A Photo Exhibit

November 13, 2011 on 8:31 pm | In Events, Favorite Designs, General Info | Comments Off

I am pleased to announce that some of my photos will be appearing in a group photo exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco. The Harvey Milk Photo Center is a program of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department. The photo center has been a cornerstone of arts programming in San Francisco since the 1940s.

The Opening Night for the exhibit is scheduled for December 1st, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The center is located at 50 Scott Street in the Harvey Milk Arts Center in Duboce Park. The length the exhibit will be on display is undetermined at this point but I am sure it will be at least a couple of weeks if not longer. The normal hours for the center are Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center is closed Friday, Sunday and Monday.

For those of you not able to come to San Francisco, I am including my photographs that have been selected for this exhibit I have tentatively titled “Escape from the Legacy.” To see a single photo, click on an image. To see a larger version, click on the single photo.

These photos came about because my model Alexandra Matthew had the opportunity to do a corporate event in the Silicon Valley for an organization that wanted an event based on the Walt Disney film Tron: Legacy earlier this year. But she needed a costume for the character Quorra. I was pleased when the producers of the event allowed me to create the costume for Alexandra. I described the design and construction of the costume in my blog Creating a Quorra Costume.

As it turns out I ended up making a Flynn costume for one of the other participants, Michael Ray Wisely, a friend of Alexandra. The event went so well Alexandra and Michael offered to come by to do a special photo shoot so I could have a record of these costumes I had made. As they are both Equity Actors the photo shoot became a very special event for me. It gave me the opportunity to explore my passion for photography in both my indoor studio as well as in the hills around my home in San Francisco. I have more photos from this event including some “backstage shots” on Flickr, Tron Lookalike Costumes.

It gives me great pleasure to share these images with a wider audience through this exhibit at the Harvey Milk Center. I would like to thank Grant Rusk and my classmates in his “Photographic Themes and Direction” class for helping me figure out how I could bring my eclectic interest in imagery into a meaningful form for this exhibit.

As a side note I’d like to congratulate Alexandra on the forthcoming birth of her first child and for starting her business as an English, German, and French speaking voiceover artist.

Preparing for Red Dress Day

June 3, 2010 on 12:50 am | In Events, Fitting Issues, Sewing Techniques, pattern making | Comments Off


RD-Bill RD-Susan-Raj
Bill Rivers Raj and Susan Walia
To see a larger version, click on an image.
More Photos on Flickr


Awhile ago a friend of my wife and I, Bill Rivers, mentioned he was going to celebrate his 50th birthday by doing the AIDS/LifeCycle 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles from June 6-12, 2010. We got to talking and he told us about the special day when everyone, men and women, wear red dresses.

Somehow the discussion veered on to the idea that he would like a red tutu. I had acquired instructions for making tutus back in the 70s and had always wanted to make one. So the die was cast. I started as I always do by researching images of different styles of tutus. Boy are there a lot of variations. I saw one that I really liked because it reminded me of the cartridge pleated Elizabethan Neck Ruffs that I had made before.

So when Bill came over for measurements I showed him the images of what I was thinking of as well as the other variations. We got to discussing how to make the tutu so that he could wear it all day long. Bill also expressed an interest in wearing it for the entire 7 days of the ride. So the challenge became how to make a tutu that you could wear with different clothes that were going to be exposed to some serious exercise.

I came up with the idea of building the cartridge pleats on a wide elastic waistband that could be worn over just about any garment. I pulled some waistband elastic from my stash of elastic and put it around Bill’s waist so we could adjust it for the comfort factor. This was the easiest measurement/fitting session I had ever done.

Then I was off to my favorite fabric store in San Francisco, the Fabric Outlet on Mission street, to buy the yards and yards of fabric that were going to be required. One of the reasons I love this store is I can always find fabric that surprises me. I was not disappointed. I found a red net fabric that had a metallic sparkle to it. They also happened to have some wonderful red ribbon trim that sparkled as well and was a wonderful complement to the fabric. From my research I knew I needed to bulk out the fabric to achieve the effect I wanted so I also bought some regular red nylon netting. It was not nearly as lustrous as the metallic netting so I used it as an inner lining for the tutu.

Then all I had to do was to sew it up–Ha, Ha, Ha. Cartridge pleating is interesting to do. But to stabilize it so it would stand up to vigorous wear was a major challenge. But I persevered with the results you can see.

Part II

In the middle of this project my computer died. Fortunately I live 5 blocks from a wonderful business which builds custom computers for me, Castro Computer Service. I lugged my dead computer down to them and cried “Help my computer died.” They took it in and checked it out and told me sadly that the motherboard was a goner.

As I was talking to them about building me a new computer and having them save my life by transferring all my data and programs to the new computer from the old one the topic of the AIDS/LifeCycle came up. It turns out that my computer guru, Raj, was doing the ride for the second year and was being joined by his sister, Susan, the woman who manages the business end of Castro Computing Services with a firm hand–don’t try to put anything over on her. It turns out their mother is going along as a roadie.

Susan and I talked about the Red Dress Day and she told me how much she wanted to wear a cape. I got intrigued by the idea because I have worn a cape and know how hard it can be to keep them on when you are just standing around, much less riding a bike. Once again the die was cast. By knocking our heads together Susan and I came up with a cape that was a full circle of fabric with an opening for her head.

I put one together and when she road tested it, she came up with the idea of adding straps to keep the fabric from flying up in her face so she could see where she was going. It sounded like a good idea to me so I made the addition.

And of course we couldn’t leave Raj out of the picture. He is a very masculine kind of guy so I envisioned him with a vest. Thinking of my conversation with Bill I wanted to create something that could be worn over any other garment. When he came by for measurements and a quick draping fit I could see he was disappointed in not having more. We talked back and forth and decided a frilly skirt would be a nice addition. Strong masculine from the waist up and nice and feminine from the waist down.

Back to my favorite fabric store where I found a lovely crushed, panne velvet with nice frilly lace for the skirt. You gotta love a fabric store that so consistently delivers the goods. They have a fabric and notion selection to die for.

But enough of me talking. Check out this YouTube where you can hear about this ride from Bill, Susan, and Raj and this wonderful venture they are participating in.

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