Saturday, July 23, 2011

India Nite 2011

I had done a post earlier See Here about India Nite Prep and all that I was doing for the backdrop for Louisiana Tech's celebration of all things Indian, but then I realized that I had not actually posted a photo from the said celebration. Feeling quite disappointed in myself, I searched for something better than a picture: video! I honestly did not know if youtube was going to be able to help me out, but luckily there were three different videos, including this one. I think it gives a good overview of the dances, the food, and of course my little bit in all of this: the backdrop.

I must say that I really did not do a lot of the actual work. My friend Varsha gave me the design she wanted, the gold and maroon fabric she had already bought, and asked me how we were going to do this. So for a week and a half, after work I would trek across Ruston to an apartment where I'm told seven guys live and completely changed the room into a giant mess. It was great.

First I had to come up with the best plan for this giant eight by thirty foot banner on a budget with a deadline. The first problem was when I said "sewing" everyone automatically assumed hand stitching and there were collective groans. I was quite confused because I was thinking run it through the machine and be done with it. After we figured out what each of us meant and I assured them all I did have a sewing machine and we would no have to use glue. So I figured out how we were going to make this. We decided large pieces of "thermaco" or one inch Styrofoam would be how we would make the letters and build the shrine that would house a painting of Nutraj, or the god of dance. Here is a picture of us messing with that stuff:

I have a picture where all you can see is that carpet has turned white from the amount of styrofoam on it. I guess that's what you get when you file it down!

The next part was the hardest. Figuring out just how big it needed to be. After about 30 minutes of arguing about past India Nite presentations and looking at photos, I just said we needed to go there to actually measure. So we did. This was a good thing, mostly. Until the night before the performance. Yeah, more on that later.

So we got that, I did some funky art type math, looked at our materials, laid everything out, made a plan, and started delegating. I had people cut the fabric and sew it up while I drew out the skyline on the maroon fabric, then handed that off to be sewn around then cut while someone was drawing out the "India Nite" letters in a Hindi-like font to my measurements and fixed a few curves, then had everyone end up and hand stitch the city scape to the gold fabric, while we cut out the letters and then filed them and I mixed the right colors of paint, had people gesso the letters so that the gold paint would actually stick, then had people painting the letters while I laid out how the styrofoam frame would be, then started drawing while other people started cutting. Then we ended up paper mache-ing that to make it stronger and then I had to paint most of that, but showed everyone and they helped and did a good job and we got a lot done really fast, and then we used caulk to do decorative elements on it which got painted gold. And the night before I painted the Nutraj while everyone put this up and I didn't get any sleep. Yes. I am almost sorry for the run on sentence. Almost! Here are more pictures:

It was a lot of work. Then they changed the size of the stage on us the night before the performance and it was a frustrating 30 minutes for us, the sound crew, the people who wanted to practice dancing and one grumpy American who had not been sleeping well trying to get this thing done who was now suddenly missing ten feet of stage. At least we got it all figured out and put up! More pictures:

I got paid in tasty Indian food everyday! I also got to wear a sari which was the most awesome thing ever! And I didn't even have to pay to get in. I was late, of course, and while I was getting my money out of my wallet for my ticket several people came up to me to tell me what a good job I had done on the backdrop and the person taking money for the ticket told me "You did that? No way we're going to charge you!" I was quite happy about that. I know in these pictures I don't look like I'm doing anything, but most of these are from my iPhone and I was the one snapping them! Also, I'm sorry most of these are from my iPhone. So here is one last picture of me:

I loved wearing that sari! So blue! So pretty! And I got compliments all night! Makes a lady want to move straight to India!

Anyway. Great news coming up starting Monday, stay tuned!

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