The Oscars are this weekend — who’s done their homework and watched all the nominated movies? I’m a little bit behind, but I know it’s going to be tough competition. Maybe it’s because of my job, but my eye is immediately drawn to the set designs and costumes when watching movies. Lincoln did an exceptionally great job capturing interior design of the late 1800s (I would totally put that wallpaper in my house today!).
SEE ALSO: Kayla’s Oscar-Throwing Party Tips>>
What movie do you think is going to win Best Picture?
After learning of the tragic passing of the legendary Nora Ephron yesterday, I mourned her wit and talent—Heartburn is one of my very favorite movies of hers. And then, I’ll admit, I mourned the loss of her eye for design. I’ve always thought that the set designs in her films were as major a character as anyone Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan played. And then I read this and realized I’m not alone.
After all, I can’t think of You’ve Got Mail without thinking of The Shop Around the Corner. Couldn’t you just picture yourself curling up with a good book in this cozy bookstore?
The Shop Around the Corner in You've Got Mail
While watching Julie & Julia I feasted on glorious images of Paris, swooned over Julia Child’s perfectly replicated kitchen, and seriously envied Julie’s rooftop dinner party.
Julie's rooftop in Julie & Julia
But my very favorite design moment from a Nora Ephron film? It has to be that “stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale COFFEE TABLE,” in When Harry Met Sally.
The infamous coffee table; Photo: IMDB
What about you? Do you have a favorite movie set from a Nora Ephron film? I’ll pop some popcorn while you dish in the comments.
Last weekend I went to a hotel, a candy store, a taxidermist’s shop, a detective agency, a hospital, and a cemetery, to name a few places. Oh, and I saw people dancing, kissing, crying, casting spells, and committing murder. Which is to say that I finally got to experience “Sleep No More,” the eerie interactive theatre piece by the British company, Punchdrunk. The three-hour long, mostly wordless, off-Broadway play is based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and infused with the stylish noir of Hitchcock films.
All images by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times, except cemetary statue (Scouting New York) and masked audience members (Alick Crossley/Sleep No More).
The company took over abandoned warehouse spaces for the set, and transformed them into The McKittrick Hotel. When you “check in” to the McKittrick, you are given a mask to wear, and then set loose, free to explore rooms and follow characters at your will. I was dazzled by some of the scenes between the characters, particularly the dance and fight choreography, but the most impressive character to me was the set itself. It’s a spooky Please Touch Museum, every nook and cranny packed with ephemera and Deco decor to examine for clues. There are hospital beds filled with potatoes, bathtubs with bloody water, letters from one character to another, secret passageways, vials of poison, and real candy in the Sweet Shop. The play has been so popular that Punchdrunk has extended its run several times. I hope they do again, so I can go back, eat a gumdrop, and peek in every last drawer.
So I briefly moved from Atlanta to New York City after being asked to join the production team as a design producer for season six of HGTV Design Star. Totally awesome opening sentence, right? I know! FYI, just in case this new job seems totally random, I’ve been producing home makeover TV shows for about eight years, sometimes also hosting them, while working on private homes for clients on nights and weekends. In other words, this wasn’t my first time at the TV decorating rodeo. Was it my first time taking a subway to said metaphorical rodeo? Yes. The B and the D Line to be exact.
After some time up-close-and-personal working on the challenges and location scouts of HGTV’s hit show, I can tell you first-hand that it’s one of the fastest-paced, most challenging design shows on TV. So much that sleep is pretty much a luxury for producers, crew members and contestant designers. I’m not complaining. The entire experience was awesome. Let’s talk about episode one.
On a recent trip to the movies, I expected to be transported for a couple of hours by a great story. What I did not expect was to think, “I have got to blog about this house!” Tree of Life, the newest film from director Terrence Malick, centers around a family in a small Texas town and moves from birth, through death and every moment in between. What I couldn’t help but focus on, though, was the warm and unassuming house that a good portion of the story takes place within.