Saturday, April 20, 2013

Project Runway Season Eleven, Episode Thirteen: The Odyssey of Tim Gunn!

Tim is trying to get to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
We begin the story ten years after the end of the Trojan War. Our hero, Tim Gunn, has been wandering the earth trying to bring his band of designers safely home to New York, where the beautiful and faithful Heidi Klum has been waiting, fending off all her suitors, who have been trying to convince her to join the judging panel of the X Factor or maybe appear on Dancing with the Stars:

Tell us, O muse, of that ingenious hero, Tim Gunn, who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the designers’ families with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring the designers safely home to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week; but do what he might he could not save all of them, for they perished through their own sheer folly by making really ugly clothes; so the gods prevented them from ever reaching New York. Tell us, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them. 

So now all who escaped death on the Runway or by shipwreck had got safely home except for Tim Gunn, and he, though he was longing to return to his home, was detained by the goddess Calypso, who had got him into a large cave and wanted to marry him. But as years went by, there came a time when the producers settled that he should go back to New York; even then, however, when he was among his own people, his troubles were not yet over; nevertheless all the judges had now begun to pity him except Nina Garcia, who still persecuted him without ceasing and would not let him get home. 

And Nina Garcia said, "See now, how men lay blame upon us gods for what is after all nothing but their own folly. Look at Patricia; she made these crafty clothes and crazy styling choices; though I sent Mercury to warn her not to do either of these things. Mercury told her this in all good will but she would not listen, and now she has paid for everything in full." 

Then Heidi said, "Nina, daughter of Saturn, King of kings, it served Patricia right, and so it would any one else who does as she did; but Patricia is neither here nor there; it is for Tim that my heart bleeds, when I think of his sufferings in his lonely travels, far away, poor man, from all his friends.”

First, Tim visits Patricia:

And Tim traveled to Taos, New Mexico, an island covered with beautiful adobe houses, in the very middle of the desert, and a goddess lives there named Patricia, daughter of the magician Atlas, who looks after the bottom
of the ocean, and carries the great columns that keep heaven and earth asunder. This daughter of Atlas has got hold of Tim, and keeps trying by every kind of blandishment to make him forget his home, so that he feels he understands her better, but still he thinks of nothing but how he may once more see the towers of Manhattan. 

And Heidi said, “You, Nina, take no heed of this, and yet when Tim was before you did he not propitiate you with many a burnt sacrifice? Why then should you keep on being so angry with him?" 

And Nina said, "Heidi, what are you talking about? How can I forget Tim than whom there is no more capable man on earth, nor more liberal in his offerings to the immortal gods that sit here in the chairs of judgement?”

And so Tim told Patricia that he must continue his travels across the sea.

Next, Tim visited Michelle:

Thus he spoke, and Tim, guide and guardian, slayer of Argus, did as he was told and traveled on. Forthwith he bound on his glittering golden sandals with which he could fly like the wind over land and sea. He took the wand with which he seals designers’ eyes in sleep or wakes them just as he pleases, and flew holding it in his hand over the West Coast; then he swooped down through the firmament till he reached the level of the sea, whose waves he skimmed like a cormorant that flies fishing every hole and corner of the ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in the spray. He flew and flew over many a weary wave, but when at last he got to Portland, Oregon, which was his journey's end, he left the sea and went on by land till he came to the cave where the nymph Michelle lived.

He found her at home. There was a large fire burning on the hearth, and one could smell from far the fragrant reek of burning cedar and sandal wood. As for herself, she was busy at her loom, shooting her golden shuttle through the warp and singing beautifully. Round her cave there was a thick wood of alder, poplar, and sweet smelling cypress trees, wherein all kinds of great wolf imagery did appear. As she spoke she drew a table loaded with ambrosia beside him and mixed him some red nectar, so Tim ate and drank till he had had enough, and then said: 

"We are speaking god and goddess to one another and you ask me why I have come here, and I will tell you truly as you would have me do. The gods sent me; it was no doing of mine; who could possibly want to come all this way over the sea where there are no cities full of people to offer me sacrifices or choice hecatombs? Having said that, you were always my favorite.”

Next, Tim visited Daniel:

When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Tim put on his shirt and cloak of gossamer fabric, very fine and graceful, with a beautiful golden girdle about his waist and a veil to cover his head. And he started on the next leg of his journey.  Then the gods stayed the streams and stilled the waves, making all calm before him, and bringing him safely into Austin, Texas. Here at last Tim’s knees and strong hands failed him, for the sea had completely broken him. His body was all swollen, and his mouth and nostrils ran down like a river with sea-water, so that he could neither breathe nor speak, and lay swooning from sheer exhaustion; presently, when he had got his breath and came to himself again, he took off his magic scarf and threw it back into the water. Then he left the river, laid himself down among the rushes, and kissed the bounteous earth. 

"Alas," he cried to himself in his dismay, "what ever will become of me, and how is Project Runway to go on? If I stay here in Austin, I am so exhausted that the bitter heat and humidity may make an end of me.”

And so Tim leaves Austin and visits Stanley: 

Thence Tim went on to West Hollywood, the island where lives Stanley, dear to the immortal gods. West Hollywood is an island that floats (as it were) upon the sea, iron bound with a wall that girds it. Now, Stanley has a partner and they all live together, feasting and enjoying every conceivable kind of luxury. All day long the atmosphere of the house is loaded with the savour of roasting meats till it groans again, yard and all; but by night they sleep on their well-made bedsteads, each with his own blankets. These were the people among whom Tim had now come. 

And Tim said, “Stanley, this is too much fabulousness even for me to bear. You know luxury, but you need to make it appeal to a younger client or the gods will smite you.”

Tim takes the four remaining designers on the final voyage home to New York:

With this Tim left the ship and went up inland. When he got through the charmed grove of Central Park, and was near the great house of the enchantress Circe, and the goddess said, “Tim, noble son of Laertes, you shall none of you stay here any longer if you do not want to, but there is another journey which you have got to take before you can sail homewards. You must go to the house of Hades and visit the ghosts of designers past, who will act as your assistants.”

The designers were dismayed to hear this. They sat up in bed and wept, and would gladly have lived no longer to see the light of the sun, but presently when they were tired of weeping and tossing about, they said, “And
who shall guide us upon this voyage, for the house of Hades is a port that no ship can reach.” 

And they were told, "You will want no guide. Raise you mast, set your white sails, sit quite still, and the North Wind will blow you there of itself. You will have ten thousand dollars to spend in Hades.”

First came the ghost of Richard, with his golden sceptre in his hand. He knew Stanley and said, “Stanley, noble son of Laertes, why, poor man, have you left the light of day and come down to visit the dead in this sad place?”

And likewise, the ghost of Layana visited Patricia, the ghost of Amanda visited Michelle, and the ghost of Samantha visited Daniel.

And the departed designers tried to assist the remaining ones on their journey:

"Daniel,” Samantha said, "most ill-fated of all mankind, it is not Tim who is beguiling you, but all people are like this when they are dead. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together; these perish in the fierceness of consuming fire as soon as life has left the body, and the soul flits away as though it were a dream. Now, however, go back to the light of day as soon as you can, and note all these things that your garments may not be so boring.”

And Daniel said, “Well, I love everything about my garments and I’m not changing a thing.”

Thus did they converse, and anon Proserpine sent up the ghosts of the other eliminated designers to work in the Brother sewing room. They gathered in crowds about the garments, and Michelle said, “I can’t believe Stanley has so much work to do. We don’t know how many more rosy-fingered dawns we have left.”

Tim and the designers leave Hades, kill a cyclops, and then finally get to back to Parsons, where it is almost runway day:

Now when the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Tim rose and dressed himself. He bound his sandals on to his comely feet, girded his sword about his shoulder, and left his room looking like an immortal god. He at once sent the criers round to call the designers into the work room, so they called them and the designers gathered thereon; then, when they were got together, he went to the place of assembly- spear in hand- and critiqued their garments. 

While they were doing all this, Heidi, who knew that the designers had got back from the house of Hades, dressed herself and went to them as fast as she could. Then Heidi took Tim by the hand and bade him be seated away from the designers, while she reclined by his side and asked all about his adventures. 

"So far so good,” said she, when he had ended his story, “and now pay attention to what I am about to tell you- heaven itself, indeed, will recall it to your recollection. While you have made it back to New York, your journey is not over. First you will come to the Sirens in the L’Oreal hair and makeup studio, who enchant all who come near them with their smokey eye shadows and hair smoothing cream. If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, could end up with bad styling and will never be welcomed by the judges. There is a great heap of dead men's bones lying all around the L’Oreal studio, with the flesh still rotting off them. Therefore pass these Sirens by, and stop your designers’ ears with wax that none of them may hear.

"When your crew have taken you past these Sirens, I cannot give you coherent directions as to which of two courses you are to take; I will lay the two alternatives before you, and you must consider them for yourself. On the one hand there are some overhanging rocks against which the deep blue waves beat with terrific fury; on these rocks Nina Garcia sits and yelps with a voice that you might take to be that of a young hound, but in truth she is a dreadful monster and no one- not even a god- could face her without being terror-struck. She has twelve misshapen feet, and six necks of the most prodigious length; and at the end of each neck she has a frightful head with three rows of teeth in each, all set very close together, so that they would crunch any designer to death in a moment, and she sits deep within her shady cell thrusting out her heads and peering all round the rock. No season of Project Runway ever yet got past her without losing many designers.

"You will find the other rocks lie lower, but they are so close together that there is not more than a bowshot between them. [A large fig tree in full leaf grows upon it], and under it lies the sucking whirlpool of Zac Posen. Three times in the day does he vomit forth his waters, and three times he sucks them down again; see that you be not there when he is sucking, for if you are, Neptune himself could not save you; you must hug the Nina side of the runway and drive the models by as fast as you can, for you had better lose one designer to Nina than all of them to Zac.”

Scylla and Charybdis
"Is there no way,” asked Tim, “of escaping Zac, and at the same time keeping Nina off when she is trying to harm my designers?'

"You dare-devil,” replied Heidi, “you are always wanting to fight somebody or something; you will not let yourself be beaten even by the immortals. For Nina is not mortal; moreover she is savage, extreme, rude, cruel and invincible. There is no help for it; your best chance will be to get by her as fast as ever you can.”

So then the designers entered the Straits of the runway in great fear of mind, for on the one hand was Nina, and on the other dread Zac. While Nina mocks the designers by telling them their garments look like Dr. Seuss, Zac tells them that it is actually a compliment. 

Then Jove let fly with his thunderbolts, and the runway went round and round, and the studio was filled with fire and brimstone as the lightning struck it. The designers all fell into the sea; they were carried about in the water round the runway, looking like so many sea-gulls, but the gods presently deprived all but three of them the chance of getting to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, Minerva now put it in Heidi’s mind to make the designers try their skill with the bow and with the iron axes, in contest among themselves, as a means of deciding who will go to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. She went upstairs and got the store room key, which was made of bronze and had a handle of ivory; she then went with her maidens into the store room at the end of the studio, where Project Runway’s treasures of gold, bronze, and wrought iron were kept, and where was also a bow, and the quiver full of deadly arrows that had been given to her by a friend whom she had met in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. 

Then Tim tore off his rags, and sprang on to the broad pavement with his bow and his quiver full of arrows. He shed the arrows on to the ground at his feet and said, "The mighty contest is at an end. I will now see whether Apollo will vouchsafe it to me to hit another mark which no man has yet hit." 

Then Heidi said to Jove, "Father, son of Saturn, king of kings, answer me this question- What do you propose to do? Will you set the designers fighting still further, or will you make peace between them and select a final three?"

And Jove answered, "My child, why should you ask me? Was it not by your own arrangement that Tim came home and took his revenge upon your suitors? Do whatever you like, but I will tell you what I think will be most reasonable arrangement. Now that Tim is revenged, let them swear to a solemn covenant, in virtue of which he shall continue to rule, while we cause the others to forgive and forget the massacre of the other designers. Let them then all become friends as heretofore, and let peace and plenty reign." 

This was what Heidi was already eager to bring about, so down she darted from off the topmost summits of Olympus. And as she spoke she infused fresh vigour into the judges, and when they had discussed it, they poised their spears and hurled them. They hit Daniel’s helmet, and the spears went right through it, for the helmet stayed them not, and his armour rang rattling round him as he fell heavily to the Runway.

"Judges," Heidi cried, “cease this dreadful season of Project Runway, and settle the matter at once without further bloodshed." 

On this pale fear seized every one of the remaining designers; they were so frightened that their arms dropped from their hands and fell upon the ground at the sound of Heidi's voice, and they fled back to the hotel for their lives. But Tim gave a great cry, and gathering himself together swooped down like a soaring eagle. Then the son of Saturn sent a thunderbolt of fire that fell just in front of Heidi, so she said to Tim, "Tim, noble son of Laertes, stop this warful strife, or Jove will be angry with us." 

Thus spoke Heidi, and Tim obeyed her gladly. Then Heidi assumed the form and voice of the Mentor, and presently made a covenant of peace between the three contending parties. 


[This edition of Eric Three Thousand was translated from the original Greek by Samuel Butler.]


lovemesomecrazycatstache said...

Epic indeed. A masterpiece. Much more interesting than any of the clothing we saw. Glad to see crazy cat lady's knitwear again though. Most intriguing piece we saw. And adieu to the sweet stache.

Anonymous said...



Catherine said...

That post was awesome. You channeled Homer! And - no offense - while reading it I had the same feeling I had when I first read The Odyssey, which was, essentially, "How long is this thing?"

MoHub said...

Homer would have been prouder if he'd been able to recognize the Roman names for the gods. Otherwise: brilliant!

Cliff O'Neill said...

When did they release the Kraken?

Anonymous said...

Mindboggling--thanks so much

eric3000 said...

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your indulgence. And yes, Catherine, I was definitely going for a "How long is this thing?" vibe. Ha ha!