Costume Play & More | Nebraska Stories

Costume Play & More | Nebraska Stories


(soft music) VOICEOVER: Coming up
on Nebraska Stories, the creative cosplay
of Comic Con, Husker Athletics, seeing
through an artist’s eye, gardening with a
deeper meaning, a healing machine becomes
a valuable work of art, and the colorful craft
of spinning wool. (rock music) (upbeat music) ATTENDEE: I am cosplaying
Captain Avantika from the show Critical Role. ATTENDEE:
I’m playing Marty McFly. ATTENDEE: And today I’m playing
the macho man Randy Savage. It’s just a real fun thing to really perform
these characters that you grew up loving so much. Oh yeah, the macho
man Randy Savage, too cold to hold, too hot to
handle, funky like a monkey. ATTENDEE: I am a Quidditch
player because I love the series of Harry Potter and I
really love this robe. ATTENDEE: Cosplay is a great
artistic form for anybody, as long as you have the will
to get your craft on basically. Really express yourself. (upbeat music) RAINY: Costume play is
what it’s short for. Hi, I’m Rainy and I’m
cosplaying Okuyasu Nijimura from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I am a girl scout
camp counselor, like I run their arts
and nature program. So I work with girls,
I do crafts all day and then I do crafts
when I get home. It’s just committing
to the aesthetic and it’s a money and a
time commitment as well. It’s good. It’s a good way to
burn all that creative energy that you have. EMCEE: This is concept to con
floor beginner’s cosplay. Just kind of some
tips and tricks for wig styling, makeup,
other things like that. RAINY: Out of everyone here, who
wears makeup when they cosplay? Raise your hand, yeah? I’m telling you, putting on
mascara is like life changing. When you cut your
fur, don’t be like me and cut it with scissors. I couldn’t find an X-Acto blade. WOMAN: I’m loving
all the body paint in the audience as well. I really appreciate
everyone’s body paint. RAINY: What’s everyone’s
favorite part of cosplay? LADY: Wearing the costume
for the first time and going to the convention
wearing that costume for the first time.
RAINY: That’s so good! (power up sound effect) (upbeat music) RAINY: What is cosplay? I think cosplay’s a really
good way to express yourself and to become the characters
that you see on screen that you like. It’s getting more mainstream,
which I’m really happy for. It makes it more accessible. (pipe sound effect) GUY: I’m cosplaying as Hwoarang
from the Tekken franchise. In real life I am
a martial artist. MALE: John Dorian from Scrubs. MAN: Hawkeye 4-0-77. (upbeat music) LADY: And I am Zarina The Pirate
Fairy from Tinkerbell. FEMALE: And I am Sasha
from Attack on Titan. LADY: I think like
five days overall. I made this skirt, my
wings, and then my headband. FEMALE: The straps on these
are not fun to put on, I could tell you that much. MAN: Well,
these boots themselves,
took me about 30 minutes in the car to put on. So, that kind of
explains itself. ATTENDEE: Ten years, I’ve been. I first got the vest
and then from then on, I’ve just been growing
every little bit. DAD: Don’t cross the streams. We’re both playing Ghostbusters. I think we started
building our costumes around September of last year. Just kind of acquiring
things here and there. Picking things up from
Army surplus stores. Buying things up on Amazon. Putting together the
electronics for these kits. For me, it’s all about,
when I was growing up, it was a show and a
movie, I was really into. It’s been amazing doing
things with my son. It’s a bit of a
passing of the torch. (upbeat music) MAN: It’s a
great thing to do. It’s a great way to have fun and you put a smile on
other people’s faces. WOMAN: I think
it’s a fun environment ’cause a lot of us are all nerdy and so we all just get
to be nerds together. It’s this really
positive nerd culture, where you can just like
the things you like and no one’s gonna judge you
for it. It’s really nice. It’s a big old geek family. Why not? (rock music) ASHLEY SPITSNOGLE: I have
always been a big Husker fan. I still enjoy doing
abstract and landscapes and animals and stuff like that. But the Husker art, it’s
like a whole new ball game. NARRATOR: Ashley
Spitsnogle’s Husker artwork has taken fandom by storm. A life long Nebraska fan,
Ashley’s path to painting in red began by accident. ASHLEY: I did a live painting at
a teammate’s mentoring benefit or gala, so that’s kind
of where it started. So live painting, is almost
kind of like a performance. I think that it helps people
appreciate the painting process and I think that they
understand art more by watching it like that. Maybe are more willing to
spend more money on art because they know
what goes into it. It was a Tom Osborne,
Brook Berringer. And Tom was there and so
painted in front of him and after I got done
with the picture, I put it on Facebook and
there was a lot of people that reached out afterwards. I decided to get licensed
with the university to sell Husker artwork. And then from there,
I was asked to paint one of Sam Foltz
and Brook Berringer and that’s really when
it took off from there. That one is the most special and I almost get teary
eyed talking about it because the families,
whether it be Sam, who passed away two years ago, their family missing their boy, or the Berringers who lost
Brook 22-23 years ago. They miss him just the same. And they share their memories and they wanna talk
about their kids. So to be able to paint
something like that that is representing
them in a good light, that’s just the
most special to me. (upbeat music) ASHLEY: So in high school I
started doing small commissions for people. I’ve always loved
to draw and paint and then at college, I
majored in art there. Then I went to Italy, studied
art for a month in Florence and came back in 2008 and
that’s when I really knew that this is what I
wanted to do as a job. I illustrated a children’s
book, Josh The Baby Otter. And that I started
in about 2008-2009. It’s a water safety
book for kids. That’s a whole nother
kind of world there. It’s kind of helped
me continue to do art. I didn’t really do a lot of
Husker artwork growing up, I would say. Not even really in college much, but it’s been fun doing it now. I like doing abstract. The process is fun. I really enjoy that. I do oil and acrylic primarily. And then when I’m doing
drawing, I like to do charcoal. It gets really good
lights and darks. When I’m working on
a Husker painting, first I’ll come up
with a composition for what I wanna paint. So a lot of times I use
Photoshop to do that and I’ll have different options and then I’ll finally find one that I think would
look good painted and then when I paint,
I’ll reference that and I’ll use charcoal to
lay out the composition. And then from there, then
I’ll start layering in the first layer of paint and
I just keep layering on paint until it’s finished. I feel like Bob Ross. Here’s a little fan. This fan looks happy. NARRATOR: Based
in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Ashley’s work’s come
together many times through collaboration with the
other artists residing there. ASHLEY:
There’s so many times that we
feed off each other’s ideas and creativity and
something’s not quite right, so we’ll ask someone else. With this John Cook, I
was trying to figure out the composition in Photoshop. It didn’t quite look right. The court, I had too small. And I was just like,
what’s wrong with this? Something just didn’t look right and Jane said, how ’bout
you make the court bigger? So there’s just so many times that we kind of
feed off each other. I really wanted my
first painting of him to be something that
represents not just the coach, but the team and volleyball. John Cook and the volleyball
team deserve a painting. I just think that it’s overdue. I grew up, more of football,
in a football family, so I was painting
what I’ve known and a lot of the
players that I painted are players that I have
also known growing up, and teams that I would watch. And volleyball, John
Cook is a living legend. Maybe, I might still do
another one of John Cook. Somebody suggested,
even with the clipboard or something like that. But I just wanted the court in
the first one with the girls. I thought that would be neat
as a first volleyball one. (upbeat music) NARRATOR: For
Ashley, these paintings, hopefully help connect
fans more intimately to the teams they love. ASHLEY: So it just is natural
now to be licensed and paint these things that
are really exciting to people and I feel their excitement
and that’s what makes it fun. And I think people can feel
that too in my artwork. Like the one of Scott
running out with the team. It’s like a whole new ball game. If I’ma spend time and go
through that whole process, I want it to be something
that people are gonna like and it’s gonna be a neat memory. Painting memories and
creating memories on canvas, where they can be put up
in Husker rooms and homes. It’s just fun. I love going to games. I love tailgating. I love everything
about Husker sports. So, I don’t know,
it’s just made it a little bit more
exciting I guess. (rock music) (soft music) JAN WILHELM:
My name’s Jan Wilhelm and the reason this
garden was started because of my husband. He went through a lot
with his son, his family but many years ago, he
told me to change my stones into diamonds and so I decided
I was gonna do something. I watched him hurt badly
from losing his son and so I decided it’s time
because I know how it leaves a big hole in everybody’s heart. And it did with mine
watching him hurt so bad, so in January, a Saturday
morning, I woke up, I had a person tell me
and I know it was God, he says, get up, get started
with the garden today or it’s never gonna happen. Spring will be here in three
months and to get started. So I called a friend of mine. We started the
Humboldt Garden Club. I put a plan together
and designed it. I took it to the city
council, they approved it. And our garden club got together and we just started working,
working, moving rocks, bringing in rocks, cleaning
down trees and brush, and we created this
garden in tribute to all cancer survivors, the ones that are
fighting for their lives, and to all the loved ones
that we’ve lost from cancer. We also have a greenhouse that we stored a lot of
our plants this winter. The lavender ribbon
has the hope. We’ve made the hope in bricks
and it’s for all cancers. We’re hoping for a cure on
the lavenders for all cancers. Even though we have
single beds here, each bed is for a
certain cancer color. That’s our ribbon of hope. So hopefully someday
we’ll have a cure. (upbeat music) TERESA MATRISCIANO: Well my mom
actually found the garden. She and a friend
went down and visited and instantly just fell in love. She really wanted to do
something for Danielle, something to honor her. And so she talked about
having a fairy made. So she had a fairy statue
made in honor of Danielle. (upbeat music) DANIELLE MATRISCIANO:
I didn’t know about it. I knew that we were gonna have
the ceremony and everything for me, but I didn’t know
about the statue or the plaque or anything that was
gonna be dedicated to me, so it was really cool. We walked around before we
actually had the ceremony and I saw it but I didn’t
think anything of it. I just thought it was one
of the other bronze statues that was out there. My grandma said she found it and she said it was a
perfect representation of me, of always being positive
and the fairy is super, I don’t know, she looks happy. The statue does and she looks
like she’s having a great time and my grandma just said
it reminded her of me. (upbeat music)
(crowd cheering) TIM MATRISCIANO: We had
a great time and it’s beautiful and Jan and her husband just
make you feel comfortable and they’ve done
such a wonderful job. And I was looking around
trying to figure each flower. I consider myself
an amateur gardener, but I was picking out things and I said, look at
that hen and chicks, what’s that doing and
they were different. So you get to see and those
were all volunteer gardeners down there that
help with all that. It’s just neat. So I will be back. JAN WILHELM: I want them
to feel the peace and the love that God’s given us and
remember the good times they had with their families and just heal from
that broken heart. Like we had today, I think they
felt a lot from this garden. People come in here,
get a sense of peace, like God’s right here with us and they could feel like their
family member’s with them. It’s just very
peaceful and serene. (bells chime) (rock music) NARRATOR: On the Garfield
Table near Stapleton, Nebraska behind an unpainted
farmhouse, stood a shed, made of recycled wood. Within this simple
shed was another world. A world made from an array of
everyday cast off materials. In the 1950’s, Emery
Blagdon began creating a unique environment
within this shed to help people
attain better health. CONNIE PAXTON:
His mother died at a very
young age from stomach cancer and then his dad died
as a result of surgery for lung cancer. Those things really
did affect him deeply and he wanted people
to feel better. And in his own way, he
really felt that the energy from the healing machine,
could help take away those aches and pains, just
to help you feel better. He worked on the machine
right up until the last three or four months of his life
and then the shop was locked and he didn’t go back out again. NARRATOR: In 1986,
two North Platte natives, Dan Drieden and
Don Christianson
purchased the contents of the shed at Emery’s
estate auction. For 18 years, Drieden
and Christianson promoted and cared for Emery’s work. Then in 2004, they sold
the bulk of the collection to the Kohler Foundation
in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. TERRI YOHO: The foundation was
established in 1940 and the emphasis has always
been the arts and education. Our expertise is in the
area of preservation and conservation treatment. There are general truths
that I think are prevalent with all self taught artists and that is they weren’t
trained in what materials to use so they often present us with
very difficult materials. Masking tape is a
supreme challenge. The artist, of course, is
learning as he’s creating and that grows and develops
into something bigger and greater and better. Conservation is often
a series of compromises and decisions that
need to be made. Do you treat completely? Do you surface clean? And what our decision
was to surface clean to repair only as needed. That was an easy decision, because to leave
the shed patina on would be to expose,
particularly, the metal pieces to potential corrosion and it in no way
enhanced the art. That was plain
old Nebraska dirt. To describe Emery
Blagdon’s art, I think, is to talk about how
many pieces there are and how difficult it is
to take an environment to dismember it,
understand it, count it, photograph it, document it, and it’s two completely
different experiences. There’s an intricacy, a delicacy and then there’s
the largeness of it. When Emery Blagdon’s
work was being conserved and it was uncrated
and spread about, we had to call in a
number of experts. If you notice, in some
of the chandeliers, for instance, there
were little glass vials and Emery would go to Dan
Drieden at the pharmacy and purchase elements. He would take elements
from his pantry. Because this was going to be
displayed in a public forum, all those materials needed
to have chemical analysis, because we had to make sure
there was nothing toxic. NARRATOR: It
took up to two years of using
modern museum conservation
techniques, to clean, analyze, and document every
piece of Emery’s masterpiece. YOHO: Not all self taught
art is created equal. Some is craft, some is hobby, and some the end
result is truly art, and it’s creativity
at a higher level. But that said,
it’s all important. Some people might look at
Emery Blagdon’s healing machine and say, it’s junk because
he re-purposed found items and created them with
his own inner spirit into something
artistic and special. Might be junk to you, but
it’s somebody else’s treasure and when it comes
to the art world, I think people view it as good
quality inspirational art. NARRATOR: Emery Blagdon
is known by art collectors and museum visitors as a man with boundless
visionary creativity. An artist of
great significance. Blagdon’s healing machine is
considered great American art. YOHO: Never underestimate
what can come from a tiny, tiny little
town in Nebraska in the middle of a
wheat or corn field, because there’s inspiration
and creativity at all corners and someone who does
work like Emery Blagdon creates a Nebraska treasure
that’s respected nationally and internationally and
it’s really pretty special. (soft music) (rock music) (upbeat music)
(machines whirring) PEGGY JO WELLS: I had wanted
to be part of the mill from the beginning, ’cause I’ve always had
a passion for fiber. NARRATOR: There
aren’t many wool mills in the United States, but
one can be found here, near the town of Mitchell. PEGGY: There’s more and more
people that definitely want their product made in the USA,
so it’s starting to matter. NARRATOR: Nebraska’s only
wool mill sits on the land Peggy Jo’s great
grandfather bought. Edwin Brown was a farmer
and a sheep producer. PEGGY: He did
that until his death and my grandfather took over
3/4 of the farm and continued. And then this was
what my dad did. NARRATOR: Harlan Brown raised
sheep until the late 70’s. When the local
processing plant closed, Peggy’s dad decided
to try something new. PEGGY: He took a gamble
in 1980 and started this mill. NARRATOR: The first
sale Harlan Brown made was from the trunk of his car. His best customers
were the Navajo. They still are today. Then one day in 1999,
Peggy’s dad told her he could use her help. PEGGY:
The interest was always there, but I always knew that the
timing had to be right. ROBERT WELLS:
It was a good move for us. It was a big move
because I was going from a science background
to a business background, and it took some time to adjust. PEGGY: I’m not sure I’d wanna do
that first five years over again but it’s okay. NARRATOR: Building
on her father’s success, Peggy and Robert expanded
the size of the mill and updated the equipment, including an onsite
waste treatment process. ROBERT: Living in a rural
community presents some problems as far as waste water disposal. There’s nothing out there
that you can just plug in and it would work, so we
had to start from scratch. NARRATOR: Robert designed
a high-tech filtration system that recycles up to
90% of the water used in the wool dying process. ROBERT: The waste water, really,
is first of all, it’s colored, and it’s high strength in salts and it’s usually pretty hot. PEGGY: With his PhD., with his
experience in science, with his knowledge of research, was able to come in here
and take our little company to a whole different level. (crowd cheering) NARRATOR: All this
helped get the attention of a New York designer. PEGGY: We were lucky enough to
produce some yarn that was used for the last Winter Olympics. Ralph Lauren used that to
knit gloves and scarves. NARRATOR: Though
they wanted to expand to the garment industry,
their major market is the craft industry. They have customers across
the US and all over the world. LADY: You said, I haven’t
seen you in here before. WOMAN: I’ve been a few times. PEGGY: It’s always kind of fun
to see a store customer come in and walk out and say, oh
I just love being here. CUSTOMER:
They have the best wool here. I’ve been buying lamb
bred yarn in Wisconsin, but there’s a lot
more of it here. PEGGY: I still find an
incredible satisfaction just working with our product. The colors, the texture. ANDREW WELLS:
I’m used to giving tours. NARRATOR: And now
another generation is entering the family business. ANDREW: Now it’s gonna be put
into our large inventory that then we can pull
from and ship from. PEGGY: He has a wide
range of experience and then he has absolutely
a delightful young woman that he married. ANDREW:
I wooed her with an afghan. PEGGY: He just finished
kindergarten, and he came to me one afternoon, and he said mom I’ve
got it all figured out. I’m just gonna skip school
and go right into business. NARRATOR: Andrew Wells
went on to graduate college and now he and his wife
Brittney work together. Just as Andrew’s
parents, grandparents, and great grandparents
have all done. PEGGY:
From 25 to 65’s a long haul. You gotta have a lot of passion and you’ve gotta have
a lot of commitment. NARRATOR: When it comes
to running a wool mill, passion and commitment may be
in the Well’s family genes. (soft music)
(both giggle) (rock music) NARRATOR: Watch more Nebraska
Stories on our website, Facebook and YouTube. Nebraska Stories is
funded by The Margaret and Martha Thomas
Foundation. (rock music)

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