Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Ordinary Man

The CD of My Fair Lady includes an interview with Rex Harrison who when asked what song was his favorite said, "An Ordinary Man."

The genius of this song: it is spoken rather than sung. The lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner explained that the word at the end of the phrase goes down because the note would be unsustainable for the vocalist if the last note rose rather than fell.

Positively delicious lyrics. Enjoy. 

I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance
to live exactly as he likes
and do precisely what he wants.
An average man am I, of no eccentric whim
Who likes to live his life, free of strife
doing whatever he thinks is best, for him.
Well, just an ordinary man …
Let a woman in your life 
and your serenity is through;
she'll redecorate your home 
from the cellar to the dome
and then go on to the enthralling 
fun of overhauling you.

Let a woman in your life 
and you're up against a wall.
Make a plan and you will find
that she has something else in mind
and so rather than do either [long I sound]
you do something else
that neither likes at all.

You want to talk of Keats and Milton;
she only wants to talk of love.
You go to see a play or ballet,
and spend it searching for her glove.
Let a woman in your life
and you invite eternal strife.
Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands;
I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling
than to ever let a woman in my life.

I'm a very gentle man,
even tempered and good natured
who you never hear complain,
who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein.
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
A very gentle man …

But, let a woman in your life,
and patience hasn't got a chance.
She will beg you for advice, 
your reply will be concise,
and she will listen very nicely, 
and then go out
and do exactly what she wants!

You are a man of grace and polish,
who never spoke above a hush.
All at once you're using language
that would make a sailor blush.

Let a woman in your life,
and you're plunging in a knife.
Let the others of my sex, tie the knot around their necks,
I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition
than to ever let a woman in my life.

I'm a quiet living man,
who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room,
who likes an atmosphere as restful as
an undiscovered tomb.
A pensive man am I, of philosophic joys,
who likes to meditate, contemplate,
far from humanity’s mad inhuman noise.
A quiet living man.

But, let a woman in your life
and your sabbatical is through.
In a line that never ends 
comes an army of her friends,
come to jabber and to chatter
and to tell her what the matter is with YOU.

She'll have a booming boisterous family,
who will descend on you en mass.
She'll have a large Wagnarian mother,
with a voice that shatters glass.
Let a woman in your life
Let a woman in your life
Let a woman in your life
I shall never let a woman in my life.

And God said, It is not good for man to live alone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Here's my Hat

Getting inspiration from hats viewed online and in the movie, everything but the hat came from Hobby Lobby. 

Instead of using a hat pattern, I decided to use a torn hat to decorate for the Ascot Gavotte race scene.

Because the lavendar color showed through the white satin, the center is covered with a scrap of white material. In this case, some lightweight nylon.

Next I laid a large piece of white satin over the center and secured the base with rubber bands linked together like daisy chains, creating one strong rubber band large enough to go around the hat crown. Then I laid the fabric loosely in pleats before gluing the fabric in place along the edge.

Using double-sided fusing material to cover underneath the brim, I ironed first to the wrong side of the black satin fabric, then removed the paper backing and ironed the other fusible side to the hat. After placing the white satin on top, I trimmed the excess fabric and used a hot glue gun to attach a velveteen ribbon 1 1/2 inches wide along the edge of the hat, covering both the black and white raw edges of fabric.

For the fabric roses I used organza. Using 1/8 of a yard folded in half lengthwise, I stitched 1/4 inch along the raw edges side, curved at both ends so that stitching begins and ends on the fold. Cut the excess fabric along the curve.

Pulling gently on this long running stitch gathers the fabric which then is twisted to form the center of the rose. Continue wrapping around the center and stitch through all layers of fabric to secure the rose.

After using hot glue to secure the feather trim around the entire brim of the hat, which measured 60 inches, I secured the roses with massive amounts of hot glue in front of a fan I made out of tulle.

Now I'm making a ballgown. I feel like one of Cinderella's mice embellishing a dress with scraps of fabric, ribbon and even using drapery trim.

Instead of whistling while I work or singing "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," I watch/listen to the movie My Fair Lady as well as all of the bonus features about the film's restoration.

A fascinating story of artistry, craftsmanship and people's commitment to excellence and the resolve to preserve this masterpiece, the restoration of this "national treasure" in 1994, 30 years after the original film debuted, involved a frame by frame video reproduction and transfer that took 2 years and 2 million dollars to complete.

Considering that the film originally shown in only 300 select theaters across the country, how loverly that anyone can actually own a copy of a copy.

While keeping a notebook of MFL trivia to pass on at a later date, for now the sewing machine trumps the computer. With a little bit of luck, I will finish my costumes soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hat-making 101

When I auditioned for the chorus of My Fair Lady back in November, hardly then could I have imagined that I would make a hat to wear in the "Ascot Gavotte" number .

As in the movie, the Adult Ensemble will wear black and white Victorian/Edwardian fashions. Think the era of the movie Titanic.

The First United Methodist Music Ministry presents a Broadway musical production each year in February, performed at the Civic Center for three performances. Rehearsals began on January 3, and well, I will keep readers posted as to how this goes.
"… I have never been so keyed up …"

My research surfaced some surprising sights regarding costumes. Most astonishing to a person who lives Texas, hat-making or millinery is alive and well, and women still wear fancy hats to the Ascot races held just outside of London, England each year in June.

Check out this video if you want to see some of the more recent creations, including a picture of the Queen who attends the weeklong event.

An American counterpart, The Kentucky Derby, also features extraordinary hats, and apparently these hand-made creations can sell for hundreds of dollars.

So after a day spent hunting and gathering supplies, I begin my own hat-making adventure. Will post pictures along the way of my creation. If all goes well, I may start yet another business that loses money.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Story Footnote

Surprised by the kitten who popped out of the box, Ava loves her new pet.

Kitty spent the first night in her new home sleeping in a pink crate on the nightstand next to Ava's bed.

Ava read to her kitty two books about home safety "so she would know what to do."

Ava asked Mom, "Should I say meow or read to her in English?"

Fellow Reader, how would you answer that question?

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Cat After My Own Heart

Keeping this sweet kitty since Saturday until tomorrow when she makes her debut at Ava's birthday party. A gift from Mom and Dad who have planned this surprise, Ava wants a kitten even more than she wants her ears "peered."

Kitty sat on the book I was reading this morning. She sat there for a long time, warming herself under the lamp.

Granddaughter Ava, six-years-old tomorrow, had 3 stacks of books on the foot of her bed which she intended to read yesterday afternoon.

I can envision Ava curled up with a book and her kitty. A girl––and a cat––after my own heart.