21 May 2012

That's Sew Cinematic: Turkey Point Edition

I have a crazy new announcement to make: I am joining another sewalong! And in true Lenora style, I am joining another sewalong seriously, grievously late in the game!

Y'all may or may not have noticed the new button gracing the left toolbar on my blog. I popped it up there about a week ago when I made the decision to join, but I didn't want to post about it 'til I'd figured all my stuff out. That's right, I'm signing on to That's Sew Cinematic...with six weeks left to complete the six garments involved.

It's okay though! Because I have a plan! I have a theme! I picked a film, and I'm sewing specifically from it. That film is...


John Waters' CRY-BABY: the Pope of Trash Does Grease, his first properly shot studio picture, one of my favorite films.

THE FILM

 

Oh, this is the best film my sewalong could ever have! 

Words cannot express how much I love this movie, really. Even taken on its own, outside of my general love of John Waters. It's funny, it's touching, it's too clever to be corny and too sentimental and cheesy to take itself overly seriously. Plus it's about a time period and a music genre I love, and it both stars a young Johnny Depp AND features Iggy Pop. OH, and it's a musical. What more could one want?


Cry-Baby is a story of Baltimore in 1954, when teenagers were divided into drapes (greasers) and squares (self-explanatory), with the clothes--sweet and demure vs. fitted and dramatic--and music--ooey gooey crooners vs. rockabilly hollering--to match. The two groups have their own hangouts, their own social scenes, and, importantly, their own rival gangs.


Allison Vernon-Williams is the ultimate square: the granddaughter of the head of the charm school, going steady with Baldwin, the leader of square gang the Whiffles. When she takes a shine to drape ringleader Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker and the two are drawn together through music, the resulting chaos ends up enveloping not only their friends, not only the teenagers in town, but the whole population and even the local courts and the state Department of Corrections.


Along the way, we meet a wide range of crazy characters, including (but not limited to!) the Cry-Baby Girls, a gang of rockabilly chicks with tight skirts and an even tighter bond of friendship; Ramona and Belvedere Ricketts, Cry-Baby's wild grandmother and step-grandfather, who run the drape hangout at Turkey Point; Toe-Joe, the Sketchy Pin-up Photographer; Inga, the Swedish exchange student; and a maniacal juvie warden played by Willem Dafoe, who leads his charges in hilariously grudging bedtime prayers. And of course there are the requisite "John Waters moments" of ridiculous:


I recommend this movie so, so, so hard to anyone who hasn't yet seen it. It's an hour and a half of hilarity and delight! Besides, I'm going to be talking about it a heck of a lot until June 30th, so you'll understand me better if you do...

THE CHALLENGE

 

I got some new rules, sewists.

I am forever making things unnecessarily difficult for myself. I like to pretend that's because I thrive on a challenge, but in all honesty it's always the same old flaw of character: my eyes are, intellectually speaking, bigger than my brainpan. I get carried away on conceptual flights of fancy with which I find it difficult to follow through. My whole goal this spring and summer--the reason why I'm trying to recommit to blogging, and why I've been so unreasonably excited every time I finish a stage on the Licorice dress I'm working on for Sew Colette--is to develop an ability to commit to projects and finish them as well and consistently as I started. One key element of this is only committing to what I think I can finish.

So when I originally decided to join this sewalong, I decided two things. First, that I needed to develop a comprehensive plan of what I was going to do, and how, and roughly when; second, that my original concept, which was a more holistic review of costumes from John Waters' oeuvre, where the six garments would span six separate films and all that accompanied them, etc. etc., was simply TOO DAMN BIG an idea. I've narrowed things down slightly, and I'm pleased with the scale I've chosen.

BUT! Because I do, in fact, enjoy a challenge, I'm going to be tying this into my attempt to blog more consistently by not just sewing and blogging my six garments, but also writing and posting some Cultural-Studies-and-history-nerd discussions of different elements of the film, its musical elements, and the historical and social background of the plot--as well as spotlight posts on film fashion I'm not sewing (there are simply too many good outfits in this movie. Too many). I guess the way I feel about it is: I'm excited enough about this that I'd just as soon commit whole hog. And if I don't finish or fall behind, well, I'll know for next time that I need to take it slower.

Six garments by June 30th, with all those extras, means one piece of clothing and three posts weekly. Wish me luck?

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