Girls Rock Camp this summer was a roaring success. Picking up a guitar is one way for a woman to get into rock and roll, but working behind the scenes is also a viable way to experience the excitement and sometimes chaos of the music business.
It’s a tough gig with lots of heavy lifting and unpredictable, often extreme hours, but for those who are cut out for it the opportunity to problem solve creatively, and the ‘never the same day twice’ nature of the job makes it worth the occasional weirdness.
Mara Brodevskis is a stage and production manager, technical director, and general renaissance woman in St. John’s. As she puts it, “my job basically includes doing anything and everything other than being on stage. I could make more money as a home electrician, but I wouldn’t trade this in.”
She’s spent years in corporate rock and roll here and in Toronto, and also worked in theater extensively. Fresh off tour from Artistic Frauds “Between Breaths,” which she “cannot say enough good things about,” her work with musicals and operas here brings skills learned from a recent stint as assistant technical director with the Canadian Opera Company. It’s the largest opera company in Canada, and the sixth largest in North America.
It takes a certain know-how to go from hanging 80 pound lights to schmoozing at an after party looking professional and cool throughout it all, with minimal clothing changes or hassles. Here’s part of our chat on fashion that works.
Fancy Gloves (From Craft Council of NL)
Very occasionally a trend hits mainstream North American fashion that actually reflects the climatic realities we deal with here. High woolen gloves, reminiscent of the ones worn by debutantes and preachers’ wives at balls and garden parties – but warm wool – and frequently embellished with folkloric patterns, are such a trend. We are certainly not scarce on our own folk patterns on knitwear, and thus I declare this to be the year of the fashion trigger mitt. I showed Mara these beautifully coloured , stylishly designed interpretations of traditional Newfoundland knitwear found at the Craft Councils’ store on Duckworth St. “All my gloves and mitts are knit with traditional Latvian designs. I’m a big fan of the ethno-mitt. I’d wear these.”
Fur Collars and Stoles (from Twisted Sisters Boutik)
Fur, often recycled, features prominently in fashion once the weather gets cool. This year’s twist on it is very glamorous and upscale. Fur stoles worn like a sash and ladylike fur collars and caplets are all over fall runway shows, and here in SJ, Twisted Sisters Boutik reps the look with these recycled mink collars. The opera dame feel is obvious here, but Mara says they look sweet, yet too formal for her personal style.
Patches (From Broken Books)
With both the bohemian and pre-Raphaelite aesthetics holding strong this season, ample ornamentation is a key principle. Beads, fringes, and patches are all showing up on jeans, sweaters, and other casual items. A much more eco-friendly trend than distressed denim, this look is easily realizable with some cool patches and a spool of thread. It results in ripped clothes lasting longer, as opposed to new clothes coming ripped and having a limited life span because of that. Keeping her wardrobe multi-functional is a big deal to Mara, so she figures she might not sew one of these guys on her clothes, but says “ I really like that multi tool patch. I would sew that on a back pack.”
Statement Florals (From Johnny Ruth)
At the risk of sounding like Cher Horowitz in Clueless, demure, tiny floral prints are so last season. Large and stylized blooms, ranging from watercolour lilies like those of Victorian botanical guides detailing exotic flora of the colonies, to waves of irises similar to Van Goghs, cover dresses and skirts for fall. Johnny Ruth / Living Planet’s floral skirt keeps a simple line and lets the print do the talking. “It’s a gorgeous skirt, and I would wear it if I wore skirts, but I don’t like to wear things I can’t work in.”