Art, Elephants, and Duct Tape

A while back, I mentioned that I was going to be part of a fantasy calendar that’s in its final two days on Kickstarter right now.

But I didn’t talk about the calendar itself. That’s it’s not going to be a calendar featuring fantasy characters. It’s going to feature the fantasy authors themselves.

This is something of a new experience for me. Over the last couple years, I’ve grown slowly used to people wanting to take my picture. But having someone costume me up and do a for-serious photo shoot is still outside my realm of experience.

Lauren, the photographer who is doing the calendar, hit her 15,000 dollar goal on Kickstarter about a week ago. Since that means she can afford to do the calendar, she’s already on the road measuring authors so she can make their costumes.

And by “measuring authors” I mean she wrapped me in duct tape.

Apparently this is a thing. You wrap someone in duct tape, then cut them out of it and stuff it with newspaper. When you’re done, you effectively have a Macgyver version of a dressmaker’s dummy that’s the same size as your model.

And by “model” I mean me.

Because you only get wrapped in duct tape so often in your life, (this is #2 for me) I figured I might as well take some pictures.

Lauren Zurchin 2

The beard was a bit of a concern so Sarah tied it up for me. You don’t want duct tape in your beard.

Lauren Zurchin 3

Oot helped too….

Lauren Zurchin 5

It’s hard to look dignified wrapped in duct tape, but I gave it a decent try. (That’s Lauren behind me….)

What did I carry away from the experience? Well, mostly that I’ve gotten really fat these last couple years. Really, really fucking fat.

The other thing I learned was that Lauren is a lot of fun, and that her plans for the other author’s photos are…..

Is there a word that means both awesome and ambitious and terrifying all at once? There should be. Her plans are that word.

I’m not at liberty to discuss the other photos, but I can mention that the current plan for mine is “Gothic Circus Ringmaster” which, in my opinion is about the best thing ever.

As I mentioned before, the Kickstarter is going to be done in just a couple of days. And to clarify, you can’t buy the calendar on there because the proceeds of the calendar are going to Worldbuilders and Firstbook, and Kickstarter doesn’t allow charity funding. (The one exception is the the calendar signed by all the authors that you can buy on the kickstarter.)

Instead, Lauren is using the Kickstarter to raise money for *making* the calendar. She’s using the Kickstarter money to pay for gas and food and duct tape. She’ll be using it to make the costumes and props and sets for the photos themselves.

And can I just take a moment to say that I love the fact that her goal is to have the photos be as raw as possible? I love that. Photoshop is fine and good. But if there’s going to be an elephant in my photo, I want it to be a really for-real elephant that’s really there, not just bullshit photoshopped in thing. If someone is going to have lightning shooting out of them, it should be real lightning. Because that’s awesome.

With that in mind, Lauren is looking for a few hard-to-come-by props, extras, and skills for putting her vision together.

Specifically, she’s looking for.

  • A Large Tesla coil, and someone who knows how to operate it safely. Preferably in California
  • Live owls. Preferably in Southern California
  • An Elephant. Preferably in Wisconsin area or Southern California
  • Fire stunt gel crew. Preferably in New England
  • Live vulture for a photo. Preferably in Montana-Wyoming-Utah area.
  • Professional set designers (high-end, not high school musical level), for me to pow wow with re: a few possible sets I need to build.

Just from that list, you know it’s going to be an awesome calendar.

If you can help us out with any of these things, feel free to drop Lauren a line at [email protected]

Or, if you’d like to pitch in to the kickstarter and help support this lovely young woman in the pursuit of her art, you still have a few days left to get in on the action over here.



This entry was posted in small adventures. By Pat25 Responses


  1. Liam
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    There is exactly zero chance of this not being entirely fucking awesome.

  2. DavidLessard
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    The in Salt Lake City, UT has <a href="; title="King Vultures" and an Andean Condor (which might be even better).

  3. DavidLessard
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    The Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, UT has King Condors and an Andean Condor (which might be even better).

  4. chaelek
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    So you mount the Tesla coil on the elephant, and then use it to zap your enemies, presumably while laughing maniacally? Could that just be every month on the calender?

    • chaelek
      Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

      It worked for Hannibal, more or less.

  5. 2far4trix
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    Sounds selcouth. Real lightening shooting out of …a volunteer? May want to add a stuntman/body double to that list, just thinking.

  6. Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    My younger brother is a grip in LA. He’s been there a while and has some good connections. I’m so unbelievably broke right now, but I will ask him if he knows anyone that could help. Also, to go off topic, I’d like to tell u about HANDS ON THE CAR, because my brother is also a fucking awesome dad & he came up with this totally great idea. Whenever he goes somewhere with my fabulous, fiesty niece, as soon as he gets her out of the car he says “hands on the car.” Which is hilarious on one hand, because she puts both hands on the car and looks like she’s going to be frisked by a cop. But it’s also this perfect way for him to make sure she doesn’t run out into the parking lot while he grabs whatever stuff he’s bringing to the park etc. She’s 4 going on 5 now & he has been doing this for a few years. Works like a charm. Best wishes xx

  7. Jiska and Styk
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    Hah! I remember her from Shurturgal. Pat, this sounds fucking awesome.

  8. Holmelund
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

    Awetifying is now an official word in my household

  9. Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:39 AM | Permalink
  10. Howland
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    2 things from the kickstarter page:

    1) I did see a duct taped torso mold on a stand, so I guess that is a real thing.

    2) on the 3rd to last picture I noticed a camera flash sitting in the antlers that the girl was holding. I thought “I wonder if the photographer knows that she left a flash sitting in the photo?” But then I saw the next picture and realized that the flash was being used as a special effect. Neat trick.

  11. elizabethe
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    duct tape dress form! Absolutely. Home sewists use them all the time to make a dress form cheaper and better than those you can buy. You can find a number of blog posts from sewists with detailed instructions on how to make them. Brilliant idea for her to use them to fit costumes to people who aren’t all in the same place. I hope she made you breathe deeply while you were wearing it. You need like two extra inches of room for your ribs to expand.

    Gothic Ringmaster is perfect for Pat.

  12. AlanAdams23
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Stufricktifying – awesome and ambitious and terrifying all at once. Maybe.

  13. Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    This sounds cool. I’ll have to check it out and see what other authors she’s working with as well.

    And, I actually thought it looked like you lost some weight…that kinda sounds bad, but whatever, it’s meant as a compliment from one chunky monkey to the next. LOL.

  14. JBG
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Circus World Museum in Baraboo might be willing to help you with the elephant.

  15. cameronhopkin
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    I know a kid in the eighth grade that built an seven-foot-tall Tesla coil. He is, unfortunately, in North Carolina. However, I’m sure he’d be extremely happy to help out if you find yourself stuck on a closer-by version of that prop. Kid’s a friggin’ genius.

  16. Brady Dill
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

    Hey–I just noticed this (sharing here because it doesn’t fit really well under any blog post)–Manet, the eternal E’lir, who remains at the University perpetually…
    His name is Latin for “he remains”.

    Nice one!

  17. Constance
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    She might want to get in touch with – they’re bound to have access to plenty of Tesla coils here in CA.

    One of these days I need to figure out how to make that Punch-Card Tarot machine I’ve been kicking around in my head… Ahem.

  18. ShaneJ
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    I remember when I first heard about this calender I was wondering just what you would be in it.

    And now I’m wondering how I didn’t figure it out. Gothic Circus Ringmaster honestly seems to be an awesome fit. Especially with the beard. Without the beard? You could never pull it off.

  19. ImaginatoEstVito
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Pat you are the coolest guy in the world, therefore … weight does not matter.

  20. Posted March 1, 2013 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    It’s not on her list, but if she suddenly decides that she needs a knight (or knights) in shining armour upon a fine steed, I have contacts in the jousting community all over the world and could probably hook her up. I know I could hook her up in the central Texas area. She can contact me through the website www dot TheJoustingLife dot com.

  21. Kashiraja
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    I am in LA and have a PhD in physics with experience in high-voltage deadly machines – I’ve emailed Laura.

  22. 2far4trix
    Posted March 2, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    There are plenty of owls in my barn. You are welcome to tease them out for use in your photo shoot. I suggest mice as an enticement, though PETA may object so you might consider wind up mice(old school toy) or fish on a string. There is also a big white snowy owl out there in the bush behind the barn, he seems to like bigger prey than mice so am not sure what you might tempt him with, calendar fame is unlikely to move his soul.

  23. Dragonborn
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    i remember doing that.

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