The Addams Family
By Jason Parker Counce
I remember every fall I would rush home from school, throw my books down and get a homemade cookie and some milk from the kitchen. The next stop was the T.V. where I would watch my two favorite shows, "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters." What an unusual time in television, with the black and white programs and the odd stories. I was always excited to learn of the next adventure, antic and stupidity these characters enjoyed. Whether they were good or bad, they made me laugh.
With fall here, a lot is going on at GasLamp, and one of them is the new Front Collaboration Booth. I was feeling a little humorous and macabre, as I can be, when I was concocting the latest one this month. With this mood, my "Ode to the Addams Family" emerged. I thought that as off the wall as the Addams family characters were, there are also some characters at GasLamp. (Who could be whom?).
The history of "The Addams Family" dates back to to 1933, when this cast of the ghoulish, bizarre, eerie and weird had its origins. At this time Charles Samuel Addams, a mere 21, began drawing illustrations for none other than "The New Yorker." His cartoons were satires and stories. He decided that his work could evolve into a way to give people a glimpse into his made-up world. This inspired the iconic TV series in 1964, which poked fun at the issues of the day in its own way.
The Addams' wonderful world of the unusual makes the Front Booth sing this time. Expect the unexpected is all I can say. It's just like seeing an ornate, gloomy, Second Empire mansion. This idea also inspired the interiors of the booth.
In putting together the booth, I started out with a jadeite green mantle. I grew with inspiration by adding needlepoint and Jacobean chairs. I tossed a few old rugs here and there, along with tattered drape panels. It began to take shape.
From this point, I chose to work in an over-the-top palette of colors. These included merlot, aubergine, and dark brown-blacks that were almost the shade of semi-sweet chocolate. I layered it "just so" to give it the feel of being in a dilapidated mansion. Then I hung gaudy gold 1960s lighting and old worn-out umbrellas from the ceiling. If you use your imagination, watch the light shine through the umbrellas; they look like cobwebs.
The "rooms" are laid out like a living room, parlor and dining room. The parlor welcomes guests with an oversized, white "open hand" peeking out of the box on the table, which is, of course, reminiscent of "Thing." The living room is lush with layers and is done in a baroque style with too many candlesticks and mirrors to mention.
The dining room has a banquet feel, with a farm table and mismatched chairs all arranged in purposeful disarray. I purposely let some dining chairs fall over, as though someone had run out the door quickly for some reason. Oh, and I added a final "piece de la resistance": Since Morticia had a distaste for roses, she cut off the heads and arranged only the stems. There are many arrangements like this scattered throughout the booth.
The next time you want to conjure up a look of the ghoulish, eerie and weird, just get inspired by the Front Collaboration Booth. It's fun and will make you remember the "good old days." Whether here in Nashville, or even in Transylvania, this latest display will get you in the spooky mood.