Tag Archives: Rita Burkholder

Clowns, the good kind!

I have been back in town for a week, and finally have a minute or two to write a post about my trip! Many of you know me as the owner of the costume shop here in town. You may not know that I am also a musician/performer/ and aspiring clown! I write original material including skits, bits, alter egos, folk music and more. I don’t perform as much as I used to because I am usually at the shop (which I love btw)! So this summer I took a trip to Wheelock, Vermont to take a week-long “Pochinko Style Clown” workshop from none other than Donna Sellinger.

Donna

I met Donna several years ago, when she came through town with her theater troupe called “The Missoula Oblongata”. They perform original plays with loads of historically referenced material turned on its head to make a person rethink how they exist in the world. Their sets are made of mostly recycled randomness, and sometimes reclaimed trash all of which fit into the back of a minivan with its 3-5 actors! It’s a wonder to behold! Once when I booked her for a backyard play, it rained. And we had to move the furniture out of our bedroom so they could build the stage in it and fit 24 audience members! It was pure magic, and the best show I have ever witnessed!

Moving on, she is currently a Baltimore based artist, writer, and performer. Normally she teaches a 6 week baby clown workshop. But, this week-long was just a taste of the full length class.

It was held at Wheelock Farm in Wheelock, Vermont. The grounds were beautiful and there was no signal for data in the mountains. It was an incredible property. There were eleven of us students total. We were from Detroit, NYC, D.C., Philadelphia, Connecticut, North Carolina and more. Many of us were already in the arts or performing music, puppetry, clowning, and theater. So it was a really great group! Donna kept the class affordable at $250, so I was able to justify the gas there. I wish I could have paid her so much more for what she taught us! If you have a chance to learn from her, take it!

Here are a few pics.

This was the tent, where we painted, and practised our clowning exercises and critiques.

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Behind the tent was the trail to what we called the “Clowntain”. Most days we made multiple trips up the hill to a gorgeous field to do visualization exercises in.

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I set up my tent down at the beautiful stone round house for sleepers. Below the hill was a pond with a beaver dam, and a creek running by. I was visited twice during the week by what we think was a deer or moose, and maybe a coyote or a bear. The second visit had me screaming and clapping to make “it” go away. I was lucky that Becca and Anissa came to rescue me. No more tent sleeping after that. Though I would have been fine surely.

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There were so many flowers on the property. Everything was dripping in color, and the air was nice and cool! Every morning brought me to the kitchen door to meet, and eat with my fellow clowns and talk about all manner of things. The kitchen was spacious and easily held all of us. we ended most days there with a group dinner, getting to know one another better, learning songs and singing them, drawing, sharing music…

Plus, they had the best maple syrup ever, made fresh on the farm!!!

One of the days we stopped at mid-day to visit Bread and Puppet Theatre. They have an incredible circus, museum, and more. They are famously known for their work in social justice activism and sociopolitical theatre. I have been wanting to visit for a long time and finally had the opportunity. These are photos from their circus, and museum. You can learn more about them at Bread and Puppet.

We watched a puppet performance of the eclipse, though we did pause from class to watch the real eclipse later. All 12 of us took turns using the one pair of eclipse glasses. I was also privileged to participate in Shape Note Sacred Harp singing at The Paper Mache Cathedral one night, and I went with a fellow clown to see a shadow puppet play in the ballroom, about immigration,on another night.

Finally, towards the end of the week, we earned our clown noses, and chose our costumes for our final “Something Fantastic” scene. Everyone delivered an amazing scene, some of us chose to do it twice. With our costumes and noses they were even more fantastic!

I was really sad to leave, but many of us will stay in touch, and hope to work together in the future. I ended up staying an extra day to help Marie with her broken car. we spent the morning in town and having breakfast at the Hardwick Food Co-op restaurant. we drove around the countryside a bit to drop her at the auto shop, had a coffee and pastry at a theatre there and then I hit the Museum of Everyday Life on my way out of the mountains. The museum was the perfect ending.

Finally my trip was over, except for the 21 hour drive home. But, I took my time on the way home, so it was a lazy 41 hour drive. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Thanks a million Donna!

 

 

 

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Coming out of the woods!

This weekend is the last weekend to see Huntsville Community Chorus”s youth production of “Into the Woods”! Earlier in the spring HCCA hired me to design, and style costumes for their production. I was able to pull in UAH student Kaylie Miller to design Little Red Riding Hood, and the Witches cape. Kaylie is an intern at Fig Leaf Costumes, she is mainly a Theatre major and Business admin minor in her Senior year there.

We researched the costumes, color theory, and textures of fabrics for each character to set the visual tone of the play. Once this was done a student costumer Leah Purves, and her assistant Sharon Purves took over the costume construction part. They did a beautiful job organizing, altering, and construction costumes for the cast. It really is a beautiful show.

We were able to see the show last week. Local photographer Jeff White shot the play from head to golden toes. All show photographs below are photographed by him. enjoy the photographs, and costume sketches below, but to get the full effect, go see the show!

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What Mime is it? Gospel mime time!

imageWe welcome the spiritual, and gospel mime community. Do you know that we carry mime supplies? We have clown white in both Mehron and Ben Nye. We carry the white setting powder that helps your makeup hold up through your performance. Mime like a PRO with quality product. You can call us to order over the phone, order online with our new Square store, come in to the shop, or we can ship to you! Plus we carry unique colors for accents to set your group apart from another during competition. A little swoop or splash of color can go a long way to help a judge remember your act. We also doing consulting for custom matching outfits and performance wear! Let us help you bring home the trophy! We’ve got you covered!

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Thank you, for a great Halloween Month!

We want to thank you for the best Halloween month ever! Every person who came in was a pleasure to find a costume for. We even got to see some of you in your costumes out on the town. Also, thanks to those who posted photographs of your finished costume to our Facebook page! You are still welcome to post a pic, we would love to see how your costume turned out! We have a few photographs of our own to share! I will post them below.

We had a great television interview with David Wood! It was his last interview before moving in a different direction in his employment. He was hilarious and took lots of great shots of customers and our very own “Baroness Thirsty Von Darkness”! Click on the pic or HERE for the link!

Vampire Baroness

Vampire Baroness “Thirsty Von Darkness”

Matt Wake also wrote a great article for AL.com and included several photographs including this one by Omni photographer “Scott Roberts”. Click the photo for the article! Or click HERE!

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We played a whole lot of dress up, all month.

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Vampire Face

Vampire Face

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Friday, Octobre 30th we went to OTBX for the T.A.P./OTBX meet and greet costume party. All beers on tap were $4 till close. Larry Mason and family were there, and lots of other great costumed guests. Bill Fowler and his crew did a bang up job in costumes provided by Fig Leaf Costumes! If you missed it don’t worry, we will have another one in the New Year! I have to say hanging out with my sister as an Amish brother was fun! She got more stares than laughs, but sometimes it is good to bring a little awkward to a party downtown, right? Living La Vida Local!

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Afterwards we walked around downtown a little. We saw a mermaid and her dead sailor boyfriend. We saw Lance and friends at the Voodoo lounge. He is the White Rabbit, boy was it hoppin’!

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My sister/brother had a great night judging the costume contest at Yellow Hammer brewery for Hammerween on Halloween night. somehow she ended up dancing on the bar with Jessica Rabbit later at Whiskey Bottoms! That is one liberal Amish gal!

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After such a great month we decided to close the shop on Halloween Day itself. Though I was there till 2:30 anyway helping out last-minute customers. when the last customer left, I hung the sign and hit the road with Jo and Ben for a much needed vacation in New Orleans!

Here is the road and Jo’s little bird shrine.

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New Orleans was Amazing! After having the best breakfast ever at “Cake” bakery and cafe, we shopped a few junk shops and the French Market. Then we drove to Birmingham for the Dia de los Muertas Festival. It was nice to see the little celebration I used to attend and help with over a decade ago, grow into a big beautiful thing with major Latino and Hispanic representation. There was traditional music, food, art, altars and alot of cultural blending going on. it was Beautiful! I hope Huntsville can grow theirs to be a bigger more inclusive event. It just takes time. Anyhoo here is a great Instagram photo of me by “Jamie Maloy”! For more Birmingham photos of the event go to Instagram and search #dotdbirmingham or #dotdalabama. You can also add your loved ones names to the rollcall each year. It was good and sad to hear the names of my grandmother, sister Corina Louise Dominguez, and old friend Tonya West this year. There is something beautiful too about acknowledging their lives and deaths among hundreds of others who have lost dear ones.

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We finally made it back to Huntsville. Now that we are nearly done with the laundry we have hung all of our newly purchased masks in time for the Fall, Christmas, and New year’s Masquerades! Come and get them before they are gone.

Now for a little break with Kaffeeklatsch coffee and Pizzelle’s new Klatsch Bar. Yum. We will post soon about all of the new things we are doing locally, and we thank you for supporting “GOOD” local too!

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Ducks in a row!

Good afternoon! I am working hard at the new shop to ready it for Tuesday’s re-opening. There are racks to fill, costumes to wash, signs to hang, and more. The makeup cases are reorganized and in their own room! Plus, we have added a series of makeup palettes for theatrical use! We are considering adding alchohol activate fx palettes this spring, if there is enough interest.

Once again we thank you for your support and we hope to fill the ever growing needs of theatrical, school and public rentals and makeup and more! We are looking forward to a fresh start in 2015!

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New Store Hours and VP Arts Issue!

Guten Morgen ya’ll! We have new fall hours. They are as follows.

Open Tuesday -Friday 11:00 am 6:00 pm and Saturday 12:00 – 4:00

In other news, we are in The Valley Planet arts issue this month. Find our giant logo and clip out the $10.00 coupon, it is good through Septembre for any rental.

Lastly, we want to thank everyone for finding us and supporting us throughout the year! We have enjoyed meeting all of you and working with local schools, theatres and dance groups. See you soon!!image