JANUARY 2012 Issue • 201
One of Food Network’s top 10 restaurants in America, the Double Musky Inn Restaurant in Girdwood was an unavoidable stopping point on our Alaskan family vacation. This mountainside, mid-forest, hidden retreat rests at the edge of a ski town and exudes everything that is casual Alaska while bringing the exciting flair of New Orleans. While rumors are true, there is indeed a waiting line forming about an hour before the doors open, we found it well worth the wait. Opening with drinks like the Purple Orchid and Pear Martini, we dove into the Cheesy Jalapeno Rolls. These bursts of flavor awaken you from the drizzle outside and relocate you to jazzy New Orleans for just a moment. You can’t help but take in the dripping beads, soda cap ceiling and Mardi Gras paraphernalia exploding from every corner around you. A wine cellar is reflected through dancing stained glass along the entry hall and reminds you a little libation may be enjoyable while awaiting main courses. Scallop Stuffed Mushrooms Rockefeller and Cajun
Popcorn appetizers were both welcomed with drooling mouths at our table. Unique combinations of seafood stray from the typical “popcorn shrimp,” as the Cajun Popcorn includes delicacies like crawfish covered in a light, crispy breading, sprinkled with the perfect amount of Cajun spice. After gorging ourselves on winning appetizers, we needed a breather as our main entrees landed in front of us. French Pepper Steak, Crab-Stuffed Halibut and Bang Bang Shrimp were the poisons of choice. Each perfectly prepared course was wading in a sultry sauce, each with a distinct flavor of its own. The rave reviews from the Food Network were right to call out the French Pepper Steak as unlike anything else, and we would include the excitingly spicy Bang Bang Shrimp in that same category. The authenticity of the food marries the clamor of people and decorations in a perfectly Cajun jambalaya union. Definitely worth the stop. But don’t forget: Go early, go hungry, go Cajun!
I remember hearing author Kurt Vonnegut’s quote, “Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God,” and thinking my parents must be up to the level of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers by now. One prime example is the winter my mom decided to recreate the trip from the classic movie “White Christmas” for her deprived Texas offspring. Most parents (and fellow passengers) cringe at the thought of a threehour flight with children in tow. As a young family on a limited budget, my mom and dad drove for 25 hours straight with my sister, brother and me, who were 6, 2 and 4, respectively. Twenty-five hours. Straight. I think even Vonnegut would say that stretches the limits of “bizarre.” One full day of driving will get you from Central Texas to Buffalo, N.Y., by way of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These were the days before hand-held video games, DVD players or other in-car digital distractions. My siblings and I slept, colored and otherwise tic-tac-toed our way across the eastern half of America. My parents didn’t take a map, much less have a GPS. Our destination was snow, and we found the first traces of falling snow at a rest stop in Ohio. We arrived in Buffalo at the same time as treacherous lake-effect snow from Lake Erie. The cars surrounding us were equipped with snow tires and chains, and they were having trouble making it through. It’s a wonder our Texas vehicle (whose only necessity was air conditioning) ever made it to Niagara Falls. Children our age are excited by a McDonald’s after this length of time in transit. Can you imagine our faces when we first laid eyes and ears on the thunderous beauty of Niagara Falls? My parents often tell the story of me, a 4-year-old throwing my tiny limbs in the air and shouting, “Happy Winter Day!” They sure were an easy audience back then. For me, the magic of our trip began on the blanketed banks of Niagara Falls. Our trip continued to Vermont with two mainstays of the Green Mountain State’s tourism: a classic inn and a cozy B&B. First was the Kedron Valley
Inn in Woodstock, Vt. You may remember the inn as the backdrop to the famous Budweiser commercial featuring Clydesdales pulling a sleigh. AnheuserBusch claims the commercial as the most memorable of all time. As my mom planned the trip, she must have envisioned us riding in a sleigh through the falling snow with Clydesdales in the lead. There was just one problem: no snow. The next night we slept at a quaint whitepaneled, green-shuttered bed and breakfast owned by a couple named Peter and Pat. It was the kind of place you might picture Bob Newhart buying and restoring as he did in “Newhart.” We were their only guests for the night, and they catered everything to our tastes. I’ll never forget our breakfast. Nothing too fancy, but they halved our grapefruit and pre-cut each triangular section to make it easy for us to eat. I had never enjoyed grapefruit before (or since, to be honest), but that day it made me feel like a queen. My parents were more smitten with the idea of real maple syrup on their pancakes, until they tried it. Apparently once you’ve had Mrs. Butterworth’s, you are beyond the hope of ever enjoying the “real” stuff. Peter and Pat’s town of Brookfield, Vt. — like many New England hamlets — is known for certain quirks. They told us to be sure and visit the floating bridge and the sculpture of hippos nearby. Vermont offered picturesque views and charming places to stay, but still no snow. Our trip began to take a turn eerily familiar to Irving Berlin’s tale as my parents found themselves trying to come up with Plan B. I can imagine my dad reciting the lines of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye about returning electric blankets and thermal underwear, while my mom re-enacted the part of the saucy hostess of “White Christmas” who tells the puzzled guests they “take the snow in during the day.” It was disappointing to miss snow in Vermont, but we still retained hope for the rest of our trip. My genius mother had somehow researched (before the days of Gore’s Internet), and found the
most ideal winter setting for our next night. The plan was to drive off the beaten path to a wonderland by the name of Telemark Inn Wilderness Lodge in Bethel, Maine. This secluded haven is nestled against the White Mountain National Forest and included (at the time) an outdoor frozen pond in the winter months. Holiday visitors could skate in this remote setting by the light of old-fashioned lanterns. Visitors today mention the 70-plus welcoming committee of huskies because the inn now houses Alaskan sled dogs. My mom planned this as the highlight of our vacation. An avid photographer, she was hoping for prize-winning photographs of her three little ones, bundled up and perhaps taking falls on the natural ice-skating pond. My dad called the Telemark Inn a week before our trip and each night of our trip. “Is it frozen yet?” The owner would reply, “No, not yet, but surely it will be by the time you get here.” On his last call, we knew the answer was negative. My parents’ minds raced as they thought of the long trip from Texas with new coats and mittens and no snowman or sledding to show for it. Anxiously, they called the chamber of commerce in each surrounding area. I’m sure the secretaries answering the phone rolled their eyes as they knew this was one more southerner in search of snow. Finally, we got a bite. A woman said the only snow she knew of was in the Berkshire Mountains. My dad abruptly turned the car around, this time heading south to find our winter wonderland. My parents are many things. Sane? No. Persistent? Yes. In search of snow, we found what has become my favorite inn in America. My experience here as a 4-year-old left such an impression that my parents took me back again at age 16. We drove almost four hours south to Stockbridge, Mass. If you’ve ever wanted to look at the world in the same way that Norman Rockwell’s paintings portray it, take a trip to Stockbridge. Rockwell painted many of his works here, and the Norman Rockwell Museum is located here as well. This town houses many other artists, writers and, in the summer months, the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Beautiful settings tend to inspire beautiful works. I wouldn’t know any of these things until I was older. What most interested me about Stockbridge on my first visit was the knee-high snow. Our initial stop was to the historic Red Lion Inn. I could not imagine a setting
more like a Christmas card than the view driving up to The Red Lion Inn. But the Hallmark image belies reality. This idealistic setting was at the center of very real historical struggles. Its founding pre-dates our country’s birth. In 1786, the city’s 13th year, Shays’ Rebellion — concerning post-war taxation— swept the streets of Stockbridge. Today the Red Lion Inn is the perfect image of peace and tranquility. A well-lit, open porch welcomes guests, and the entrance is a warm, well-decorated homage to its colonial heritage. The next morning finally afforded us a chance to build our first snowman and slide down glistening white hills. We found a perfect slope for sledding in front of the Pittsfield High School on lunch trays left behind by students. My mom’s dream was realized as a retired county extension agent guided us through the falling snow in his Belgian draft horse-powered sled. I can still remember the sound of my 2-yearold brother loudly singing his version of Jingle Bells: “Deen-gull bay-ulls, deen-gull bay-ulls…” as snowflakes fell onto the rest of the family’s tongues. I’ve framed this image in my mind as the absolute illustration of childhood simplicity. The search for snow was over. We were holding a thermos of hot cocoa, singing carols and viewing scenery that appears to the majority of people only in snow globes. My parents proved that the road trip as an American ideal does not require the typical top-down convertible and sunshine. That trip gave us irreplaceable family lore, memories and traditions that will be retold, regaled and embellished for generations to come. I will never forget the winter we created our own white Christmas by embracing the bizarre and hugging the elusive trail of snowflakes.
Another new year is upon us. The confetti has been thrown, the champagne has been toasted, kisses have been awkwardly exchanged and, as is customary this time of year, we turn our attention toward our resolutions for the new year. Most people’s ambitions center on classic healthy and wholesome goals like weight loss, financial management or the everpopular “last cigarette ever.” My new years resolution is a little different this year. I resolve to watch more Netflix.
30% of internet traffic in the evenings. What’s more, it is becoming increasingly clearer that streaming media is not just a fad, but a new and efficient delivery for the film and television industry’s products. It has been a bad year for Netflix, but I believe they will make it in run. My New Year’s resolution to watch more Netflix is not a ploy to save a damaged company, but to take advantage of the opportunity to expand my horizons and see different movies and TV shows that I may not ever have encountered otherwise. By stepping out of This resolution may sound backward for many the box and watching something new, I open myself reasons - not the least of which is that it sounds lazy. up to the possibility of new favorite TV shows, actors Who makes it a goal to watch more TV? – but it is and more. Like any respectable resolution, I have a especially eyebrow raising after the tumultuous year plan of action; here are six ways I can keep my Netflix Netflix had in 2011. After hitting their financial peak queue fresh and entertaining. in July, Netflix announced that their streaming and DVD rental services would be unbundled, essentially WATCH: TV Shows. doubling the price of subscription for those that Netflix offers hundreds of TV shows, both old and wanted both features. Netflix stock plummeted new, from several popular networks. Maybe you don’t and more than 800,000 customers withdrew their have the time or patience to tune in once a week to business, resulting in a loss of more than half their watch the latest installment of How I Met Your Mother, value. By the end of 2011, Netflix had been named or maybe you are a couple seasons late to Mad Men the worst performer in customer satisfaction in online and you want to catch up before they begin airing retailers. Although Netflix eventually scrapped their it again. Watching TV Shows on Netflix is so much plan to unbundle services and hike prices, the former more cost-effective than purchasing entire series powerhouse service has been reduced to a joke and on DVD, and much less time consuming than sitting consumers constantly rail against Netflix, decrying through ad-riddled network websites. Netflix also their foul business practices, substandard technical carries old TV shows that might pique your interest. support and limited content. When The Wonder Years hit the Watch Instantly Despite these seemingly fatal circumstances, library in October, I was thrilled to see one of my there are several indicators that Netflix may not be favorite childhood shows again. Netflix also carries TV as doomed as it seems. Even after losing so many shows from premium subscription channels like Starz customers in 2011, Netflix still boasts more than 20 and Showtime. Netflix gave me the chance to finally million consumers globally. Those customers use watch The Tudors in full without having to subscribe Netflix apps on all of the highest selling products of to another channel or purchase expensive DVDs. the holiday season, including smartphones, iPods, tablets and laptops. Currently, Netflix accounts for WATCH: Suggestions for You.
writers…before they made it big. Everybody has their favorite actors, directors and writers. We always look forward to what they are going to produce or star in next, and we crave then chance to see them in a new role, older and wiser than before. It can be just as entertaining and amusing, however, to see a person’s roots. For example, everyone is yearning to see Christopher Nolan’s upcoming final chapter of the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. It is anticipated to be Nolan’s best work yet, and many are eager to see how he will top The Dark Knight. Netflix offers one of Nolan’s earliest films Memento (2000), an independent film about a vengeful man with short-term memory loss. It’s clear that Nolan’s talent as a filmmaker is innate, and began long before the Batman trilogy, as Memento is one of WATCH: Educational Programming & Documentaries. the most intricate and suspenseful movies I’ve ever It may seem boring compared to action experienced. In a way, Netflix has become the new packed blockbusters, but Netflix offers hundreds of IMDB for me, connecting actors, movies and directors, entertaining and informative features that you may and revealing new films to enjoy. consider trying out. Science and engineering are decidedly not interesting to me, but when I started WATCH: It again. watching How It’s Made on a whim one afternoon, I Some people believe a movie only needs to be was absolutely captivated by those large industrial watched once. I am not one of those people. I believe ovens and endless manufacturing lines. Almost that if a movie is truly good, watching it again can immediately after I watched the historical drama The unearth previously unseen nuances and themes. Conspirator at the theater, I found a history channel You can pick up on a character’s tone, or discern documentary on the subject. Netflix carries thousands plot elements that are much more interesting when of awesome documentaries, including award- you already know the outcome. I also believe that winning productions like Waiting for Superman and sometimes a familiar movie can be relaxing and The Pixar Story. Although it is an often-neglected film comforting, thus my personal collection of movies genre, documentaries can be just as gripping and is well-worn. Netflix offers such a large selection powerful as any romantic drama or thriller. With a of movies, and every once in a while, I come across few clicks, you can add a powerful experience to your movie that I saw a long time ago and forgot how Netflix queue. much I liked it. It’s interesting to see what emotions and memories resurface when you watch a longWATCH: Your favorite actors, directors and forgotten movie. Many consumers incorrectly accuse Every time you choose a new movie to put in your Watch Instantly queue, Netflix offers 10 more movies that you might enjoy. Most of the time I ignore these suggestions. However, I have found on some occasions that their predictions are spot on. After adding a few comedies to my queue, Netflix began suggesting that I watch stand-up comics’ performances like Daniel Tosh, Craig Ferguson and Hal Sparks. Although I hadn’t ever been real big into comedy central or stand-up comics before, I found a few of these performers to be incredibly funny, and have since added a few more. Not every suggestion is my taste, and the algorithm used to determine recommendations could definitely use some work, but the intentions are good.
Netflix of only carrying B-Movies and flops, but who is to say that sometimes that isn’t exactly what you are in the mood for? WATCH: Foreign productions. Before Netflix, my movie selections were woefully limited to my personal collection and whatever was offered at the local Hollywood Video. Aside from the single rack of Spanish-translated movies, it was nearly impossible to see a foreign film. Netflix has connected the film industry by offering international selections that were otherwise unavailable. Since I originally subscribed to Netflix, I have been able to see movies from all over the world. Although Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium series wasn’t released in the USA until just last year, the Swedish versions of the films have been available for much longer on Netflix, allowing die-hard fans the chance to see their beloved characters come to life on screen. Netflix also offers a few foreign TV shows, including the UK version of The Office. Netflix could vastly expand their foreign selections, but all in all, it is wonderful to have the chance to see a foreign film without having to buy an international plane ticket to do so. We don’t live in a world where consumers are able to throw up their hands in protest every time a company changes their products or raises their prices. If that were the case, Facebook would have failed long ago with the introduction of the News Feed (admit it…you can’t live without it now!). In today’s damaged economy all companies, big and small, are looking for ways to increase revenue and improve technical quality. Netflix probably has some new years resolutions of its own to keep, such as better customer communication and improving their technology. In the meantime, I plan to work my way through a long and diverse Watch Instantly queue, enjoying some old favorites and discovering some new ones.
During high school and college he spent much of his free time singing, but it wasn’t until after he graduated that DeBois started acting in community theater. He spent six years in Ohio working in the mechanical engineering industry during the day and acting at night. “Between the two, I would get no sleep so they both suffered for the other. If I was going to make a huge change, I decided to go at acting full time.” He made the move to New York two years ago. “This is where you can audition for professional theater,” he explains. “I started auditioning for professional theater when I was living in Ohio because I wanted to prove I could get a gig before I moved out here. That didn’t happen, so I just had to jump without a parachute and come out here. Then I did start getting gigs.” Before “The Shape of Things,” DeBois was cast by Brayden Hade to star in a Web series called “Rock Star Café.” He became more and more involved with the editing of the series, and the two realized their collective strengths could add up to something. “I’m good with graphic design and he’s good with ideas and writing,” he said, “so if we combine our skills, we could do headshots, videography, voice-over demos for people and personal branding.” What began as a means to make money became an affordable media collaboration option for artists as well as becoming the umbrella producing title for their own projects. Bruth Media was born. It was Hade’s idea to bring “The Shape of Things” to life again, and it was his suggestion that DeBois play the lead role of Adam. After researching venues, a potential cast and how the production could be paid for, they realized it was possible. After a couple months of planning and rehearsing, they were able to mount the show for a limited run. Audiences grew with each performance and the run was a success. “That’s always a great indicator and a great feeling, both as an artist and a producer,” he said. “People kept showing up in large numbers, which meant people were talking about it. That was great, but the best
thing was that we got to share this work with so many people. The piece is really cool in that it uses contemporary speech, which I appreciate and I think it speaks to today’s people. There are some different messages in there about subjectivity, beauty and art and it’s one of those pieces of art that lets you choose a side. I don’t think it drives one side as the clear winner in the end. For me, I appreciate art that is challenging like that. It encourages conversation later.” The Bruth Media team released “Rock Star Café” in December, has other Web series projects in the works and is looking at what its next stage production will be. “My dream is to continue to create art and survive in the city,” DeBois said. “I wish I could say Broadway is my dream, but I will be very happy to never be on Broadway if I can continue to make art that matters.”
Izzy Decauwert makes people look their best on a daily basis. Whether it’s a group of ‘Divas’ at the Palace Theater in Times Square or a socialite on an episode of the Bravo show Mad Fashion, she transforms and heightens people’s looks. Mad Fashion finished its first season in the fall and is a look at the eccentric and outrageous fashions created by Project Runway alum Chris March and his team of designers from various industries. “It’s a fun show. We didn’t want the drama,” Decauwert said. “Fashion is supposed to be fun.” Born in Hawaii and a musical theater actor by trade, Decauwert had her first brush with wig design when she was playing the role of Mrs. Walker in Tommy. Performance after performance eventually took its
toll on the wigs. And because it was a non-Equity tour, there was no hair supervisor on staff. “At one point, I looked like a cross between Ace Ventura and Shirley Temple,” she said. “I just couldn’t handle it anymore.” Rather than wait for someone to step in, she sought out a solution for herself. “That’s just how I’ve always been,” she said. “If jewelry was too expensive, I just made it myself.” Diana Sikes, a well-known wig designer for stage and screen, taught her how to shape, style and take care of her wigs. After the tour ended, Decauwert started interning at the Bob Kelly Hair and Wig Studio and began splitting her time between acting in shows and being the hair supervisor — something she was
able to do in non-Equity productions. Now Decauwert’s resume of wigs for theater reads like a Who’s Who of Broadway. She’s worked in A Little Night Music, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliott, War Horse, The Lion King and the entire run of Hairspray. Currently, she’s dressing the guys and girls at the Palace Theater on Broadway in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. “If the show’s at 2, we come in at 12:30. We prep the wigs, touch them up and set the show up. You put all your wigs where they need to go and do all your presets. My track is the three divas. I follow them around the entire show, but I also have 15 other wigs for people on my track, too,” Decauwert said. “Then, once the show starts, it doesn’t stop. This is the busiest show I’ve ever worked. There are six or seven hundred costumes easily and every change is a quick change. It’s insane.” Her experience, as fast-paced as it is, has been a rewarding one both personally and professionally. “I knew a lot of the people working there because a lot of them were at Hairspray with me, but I remember walking in on the first day thinking, ‘This is the best of the best in the building.’” Something else that working at Priscilla has provided her is glitter … everywhere. “There are so many wigs and makeup and glitter,” she said. “One of the hairdressers spent the night at my place because [the cast of Priscilla] did the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. When I went to put the bedding away, I looked at the sofa and it was completely covered in glitter. That’s why we say glitter is the herpes of the craft world because it just gets everywhere. And once you start working at Priscilla, you come home and you’re just covered in glitter. But it’s so much fun and it’s just one of my favorite shows ever.” As a part of “Mad Fashion,” Decauwert had to take on a completely different schedule from the theater
world. “It took me about a month to get adjusted to the mornings. I’m a night person. Obviously with theater I’m up until 4 or 5 a.m. It was awful to try to switch to a morning schedule. That was the most difficult part. That and we couldn’t listen to music while we were working because of copyright and editing issues. No music at all during an 11-hour day. Rough.” With filming of “Mad Fashion” over, Decauwert is focusing on making the cast of Priscilla look their best. What’s next? “It’s hard when people ask me what my dream is, but I guess it’s that I’ve always wanted to be on stage in a Broadway show,” she says. “The ultimate thing for me would be on Broadway. I’m almost there. I mean, I’m backstage, but I’m almost there.” Though she misses performing, Decauwert finds that working backstage has given her an understanding of how hard it is to work both on stage and off. So whether it’s crafting a wig to accompany a dress made of bras on “Mad Fashion” or making a wig to turn a man into a dancing paintbrush in Priscilla, Izzy continues to wow fans with her creative and transformative ability of reshaping people’s attitudes through what they wear. “I just happen to have a flair for wigs and I had no idea I could do that,” she said. “I’ve never been to hair school. I’m not licensed or anything, but I got in the union before you had to be licensed. On the show [“Mad Fashion”], you can see that a little bit. You can see I’m kind of insecure about stuff and always afraid that my ability isn’t good enough. “This was something I said I’d do for a year, but it’s steadier work than just being an actor. As an actor, you’re unemployed 90 percent of the time. Even Tom Cruise is unemployed sometimes. So it’s something nice to fall back on and be able to stay in theater. That and I’m a horrible waiter.”
Published on Jan 4, 2012
BLEEP Magazine, the online magazine about creative culture and the people who make it matter, celebrates its first anniversary with Zac Youn...