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Friday, November 16, 2012

Pete Rush: Faux Beards and Riot Gear

Posted by on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM

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  • Kelly O
Theater costume designer Pete Rush builds looks that cleverly unfold characters' personalities. Usually his budget is jack poop, so he shops at Sodo's Goodwill bins or Value Village for basic garments and then layers them with materials to create "artsy, found-object-y, Mad-Max-y" effects, such as cryptic electronic pieces, circuit boards, backpacks, buckles, sports padding, metal studs, tactical harnesses, coiling phone cords, plastic grocery bags, police riot gear, duct tape, spray paint, and tarp blankets. Past outfits involved lightbulbs, fake flowers, wrapping paper, Christmas-tree skirts, faux beards made of lace doilies, and a cat-burglar coat constructed from dozens of black leather handbags, still inlaid with coin pockets and handles. And for the lead of a "hiphop devil-worship musical," he used a neon fishnet shrug from Broadway Boutique, discovered amid the standard inventory of sequined booty shorts, sheer body stockings, and delightfully flimsy bathing suits. ("I call it the Hooker Store.")

Other finds include "this nasty old T-shirt I found lying on the ground by a dumpster. It said 'freaks, faggots, drunks, and junkies' and came from some GG Allin tour." (GG was a punk rocker, self-batterer, and public shit-tosser; he was buried in a black leather motorcycle jacket and jock strap following a heroin overdose in 1993.) Because it embodied a role, Pete presented the garment to the actor (he washed it first): "She loved it. She was saying, 'This informs my character so much.'"

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