Wig Re-construction 101 (A HairStory)

Wig wearin's my thing. It came about through many incarnations of hair dos. First and foremost, I feel I was born with the wrong hair. I'm all for positive body image but as far as I'm concerned hair isn't part of my body.

Hair's a medium to sculpt on top of my head. (think Troll hair)

First, I tested out glue & bead hair extensions. On top of the process being long (5 hours) and expensive ($300+), it was painful. Imagine having your hair pulled 24 hours a day for 3 months. yeeouch.

I gave up on extensions but found the miracle of the weft and hair bonding glue.

I started frequenting the local Mid-K beauty supply store. I bought latex bonding glue and wefts. I'd carefully glue in layers of hair on my head. I experimented with color, layers and length. But in the end, there were chunks of glue stuck in my hair and scalp. I constantly picked at my head like that weird dude in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.Somewhere during this time I shaved my head recalling some of my punk rock roots. (me at 15)

Also, I got really bummed about chemicals. I'd been dyeing my hair for 15-20 years and thought I'm one hair dye away from producing a third eye. So out went the dye. Which left me with ROOTS> ewwww<....of some unknown mousy dishwater brown color.

With all this experience and a bad haircut to nurse. (Doing my best to claim the shaved head grow out)

I set out on the wig stores on a mission. I envisioned a simple fall, a mid-wig, a 1/2 size piece. Lo and behold, these pieces don't exist. There were add on ponytails, weft and wigs. But nothing with micromesh (i.e. fake scalp). So I bought a decent human ponytail and went to town cutting, sewing and reshaping it to suit my needs.

I came up with something rudimentary but nonetheless wear everyday. (me, wig, and John)

For Halloween I needed to buy a cheap wig for my costume. Every time I stop in the wig store I pump the store people for ideas on how to improve my construction. The owner, without skipping a beat, showed me how to turn a full size wig into a quality fall--complete with the much sought, hand loomed mesh front-piece. She showed me one tiny 1/4 wig that was completely handloomed mesh selling for $550. That's rent! For a wig, not even. She talked me into a smart little super-quality wig for $109.95. I set out to customize it.

I cut the wig in two, leaving the top toupee piece (bottom) and the bottom piece (top). Then I harvested the wefts from the foundation.

I sewed the wefts row by row hoping to get bouffant elevation on the crown. But no luck this time around. Healthy hair is soft and silky, which is not conducive to back-combing or height. :(...I added four snapping combs, three in front and one in back. I've christened this wig "FrankenWig". Chalk this up to another wig lab experiment. After a cut and style....

Fierce bangs!


What it Feels Like to Be Your Own Mom

So it's out. I'm changing life mid-stream. A BIG new, different unforeseen future awaits. It's kinda like being born again. At this age. NOW. The future is soooo 2010. The year even looks cool, 2010 and it IS cool. (or it will be...) With all this future-trippin' I've been freakin' on I culled this idea that we can make our dreams come true at any point in time. New, old, beat, broke or ruined. Perception is everything. And with that I set out make and be (?) my own mom.

First I made a basic nude bodysuit that is my dream come true. (sans belly flub portion in the front). I've petitioned Mr. Black Milk to make me a fancy nude suit to wear under scantily clad numbers. Double-take worthy, What-the-what? Is that lady naked?

I was going for realisim here. Flapjacks. It would have been great to get my special effects department to implant some milk sacks in here with exit holes. The showstopper: squirting milk in my own mouth. Next year?
First of all how inspiring is this? Vagina Dentate purse! That's some future shit. And to think of my rudimentary clothe vag. I've come so far...and there's some much further to go.
I got the idea for the head from local designer Adam Arnold's creepy embroidered and make-upped panty-hose masks he made for a show a few years back. Panty-hose faces are just the grossest! (in a good way). I embroidered the eyes, nose and mouth and added color with make up.

Here's mom all hypo-birthed out. She's more like a zenned out Earth Mother type. It's a wonder she gave birth to a weirdo like me. Jazz hands, mom! Jazz hands! The hands are basically stuffed custom gloves. If I have more time I would have added fingernails.
Prepare yourself: what you are about to see looks a llllllittle to real, maybe? Big thanks to my BF Darrin for shaving his head and donating his locks of love to my mom's vag. Thinking back, I essentially made my first mirken. That's a real milestone.

And here we are again. My little family. LOVE YOU MOM!


Future Traveller: Art School

WOOOOWEEEEE!!!! I got accepted to Parsons!

uuuuhhh, yeah. woah. Spring 2010, February 1st. That's soon. No words can capture the excitement/fear/exasperation. I can't believe the overwhelming mix of emotions. Some days everything seems to fall into place cosmically. Other days it seems like the worst idea I've ever had. My friend Natasha says my doubts prove I'm sane. I hope so. I'm fulfilling a childhood dream to go to a fancy art school, in New York. (all cynical art school analysis aside) And I finally did it! I waited, worked, plotted and schemed to make this happen. It's been 9 long, treacherous and beautiful years here in Portland. I'm ready to loosen the ties and hunker down for some hard work. Now on with the task of uprooting one life and planting another. I'll be keeping up on posts, leaving a digital trail. This is gonna be a wild ride, Mr. Toad.
Above is a collage I made depicted the ideal woman I would design for. The interspace, transcendental time and world traveler. Trippy!

Hightower's Power

This is a Native pin-up/portrait series of Rachel I worked on by photographer, Marne Lucas. Besides being a stunner of a woman, fellow Libran, Marne's also enormously caring, talented, optimistic and hilarious. I've found rad women travel in packs. It's no wonder she's runs with m'lady Raquel. (sorta dying from how rad they both are). I dream of collaborating on creating gorgeous images coast to coast and continent to continent with my ladies. To dream the dream.

Here's a couple doozies from the series to sate. (hair, make up by me. styling by Rachel or "Lady Raquel" if you're nasty).

Marne and Lady Raquel have worked together as a serious dynamic duo. Beauty? I'll say, sheesh. They got it for miles.


Giving Birth to Myself

I love Halloween! I usually have my costume picked out a year in advance and spend a insane amount of time on making it. This year is a big year> a very big year and next year is going to be even more epic. I can't think of a better way to celebrate a new phase in life than to give birth to myself. Can you?

(thanks to my beloved Darrin for shaving his head and donating his hair for pubes. also big thanks to my green lady midwife, Rachel for being there for me in time of need.)

Malice is helping my mom birth me on the bar room floor of East End. Classy.

Here's some more doozies of me, Ash and Rachel getting ready to go out. (note: I kept my wallet, cell phone and a bottle of wine in vajay. mom's a lush)

It takes a village, thanks Sadie.

Check out Meryl Smith's art and props to the originator of the original costume idea.


Ophelia: Spectator/Spectacle

FTW: "Get thee to a nunnery". Choke on it, patriarchy. We got something to say. Look who's looking at who. Oh ladies! Let's just make post-post-post modern art about it shall we? More shots from Modern Ophelia:

Photos by Christine Blystone and Rachel Hightower. Styling, hair and make up: me.


Reviving Ophelia

Lady Raquel and Gigi strike again! This time for a project reviving Millais' Ophelia. Raquel and her partner Christine Blystone (henceforth, "Candy") laid their brainiac skills down on this one and took me along for the ride. With some minor make-uppin', I'm mainly along for moral support and the occasional pill and tit wrangling. Need your hair swirly? That's a job for me! Want to look dead/otherworldly and beautiful? I have some tips for ya! Here are the final shots.

Process shots:


Artist in Her Studio

The last photo shoot I helped out on got me thinking about how artists are portrayed in promotional photos. I love the idea of capturing a woman at work in her studio. I picked out some of my favorite images and artists evoking personality and strength while still glamorous.
(clockwise from top left: Rita Ackermann, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle and Lizzi Bougatsos)

These are some make up ideas that are stark, light/dark and convey sultriness while still classy and feminine.
(clockwise from top left: Andrea de Lempicka paintings, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Beatrice Wood, center: woodcut by Peter Nivens)

Hot Folk Opera -- Hadestown by Anais Mitchell

Anais Mitchell came through town a couple days on tour. I got together with Alicia J. Rose again to collaborate on photo ideas. This time around I did sets, wardrobe, styling, hair and make up. Serious heavy lifting in the name of a great picture. Anais wrote and performed Hadestown, a folk/rock opera, coming out soon. Think Tom Waits and Nina Simone meets Greek Tragedy. Here are a couple teaser shots I took. I'll post more when they're edited and ready for the world.

It was a really nasty day out the day of the shoot. We opted to shoot indoors for the most part at Mississippi Studios.

Here's Anais in a dress designed locally with refurbbed fabrics by Urchin sold at Flutter. You can't see here yet but a pink dress with spandex leggings and knee high boot = ballerina badass.

This is my favorite look with an ascot and brass buttoned vest. Bye-bye cutie, hello toughy.

Widows Walk Lake

Here are some video stills from the short film I've been working this summer. The last shot is coming up November 4th during a semi-full moon. Some creepy stuff, man.

I think Max Records has seen a ghost!
Abigail (Greta Pauley) and young Henry (Noel Taylor) in love! Right before things get gloomy.
Sad, sad Abigail.
Old Henry (Peter Holden)
William with plague mask. chillllzzz.