Thursday, August 2, 2012

Seoul, S. Korea--Olympic Stadium

Lady Gaga concert.  Olympic Stadium, S. Korea.

I have been on a brief hiatus from blogging, but, was inspired to write a word or two when I came across this photo I shot this spring in Seoul, S. Korea at the Olympic Stadium (1988).  I think I was more taken with the prominence and significance of the Olympic rings, than the Lady Gaga banner beneath it, considering my daily dose of sport this past week.  By no means am I an athlete, nor athletic, but, with the 2012 summer Olympic games in full swing, I revere and can appreciate the determination and discipline displayed by all of the world class athletes.  Like many, I'm lured to the tube each day in awe of their achievements.

Having traveled the globe with music tours for years, it struck me that I've had the good fortune and opportunity to work in Olympic Stadiums many times over the years.  I'm the nostalgic type, so I tend to find it thrilling to recognize the relevance of the venues we've performed in.  Just think, in some instances I've walked through the shadows of history and and in the footsteps of great accomplishments. 

A fond memory comes to mind.   I'll teasure and value the time and experience I had in Germany while touring with Michael Jackson in '96.  We performed in a venue next to the original Olympic Stadium in Berlin.  As for the gig, it was business as usual.  As for the venue, I was quite taken with the brief history lesson I learned that particular day.  A small group of us took time out to tour the grounds of the old stadium, walking through the underground paths and walkways built for Adolph Hitler to safely access his position in the stands of the 1936 summer games and other events.  What struck me then, and what sticks with me to this day, is that we performed and shared the same space where, in 1936,  Jessee Owens, an American, but for the sake of history, I'll note that he was a black man, stole the thunder of those summer Olympic games. Recognized as a champion and honored for winning four gold medals in the track and field events, he brought shame to Hitlers' ideals of white racial supremacy.  I remember getting chills knowing that I was in the presence of such history.

Olympic Stadium (1936).  Berlin, Germany

Fast forward to this spring.  While touring with Lady Gaga and after weeks of rehearsals and prep in Los Angeles, myself and an entourage of cast and crew flew to Korea to perform the first of many shows throughout Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  She has launched her Born This Way Ball.

Once in Korea, there was plenty to do--costume fittings, learning stage cues, sewing, stiching, etc.  Aside from our very own amazing wardrobe team, we were staffed with an additional team of professionals from Milan who were on hand to help assist with fittings and alterations on a number of costumes.  We were our own little "sweat shop".  Through communication in "broken Italian"and managing a game of charades to communicate with our locally hired Korean wardrobe ladies, we were a collective of united nations. 

A big shout out and mention is in order for our extended team.  Go team Versace and our lovely wardrobe assistants!!!  We couldn't have gotten through it without you.

Team Versace.
Wardrobe locals.

Leading up to show day, and realizing that this was my second time performing at this venue, I learned that I had made a bit of history of my own.  It is said that Lady Gaga's Born This Way Ball, with a 70,000 crowd capacity, was the highest in attendance this venue has seen since Michael Jackson.  I take pride in knowing that I was present and a member of the wardrobe team for both.  Woo hoo!!!

Show day.

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