Friday, May 31, 2013

Patrice Bell of Bending Threads: Breaking the Box

How has Bending Threads Cabaret Company stayed motivated to perform and put work out there in NYC, a pretty tough market?

We have truly lasted over four years now due to our loyal supporters and our support of each other. Granted, we are still on our climb but we've done some great things in our four years on nearly nothing – the “broke successful artist” approach.

That sounds familiar. How does that approach take shape for Bending Threads?

We've rehearsed in vacant apartment rooms with up to six people sometimes. I always thought it was strange doing so because I'm a little fancy myself and want a rehearsal space in midtown. There was a studio that offered their first hour free to new clients so we had each singer call and reserve a space on a different occasion and each got the free hour.

Many times the decorations for our shows come from local dollar stores! I am known as the "rich kid" who likes to spend money on a shoestring budget...but wisely. I nickel and dimed a pair of custom made shoes for one of our shows.

It was a boot that was designed for "Dreamscape," Night 2--The Nightmare. So the shoe designer, Michael Grey of Michael Grey Footwear, used inspiration from Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas.” But of course I'm on a shoestring budget so I could only afford one specially designed pair of shoes for one night. Hopefully, I can use this designer again when BT has real production dollars.

Honestly, though, each dress for each show has been purchased from an off-price designer store or thrift store for no more than 20 bucks. I also randomly buy good finds throughout the year at great prices because I know I will use them eventually.

For Bending Threads' upcoming LEGENDS jazz show, which again, local readers, is this Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 2 at 3 p.m. at The Underground, 955 West End Ave. at 107th St., you have chosen to celebrate Lena Horne. How does she inspire you?

I admire the diversity of Lena Horne's career alongside her elegance. She was an actress with a committed singing career. She was a vibrant storyteller and if you look back at many of her screen recordings, she always had such an expressive face. That's my inspiration for LEGENDS. I am not trying to impersonate Lena Horne by any means but rather allow her essence to inspire my work as Patrice Bell the artist.


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