By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 15, 2005
Pasco County resident Darlene Cahill survived the second round of the CBS reality show, Wickedly Perfect, on Thursday and will appear at least one more time - or maybe make it all the way (8 p.m. WTSP-Ch. 10). The producers' goal is to find the next home-styling diva, and Darlene certainly has the look.
(Because she's still in the running, her contract with CBS doesn't allow her to talk with media types like me. Maybe one of these days we can chat.)
Locals will remember Darlene as part of Invisible Inc., a three-member magic show she did with husband George and son Georgie at the defunct Angel "garden cafe" Theatre back in 1994 and 1995. I talked with her then and remember her as a real sweetie.
More recently, she was a hostess on Home Shopping Network and did some acting in area theater. Her family has lived in a country setting in south Pasco County for seven years.
Her group, Team Artisans, lost for the second time Thursday and were required to vote off one more of their members, leaving them four against rivals Crafty Beavers' six. Next week, a Team Artisan member will be moved to Crafty Beavers to even things out.
This week, Team Artisans dismissed Michelle, the 26-year-old professional baker from California, by a 2-to-1 vote, with Darlene in the majority.
Once more, Darlene was sabotaged by her own team, this time when she offered to turn bossy teammate Michelle's disastrously cooked lobster tails into a lobster cream sauce, but was told there was no flour to make it, when, in fact, there was.
Earlier in the show, Darlene had gamely taken orders from Michelle to make some stuffed tomatoes, even though she thought they were a bad idea (and so did the judges, later in the show).
Pardon me, but I think there's some blatant ageism going on. Darlene, at 46, is the oldest contestant, and, even though those of us in Florida count that as being a kid, some of the people on Wickedly Perfect treat her like she's some doddering geezerette.
First, teammate Kimberly called her "an odd bird"; then the snippy Tom dismissed her idea to make Waldorf salad in favor of something he called "more contemporary"; then the 26-year-old Michelle started ordering her around as though she were a hired hand.
Darlene does sometimes seem a tad too eager to please and can look downright phony, but as one who has been the odd man out, agewise, I sympathize with her. With catty Tom and perky Michelle gone, perhaps the remaining team members - Margo, 40, a single mom; Kimberly, 32, a homemaker; and Dawn, 33, a teacher, will show some appreciation for Darlene's contributions. And maybe Darlene will tone it down a bit.
This is my first time to watch a "reality show," but I must admit I'm hooked. Even so, I'm not sure I can stomach all that junior high-level brutality.
* * *
You really have to wonder if the new Broadway musical Brooklyn got one of its most clever ideas from Pasco County.
Let me explain.
Every February for the past seven years, students from Pasco County schools have made discarded junk into whimsical objects d'art with a serious message: conservation through recycling. It's called "The Art of Recycling," and the newest show opens at the Pasco County Government Center on Jan. 31 and moves to the School Board office on Feb. 28 to March 31.
It's fascinating to see the ideas these kids come up with: a dragon made from brightly painted tin cans; a human figure made from computer and television parts; a sea horse made of a wire spoke wheel, pieces of fencing and fragments of wire.
Now this concept has gone Broadway in Brooklyn, where a clever 2001 Yale grad, costume designer Tobin Ost, went Dumpster diving and turned street trash into stage costumes.
For one character, he turned potato chip and Cheeto's bags into a colorful, fanlike crown. For another, he made a discarded mail pouch into a skirt.
"It was canvas, and it had a wonder kind of street patina to it," Ost told Stage Directions reporter Irish Dorbian.
The story line is that an aspiring singer named Brooklyn goes to the New York City borough of Brooklyn to seek fame and the father she never knew.
She meets the local diva, Paradice, who challenges her to a competition to see who should reign as the borough's street-singer queen. The challenge turns into a show-within-a-show, with music ranging from soul to rhythm and blues to rock.
When the show was in the development stage, Ost's creations were a matter of necessity. His tiny acting troupe had no money. Now that the show is on Broadway, there are some expensive costumes. But Ost made them look like trash, keeping the street-wise theme.
Brooklyn has gotten mixed reviews (some critics hate it; audiences, especially the young ones, seem to love it), but everyone seems to love the creative costumes, especially a white formal made from white shopping bags.
The local version, The Art of Recycling, will announce winners and give out $3,000 in prizes and a $1,000 education scholarship at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Government Center off Little Road in New Port Richey.
And, who knows? Maybe one of those kids will someday design for Broadway.