Props to the Lady

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These were my favorite glasses to hide behind. They were purchased some years ago to create alien eyes for a Halloween costume. Later, I wore them as part of a groovy 1970s party outfit. Then they were passed on to Lady Liberty who wore them only a few days before her dog ate them. Good thing Costumed Mama had five more pairs just as snazzy for Lady Liberty to borrow.

I was too embarrassed to admit to anyone that I was a “professional waver”… a street performer… a sign flipper… whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t going to tell anybody about my temporary employment. Sunglasses were a great accessory for disguising my face. So was the face paint. Once on the street, I discovered another advantage to sunglasses. They were liberating. When I wore them, which was most of the time, they had a profound effect on my performance. I was free to take chances and be silly because nobody knew who I was. Disguised, I wasn’t afraid to make a fool of myself, but if I took the glasses off for a minute I was exposed and instantly self-conscious.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I put a lot of thought into venturing out on this marketing adventure. I had determined that weather and boredom would be the biggest obstacles, and now over two and half months into the job, I can say without a doubt that I was right. Today’s post is about how I tackled the issue of boredom.

Early on, the wheels were turning as to how I could keep things fun, entertaining and stimulating on the street – not only for me, but for the audience too. I decided props were necessary – anything that would be fun to play with as well as eye-catching to an audience who could only afford me a passing glance at 35-40mph. The idea of bringing my own style and flair to the job was exciting.  I scoured my closet, garage, costume boxes and my favorite thrift stores searching for materials to incorporate into a routine. This was the fun part and one of the most satisfying parts of the job for me. The goal was to find items that could serve as an extension to my costume and move with me in a unique way. I was on the lookout for lightweight materials that could be twirled, spun, shaken or waved. Anything glittery, shiny, flowing or bright.

Have you ever seen something for sale at a flea market and thought – Why would anyone buy that?

It’s what would have come to mind a few months ago when I spotted a dirty, broken bamboo torch lying among the wooden chachkies at the thrift store. But Costumed Mama snatched up the 75-cent castaway, and after a coat of green paint, some gold tissue paper and some metallic fringe it turned into the perfect torch for Lady Liberty.

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She holds it high as she waves, pumps it when she dances, uses it as a pointer to direct traffic to the office and twirls it like a baton.

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Look at this gorgeous handmade hula hoop! I love it. Costumed Mama bought it from Hooping on the Bay specifically for Lady Liberty. Their up-cycled hoops come in several sizes, weights and colors/patterns. It’s not easy to spin a hoop with layers of clothing and costume fabric bunching up around the waist, but with the size and weight of this hoop I don’t need to put forth too much extra effort. I picked out a hoop covered with bright fabric and tape to provide a nice contrast to the gown.

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I was in the thrift store admiring some huge green and yellow pom-poms when a lady asked me, “Do you miss it?”

Wow. I must have been looking at those pom poms very longingly or it could have been the test run that had me pumping and shimmying in the aisles that prompted her question. “Were you a cheerleader?”

Ha! Not even close. I was the girl who spent school lunches in the library and was bored watching sports.

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I was too cheap to spend 1.99 each on these pom poms, but a week later I found my pair of small blue ones for 45 cents. They are great to use when I get tired of waving and when I’m listening to a really good dance beat. I walked into the office one day after dancing with my pom poms and a tax preparer said, “You were a cheerleader, weren’t you?”  I must be a very good actress with an inner cheerleader screaming to get out.

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     One of my favorite props is the ribbon! I was so excited when I saw this product at the dollar store. I was going to learn how to ribbon dance! It works best when the winds are calm or non-existent to be able to get smooth, dancing tails. A few weeks later I found a huge spool of blue metallic ribbon for less than a dollar, enough to make at least 20 ribbon flags. What luck! I taped strips of ribbon to wooden skewers I already had at home in my kitchen drawer. My homemade dancing ribbons are pictured below.

DSCN6664 DSCN6646And lastly, there is the sign. Liberty Tax Service has a closet full of signs with various slogans and promotions printed on them. I figured learning how to spin a sign or do some tricks would be a fun way to keep me entertained. It’s not easy, but I’m learning out on the street. Time flies when you’re having fun.

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7 thoughts on “Props to the Lady

  1. I truly admire you. You always find a way to live out your conviction that life should be challenging, creative and
    fun!

  2. Pingback: Busted! | Costumed Mama

  3. Pingback: Lessons Learned | Costumed Mama

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