in search of the unicorn:glitter, puffy paint and who remembers ttfn?

Day 2:

This is getting fun.  In the process of creating this project, I am finding out interesting things as I talk to people about the idea.

Mostly, people-my friends-are supportive, excited even.  I’ve learned from a director friend of mine from Toronto that there is another theatre-maker out there who did a show called “Talk Thirty to Me” which intrigues me.   When talking to someone else about the project, my/our generation was said to be “in a gap”.  I’m not sure about this but I’d love to hear from others regarding whether that is true or not.  Elaborating, the person said that we were kind of caught in a position where our struggles were yet to be talked about and we were less unified as a generation.

And, while sipping beers at the brew pub, the topic of conversation tonight:  the importance of unicorns.

My friend Martha, as you see in the picture, bought this lovely lavender and lilac-hued tee shirt while in South Dakota on a fire (she has a real exciting real job working in fire prevention) needed a souvenir.  She was drawn to the shirt which she bought and wears with pride.  The white/purple/glittery horse does not have a horn.  We are going to puffy paint one on, of course.  The question is:  why did we have so much love for unicorns while growing up?  Martha said that she had a shirt with “Martha Ann” puffy-painted above a unicorn that her mom gave to her.  Now, a group of us who are all about the same age, recall, and share stories about puffy paint, unicorns and pastels.  This leads me to another question:

A lot of things come to mind.

For example, Splashes, a place that was geared to birthday parties where you could paint a shirt and they would spin in for you.  Glitter was always involved.

Tie dye.  I do realize that in some circles it never saw a dip in popularity.  I, however, made note of it’s comeback when a team of kickballers rallied and bonded over making tie-dyed uniforms (that were, incidentally, full of light purple touches).  Memories were made, old ones were shared and I think about my tie-dying days.  You created an experience through sharing the crafting with friends.  You could wear your memory, much like what you would make at Splashes, save for the glitter.  You never really got that good at it but you always looked at that shirt and remembered where you were and who you were with when you made it.

Hypercolor.  You all must remember this.  For me, hypercolor shirts reached their popularity in middle school, much to the pleasure of the crackly-voiced boys.  They would run behind the much sought-after girls who feigned surprise when they would smack their warmed-up handed against the backs of the (often tie dye-patterned) tee shirts.  It brought awkward flirting to a new level.

Early nineties aside, what else do you remember about fashion and trends in these last three decades?  How do brands affect you?  I recall the importance of wearing a football player’s jersey on Fridays (I never was asked to wear a jersey.  Those jerks (you know who you are).  Seriously.  I used to get so stressed on Friday mornings!).  And we haven’t even discussed shoes!

What comes to mind is that the age you are when certain styles come out is important.  Who you are and where you are and what you wear during the coming of age years is something that cements in your brain as nostalgia.  My sister (who is four years older than me) waited until Uggs were totally out of style until she lent them to me.  They looked weird in Iowa in 1992.  A side note:  Do you iron?  Did your mother?  How many of us still wear our retainers and who remembers head gear?  When did tatoos start to make their way into your life?

So, as this production takes shape, the question is:  what do I wear for the performance?  Do I start off with tie dye and stone washed jeans, move to Hammer Pants and then end with some kind of sequined Prom dress?  If you were going to costume a show about this generation and had the opportunity to have three costume changes, how would you dress me?  What kind of accessories?  Also, do I need to have bangs?  I never was good at making “The wave” with Aqua-net.  Do we have a puffy-paint content a few weeks before opening night to solicit the artists out their who are dying to return to their lost craft-art?

I’d love to hear what you think about this.  Feel free to write back with any thoughts, memories, suggestions regarding clothing and our generation.

Until next time,


5 Responses to “in search of the unicorn:glitter, puffy paint and who remembers ttfn?”
  1. k.c says:

    Costume- What age are you starting at? If it’s elementary years, I suggest cordouroy (?) bibs or pants (ruffled elastic waist, of course!); a shirt with rainbows and puffed & ruffled, capped sleeves and probably a heart shaped button at the neck; jellies with colored socks or “Roos”; jelly bracelets, and/or puffed plastic hearts/stars/shells on an elastic string-necklace. And of course, the omnipresent unisex child hair of the 80s- The Bowl.

    Middle school- Gag…. pleated, frosted, tapered jeans, tight rolled with the waist at your sternum. Shirts, even tee shirts, w/shoulder pads… silk blouses, County Seat brand stuff. Eastland loafers… (Good Lord, they smelled awful!!), with the weird, coiled-ended shoelaces. Giant slouch socks. Bangs, yes if you can make them look like a tidal wave with Freeze-It, and wings at the temples. Or else long bangs, sprayed “up” at the hairline and then swooped over to the side, the rest of the hair untouched (because the back didn’t matter much in middle school!), or sides & bangs pulled up tight into a large, horrid barrette right on top of your crown. Mickey Mouse watch & panda coin ring.

    High School- Wide leg jeans or bootcut. Khakis. Boots; biker, docs, or even those scary pointed-toe “faux-boots” that stopped at your ankles; or platform-like loafers. Sloppy flannel shirts over tight tee shirts. Ribbed shirts. A&F began to rear its preppy head these years. Choker necklaces. Brown or dark maroon lipstick, even if you are a “spring” complexion. Fairly plain hair, parted at the side, curled under at ends. Mini backpack/saddlebag style purse.

    • project1979 says:

      can i just say-thank you, thank you for this hilariously accurate costume suggestion? can you please go on the road with me? you totally pushed me past cliches and got me into a world i forgot about! slouch socks! chokers! mini backpacks…yes! i was talking to a costumer/designer today about how to do the show. i will be changing between numbers but i am thinking that it will be a costume which incorporates all of the eras but then i’ll put on/take off items during the sequences.
      you rock! and, i’m not quite sure when we loved pegasuses so much. would love to talk to an anthropologist about this. there should be studies done, if not already in course.
      keep those great comments going!

  2. k.c says:

    And idk why we were obsessed with unicorns. I was, too. And pegasus (or is it pegasi? LOL) I guess that’s why I was pleasantly amused when I was “younicorned” last year.

  3. Presches Keck says:

    Do you remember butane curly iron? I think it was in 5th grade in WA state when it was a gift from my parents. Let me tell you it worked great to get those few rows of curls in my bangs before the teasing began. You totally need to have your bangs done. Remember the higher the better 🙂 Didn’t pop rocks come out when we were kids too. Keds shoes…… my parent were poor then, so I got some knock off brand, but I had then in every color.

    • project1979 says:

      i am planning to have a speed curling session for the show. i will see how long it will take for someone to do a perfect “wave” in my hair. i was never able to do it! yes. we must talk hair. keds and pop rocks. i also got the payless kind that kind of stunk. but, whatever!

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