It was my last day in grunge but I wasn’t going to end this project quietly, I was going to go out with a bang!
Encounter 1: I had a busy day ahead of me full of traveling, helping with photo shoots, and studying for finals somewhere in between. I was on the road by 9am to help Mike set up for a shoot in Lakewood. He failed to mention that this shoot was 1. A family portrait 2. Was at someones house 3. And old people would be there. I was in costume at a random persons house and I probably scared Great-Grandma. Yes I was mortified… I eventually got over my embarrassment and helped set up the backdrop and lighting for the family portrait. Great-Grandma kept eyeing me, I caught her numerous times! The lighting had to be tested so I was the guinea pig, these were taken as sample pictures I did not pose nor did I expect these to make it to the final cut.
When I go grunge, I only do it on the weekends and I make sure that I scare Great-Grandma in the process by Mike M Images
Smeared makeup, high waisted jeans, Pearl Jam t-shirt… Yea, I think I finally nailed it. By Mike M Images
The shoot went by really fast, it was the setting up and breaking down that took the longest. The family (minus Great-Grandma) did not give me funny looks or treat me any differently, they were all really nice. Before I left I told them I was in character and don’t normally dress like this. I think they were relived to know that I was not a crazy person. After this shoot we had to go to Downtown Disney (next to Disneyland) to do another photo shoot, yes another
freaking family portrait.
Encounter 2: So we’re in Downtown Disney, OK I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO GET WEIRD LOOKS HERE right? I went up to the hostess at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen to test out my theory. I got minor elevator eyes but was seated promptly in the bar next to the live band in front of a pillar (wtf). I left to use the ladies restroom. When I came back out to wash my hands, the lady next to me said I was missing Mickey ears on my beanie. Eh, I’m at Downtown Disney valid point. As I walked back to the table I scoured the room for sour looks. I got none in return. The waitress had served Mike promptly but took a while to come back and get my order. It was busy, not jumping the gun here. Needless to say the only thing interesting here was the live band.
After brunch we waited for the next family at the Disneyland Hotel….and waited….and waited… And then something amazing happened! I ran into one of my buddies from Sacramento! It was a relief to see a familiar face but at Downtown Disney of all places what are the chances? I didn’t take a picture with him but a candid one was taken of me while we (you guessed it) waited.
Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, Disneyland has gone grunge! By Mike M Images
It was really hard for me to leave my makeup alone and not touch up but by the third day I was golden! By Mike M Images
Turns out they didn’t know there were two different Disney hotels but we eventually met up with the family at the California Lodge to take their portrait. They were younger and had smaller children than the last family. I was relived because this time there was no setting up and breaking down just shooting. My sole job was to hold the flash. Winning!
Encounter 3: The Mom noticed my shirt and even complimented me on it. I was caught off guard and I even think I said something like. Really? She went on to say that it was one of her favorite bands. I admitted to her that I was in costume and was a Pearl Jam poser. A few minutes later after the Dad was done getting the baby out of the stroller he mentioned that I would get along with his wife because we both liked Pearl Jam. D’oh.
After the portraits, Mike and I headed back out to Downtown Disney to take some final shots before the grunge outfit goes into retirement.
The beanie was itchy, and the shirt had to come out. I was so ready to be done for the day. By Mike M Images
I have no clue what I’m doing but I obviously got someones attention. By Mike M Images
This is my favorite picture out of the whole project I look genuinely crazy. By Mike M Images
Places visited: Clients home (Lakewood), Downtown Disney (Anaheim), Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Anaheim), Disneyland Hotel (Anaheim), California Lodge (Anaheim).
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
I spent a total of 20 hours in character but most importantly my poor stomach survived the whole weekend being stuck in those jeans! Even though the weather had been overcast and rainy, Los Angeles has yet to get cold enough for layers hence this being a popular look for colder areas like Seattle.
I learned that grunge really isn’t as dramatic as it was depicted out to be and I was not treated differently. People did not look twice at me and I blended in for the most part. I did find it funny that a lot of people on Facebook liked my “grunge” look better than what I normally wear and I was amused when I got checked out twice by two different men. I also got a lot of complements from my friends when I wore black eyeshadow on day 2, I guess less isn’t more. Interesting fact: I heard a few different renditions of Nirvana’s 1991 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” everyday I was in costume, talk about freaky!
So, would I do it again? Yes but I’d rather do a different subculture of rock like goth or punk so I could get the full experience of what it’s like to be stared at and feared by children 🙂
Shout out to Bel Kazan, Mike McKay of Mike M Images, Sara Villegas, my Facebook friends and my followers on Instagram. I couldn’t have done it without you, THANK YOU!