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Q&A: Designer shares inspiration behind innovative costume designs for ‘Holiday Sauce’

Taylor Mac will perform in “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce” in Royce Hall on Friday and Saturday. Machine Dazzle designed the two outfits for the show, using objects like pig heads and elf fingers.(Courtesy of Little Fang Photography)

"Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce"

Dec. 14 and Dec. 15

Royce Hall

Prices vary

By Eli Countryman

Dec. 9, 2018 7:31 p.m.

Two green pig heads complete an outfit in “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce.” Accompanied by severed elf fingers, the attire’s goal is to showcase the negative aspects of the holidays in the show.

Hosted by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the traveling show will take place in Royce Hall on Friday and Saturday. With the aim to analyze the good and bad aspects of the celebratory winter season, performance artist Taylor Mac asked designer Machine Dazzle to create outfits for the show. The outcome was two pieces featuring holiday-themed colors and iconography, including a traditional roasted pig dinner, which will be on display in the Los Angeles performances of the comedic concert.

Dazzle, who also designed the set, said the show and its visuals play with the holiday duality of naughty and nice. Dazzle spoke to the Daily Bruin’s Eli Countryman about his designs and the inspirations behind them.

Daily Bruin: Could you describe “Holiday Sauce?”

Machine Dazzle: “Holiday Sauce” is a tribute to everything we love and hate about the holidays. We talk about close relationships, we talk about real, real family, who you really want to spend the holidays with and what they really are. The difference between the winter solstice and a commercialized holiday. What are people really celebrating?

DB: As the designer for “Holiday Sauce,” do you have a signature style throughout all of your work?

MD: Yes. I only know that because of people asking me “Oh, you made that, didn’t you?” And I’m like, “Yes.” I guess I do have a signature style, although it’s not like I have any one thing that’s in every piece of art that I’ve ever made. Yes, I have a signature style, but that’s in the eye of the beholder. … The costumes have stories, and that’s what I’ve done.

DB: Could you share any stories behind the costumes for “Holiday Sauce?”

MD: Taylor has two costumes and the first one is naughty and the second one is nice. The naughty costume is sassy and has severed fingers and naughty little elf hands that are reaching for something they’re not supposed to have, necessarily. There’s a consequence – it’s a little grotesque. He’s wearing two severed pig heads with apples in their mouths on his shoulders. (The pig heads) are green and there are severed fingers because they were chopped off because they were so naughty, like, “You can’t always get what you want.” The second one is just nice and whimsical and cheerful and joyful. I like to use the traditional holiday colors but not in traditional (ways).

DB: How did you incorporate the traditional holiday colors in a nontraditional way?

MD: I used them specifically. I don’t know that I would use them in the same way any other time of year. I like using the traditional holiday colors in a grotesque way. It’s not a green tree with a red bow – it’s a green pig head with a red apple in it. And it’s severed and there’s blood. There are severed fingers.

DB: Was there a difference in the method you chose to design for the background performers on stage as opposed to Mac?

MD: The LA show is going to be a little different from other shows, every show is a little different. There are other musicians on stage, and they’re presenting themselves in a holiday fashion. I do think Los Angeles is getting a choir, and I chose to put them in ugly, inappropriate Christmas sweaters because it’s funny. I love humor.

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Eli Countryman
Countryman is currently a senior staff writer. He was previously the 2018-2019 Music | Arts editor and an A&E reporter. He is a fourth-year communication student.
Countryman is currently a senior staff writer. He was previously the 2018-2019 Music | Arts editor and an A&E reporter. He is a fourth-year communication student.
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