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    Riff Raff – Getting Handy

    Window / Time Warp:


    • Bald wig with blond hair glued on.
      Hair should be sort of thin, and not all cut off neatly the same length. Riff’s hair is stringy and dirty-looking; you may want to grease the hair with gel or lotion. If your Riff wig has beautiful, silky hair, fix it.

      • Dr. Ruth’s TIP: Bald? Glue a weft of blond hair directly to your head. (Not bald? You can always buy the commercial Riff wig – see the Links page.)

    • Black ripped tailcoat. The tailcoat has peak lapels and is short in front with swallowtail tails in back. The transition from the front of the jacket to the tails is abrupt, not gradual. 2 large fabric-covered buttons placed vertically below the lapels on each side of coat. (These are easiest to see right before Riff goes to scare the monster.) The top button’s (on Riff’s left) fabric covering has worn off slightly. Two fabric-covered buttons are placed horizontally above the tails. Used tailcoats can be bought from a formalwear shop. Or cut tails out of black fabric and stitch to a suit jacket.

      Both sleeves have been ripped out — the right cuff only a little, the left cuff, almost to the elbow. A shred of fabric on the left shoulder stands up almost vertically–make out of fabric glued to a pipe-cleaner, segment of wire hanger, or part of a thin pet collar. There are also long string-like black shreds hanging from the jacket near the tails. Inner pocket on left side (store bloody rag to dry Janet here).

    • Hump.

      Use wadded up cloth or small pillow fastened into the coat. Pins comes undone easily and may tear your jacket. You can also sew a belt onto the jacket back which can then be fastened around the hump. A fabric belt with a sliding buckle (not a traditional prong-type belt) will probably be easiest.

    • Bloodstained backless low-cut white piqué tuxedo vest (waistcoat) with narrow lapels.

      3 buttonholes; only one button (white plastic) is fastened. (Which one varies by scene.) Bottom of left side of waistcoat is frayed. The largest bloodstains are on Riff’s right side: there is a horizontal bloodstain with a slight drip below the waistline, and a long vertical bloodstain above it. A red marker works.

    • Half-finger leather black gloves with mesh backs (use biking or weightlifting gloves).

      There are two wide parallel holes on the left one: one on the back of the hand, one nearer the fingers.

    • Bloody rag (white, dishtowel sized).
      Kept in left inner pocket of tux jacket.

    • Green wine bottle with gold label and clear champagne coupe.

      I suggest plastic for safety. Try modifying a green 1 liter bottle (wrong shape, but shatterproof) or get a joke bottle of bubble bath. For the coupe, don’t use the two-piece thin plastic coupes sold as partyware; they get smashed very quickly. Plastic margarita glasses that look like coupes can be found for about $3 each; ask Google.
      Pour yourself a drink in the elevator, and hand coupe to Frank in the lab.

    • White suspenders.

      The old-fashioned kind that look like an upside-down “Y” in front and button onto the inside of the trouser waistband.

    • Tight black pants with white and black lacing on the legs.

      The left leg is laced with white lacing about a third of the way to the knee (3 X-shaped stitches, bow at the top). The right leg is laced the same way with black lacing. Lace loosely so pantlegs flare a little.

    • Black undies to save time in the Takeover scene.

    • White spat.

      Bloodstained on both sides. Wear on right boot. Military supply stores, formalwear and costume shops sell spats. Cut the heel and toe off a white sock if you can’t find spats. No, I don’t think there is a black spat on the left boot. No strap can be seen on the underside of Riff’s sole when Frank kicks him during Sword of Damocles.

    • Black Beatle boots.

      The toes are quite pointed; medium tapered “cuban” heel (like a cowboy boot). Centre seam cut (looks a bit like a spat); it’s a style the Beatles wore and the boot is available from sites that cater to Beatles tribute bands – Google Beatle boots, Chelsea boots, or winklepickers. (See the Links page.)

    Scare the Monster:

    • Bloody rag from Time Warp scene.

    • Gold candelabrum with 13 white candles.

      It stands on the floor with little feet at the end of the vertical stem. Leafy motif near the candles; twisted rope design on the stem. 6 candles in lower and middle tier; 1 candle in top tier. Electric candles can be used and candelabrum plugged into wall. Battery-powered candles can be bought around Christmas. Make sure they’re secure; secure candles with poster tack or clay if you don’t want to glue them.

    Takeover:

    • Space wig.

      Bonus points for a separate wig – the hair can be made erect using liquid latex, spray starch or white glue with a metal wire support. Use a plastic banana on a wire for laughs. If you’re using your own hair and it’s the right length, hairspray or gel.

    • Spacesuit.

      • Good luck. The color photo from the RHPS Book is a MIRROR IMAGE. (The black and white photo is correct.)
        For a good photo, check out the April 2005 Mick Rock calendar for a nice side view with a good view of the anklet/boots.
      • Quilted gold wraparound top with front and back “skirt” flaps (quilted in diagonal squares and rectangles, NOT JUST SQUARES) with double black vinyl fins, belt, black rectangular “buckle” with 4 vertical gold half-cylinders (beveled ends), and black lightning bolt pin (stitched on looks wrong – surface is visibly flat and you can see it reflecting light in some pictures)
    • Silver gloves with black vinyl sleeves / gauntlets
      • Sleeves are edged with thin border of gold lamé. You can buy gold binding tape, or just use thin strips of lamé.
      • There are three short stitched 3-D wavy lines (i.e., 6 lines of stitching, 2 defining each line) on the back of the glove near where the sleeve tip comes over the back of the hand. Riff’s and Mags’ gloves are also the same size.
      • TIP: Silver gloves can be brought at bridal boutiques or accessories stores. (You can buy silver firefighter’s gloves from an army/navy surplus store, but they have suede palms, only 3 fingers and get really hot. I couldn’t make them work, though others have.)
      • The sleeves are made of shiny vinyl and extend in a point over the back of the hands. They will need to be reinforced to hold their shape. Try bridal stiffener or TimTex (a kind of stiff paper sold by the yard at fabric stores – used for things like wide-brimmed garden hats or fabric bowls), buckram (a type of stiff cloth), or thin quilt batting.
      • The inner edge of the glove sleeve comes to just over mid-forearm on the inner arm, and the outer edge extends to a point just past the elbow. Do not cut sleeves too long on the inner arm or you won’t be able to bend your elbows.
      • TIP: Some band supply shops sell black vinyl gauntlets, and you can buy Darth Vader gloves and cut ’em up.
    • Chrome pitchfork spacegun.

      Richard confirmed on Rocky Radio June 8, 1999 that: “[The gun] was chrome, it was silver…it’s some kind of fiberglass body that had been silvered somehow or other…plasticized silver.” Of course, if you have the choice between silver spraypaint and gold spraypaint, gold will still look more natural. Haven’t tried chrome spraypaint; if you have, send me a pic.

      Both the handle and the “sight” (an upward-pointing prong) angle back toward the pitchfork handle and are tipped with a ball. An upside-down lightning bolt protrudes from the front of the ball on the “sight.”
      The sight is attached to the gun where the prongs meet the pitchfork’s handle. All the pieces (handle, sight, tines, etc.) have a round cross-section. The circular “guard” around the trigger looks like a napkin ring. Handle is duller than rest of gun. The tines and the “sight” have a smaller diameter than the handle and the part of the gun that extends backwards beyond the handle. All three tines are the same length, and they taper.

      Use wooden beads from a craft store or ping-pong balls for the balls on the end of the tubes. Styrofoam balls are hard to paint and most glues melt them. Gun can be modified from a devil’s pitchfork (we used hot nails to hold it together–glue wasn’t enough) or be made of wood or metal. A box that makes electronic zapping noises is cool, but no one will hear it. Red LED’s at the end of each tine look great; red laser pointers don’t read as well. The best-looking gun I’ve seen that didn’t require welding was made by Scott Matheus. It’s plastic–he sanded it, coated it with red primer (a trick he from a public TV program on gilding), then applied two coats each of gold spraypaint and clear shellac. The problem with plastic is that eventually someone will step on it and break it (someone did).

    • Underwear, Stockings and Boots
      • Spike-heel patent black ankle boots with silver-backed cuffs cut into points (“elf booties”). Magenta’s have at least five points; they curve out slightly. Some people cut their own; I take the boots and a pattern for what to cut to a shoe repair shop. They look at you funny, but the work is professional.
        You can make lamé-backed cuffs and velcro them over a pair of boots.
      • Spiked gold anklet. – The anklet is gold with 3 rows of silver spikes arranged in a diamond pattern. 3/4″ spikes look right. Make the anklet out of leather or upholstery from an auto shop. Worn on left ankle.
      • Black undies, black stockings and garterbelt. (Maybe he wears them the whole show? Whatever floats your boat.)

    Making a quick and dirty maid’s cap

    aka I lost the damn thing again

    I won’t claim this is perfect, but I’ve yet to find a better way to do it, and I’ve made four or five of the things over the last 14 years. It beats wearing a coffee filter on your head.

    Supplies:
    *About ¼ of a yard of white cotton, not woven too tightly (1/3 of a yard would be better; don’t screw up)
    *Approx 16” of scalloped lace trim, 1.5” wide at its widest point
    *White thread, needles, pins, a ruler or tape measure

    CUT IT:
    Cut a 5.25” diameter circle (finished cap is 5” in diameter; I am including a ¼” seam allowance all the way round)

    FOLD IT:
    Pin in place three folds originating from the center back, where you’re going to put the bow. If you aren’t feeling that detail-oriented, the folds can be omitted but it won’t look as good. I suggest lighting ironing the folds into place and then tacking them down with very tiny stitches spread far apart (you want it to look natural).

    DECORATE IT:
    Pin under the seam allowance and either baste it down now or pin the lace underneath it so you can sew on the lace and sew under the seam allowance at the same time. (It saves time, sort of, but it’s fiddly and harder to take apart later.) Pin the lace so it overlaps itself at the center back, under where you’re going to put the bow so the join won’t show.

    For the ribbon:
    Cut a 21.5”x 3.5” rectangle of the same white fabric (I used 21.5” last time; up to 23” or so is fine; again, this includes a ¼” seam allowance all around.)

    Fold the ribbon right side to right side and sew along the edge ¼” from the edge, making a tube. Turn the tube inside out so the right sides are on the outside. Cut the ends diagonally, making a trapezoid.

    ——————————–
    \________________/

    Finish the ends, tucking the ragged ends in and sewing them inside your trapezoid.

    (Yes, you could just use 1.5” width white ribbon…but it looks crappy. The texture’s wrong, and it won’t have the correct body when you tie it into a bow.)

    Tie your trapezoid “ribbon” into a bow, keeping the two “tails” of the bow about the same length. The center of the bow shouldn’t be totally flat; let it have a little body.

    Tack the bow onto the cap at the base of your radiating folds (or just where you overlapped the lace if you skipped the folds). Tack down both the loops and the center of the bow to the cap with double thread; it’s sort of heavy.

    WEAR IT:
    I find the best way to attach the cap is with bobby pins. (Take them off after every wearing; I used to leave them attached but got rust stains when my costume bag got damp. Just don’t do it.)
    Slide one bobby pin along each side and one along the back under your bow so it doesn’t flop around. Buy auburn or white bobby pins.

    TIP: Some Magentas suggest making thread loops or making small loops out of satin cord underneath on either side for the bobby pins so they don’t show. I’ve been Magenting for more than 30 years and never found it necessary.