Episode 308

In this episode of ARTEFFECTS: the Martin family guitar business, Kevin Farrell puts an artistic twist on tupperware parties, Gia Mora collides art with science, and Stephane Cellier uses French techniques to make paintings look more real than a photograph.

AIRED: October 23, 2017 | 0:26:47

- In this edition of ArtEffects.

A family guitar business.

- I'm coming home

and I'm going to work in the guitar factory

to try and find out how these things are made.

(upbeat piano music)

- [Beth] An artistic twist on Tupperware parties.

- And then I started making more money doing this

than I ever did as an actor, and I'm like,

well, shoot, I won't live in Hollywood anymore,

they have earthquakes and crazy people.

- [Beth] Take a look as art collides with science.

- That's the entire point of this,

is to bring these audiences that have not ever

delved into this world.

- [Beth] And a French painter with techniques

to make paintings look more real than a photograph.

- [Stephane] It's just a conversation with your soul.

You are with yourself

and you want to have a message in that painting.

- It's all ahead on this edition of ArtEffects.

- [Announcer] Funding for ArtEffects is made possible by

Newman's Own Foundation,

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

Carol Franc Buck,

Heidemarie Rochlin,

the annual contributions of KNPB Members, and by.

- Hello, I'm Beth Macmillan and welcome to ArtEffects.

Martin Guitars is a family business

based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

They have been crafting instruments for six generations.

In this segment, Chris Martin reflects

on his family's legacy in the music world.

♪ In a pawn shop in Odessa in the fall of '64

♪ The pawn shop man was leavin', he was lockin' up the door

♪ I ran up just in time

♪ And I holler'd just through the screen

♪ Hey, man, you got any good guitars in here

♪ He said, I got this D-18

♪ So I gave him $100 and I took that sucker home

♪ I cleaned it up and strung it

♪ Hit a chord and heard that tone

♪ It was crisp and clean, rich and full

♪ All a guitar ought to be

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, you made this D-18 for me

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, I'm all right

♪ 'Cause once again this old guitar

♪ Helped me through the night

♪ I'm mighty grateful to you, you know how to make 'em right

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, I'm all right

- My parents were divorced

and my mom and dad did not get along,

and my mom did not encourage me

to enter the family business.

She said, "Do what you want."

I was going to become a marine biologist.

Okay, so I was going to become a marine biologist

and Fred Walecki from Westwood Music came back east,

he was a friend of my dad's, came to hang out at the factory

and see what's going on and we got talking and he said,

"What are you going to do with your life?"

I said, I'm going to go to the University of Miami

and study marine biology.

And he said, "Well, why?"

I said, because it's warm.

And he said, "Well, don't you have an interest

"in the family business?"

I said, I do but, Fred, I feel like an idiot.

I don't know anything about it.

And he said, "Well, it's warm in California."

And I said, yeah.

He said, "You know, if you came to California,

"you can get into a school,"

because I was a full paying student, so UCLA took me,

and he said,

"I'll give you a part time job at my music store

"and you can learn about that side of the business."

Okay, so I came out, went to UCLA.

This nerdy kid from the east coast, 29,000 students,

I was a little fish out of water.

And I got into the store

and Fred put me on to the sales floor and I was a disaster

because I didn't know anything.

He goes, "All right, well, go in the back

"and help John Carruthers repair guitars."

Another disaster 'cause I didn't know how to repair guitars,

but I said to myself,

boy, there's more to this than meets the eye.

So I got on the phone, I called my mom, I said,

I'm coming home.

She said, "What's wrong?"

I said, I'm quitting college.


I'm coming home and I'm going to work in the guitar factory

to try and find out how these things are made.

(gentle guitar music)

What we need to do today is make 3,000 of the best guitars

this company has ever made,

and I felt that that was important to regain

what I knew the Martin Guitar aspired to be

and that resonated with my colleagues out in the shop

because they were like, why is the company so distracted?

I said, look, we are going to get rid of these acquisitions

that aren't working and we are just go make

acoustic flat top steel string guitars.

And shortly after that, MTV Unplugged happened.

And we were ready and the phones started to ring,

and honestly, other than a couple of economic ups and downs

that I can't control,

the phones have been ringing ever since.

On March 18th of 1915.

So by this point, the original HMS Dreadnought was obsolete

as I had said and they were on to the super dreadnoughts,

but it was still in the fleet.

It was up off the coast of Scotland with a sister ship,

a smaller British battleship and an infamous German U-boat,

U-29, surfaces, fires a torpedo, hits that ship,

and the HMS Dreadnought comes along

and slices the U-boat in half.

The only battleship to ever sink a submarine

by cutting it in half.

When the United States, very reluctantly,

is being drawn into World War II, so think of that.

That, politically, we know it's bad

and we know it's not getting any better

and we don't want to be a part of it,

but were being drawn in, fortunately for everyone,

we were able to help the British and even the Russians

defeat the Germans, ultimately, so that's the context

into which my great-great-great-grandfather

as a history buff said, I'm dedicating this guitar

to this significant historical event.

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, I'm all right

♪ 'Cause once again this old guitar

♪ Helped me through the night

♪ I'm mighty grateful to you, you know how to make 'em right

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, I'm all right

♪ I said, thank you, Mr. Martin, I'm all right

- To find out more about the Martin family business,


After playing small roles in Hollywood television shows,

actor Kevin Farrell found a new way to pay the bills

using his acting skills.

Here's his story.

(bright playful music)

- Dee W. Ieye is my character to sell Tupperware.

Dee is a little trailer trash.

She is not very classy.

She kind of can talk like a truck driver.

Her look is just, it's out there.

It's loud and it's out there.

I'm like a clown.

But she's fun loving and she likes to have a good time.

If Suzie Hostess says she is having a Tupperware party,

chances are all her girlfriends are like, "Oh, really?

"You know, I just went to a jewelry party last week

"and I got to go to a clothing party next week."

But when they see the picture of Dee W. Ieye,

then all the girls are like,

"Oh my god, I gotta go to that."

How exciting! (laughing)

Okay, we'll get started in just a second y'all, whoo!

Are y'all drinking? - Uh-huh!

- 'Cause I'm prettier when you're drunk, whoo, shut up!

Her character is from Tennessee

and she was the last sole heir to the Jack Daniel's fortune,

so she has a little drinking problem.

So, Dee. W. Ieye is really driving while intoxicated.

How fun is that?

It's incredible?

So I grew up here in Columbus, Ohio,

went to Centennial High School,

then I went to Miami University of Ohio.

I worked as an actor for about 10 years in Chicago.

I got cast on an episode of Frasier,

which took me out to Los Angeles.

I played David Hyde Pierce's look alike in an episode.

- Oh, everyone, this is Rodney Banks.

(audience laughing)

- Hello.

- Dr. Niles Crane.

- How do you do? - The pleasure is mine.

(audience laughing)

So that took me to Los Angeles

and then I started working as an actor pretty nonstop.

And then I started selling Tupperware and it just took off.

Before we get started, I want to do a little survey.

How many of us have ever been to a Tupperware party before?

Raise your hands.

Very good, quite a few of us.

Was it a Tupperware party like this?


Hell, no.

2007 to 2010 I was number one in the nation,

so four years in a row, I sold more Tupperware personally

than anybody else in the nation.

And then I started making more money doing this

than I ever did as an actor, and I'm like,

well, shoot, I won't live in Hollywood anymore,

they have earthquakes and crazy people.

So I decided to move home here two years ago

so now I'm back and I live in Powell.

Whoo, oh my god, I know, I'm a Buckeye!

I think really Tupperware has grown

to embrace the drag queen aspect

because there are other guys who sell drag,

I'm not the only one.

We are actually bringing Tupperware

to a whole new generation of people

who don't even know that Tupperware is still around.

We do it with such an entertaining aspect to our show

that people just find it more fun.

♪ All right, pickles and cheese, zucchini and carrot

♪ Season and serve some fine tasting ferret

♪ Your food has never tasted so fresh to date, right, okay

I would say that 95% of the people come to see Dee W. Ieye

and then they buy the Tupperware afterwards.

Tupperware Corporate is really on board with what we do

because we're selling more product

than half of their sales force,

but there are people who don't understand what I do

and that makes me sad because I'm an actor

who dresses up as a character.

I come as Kevin, I get dressed up as Dee at your house,

and I take Dee off and I leave your house as Kevin

'cause I don't drive around town in drag

and I don't go to the shopping stores as Dee,

I don't hang out and go to the zoo as Dee.

It is a character that I put on and a character I take off,

much like any character in a live play at the theater.

The business side of my business is huge

because I average four to five parties a week,

so if I'm not working, I'm in my office,

I'm calling hostesses to confirm their dates,

I'm dating new parties, I'm entering all the orders.

Sometimes things don't show up in shipments

so I'm calling the warehouse

to make sure that the orders are fulfilled.

When I moved to Los Angeles,

I thought I was going to be this big time television actor,

I was going to have my own show,

I was going to have this huge house in Beverly Hills,

and it was all based on being an entertainer.

Well, what happened is I got exactly what I wanted

but it just came in a different package, which is amazing.

Come up and touch and feel.

The Tupperware included, all right?


I just wanted to be a paid actor.

Now my paycheck comes from Tupperware.

It doesn't come from NBC or CBS or Showtime.

I'm selling just as much here as I was in Los Angeles.

There is really a need for a drag queen Tupperware lady

in Columbus, Ohio.

I love the fact that 20-year-olds to 90-year-olds

can come to my parties and have a good time.

I really just want to entertain people

and for them to have a good time.

As I said, my name is Dee W. Ieye, Miss Tennessee, whoo!

The FedEx man is here to deliver Tupperware.


- To find out more about Dee W. Ieye's Tupperware parties,


And now, let's take a look at this week's art quiz.

Approximately, how many instruments

did Italian instrument maker, Antonio Stradivari,

make in his lifetime?

Is the answer A, 150?

B, 650?

C, 800?

Or D, 1,100?

(upbeat music)

And the answer is D, 1,100.

Performer Gia Mora is making theoretical physics

more digestible to the average person

by singing about it in her one-woman show, Einstein's Girl.

Take a look as art collides with science.

♪ Oh Internet, you're the only love that's true

♪ Oh Internet

♪ Oh Internet, I'd make out with your face

♪ So later tonight, let's meet up in cyberspace

- Gia Mora, from Einstein's Girl, actor, singer, and writer.

Thank you so much for being here.

- Thank you for having me.

- So Einstein's Girl, using, you know,

this critical mass of music and humor and academia.

- Yes.

- When you have approached venues and said,

so I have this show and I am going to take about binary code

and E equals m c squared,

do they kind of look at you a bit strangely?

What's the reaction you're getting from people?

- The thing I think is hardest is that

it gets attached to the word cabaret,

which I think has a lot of negative connotations

because when we think of, I don't know,

either beatniks with turtlenecks and blowing out candles and

snapping. - Smoking.

- Yeah, exactly.

We think really bad or we think diva songstress stuff,

which I'm closer to that end of it for sure.

But when I talk about the show,

they're very confused because they don't know

that their audiences will be able to follow.

And what I try and explain is that,

that's the entire point of this,

is to bring these audiences that have not ever

delved into this world, and to give them a glimpse into it.


♪ It's poetry in motion

You know, I'm a scientifically-minded girl.

♪ She turned her tender eyes to me

Surely there is a formula to love, right?

♪ As sweet as any harmony

The more I read about physics, the more I found

it could be used as this extended metaphor for love

in the 21st century and suddenly the whole show was born.

- So your undergraduate degree is in screenwriting.

Did you have any sort of a science background

before you decided to jump into this?

- Absolutely not.

In the game a theoretical physics,

I am a fantasy league player.

I know nothing really and truly,

I'm a spectator of this amazing work.

There is a burgeoning new field called quantum computing

and thanks to the wacky laws of quantum mechanics,

things can be in more than one state at time,

which means that data can be processed very quickly,

leading of course to the inspirational breakthrough

of faster download times for Internet porn.

(audience laughing)

- Because you didn't have a science background

but now it's a really big part of what you're doing

and how you are sort of making a living,

has science become something

that you really want to be more accessible?

Because math and science can be incredibly off putting,

it can be like art in a way, - Right, absolutely.

- where people say, I don't get it,

therefore, I want nothing to do with it.

- You're right, abstract art and mathematics,

or heavy-duty literature, I have a joke in the show that

the only thing more dense

than understanding quantum mechanics

is understanding James Joyce. (chuckles)

You know, like, those are two, like you said,

two very inaccessible things right?

- I think the music and the humor can help get at that

accessibility piece that you are trying to achieve.

Did you consciously set out to use them as tools,

as entry points? - Yes, to disarm, absolutely.

Because I think the second you start kind of

didactically speaking about science,

everybody just turns off.

A team of scientists in London

were able to a grow a hamburger in a Petri dish,

baking me a baby ain't too far away folks, right?

I think an advocacy coming from someone

who is a non scientist is also an important part

of why the show works, because I don't have the bona fides

to be talking about this, so it also tells other people that

they don't have to, either.

They don't have to be an expert to get abstract art.

They don't have to be an expert to get the Bing Bang.

And also, the idea that you can be female and feminine

and still be interested in these things,

that it doesn't have to be this other kind of stereotypical

nerd girl, glasses, and mousy hair and all that.

That you can have the glam and the goof and the geek

all in one thing.

And that's one person and you all can be that.

- So one of the songs in the show is E=mc2

where you're kind of chatting with Einstein

and I wondered if you would mind singing

maybe a bit of that for us, give people a sense.

- Yeah, absolutely.

♪ I had a dream late last night about Albert Einstein

♪ With his crazy hair

♪ His untied Oxford shoes

♪ I said, oh Mr. Einstein

♪ I got a question giving me the blues

♪ Tell me what is love

♪ And he said

♪ Well, my girl, I know a lot about physics

♪ And I have studied me a little bit of chemistry too

♪ But nothing in mathematics

♪ Can explain love's boogie woogie for two

- It's fantastic. - Thank you.

- What's the artistic process like for you

because, you know, you're the triple threat:

you sing, you act, you dance.

But you also write the show, your work is so multi-faceted.

Is there any one particular medium that really

you start with when you're approaching the larger work?

- That's a great question.

When I sing, I think I feel most connected and most alive,

so I think the music drives everything.

In the arc of the show is a narrative piece.

The music is the emotional journey that we follow.

♪ Fools in love

♪ Gently hold each other's hands forever

- [Carrie] In your opinion what can art do?

- Art can change the world.

I think art makes understanding bigger concepts

much more accessible.

Because we do work in a world of metaphors, right,

that's why poetry works the way that it does.

You can take something that you understand,

that you can wrap your brain around,

and use that as a metaphor

to explore something you don't know anything about.

And suddenly, that thing that was scary or inaccessible

becomes something familiar and understandable.

Doing this through art, I think can open up worlds to people

who may otherwise kind of stay away from something

because it seems too much or too scary or too boring.

- Gia Mora, thank you so much for being here.

Einstein's Girl is in theaters across the country.

- Thank you very much, Carrie.

- To find out more, visit

Stephane Cellier is a French painter

in Nevada's Virginia City area.

His classical training in France

sets Stephane apart from other painters.

He uses light in a way that makes his paintings

look more realistic than a photograph.

Let's take a look.

(playful music)

- I'm Stephane Cellier and I'm an artist, I'm a painter.

I came from France seven years ago now

because I love United States

so I sold everything I had in France and came here.

So I paint, I use a technique from the French masters

from the 15th century to now, like the glazing,

I'm using on that one,

the multiple glazing with transparency.

So like gesso, I paint in black and white first

and add the colors on the top, with transparency,

so different kind of techniques like that.

I work on the wood panel and usually I paint subjects

that are more modern with classical techniques

so it looks really classical

but when you take the time to watch it,

it's a little bit different.

I get that training in France

when I was in the French National Fine Art school.

The real first step , it's the creation of the design,

so I've got some images that appears in my brain,

that's why my wife think I'm nuts, she's probably right.

I look at pictures, I try to find picture

to see how I can create my compilation.

First step, to create the design,

so I can create my design and after that, I start to draw.

I just draw and painting, painting, painting.

So I will start with a dead layer to put the, very quickly,

the light and shadow, to look, and after that

I will add layers and layers and I build the painting.

You build almost like a sculpture.

You add layers and layers to build the shape,

because everything we see, it's because of the light.

So the shape is created by the light

so you need to add layers and layers

to create all the small differences in the light

and create the shape.

It's a long, long process.

I will add layers with transparency,

a little bit like when you use sunglasses,

different kind of colors,

so they will blend together like filters,

and you change till you obtain the transparency

and the texture of the skin.

Sometimes, like this one,

there is around 50 different layers

to create the texture on the skin

and the transparency and the light inside.

(bright romantic music)

It's hard to stop because when you are in this process,

you are in another world, there is nothing else around you,

and you work with the inside of yourself,

of your deep thought.

It's just a conversation with your soul, that's all.

You are with yourself and you talk to yourself

and you want to have a message in that painting.

You want to put the emotion you feel when you paint

on the palette and on the painting.

It's really a meditation process.

In my painting, I try to express something that disturb me

or something I like.

And sometimes what I like it's when the people who will,

the viewer who will see the painting,

they will try to find a message about me,

but usually they will find something about themself,

that's what I like.

So, it reflects more what people think about it,

about the message I really put in that,

because my vision is completely different, probably.

All the viewers will have an opinion,

different opinion of that painting, that's my goal.

So it's more like a mirror.

They can see what are their real deep thought

and how they are.

So I want people to feel something.

Even if they don't like it and they say, oh it's disgusting.

It's okay, there is an emotion, it works.

So, yeah, that's what I want.

- To learn more about Stephane, visit

And that wraps it up for this week's edition of ArtEffects.

For more arts and culture, and to watch past episodes,


Until next week, I'm Beth Macmillan.

Thanks for watching.

- [Announcer] Funding for ArtEffects is made possible by

Newman's Own Foundation,

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation,

Carol Franc Buck,

Heidemarie Rochlin,

the annual contributions of KNPB Members, and by.

(upbeat music)


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