Having the opportunity to help costume the performers in Nick Cave’s HEARD Performance at Lights on Tampa this year was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. Not only did I get to see the performance up close and personal, I also got the backstage insider to see how much time and effort goes into putting on these shows.
Each full horse costume can be seen in their appropriate boxes in the back staging room of the Tampa Museum of Art. The horse costumes comprise of two dancers: the head and the butt. You can also see the furry Soundsuit costumes hanging up, waiting to be combed down by the assistants.
This performer is in the head costume, which is consists of raffia (the straw-like material) pants, and the top part is a big horse-head shoulder-pad with a large raffia cape. It’s interesting how simple overall construction can turn into incredible results.
Once the performers were ready, the “horse butt” performer would crawl under the horse head cape and seamlessly transform into wobbling, dancing horses.
Here are a few video clips from the two performance nights:
Here is the man himself: Nick Cave attending to his Heard, making sure all of the costumes are settled on the performers nicely.
Some extra performance pictures courtesy of my sister:
And of course I had to get a picture with my horse performers!
As the sun went down, Curtis Hixon Park really glowed at night with the Lights on Tampa installations. Here is artist Silvia Curbelo’s “Up-Lit Words”: Can You Stand Perfectly Still And Hold This Moment Open? In the background on the Sykes building is the “Sky Striker” piece by Traction Architecture. It resembles old-fashioned High Striker games at carnivals where you swing a mallet at the base of the machine to get the puck to ring the bell at the top. As participants swung the mallet, their actions were reflected with lighted rings climbing the building.
“River Glow” by Wannemacher Jensen Architects in St Pete created this underwater light installation to expose the ecosystem we tend to forget in the city environment. This installation will be reinstalled as a permanent fixture after the Lights on Tampa event.
“Recurrence” is a light piece by Chicago-based Luftwerk. This light installation takes after the tidal ebb and flow of the Hillsborough River by rhythmically twinkling in Kiley Gardens.
Having never been to a Lights on Tampa event before, I was really impressed with how everything pulled together and am really glad I got to be a part of it. The whole experience walking through the park at night (especially on the first night when there weren’t as many people) was quite mesmerizing. You know I’ll be there next year!