ADG Perspective

July-August 2021

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Jon wanted a map inside the bodega to introduce audiences to the Dominican Republic (DR). Usnavi, the bodega owner, sings of his love for the DR in the opening number. Chris Scott wanted actor Anthony Ramos to jump over the counter and refer to the map. Not only did the counter have to be designed for a lot of jumping, but the location and scale of map elements had to be just right. As the map would dominate the bodega back wall, it needed to feel unique and homemade. I asked Andrew and his set dressing crew to collect packaging and parts of items typically sold in a bodega. The map would become a collage closely reflecting Usnavi's years of bodega ownership, as well as a unique piece of art representing his heritage. Soda bottle caps, lids from condensed milk cans, sweetener & sugar packets, MetroCards, discarded Lotto tickets, sea glass, guitar picks, subway tile, goldfish, gummy turtles, keys, lots of different Dominican candies, and even shells and sand from a Dominican Republic beach all made their way into the bodega map. Arches inspired by Dominican structures, pressed tin ceilings, and custom-built shelving incorporating handmade details and aged to appear as if thirty years old were fabricated. For ease of filming, shelving units were constructed on casters, and packaging not needing to be manipulated was affixed to the units. The bodega was stocked with private label regional and national label products found in the neighborhood. Andrew and his team mapped out the products and placement, and volumes of labels, signage, and graphics were created to flesh out the space. G. GRAFFITI PETE'S BODEGA BEACH MURAL. GRAPHIC LAYOUT. H. BODEGA FINAL EXTERIOR. SET PHOTO. I. BODEGA FINAL INTERIOR. SET PHOTO. E F G H I

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