Mercury goes direct on my sun conjunct transiting Uranus- AKA An Astrological Costume Story.
My friends who know me often come to me to see when mercury is retrograde, often with a groan. Mercury rules communication and when it goes retrograde, (3 times a year for 3 weeks at a time) it is seemingly going backwards in the sky. According to astrologers, and my 20 plus years of observing it, (it was my friendship with an astrologer that really started my film career btw) it means that matters having to do with communication get muddled, twisted and lost- requiring back tracking and redos which is always supposed to bring you closer to the real truth of a situation. This last retrograde period was especially painful and culminated in the story of the perfect/imperfect sweater.
I have a character in my latest show who is described as wearing ‘tacky sweaters’ which turned into entertaining research that lead to quilting, appliqués, bedazzlement kits and genuine sunglass-needing awe. Strangely enough, the costume houses had barely any such stock as one owner said ‘You can get that stuff at Value Village’, but that in fact was not the case. They’re considered vintage now (I know, I know) and therefore off to Etsy I go.
I find one. A light pink cardigan with lace inserts circa 1989 I’d say. It speaks to me of the whole character. I can see the blouses and necklaces and pleated white trousers... Of course I order it right away. The moment I hit ‘purchase’ I realize my old production office address for shipping is listed. I email the shop owner in BC to tell her with my new address. She replies I need to update it in my profile-which I do and tell her I have done so. Great. Sweater purchased and so many other costumes to tackle until it arrives in time for my fitting.
A week later I’m in the Eaton Centre in the midst of an email-through-Kiiji bidding war over a belt (while trying to shop a character we can’t find anything for) when an email from my Mom pops up. A woman named Janet has left an urgent message on her antiquated answering machine- I think it still has the cassette tape- saying she has a package of mine and there’s a phone number that keeps disconnecting. It’s true. The number keeps disconnecting and since my number isn’t in the book (the book, haha) my Mom gets the message. I can’t seem to access my Etsy account to ask shop owner in BC where the package was sent, again, still in the horrible, noisy, snotty Eaton Centre. Totally frustrated I pay my $24 parking fee and depart with very light bags (not a good thing when actors are arriving in a week) and sit in traffic for 1.5 hours to get to the office.
Finally get on the computer machine and find out that BC Shop owner never checked the address and that the sweater did in fact go to my old office, which is not really a production office. Have to call old production coordinator and he knows a Janet there! So much closer to pefect sweater AKA Centre Piece of Entire Character Design. Janet answers, yes she has the sweater. Yes the number was wrong by one digit, but she’s going away tomorrow morning for 3 days and there’s alarms on the office and yes I could pick it up from her house which she will leave between the doors, but oh! She’s got another call and will call me back! An hour later I ring Janet again- oh she’ll still have to call me back. I text her around 8 pm of my enthusiasm for her address, and again at 6:15 am the day she’s to depart at 7.
Nothing. Sweater has now been taken hostage.
Alright. I’ll do as suggested and go off to Value Village. No fancy sweaters there or at Talize. I even try Sears. The sweater racks are actually pretty empty. But I do find lots of animal and tropical print polyester tops. I start to re-invision the character and fill my cart with the strawberry-scented-cleaning-product-they-use blouses and tops. A day later at the fitting all thoughts of summer floral appliqué sweaters are thrown out and I have a stronger costume design than previously planned for this fun character that both the actor and director really respond to. Thanks mercury retrograde. Hate you. Love you.
And here’s the missing sweater. If you see it, don’t send it my way. I don’t need it anymore.
Just love dressing up, dressing other people up and talking about it. A lot. And laughing too.