Monday, November 23, 2015

makeup addiction

When I was a kid I got a job at the Jones Fantastic Show museum when it was on ye 3rd floor of ye Food Circus building. My job was to wear a cape that had the name of the museum on the back and walk around the Seattle Center advertising ye joint. Because I was so obsessed with drama in school and wanted to be an actor, when I was in my wampyr costume I would work hard at staying in character--and he was a real character, because once I had put on the wig and hat, the cloak and fangs, my persona completely alter'd, and I became this creature that I had named Count Pugsly. I had to be careful not to purposely frighten little kids. I would stand and observe the wee crowds of kids who were watching me or jeering at me, and then I would reach out my hand, offering to shake theirs. Timidly, with nervous giggles, they would approach and shake my hand, and once the first kid did so then most of the others followed. They'd go away telling their parents, "He's a nice vampire."

Sometimes I would get bored with being a wampyr, so I would experiment with other beasties. Somehow it occur'd to me that I could do a mummy makeup by soaking toilet paper in a solution of water and flour. When it dried, it would form a kind of papier-mache mask. I was just thinking about it because my chum Jessica Salmonson wrote about it on Facebook, about how the mask would dry and thus seal out air from mouth and nose so that, in my first attempts, I couldn't breathe. I seem to remember we had toilet paper back then (in the 1960s) that was different shades, and I would get yellow or pale green tp so as to add a bit of tint to the makeup. It worked quite well and was effective in public; but my boss complained that the process of putting the mask on and waiting for it to dry took too long, and he wasn't paying me for that but to be out in public advertising the museum. So the mummy makeup was a thing I usually did on those days when Doc Jones was absent from ye museum. To record new "looks", I would go into those instant photo booths, where (back in the day) you put a quarter or fifty cents into the slot and get a strip of four small photos. Thus I was able to capture my most adventurous toilet paper creation:
But ye mask was so heavy and uncomfortable that it was an experiment I did not repeat. The toilet paper method came in handy, however, when I wanted to try doing something inspir'd by Robert Bloch's idea (he wrote an article about it for Famous Monsters of Filmland) about a Clown at Midnight. So I would do a half-mask thing, and then the other half of my face was a kind of corpse makeup. It was fun, because from far away the kids would see the bright motley clown costume and think I was a regular clown, and then they would rush up to me and see the makeup and completely freak out, utterly baffled and discomposed. I'd still get some brave kids to come shake ye dead clown's hand. Then my friends Brian and Steve and I found an old abandoned warehouse, and we broke in to make a wee silent home movie featuring the clown with Brian's movie camera. I've lost contact with both Brian and Steve, and that's sad cos I would really love to see that film again and maybe get it onto a dvd or video tape so that I could have my own copy.

Dressing up as a kid paved the way, I think, for the punk drag makeup I would begin to do in ye 1980's. I still love dressing up, but now I do it moftly on YouTube only.

1 comment:

  1. .

    Those are great photos. I have to try that toilet-paper thing. It sounds brilliant.