It’s February and in the world of television that means it is February sweeps, the time when the networks launch big episodes of their shows in the hopes of garnering big ratings. But, isn’t it almost hard to believe that it is February?
As any TV viewer knows, each new season – for the major networks, at least – begins in September and runs until May. Within that viewing “year”, there are three sweeps months: November, February and May. For each of those months, the major networks work hard to either line up big guest stars to appear in their shows – what is known as stunt casting – or planning “event” episodes – which can be two-part special episodes or pivotal airings that advance the overall story arc within certain shows.
Examples of stunt casting for this TV season – or more specifically for February sweeps – is Debra Messing appearing on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit tomorrow night or Lou Diamond Phillips appearing in last night’s episode of Chuck.
Meanwhile, the upcoming episode of Supernatural – set to air on February 25 – will be an event episode wherein Sam and Dean Winchester are transported to an alternate reality in which they are the stars of a TV show called “Supernatural” and they are actors named “Jensen Ackles” and “Jared Padalecki”.
There are other big events and more stunt casting to watch out for all over the TV landscape over the rest of this month at the major networks. You can expect a lot of big “things” to come on your favorite shows so make sure to check your local listings, as you won’t want to miss out on all that February sweeps has to offer.
Artist’s Spotlight: Welcome to the incredible world of Kristin Sirota, a “Jane-of-All-Trades” self-taught costume designer (furniture and antiques restorer and hoop dancer extraordinaire) who hails from the garment district of New York City, a place where fabrics and trims are easily accessible. Kristin has been costuming since she was little, starting out with her mother at the tender age of 8-years-old, making her first Halloween costume: a black cat (made from a pair of sweats and a furry scarf purchased at a thrift shop). That costume was such as hit with her neighbors it sparked her love of costuming. Every year after that Kristin made her own costumes from “found parts” – never a store bought costume. She moved away from costuming for a few years in her early teens, but her love of the art was rekindled when she was 15 years old. Her mother’s sewing machine was kept in Kristin’s bedroom and she couldn’t help but play with it, making fancy pillows and capes for the family’s cats.
During high school she had the option to make a costume based on the descriptions of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” for an English class project, designing and making a dress for Ophelia. While the dress was a “horrible looking pattern with tacky pink satin,” Kristin’s teacher was able to see all the effort put forth on the dress and gave her a B on the project.
In 1999, with the new Star Wars movie coming out in theatres, Kristin created Jedi Tunics and a matching Padawan set for herself and her dad; and that was followed a few years later by her learning about and eventually joining “The Rebel Legion” – a costuming group who attend events, conventions and perform charity work. Through this group she ended up not only meeting her future husband, but participating in countless costume events, booth modeling and even getting to be a background extra in the upcoming motion picture “Paul” (which stars Simon Pegg).
Her inspiration for costuming mainly comes from her favorite movies and TV Shows. Being a bargain hunter by nature, Kristin spends a lot of time looking for the perfect fabric for each costume she creates. She will spend generous amounts of time reading books and tutorials to make sure each costume is fully researched before she makes one. As a hoop dancer, she prefers to use natural materials like cotton and linen in her costume-making. While these materials may not be the prettiest, they are certainly the best for her hoop dancing.
While it can take quite a bit of time to complete her pieces, she has been known to complete a costume in less than two weeks; and in one instance, when making a red Number Six dress from Battlestar Galactica, she completed the piece in 8 hours (from drafting the pattern from scratch to finishing the final hem).
Her featured piece is a replica of the 1966 Catwoman suit worn by Julie Newmar in the classic TV series Batman. This was the first time Kristin had ever sewn a body suit before and she took meticulously care in her research, including how the grain of the fabric would affect mobility. She also learned that the type of fabric used in this piece – Metallic Stretch Lame – contained metal fibers, requiring her to “bind every single seam on the inside in a stretch fold-over to avoid irritation”. Kristin also made all of the accessories by hand, including the claws, mask, ears and necklace. A friend also helped her out by making a replica of the famous Cat Gun that was used in the series. The grand unveiling of her costume was at the Big Apple Wizard World convention in the fall of 2009 where Kristin not only modeled the piece to a very adoring crowd of admirers of her work but also was given the chance of a lifetime: poising for a picture with the legendary Julie Newmar herself, who wanted to have her picture taken with Kristin.
If you would like to see Kristin’s other costumes, please visit here and here. Or if you would like to get your hands on some Catwoman goodies, you can go here. If you would like to send Kristin an email, please send it here: email@example.com