and some other fun stuff. It's stretched my abilities because condoms are not exactly a common material to work with. I mean most of the time the last thing you want to do is poke needles into your condoms. Also, sewing machines generally do not like rubber. I've learned an absurd amount through the process. New ways to use things like press and seal and parchment paper for things they were NEVER intended to be used for. How to finally use my rolled hemmer foot. Sewing stretchy weird materials. I'll make another post about the entire process after the event tomorrow night. I'm pleased with the final design and my model is happy as well so no matter how I do in the competition side of this event, I've won.
My model, Slade Kyle is one of my favorite "interesting people" Let's be honest. Anyone whose resume includes Professional Wrestler, Founding Company Member of a Shakespeare Company and being the incredible Drag Performer Bella DuBalle along with Massage Therapist and Toy Store Manager qualifies as a seriously interesting person in my book! Which in turn makes my life and therefore me, more interesting as well. It's a win - win.
Over the last 5 years we have done any number of strange things together. We've created and successfully run a summer theater camp with 16 teenagers. Bella is a forever Miss Gay Tennessee America (her reign was in 2015) and reached the top 10 in Miss Gay America in both 2015 and 2016. I was made her Maleficent cloak and the dress for her Aurora for her talent number and I was also her dresser for her first year at MGA. (That one might even top the "strange things" list...what happens in the drag dressing room stays in the drag dressing room) We've performed together in a Friend's Of George's production "The Drag Boat" where I played "Criso county's premiere lesbian impersonator", Bella played the "villain", and my daughter, Jessica, was one of her "henchwomen". We're currently working a crazy show by Tracy Letts, "Killer Joe" where he is doing the fight choreography and I am in charge of props and whatever else they may need. Perhaps my favorite though has been performing Slade's wedding to his husband Austin in my backyard labryinth on a sunny February afternoon in 2016 using the vows from the "Corpse Bride" (Look them up, they're beautiful.) He is the Vida Boheme to my Carol Ann and I thank Shakespeare, the Universe and Julie Newmar for bring him into my life. Tomorrow night should be a blast! I for one, can't wait.