By Kimberly Rae Miller
WILL BRUMLEY wrote the Book for Williamsburg! The Musical, which was the top ticket sell-out of 200 shows in the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival. With buzz generating from over 30 media sources including Gawker, NY1, NPR, Broadway Bullet and New York Metro, Williamsburg! The Musical was heralded as “hip and happenin” by the New York Post, an “absolute hit” by WFUV, and took home the Fringe Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. The Original Cast Recording is now available on iTunes and on the show’s website. It is currently being developed for television. Other work includes: Book for the musicalization of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which received an Equity Reading at Los Angeles’ Coronet Theatre, directed by four-time Emmy Award Winner Arthur Allan Seidelman, and Lullabies, an original R&B musical written with composer Rob Baumgartner and produced in Washington, DC, starring four-time Helen Hayes Award Nominee Jane Pesci-Townsend. Currently, he is writing the book for a full-length rock musical with collaborators Brooke Fox and Kurt Gellersted called PUNK. With collaborator Shane Scheel (Show at Barre), Will has co-created various television properties, including work with Survivor producer John Feist (NBC’s Survivor and The Restaurant). Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Will has lived in New York for the past decade.
How would you define your personal style?
By day Boho Business. By night Boho chic. And when worse comes to worse Boho Hobo.
Favorite item in you closet?
What a toss-up. It’s either 1.) A grey blazer with subtle black stripes given to me by my friend Phaedra by a designer I can’t remember (but it goes with everything) 2.) my gold-plated Dolly Parton bolo tie, engraved with her 1980s smiling face and ‘Dolly’ signature (ebay find) or 3.) my Roy Lichtenstein print-screen jute bag with an image of a blonde running a white glove through her yellow hair and thinking: “M-maybe he became ill and couldn’t leave the studio!”? I found that last one at the dollar store for $2 (go figure) and it had to be because of a print-faupaux: her white gloves becomes suddenly yellow when crossed-pollinated with her pop art hair… (meta bad dye job).
Are there any trends that you wish would just go away already?
Sometimes I wish some weird fashion trends would just come here already! Like, I’d like to hang out with some über-tan Japanese Kogals in school dresses. Pale, stark make-up against orange spray tans – what a canvas! Perhaps I lean toward the rebellious, but how great would it be to see them roaming the city acting ridiculous and giggling? I mean, don’t get trapped with them on a Big Apple Bus or anything – but come on, they’re lively! Or what about a Gothic Lolita? Is Japan having all the fun? Or can we get those man panty hose from Milan? I’d like to see a good paisley hose walking around Wall Street this fall. Maybe they could make dollar sign ones for investment bankers. Or maybe Burberry could make a man-hose plaid that would be all the rage and then make another one for babies. Baby hose…can you imagine?
Honestly, the trends that I wish would go away are those relating to body dimorphic issues. People, men and women, who starve themselves or adjust to look a certain way..that perfection trend. That has to go away. People have to reject these images of celebrities. Everybody has something beautiful about them but Hollywood helps to surpress people by creating a perfection mold that’s not sustainable or healthy, particularly for young girls….several of whom seem more worried about their looks and lack of clothing from a very early age than reading books or exploring education. I’ll get off my soapbox, but if we could replace the idea that pretty is physical with pretty is life-long inner education and expanding mind, then maybe we’d mature as a country and raise expotentionally more important, strong, female leaders.
Oh yeah … and men’s sheer shirts. Those creepy things REALLY have to go.
Favorite Five: What are your favorite stores in any of the five boroughs?
Monk’s Thrift (496 Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) – An affordable thrift shop (surprise!) that’s like walking into a Peter Max mural with Day-Glo walls, chipper suitcases and pumps (ladies), and color, color, color. This place is candy with a good melding of old and new(ish) where you can even purchase vintage board games, rotary phones, and other nostalgic tchotchkes. Half of the store is men’s with a great variety of vintage tees, print button-downs, and generally wacky accent pieces. Finds: Authentic fluorescent pink/lime/white Italian biking shoes and a 1980s Michael Jackson inspired red and black short-sleeved mini-button-up (complete with zippers that reveal what was really essential to the 80s: black mesh).
Etsy – From square dancing ties (featuring somber horses), leather cuffs, patchwork scarves, retro and unique neck and bow ties, and my very prized grey alligator skin cowboy boots with steel tips, Etsy is the gate into accessory heaven. It’s also a great place to buy original clothing by designers all over the world; a place where you can shop contently knowing your money is going to an independent designer or a Mom and Pop shop. Some favorites: T-shirts, hoodies, and accessories by JamesAnthony.etsy.com featuring silk-screens of classical sculptures like Laocoön and Roman ruler Augustus are perfect under a snazzy blazer and give an edge of education to your attire. At Dadadreams.etsy.com, the artist’s weird and wonderful sense of humor of housewives, horror and s just jumping off the computer screen. Here you’ll find pinbacks, necklaces and once in a while an original wood-paneled bracelets (my favorite) set with seven quirky vintage 1950s comic story panels — all of which make great use of ephemera and act as accent conversation pieces.
Brooklyn Industries – Okay, these are best pants I’ve found and if you go to their discounted outlet on the Southside of Brooklyn, you could score several for little money. For tall guys from lean to larger, Brooklyn Industries slacks usually come in neutral but interesting prints that look fitted but also slimming and can be combined with a variety of colors and can be dressed up or dressed down. I have never had so many compliments on the pair of grey/blue plaid slacks I found there for a mere $20. What’s more — they are really comfortable and you’ll get a lot of mileage out of them.
Live Fast (57 Clinton Street, NYC, NY 10002, (212) 228-8863) – With a tag like ‘Shop Hard’, it’s no surprise Live Fast’s painted exterior looks as if this tiny Lower East Side storefront is being engulfed by raging flames because the deals are oh-so-hot. If you’re looking for a rock-n-roll, punk, or a rockabilly aesthetic, roam over and check out their selection of tees that feature skulls, zombies, Virgin Marys surrounded by loaded guns, an axe-flinging Joan Crawford…you can even get the Halloween-iconic Elvira lounging across your pectorals. The chicks that work the store are helpful and there’s usually a sale to be had. Both men and women’s styles, including unique designs from Spain by Ramon Maiden and those by legendary punk/new wave designer Vivienne Westwood.
Club Monaco – I’m a blazer-holic and have many pieces from this staple chain, including a dynamic black velvet blazer that works well for work and going out. Club Monaco is best for sturdy basics with subtle details and has the tendency to straddle the line between conservative and whimsically hip – which makes it a great place to find clothes for both work and play. Between tailored linens to classic sweaters and throw-overs, these pieces do not go out of style and can be worn for endless seasons. I find it best to buy blacks, whites, and greys to last year-long and to combine these pieces with more vibrant and original clothes from the aforementioned shops.
On a side note: for bags I’m really into Jack Spade who makes some spacious and attractive totes! As a writer, I find a can load books, papers, and all my tools in my reversible tote and still have room. I’ve had mine for years and its classic look is timeless. It’s also doubles perfectly as a carry-on or for a trip to the beach.