Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bon Anniversaire, Cody Rishell

Today's post is dedicated to my friend Cody Rishell, because it's his birthday and because I haven't properly thanked him, on this blog, for all of the ways his art and his friendship have enhanced my life over the past three years.

The first real memory I have of Cody is working the Olympians Festival audition sign-in table with him in 2010. He was talking a mile a minute about The House of Mirth (he had just watched the heartbreaking Gillian Anderson film version) and "California Gurls" (the song had just been released and Cody already had it stuck in his head). Not many people can talk with equal authority and enthusiasm about Edith Wharton novels and Katy Perry songs -- so Cody immediately piqued my interest as someone I'd like to know better.

Since then, we have bonded over our mutual love for Alphonse Mucha, La Traviata, The Great Gatsby, indie theater, and much more. Last year, I served as copy-editor and Cody did the layout for the Bay One-Acts play anthology -- we had a ridiculously quick turn-around time to put the book together (one week) but we ended up having a surprising amount of fun doing it. When I discovered that I could use Google Docs to compile a list of typos as I found them, and Cody could see the list update automatically as I typed, he wrote that his "head was exploding with unicorn glitter sex." Yes, it is that much fun to work on copy-editing a book with Cody.

Cody coordinates all of the art for the Olympians Festival each year, meaning that he recruited the artists who did the beautiful posters for my plays Pleiades (Emily C. Martin) and Aphrodite (Kelly Lawrence).

This year, Cody did black-and-white portraits of me, Stuart Bousel, and Meg O'Connor to serve as the promo artwork for our "Behind the Curtain" mini-festival at the end of March. I love the portrait he did of me (based on my headshot photo), especially the eyebrows!

"I was trying to channel '1960s French secret agent go-go car racer girl,'" said Cody when I complimented him on the way he drew my eyebrows.

Because Cody says fabulous things like that. And then the only thing I could do in response was send him this YouTube video of Anna Karina singing "Roller Girl." (I cannot find a version of this online that I can embed in my blog. But click the link, it's worth it.)

Cody also had an art show last year called "Everyone Worth Knowing is a Mythological Creature in Disguise," which is a pretty great philosophy, n'est-ce pas?

I particularly like his drawings of the sexy minotaur girl who goes around carrying a parasol, which she wields like a weapon in defense of the less fortunate.

Cody also does all of the artwork for San Francisco Theater Pub, and I have to confess that one of the most exciting things about producing a show at Theater Pub was the prospect of seeing what Cody would draw for the program. His illustration for Orphée this month was even better than I could've hoped: it was double-sided, with Orphée on one side of the paper and Eurydice on the other. So if you hold it up to the light, the image of Eurydice shines through the paper like a ghost. I can't find a picture of this online (and that wouldn't be the right format for it, anyway) but trust me, it was amazing.

So happy birthday, Cody, you mythological creature in disguise, and thank you for all of your beautiful artwork. Here's to many more years and much more beauty.

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