Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cuba in Basel: EG Lounge

Ella and Uncle Thierry
I like the kind of destination that transports me to another place without really leaving where I am and without doing too many drugs... So when the kids took me to their uncle's bar, suddenly I felt like we were in a lovely little hacienda, enjoying a break in the beach life in a Latin American country.  It's really all down to Thierry Dunkel and Philippe Kiefer's hospitality and the need to feel like the summer really is not ending, but the EG Lounge, a souped up courtyard between Parterre and the Reithalle is wall to wall sand, has lovely lounge chairs and the bartenders will serve you up some mean drinks, so that, buzz-wise you can convince yourself you are on the other side of the Rio Grande.  Take your shoes off and don't forget to bring some sand toys.  Obviously, it opens so late that it's not really for kids, but they might get jealous if they find out you've been there without them.  There is a rain cover and heating so never mind that you have to wear a winter coat to get there.  Check it out, here's the link:http://www.parterre.net/?navid=Z776NG
Or just go to the Kaserne in Kleinbasel and ask around.  They open in the evenings.
Yours,
Mrs Crocodile



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Friday, August 20, 2010

Alexanderfest at the Augusta Raurica

The most exciting thing I'm doing right now is working backstage as a dresser at the Alexanderfest at the Augusta Raurica, the Roman theater in Augst.  The production is being put on by the Theater Basel and is billed as a mix of Opera and Oratorium by Handel.  If you remember to take a blanket and a thermos flask and pray for no rain, you'll stay warm enough till you can go back home with stars in your eyes and the warm feeling of having participated in something wonderful.  But in the back is where I'd really rather be.  These two extras: Bettina Kestenholz and Noelle Blind have the hard but exhilarating job of being cinched into a corset, then stepping into a ten-kilo skirt (that's a 22-pounder to you) which is made of plastic crystals and ribbing.  This costume is nothing less than brilliant and in fact the highlight is when they flick on a switch and the skirts light up.  It's something between Christmas tree and chandelier, but it's really one of those take-your-breath-away moments when fantasy becomes reality.  This time, I assure you folks, the reality is better than the fantasy.  Okay, okay, it's on the stage, so who knows if it's really reality?  So if you can't make it to see it in the flesh, visualize the designs by erte which were too heavy ever to be built, or the elaborate costume drawings Dali made, add a whole team of very skilled seamstresses and tailors, the best of what Basel has to offer and BANG!  The light comes on!  You're wearing it!  The designer of this creation is the costume designer Marie-Thérèse Jossen.
Oh! I almost forgot!  It is of course all about the music so when you go you'll bask in the best voices of Basel and be treated to wonderful special effects, but for me these extras should get all the glory, the team of skilled seamstresses behind them and of course the lighting people who have to check the chargers every night.
So to see this skirt in all of its crystal glory, and to experience the cast of about 70 in the open air, get tickets on the Theater Basel web-page: http://www.theater-basel.ch/
There you'll also be able to read all about the story and the people behind this production.  I like the web-cam, too, where you can see what's going on there right now: http://camserver.z-online.ch/showpics_01.asp?KundenID=&S=1&OwnPic=1&cam=a11r
Yours,
Mrs Crocodile


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Somewhere in the middle, feeling as big as a soufflé

My 'horror'-scope said I should do something creative today.  Oh shreck!  As if everything I had done up till reading those words had been un-creative.  And to be fair, the cutting up of life is a little like un-doing something.  Well, here is a collage that should set the mood:  Her body is a soufflé.  She's feeling just a tad bloated and could fall at any moment.  Her arms are big fluffy purple fur for pushing people out of the way.  She put on two different pairs of shoes before she left the house.  Her legs are sweet, just some wrappers from chocolates.  Her hat is a chandelier.  So here you have it: some days are just like this: You wake up, find yourself bloated, two different shoes on and a chandelier on your head with sweet legs you don't know are going to hold you up.  Oh!  I almost forgot!  You're walking up stairs ten times your size.
My dear readers, don't worry, the weather is awful, but the day is not so bad, I'm just pondering the un-creation of things, so I can un-do things and re-do them.  
"It's a step backwards, " you say.  No, actually, it's forwards but it's a little like the song with the king's soldiers, when you're up, you're up and when you're down, you're down and when you're only half-way up, you're neither up nor down. I leave you with that today and now I must excuse myself because I'm off to (un)create something else.
Yours, with two different shoes on,
Mrs Crocodile



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