Another week; another opportunity for spectacle!
This week offered no less drama than last week, and maybe even a bit more stress, as Dayana and George both stepped up to the plate in attempts to prove that their respective teammates had been underestimating them.
But first, a reminder of the good that can be done for society by dressing up as fool, jesters and concubines! The show starts with Penn delivering two checks totaling $40K to his charity, Opportunity Village in Las Vegas. Opportunity Village ( www.opportunityvillage.org) provides workplace training, employment and recreational opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities. It's an incredible organization that enables some incredible people to participate in their communities. As a special educator myself (I'm playing for www.inclusionproject.org) I have a huge soft spot for Penn's charity and it was great to see the wonderful work being done there. Although, Penn will be the first to admit that he has a horrible artistic eye, so I hope he didn't screw up that guy's painting!
Then we are on to the tasks...
This week, we will be designing living window displays at Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue to showcase the spring collection of Ivanka Trump's apparel line. The stress level is a bit high already because it's the boss' daughter, but for the men, tensions are even higher because none of us are really fashionistas!
Under Dayana's direction, Forte gets right down to deciding that their concept will show women wearing Ivanka Trump at all times of the day. Aubrey jumps right in with the suggestion that they should use a large clock to show the times of the day, and the team is on board fully with the initial direction.
Over on Unanimous, George struggles at first with understanding the rules of the task. At the beginning of each task, we are all given very clearly written directions including rules, deadlines, parameters, etc. I think the stress of being project manager had made George neglect to read his rules because right away he was not on the same page with most of us. Nevertheless, Unanimous decides on a concept showing Ivanka by Day vs. Ivanka by Night. Magician Penn suggests finding twin models so we could give the illusion that the same woman is in each window at the same time. Pretty brilliant, but we had to get to work finding them. Arsenio is a ladies man for sure! Given that, he knew he would be the best qualified on the team to help choose the clothing for our models. Adam and Paul, being professional fabricators/builders, jump right in to offer to build the sets themselves. Lou attempts to offer to help, but George shoots him down. Dee will have to step out for a few hours to see the doctor and address his hand injury from last week.
One of the requirements for the window displays is that each window must have at least one team member inside, so over on Forte the women have decided that Dayana and Aubrey should be in the window displays. Debbie had offered herself, but Dayana said she was worried Debbie was too old. (Personally, I thought the way Debbie handled herself in that moment was perfect and indicative of how classy she plays this game). Instead, Debbie will help choose outfits and accessories (along with Teresa, Dayana and Patricia) and will end up serving as therapist to a panicked and high-strung Dayana throughout the task. As the team member with the most vision for this task, Aubrey heads over to the fabrication facility with Lisa and Tia.
Over at the building facility, Adam is certainly in his element. As a former carpenter, he knows his way around a wood shop and takes on even more responsibility for the fabrication than is expected of him. Meanwhile, Aubrey, Lisa and Tia quickly realize that the size of the space they have to design is far smaller than they had imagined, and they attempt to explain this to Dayana over the phone. It makes it VERY difficult when the teams are split and at two separate locations - especially for a project manager. This will cause trouble several times in the task for both teams.
While the "rougher edged" Unanimous team members are sanding, sawing, painting and hammering in Brooklyn, the "indoor workers" on our team are over at Lord & Taylor checking out the space and letting Arsenio choose the clothes. When we arrive, the women are already there and I would be lying if I said it wasn't a bit intimidating to see them poring through the outfits on display with such ease and resolve. I'm the first to admit I can barely dress myself (in fact, everything I wore on this show was pre-selected and laid out for me before I even got to NYC... I'm AWFUL with fashion), so seeing the women at such ease was a bit unnerving! Arsenio jumped right in to choosing everything (except one outfit... which I'll come back to later); Penn and I are calling everyone we know. I call all my NYC/Broadway contacts; he calls all his magician/illusionist contacts. We are hard at work looking for twins! George has very little, if anything, to do at Lord & Taylor, so he spends a great deal of his time calling over to Brooklyn to ask the others how things are going.
When Eric Trump comes to check in on us and see how things are going, I have a hard time hiding the true feelings on my face. (I think I discovered through this process that that is an area where I don't excel! ha ha)
While all of this is going on, the Forte women are scrambling to photograph models. Debbie steps up boldly and calls Ivanka directly to ask for jewelry. All the while, Dayana is still overwhelmed. So much so, that when Don Jr. arrives to consult, he comments that the women seem to have little direction and that Dayana may be in over her head.
Dee never returns from his doctor appointment because he has discovered that the fracture is far worse than he realized. Barring immediate surgery, his finger may begin healing in its current, crooked state. So Dee goes under the knife right away!
The "indoor workers" of Unanimous completed our designated roles in the task far earlier than the "tough guys" did. In hindsight, George may have been better served to travel to the fabrication location and give guidance to the other half of the team, but instead he called in some last minute direction to the other half of the team and gave himself the rest of the night off.
Over on Forte... well... they are still taking pictures! Still.
On the morning of the display reveal, those pictures that Forte spent so long taking have yet to arrive. Aubrey, ever the resourceful one, uses paper towels as place holders to make the best use of their time.
Paul Sr. has had an incredible sign created for each window, but it arrives and is designed in a way that makes mounting complicated. Adam has to problem-solve to make the installation work. Again, Lou attempts to assist, but to the others he seems to be in the way and unwelcome.
Twenty-five minutes from the big reveal and Forte STILL has no pictures. Aubrey improvises a way to save the entire window and re-conceptualize it in 10 minutes. Gotta hand it to Aubrey, she may be overbearing at times, but damn she's smart and creative.
Upstairs with Unanimous, Arsenio is handling the dressing and tailoring. I'm steaming and prepping the clothes. Penn is supervising hair and make up for the models. George is standing around. WHILE we are hard at work getting the models ready, George actually suggests that we get the models ready!! (WTH, George! What have you been doing? What do you think we are doing!?!)
When the windows are finally revealed, Unanimous' windows look exactly as we had envisioned them... except... the "night" window is so dark that it makes it almost impossible to see anything. Big booboo!
George is sort of unsteady with his presentation for Ivanka. (At one point, when he is trying to introduce me, I swear I am worried he might have had a stroke.)
George is one of the most well-versed and elegant people I've ever known, and he speaks so eloquently; but sometimes I think he works so hard to use the right words that he doesn't actually speak in a normal conversational way. He struggles so much at one point speaking to Ivanka that he insults Lou far more harshly than he means to. (Lou has the same problem I do when it comes to hiding his emotions from his face! ha ha)
The women give an extremely polished introduction to their windows. Bottom line: Forte's windows look GREAT. They really did an incredible job. I STILL have no idea what the concept is supposed to be, and I am not sure I follow the logic behind them. But, I have to admit, they really looked professional and high-end!
And in the Boardroom, the women behave professionally and high class too. They have taken the men's former tactic of being overly cordial. Although the women clearly took issue with some of Dayana's leadership skills throughout the task, they hesitate to say anything.
That's how it's best done really... No need to stir the turd amongst your teammates, if you haven't lost. Plus, no one wants to upset the project manager and perhaps incur that person's wrath if the team loses! But, it's not always that easy to get out of speaking your mind, as evidenced by my predicament this week. I try to play nice when Mr. Trump asks me my opinion of George's leadership, but my previous comments to Eric come back to bite me in the butt.
When the men lose, I find myself in the position of needing to speak my mind. And while I do enjoy George as a person, he did not supervise or oversee the team this week in a way that propelled us to success, as I attempted to say in as nice a way as possible.
In the end, George decides to bring Lou back because he felt Lou was the person who was least useful. He brought Arsenio back because he believed Arsenio's selection of the clothing was a big part of our loss. A HUGE POINT OF ORDER - The trench coat that was worn by one of the models was considered by Ivanka to be an awful choice! That trench coat outfit was the ONE outfit that I selected. Not Arsenio! So he was not at fault for it; I was. (I told you that I know nothing about fashion!) The fact that George was not even aware of who chose certain outfits is another indication of him not knowing what was going on around the team!
Lou attempts to throw Arsenio under the bus by saying he would fire him for choosing the clothes, but at this point, I'm pretty sure Lou would say anything to keep the heat off of himself! He does give 110% in the Boardroom!
In the end, all fingers point to George as the weakest member of Unanimous this week. And with a typical George Takei-style grace, George accepts his firing.
His charity, the Japanese American National Museum is a very important part of George's life. In tribute to his grace and class, please check it out at www.janm.org
Next week, folks "motors really get revved" and there are some "twists and turns in the road" that you will not see coming and you will NOT want to miss!