Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, June 04, 2006
So this Saturday we went for a bite of nature. Oh how lovely it twas. Wacky, Chaz and I went up to the Hoyt Tree beauty place and took in a bit of air. Doesn't Chaz look divine?!? And Wacky, she just sparkles....
And get a gander at the most fabulous tree around! This was dubed the Elephant tree, because it looked and felt like an elephant... or what we thought an elepant would feel like.
I only wished I was a senior, and this could be my senior class photo...
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I guess the fuckers were riding around on 97th and Sandy. The cops ran the plates, made the arrests and towed our precious Steve to 143rd & Sandy.
We are going to pick it up at 6:30. Here is hoping that the inside looks okey!
Friday, May 26, 2006
you car theifs.
who could steal the STEVE?
i hate all of you uguly ass faces.
this is all we had. and now it is gone.
for all of our friends that have known, and loved the STEVE,
"SEND BAD MOJO to all theives!"
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
I have spent the past several weeks thinking about my creative future. It has been a full year since I started my bag business, and as much fun as it has been, I am ready to throw in the towel.
WHAT? You’re never going to make another bag?
NO. I just don’t want to focus on them anymore. I am tired of straps and pockets and linings. Bags just aren’t my bag. Never were. They were just a quick way to accessorize a dull wardrobe. And that is how it all began.
For those of you who don’t know the tale on how I stared sewing, and bagging, here you go:
It was 1998 and I was living in Chicago, off the Blue Line California stop with my boyfriend Putz. No, wait. I know I usually give aliases to protect the identities of those I write about, but I’m not even going to do that for Putz, oh yeah, his name is Greg Thorpe. Of the Cincinnati Thorpe’s. Anyhow, it was Christmas time, and instead of getting a traditional tree, I had to have a Christmas Ficus. But instead of calling it a Christmas Ficus, I would say it real fast so it sounded more like Christmas FUCK-A. Those were the days.
Under the FUCK-A that year, my mother got me a sewing machine. Actually she got me a phone call, of which I took my name down to the local Sears and picked up my machine, and THEN I placed it under the FUCK-A. (This is a beautiful option for buying gifts for loved ones who are far away. I just walked into Sears and they gave me my machine. Wham. Bam. Thank you MOM).
Growing up, my mom always sewed. Every pre-teen Halloween costume. (She won’t let me live down the bunny costume of 83. She claims she was snorting foux Peter Cottontail for weeks. I ended up wearing the damn thing till it was more like bunny-knickers). Every special occasion dress, from prom to my stint with pageantry, she sewed. I designed. She sewed.
I never watched her during these sewing bouts. I just picked out the fabric and pattern and that was it. Occasionally, when I wasn’t screaming at her, I helped cut out the pattern and help pin, which to this day is still her least favorite part of sewing. But I never actually sewed. So when I brought my Sears machine home and took it out of its microwave sized box, I had no idea of what to do.
Greg “the putz” Thorpe and I didn’t have any furniture for me to set up my machine on. We had a kitchen table, but no chairs. We had a couch, but no coffee table. We had a desk, but that was for Putzie’s computer, not, gasp, for a sewing machine! I set up on the floor, brought out some old items of clothing, cut them up with kitchen shears and tried to make a straight line.
Fast forward to fall of 1999.
The Putz and I were through. I moved into a fancy pants garden apartment with my gal “Ford Model”. We had less furniture combined than I did with Putzie. I did, however, have a kitchen table. Once we bought chairs, we were set! As for a couch, each of us being couch potatoes, I had to come up with something QUICK! I went down to the local Salvation Army and purchased a dozen old couch cushions and a dozen vintage sheets in solid colors of blue & green. I ran home and began a frenzy of sewing, recovering all of the old cushions in a retro, lets-lounge-on-the-floor-pillow, style.
It was my first big project. They worked out great, if you don’t mind the lack of lumbar support. And by the time I was done with the project, I had my straight lines down. What does this have to do with handbags, you say? Well, this is the back drop for the story that begins now.
Ford Model and I weren’t very responsible with our money. Instead of buying furniture, we would spend evenings having lavish $400 meals. Instead of buying new shoes, cuz I think I might have a hole in mine, we would go and have a lavish $400 meal. Instead of paying rent on time, we would go have… you get the idea. We were food whores. Working in an upscale food establishment that pimped out fine dining on a daily basis, it is all we wanted when we were done with our shift. We wanted to pimp some food y’all.
With this food debauchery came the booze debauchery. Campari and soda to start, or Pimms and a cucumber. Champagne while we waited for the table. A bottle of wine with dinner, or two. An after dinner drink, perhaps Gran Marnier or a fine port? This is how we rolled, in our holy shoes and tattered clothes. But one night I had had enough. Too much. And on the cab ride home, I had only one place to put it.
I barfed in my handbag.
I upchucked in my purse.
I ralphed in my clutch.
Pick your favorite. That is what I did. And the next morning, after cleaning off all of my ID’s and bank cards and what not, I was faced with a dilemma. What am I going to put all of this shit in?
And that is how it started. I sat down and sewed my first bag. I used some of the left over sheets and the lining was made out of a vintage shower curtain, incase I had to wipe it out. OH YEA, I was thinking! It was fast, it was easy, and I got so many complements on it. Now before heading out to lavish meals I would sew up two hand bags, one for Ford Model and one for myself. It was an easy way to spruce up our dated duds.
I began to scavenge resale shops and vintage stores for fabric. A local hair salon started to sell them, and I began to bring in money for them. A local paper wanted to write an article about me. ALL BECAUSE I VOMITED IN MY POCKETBOOK! Not very glamorous, I know.
Now when I sew bags it isn’t the exciting “oooh I am going to spruce up a wardrobe,” it is “oh shit I have got to get this out on time.” I started to create something a bit more rock and roll and my clients didn’t like the new style. I wasn’t able to grow with my creativity, and things got pretty stagnant. It has been about two months since I have sewn my last handbag. I have a few lined up for friends, but I am just not feeling it anymore.
I have moved on to clothes. They are exciting in that “oooh I am going to spruce up a wardrobe,” which is what I always enjoyed the most. Am I going to take it to the retail level? I doubt it. Friends and family. I will start there. Just like I did with Ford Model oh so many years ago.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Here are the three “models” that are left. Flopsey, Mopsey and Cottentail.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
This here blog is dedicated to one of the babiest babes around, Union Jackie. “Why dedicate this to miss Union Jackie?” Well because this past weekend Union Jackie announced that she just jumped on the HOT MAMA bus, destination BabyVille! YEAH.
So let us tip our hats and clink our glasses to Union Jackie and her husband DeWalt.
I have compiled a list of all that is wonderful to come!
Pimp new rides.
Fine French Undergarments.
More nipples than you can shake a stick at.
Poo Poo platters
And, of course The best sitters in town!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Chaz had some business to do on Sunday around town. I decided I would keep him company on his journey. What was supposed to be a two stop, 15 minutes each location, 30 minute total working trip, ended up a passport of culinary bliss.
Our first stop took place during the witching hour, somewhere between breakfast and lunch. Chaz was rumbling for something dim-sum-ish and we hadn’t yet ventured into Beaverton’s one-stop Asian superstore, Uwajimaya. http://www.uwajimaya.com/index.html So we decided to check it out.
We did what we always do when we step into an Asian grocery store, we looked for Chaz’s grape drink.* I didn’t think it actually existed until Sunday when we found the elusive drink, in a box of twelve, for $8 and some change. Besides the Korean grape drink, Chaz scored himself a steamed pork bun. I walked away with some tasty Japanese candy and some shrimp chips, (which I am wishing I bought several bags of right now, cuz I could really go for some). We paid for our loot, stamped our passports: Korea, Japan, and China and headed to our next destination.
“All aboard, train heading Southwest; get your sombrero on to block the rays of the jalapeno sun!”
The next stop was a 30 + tasting of salsas. From Pico de Gallo to roasted tomatillo, I have never tasted so many salsas in one place. There were jarred varieties and freshly prepared. Green, red, fire roasted, mango, pineapple, olive, black bean, mild, medium and hot… “Ole” you say? Although we didn’t purchase any we added another notch to our world tour belt and moved on…..
Right across the street. Yup, right across from the Salsa fest 2006 was a porthole to the Russian motherland. Pyccku Magazine. (Russian market). We were greeted with a warm, round-faced, glowing smile.
“May I hcelp ewe?”
“Chaz would you like to get some cabbage rolls?” A nod and perusal of the pickled fish, exotic jams and tea, we were leaving with two home-made cabbage rolls, just like my babushka used to make! I gave her a big thanks in Russian. She asked if I was Russian and I replied, in Russian by the way, that my great grandmother and grandfather were. She gave me a knowing look and said “Ewe are Ukrainian, no?” “DA.” How did she know that?
Passports full, exotic food dazed we contemplated where to head for lunch. Each of us was craving a bubble tea, a regular hamburger wouldn’t do after such a world-wind of an afternoon.
“How about FuBon Super Center? We can check to see if the bubble tea shop is open and get some Vietnamese food.”
And there you have it. One afternoon took us all the way around the world, and we didn’t even have to leave the state! I love Portland. I love that it is a small town and yet so damn diverse. Who wants to take a trip with me this weekend?
*Chaz used to live in New York. He has two stories he tells about New York. One of the stories is about a vegetarian duck dish he had ALL THE TIME at a restaurant called Planet Thailand. The other story is about a Korean grape drink he always drank with one of his roommates, who was Korean. The grape drink had actual grapes in it. Every time Chaz and I hit an Asian grocery store, WE WOULD LOOK FOR THIS MYSTICAL DRINK.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
A week prior to our date we started to see copious amounts of advertising by the Lobster Company on it’s “30 Shrimp Special.” For $11.99* one not only received endless cheesy biscuits, a salad WITH croutons AND choice of dressing, a favorite Lobster side choice (rice pilaf, baked potato, French fries, or seasonal vegetable), but also was able to choose TWO preparations for the 30 shrimp. Choices included the always succulent hand battered and fried shrimp, the garlicky goodness found in the Shrimp Scampi, the ever delectable popcorn shrimp, “could it possibly get any better” shrimp alfredo AND a new choice to the scene, Cajun Shrimp. OH THE CHOICES.
Chaz and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dine in such splendor at such a meager cost. Hook, Line and Sinker, we were headed to the OL’ LOBSTER!
As it turns out, there isn’t an OL’ LOBSTER located in the city of Portland, so we had to travel to the outskirts to reach the shrimpy-good-times location. Crossing the boarder into Washington we knew we were headed for a treat! We turned the “Steve” into a mall parking lot and there it was, a grey, oceanic building of bliss.
Entering into the OL’ LOBSTER was just as exciting. Tanks full of lobsters the size of my hand, paintings of sea voyages of the past, nautical gadgets to blow your mind. It was like being in food aquarium. We placed our name with the hostess, who looked ever so knowledgeable about seafood, and sat next to ONE of the lobster tanks with our blinking coaster. (Apparently, when there are long waits to be seated, guests are handed blinking coasters that buzz and blink when their table is ready.) The two other couples eyed us nervously, hoping their coaster would blink first. It was a race to the shrimp line, I could just feel it!
Our coaster went off and we were lead through a maze of dining rooms, each packed with tables, anchors and diners. We were lead to a comfy booth and handed four menus. Levi our server led us through a whirlwind of choices. Opening the first menu and showing us the specials he tempted our taste buds with all of the succulent choices. Chaz asked Levi his opinion between two different appetizers, the Ultimate Fondue or the Artichoke crab dip. Turns out, LEVI can’t eat shellfish. Now how the fuck does that happen? You don’t see Drylids working at a Peanut Factory, or Britney giving haircuts at the local Cattery do you?
We opted for the Ultimate.
Chaz’s order: 30 Shrimp Special. Salad with blue cheese. Rice Pilaf. Hand breaded Shrimp. Shrimp Scampi.
My Order: 30 Shrimp Special. Salad with ranch. Seasonal vegetables. Shrimp Alfrado. Cajun Shrimp.
The first to be dropped were the cheesy biscuits. UNBELIEVIBLE. The best damn biscuit ever created. Salty, buttery, cheesy, light and airy and HOT HOT HOT. I had to restrain myself from eating all four they loaded into our endless basket.
Second to hit the table: ULTIMATE FONDUE. A HOT HOT HOT, cheesy, shrimpy, lobstery, crabby dip served in a bread bowl. Calling out to all those who know and love Perkins and their delicious bread bowl, “this one is the ULTIMATE.”
Next came the salads. Fresh iceberg. Shredded carrots. Cucumbers. Tomatoes. CRUTONS and a generous serving of dressing on the side. Need I say more?
By the time our entrees hit Chaz and I were stuffed. I couldn’t look at the 30 shrimp. They just seemed so endless. Between the array of four preparations, I couldn’t chose a favorite. You can’t go wrong with the hand battered. And the Scampi oozed butter. Cajun was hot and spicy and the Alfredo coated in cheese! We left over full, to-go box in hand, wishing we hadn’t ordered the appetizer.
Would I go back? Heck yes. Was it delicious? It was everything I thought it would be. Would I order the same thing? Not on your life. Do I dream about cheesy biscuits every damn day? HECK YES I DO. All I can say is that I can not wait till LOBSTER FEST! BRING IT ON BITCHES, BRING IT ON!
*Prices higher in Times Square and Hawaii.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I know, you read that right. I was out of doors WEEDING. Getting dirty. I exposed my butt crack for two hours while bending over pulling nasties out of the ground. IT WAS FABULOUS. I have found a new method of relaxing that is not only good for me, but for my butt crack as well.
Princess Velcro. What a cutie.
Check out Timmy in his element. Rrower.
And once again, the princess catching some sun.
AHHHH what a beautiful day!
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Would the fella's in the House of Cute please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?
While glancing through my pop culture life style, a couple of cuties caught my eye. Take a look at their cuteness, they might just make your day.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I had a day. A day of all days. One to end the world kind of days. One where you look back and think “why didn’t I just stay in bed.” Oh yeah, it was one of those.
It was TUBEsteak. (For those who don’t know this reference, feel free to check out http://bagsfagsanddrags.blogspot.com/2006/04/tube-steak.html ) I had a class. (I teach beverage sales skills for a multiple location company). My class was located at an establishment outside of Portland. But this is only where the story begins.
I am a public transportation DIVA. I would rather a bus/train take me there than to drive. This, however, is not my point. I will save the reasons why I public transit for another blog. My point of this blog is “AHHHH the power of ME.”
Anyhow. I plan my route via bus line days in advance. It should only take me an hour door to door. Not too shabby. I can read. Relax. Prep for my class. Only it is TUBEsteak, and not my day. So instead of boarding my bus, bus #35, I somehow end up on the #96. Oh yeah. You don’t even know what this means do you? For those of you out-of-towners or car-drivers, this means that by the time I realize I am on the wrong bus I am in BFT. BUTT FUCK TIGARD. I am ½ hour from my class location, and I have 45 minutes to get there.
This, however, is not the point of my blog. It is TUBEsteak, and not my day. But the point of my blog is “AHHHH the power of ME.”
I do end up getting to my location, oh yes. By the power of “MOTHER.” I have 10 minutes to set up and gain composure. I get my twenty breaths in. Set up my glassware and handouts and am ready to go.
It is a glorious day. We are outside on a patio, in the sunshine, 70 degree weather. I start my class, get into my grove. Because we are outside I have to compete vocally with traffic and an eardrum busting train, but all is good. I have everyone’s attention. They are laughing and learning and having a good time. Oh but wait, some of them aren’t. Instead they are smoking and drinking and talking a good time amongst themselves.
We have all attended school at one point in our lives. We all know the classroom dynamic. Those who sit in the front are the goody-goody-nerds and those who sit in the back are the cool-rock-in-roll-I-don’t-have-to-listen-to-you kids. This disruptive table of mine was located in the back. And they were having themselves a gay ol’ slap-each-other-on-the-ass kind of time (which is something my Gym teacher used to say).
I continue with my class. I continue with my class until it becomes so unbearable talking over the traffic, train and tough guys that I finally say something. “Hey. I have traveled out here to talk about wine. Please give me and your co-workers the respect we deserve and pay attention.” That was it. It was all I said. EVERYONE got quite. I continued. I was tired. I finished and was ready to get out of there, but TUBEsteak wasn’t done with me yet. OH NO.
One kid, who didn’t listen to me the whole time, snorting under his breath and talking baby talk every time I asked a question, claimed I was directionally challenged (which might be true considering my wrong bus adventure) and didn’t know what I was talking about. But he wasn’t the topper. The rowdy group wasn’t the topper, although they made my job difficult. The topper was “CHIEF.” That is what I will call him.
“CHIEF” was the leader of the gang. He was the one who smoked cigarettes and talked throughout my entire presentation. He was the instigator. He gave me DEATH looks throughout my entire class. “CHIEF” met me on my way out. He opened his mouth, and this is what he said:
“I just want to apologize if you thought we were being rude. We weren’t. You only get respect if you deserve respect and you DON’T deserve respect. You are rude and condescending, and don’t deserve my respect.”
I said a few things. Thought about slaying him and tried to get out of there as fast as possible. The manager met me on the front steps, apologized profusely for his staff and I went home to cry in a tub filled with lavender infused bubbles.
This is where I get to “AHHH the power of ME.”
I stand up for myself. I handled myself very well. I told the rowdy group to shut the fuck up. I pleasantly told “CHIEF” that I was sorry he felt that way. I didn’t get into the gory details with the manager about “CHIEF” and his crowd. I went home. I drew a bath. I sent an email to my superiors to let them know, not in detail, what happened and to ask for advice as to where to go from there.
I was immediately contacted by several managers, heads of human resources, etc. I was apologized to MANY a time and asked to relay, in detail my experience. My day started to disappear. I hear talk of “write-ups” and “verbal warnings.” I feel good. I feel great! I am being listened to. I am being treated like a human, unlike the day before. I didn’t want to come out as the “tattle tale” or the “bitch” but no one should be treated this way. NO ONE.
“AHHH the power of ME.”
Until “CHIEF” was fired. I felt great until that. I was told that “CHIEF” was demoted the week before and a long-time problem employee, however, I wasn’t ready for my voice to carry so far as to affect his employment. What if he has a family? What if? What if? What if?
And so I am left with the upper hand, as a better person, but I never set out to change a person’s life, nor income. I only wanted to make things right.
“AHHHH the power of ME.”
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
She is down. Overwhelmed. Stretched too thin. Feeling too many emotions that just make her head swell. I want to give her a rest bit. I want to give her a break. I am giving Brit my “TUBE STEAK” blog to use as an energy boost or as a nap, which ever she prefers. For the rest of you out there, be thankful that Brit is even LETTING you read this.
Brit and I met while on the job. I won’t call it work, because it wasn’t. We sold high end Italian Ceramics. We couldn’t afford the ceramics we sold. Richies would come in and ask us stupid ass questions like “what pattern do you own?” (We made close to minimum wage. We couldn’t afford a $22 coffee mug.) So, I would lie. Every day I owned a new imported Italian ceramic design. Brit didn’t lie about it. “I have one of those.” She would point to the pattern of which she bought a chipped coffee mug from the damaged/sale table the week before. Brit is good like that. She won’t lie to make other people money.
At first the owners, who looked a bit like this:
Would keep us separated. Brit would be on duvet duty on the second floor. Duvet duty consisted of changing out the bed linens on the six plus beds that were located upstairs. Each bed had to be stripped from its décor, listed from bottom to top:
1) Dust ruffle
2) Fitted sheet
3) Top sheet
4) Duvet cover
6) 2 standard pillows
7) 2-3 Euro shams
8) 2-3 small throws
Each one of these items had to be taken off of the bed or removed from the insert and re folded into its original plastic-zip-protector baggie to look as if it had never graced a floor sample. YEAH, do that six times over and you might think that you are losing your mind. “Oh, but it sounds so easy!” you say. Well un-making and re-making a bed on the second floor of a non-air conditioned building in the middle of summer is like taking a Total Body Challenge at the Sahara. No, it is like doing the Iron Man Challenge in August at Vegas. No, it is like being Oprah’s bra while she is frantically shopping for high-end Italian leather handbags.
Anyhow, that is how the owners, would keep us separated. This “second-floor-switch-a-roo” only worked until noon, when the oldest owner would leave after having a glass or two of wine to head home to get her crunk on. Her daughter would file out shortly there after citing “lunch with friends” or “big boot sale” or “I’ve got a pot of chili going on the stove.”
“Can you gals close up shop?”
“Heck yes we can!” A sly nod between the two of us. Once the cat was away, BOOYA. Brit and I would break out the martinis and pretend to dust the ceramics until closing time a six.
All in all it was pretty coosh. The two owners were manic, on one emotional plateau one minute and then flying to another the next. We worked with a few crazy rich teenagers who were friends of the owner’s family. They were fun to watch come into work every day in a “crisis.” (MY HAIR, MY FRIENDS, MY TRIP TO MIKINOS!) Brit and I would nod, look at each other and nod again.
“Fucking rich whores!”
Those were good times. Brit and I became great friends. If we had never worked there we would have never met, and I would be so sad if we had never met. Even though I wouldn’t have known that you were out there, I would have had a hallow place in my life, where you should be. Brit, I love you. We all want you to be the happy, linen folding, martini sippin girl, with your Jerry Garcia past. Don’t let the world hit you too fast and make you change. Take a moment each day to remember what has come before. Dieci Soli.
Friday, March 31, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
10) Fois Gras
9) Gummy Bears, jelly belly’s, ju ju bees
8) Ice Cream (pistachio, white licorice)
7) Pate, braunschweiger
6) Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
5) Pickles & Sauerkraut
4) Cured Meats (pepperoni, capicola, Prosciutto, salami)
3) Hot Dogs
1) Crème Brule
By looking at this list, one might suspect that I am pregnant. NO. I am 1/4 German and these foods are what Germanic people eat. Like the gummy bears. They created the damn things. http://www.candyusa.org/Candy/gummicandy.asp Germany is really Gummy Land. They go nutz for them bears! And when it comes to cured meats, hot dogs & braunschweiger, those are their national team’s mascots. And don’t even think about fucking with a Germans Sauerkraut! They will sausage your ass. So I say make yourself a list, check it twice, and see if your heritage peeks through your favorite foods…..
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
c) not quite sure what goal to focus on now
e) all of the above
I do have projects on the burner, such as:
a) birthday gifts
b) making bag inventory
c) sourcing handbag retailers
d) making clothes for the summer
e) waxing on and waxing off
f) all of the above
The positive about working so hard to get garments together for PRW is that now I have lots of energy and confidence to continue making garments. What I would like to make in the near future:
a) spring/summer dresses
b) sassy jackets
c) printed t’s with flare
d) skirts with rockets and pockets
e) windshield wiper cozies
f) a summery duvet cover
I am really proud of myself. My garments were beautifully made. They look great on, and each piece was technically better and better than the previous one. I also received a lot of advice on what I need to do to improve my skills:
a) buy 20 zippers and sew them over and over again
b) take the time for the finishing touches, they make a difference
c) get your overlock machine fixed
d) draw/put your ideas/inspirations on paper daily
e) enjoy it
So I am going to work this next week on creating some new pieces, as well as working on the business that I currently have. All in all, I am happy with the direction in which I am going, and plan to ride this train to the top of Creative Mountain!
Monday, March 27, 2006
CHICAGO. 3/23/06 5:45 am
It was a beautiful morning.
The sun was shining.
Not a cloud in the sky.
Mid 40’s, but with the sun, beautiful.
Sock Monkey and I awoke and got ready. Although she was unable to model the dress for me that day, she was kind enough to wake with me and escort me to the “W” Hotel. We left her apartment at 7:00am, grabbed a cup of joe and headed via bus to Lake Shore Drive. While on the bus I spy a lady and a gent, garment bag in tow, heading toward the lake. “I know where they’re going,” I point out to Sock Monkey.
We ring the bell and hop off the bus, only to stand on Lake Shore Drive, in the blazing morning sun, wondering which direction the “W” Hotel was. I didn’t bring the address. It is a hotel for crying out loud, it should stand out, right? Sock Monkey gets out her cell and dials 411 to get a hold of someone at the “W” for an address. Frustrated, she is disconnected twice. I look up the road only to see the lady and gent that I spotted on the bus. They will know which way to go.
They don’t. We hang a left on Lake Shore Drive and walk a few blocks. Nadda. We then backtrack and hang a right for 6-8 blocks. The addresses of the buildings are growing. Between Sock Monkey, the lady and the gent, they finally get a hold of an address for the “W”. We back track again, taking a left, and arrive in front of the “W” hotel at 7:45am. There is a line, but the sun is shining and we have a great view of the lake, and the line doesn’t look so bad. SO FAR SO GOOD.
The “Lady” and the “Gent” (which they will be referred to from here on out) file in line ahead of me, and agree to be my buddies while Sock Monkey leaves me and heads off to work. I have already gained two friends and it is only 8:00 in the morning! I am pretty sweaty at this point from all of the huffing around carrying my garment bag, a satchel, my clutch and a cup of joe, so standing in the sun becomes a nice rest bit.
The line begins to grow. Designers begin to file in line behind me, wrapping around the building. A beautiful lady from Kentucky is standing behind me and we chit chat. She has on a lovely orange suit jacket, and we thank our lucky stars that the sun is out to keep us warm.
Volunteers come thru and hand out wavers for those designers that have models. They take our pictures with a Polaroid which we staple to the outside of our 24 page application with our number. I was #71. The Gent #70. Miss Kentucky #72. Things are moving along, but the line isn’t. It is building its way around the building. #70 and I get to talking. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and now is working in fashion. #69 (who becomes one of the dopple-ganger three), also attended SAIC the same time that I did, and we gossip about people that we both knew, and people that we both despised. Things are still going well, and the line isn’t moving.
(#69, the Lady & #70)
It is past 10:00am. The sun disappears. It gets down right COLD. But we keep chit-chatting and being catty to keep ourselves in high spirits. (Believe you me, there was so much eye candy to be catty about, from garments to really bad trannies, I really should have taken more photos). We are freezing. Miss Kentucky’s lips are turning blue. We get word that the line of designers is mounting to around 140.
11:00am. We are still standing outside. Gent #70, tells us that he tried out last year in Huston. There are three initial screening stages:
First: A producer walks around and asks you questions.
Second: A couple producers take a look at your portfolio/garments.
Third: The judges. (the rumor mill has pegged Nick, from season two, as this year’s judge.
Noon. It is down right FREEZING. And we are hungry. True fashion martyrs. We are all just waiting to make it to the heated, but still outside Valet tent, in which we will be questioned. Every time the sun comes out we run to find it, trying to warm our bones. #69, a younger looking version, but just as cute, of Nick, and I head to the front lawn, where some sun is scattering across the grass. He points out those in line he knows. Those who are doushbags. When one approaches.
“HEY! OH MY GOD, I haven’t seen you in, like years. I have been wrapped up in a crazy life. After school I got an internship in New York with Donna Karen. Then I moved to Paris where I was sewing for (fill in fancy designer here). I then moved back, hoping to use all of my FABULOUS skills and everyone I interviewed with told me I had TOO much talent, and was terribly over QULIFIED! So guess what I am doing now? Besides standing here in my FABULOUS PRADA shoes and (fancy designer) jacket? I am sewing band uniforms in Minnesota! CAN YOU BELIVE IT!?!” – we will call him “Frenchie” finally leaves, after much gagging from #70 and I.
Finally we make it to the semi heated carport! HELL YEAH! It is like 10-20 degrees warmer, and there are places to sit! It is like heaven. The Lady is kind enough to grab us some snacks to appease our gurgling tummies. The producer makes his round, asking us all questions and writing our names on a clipboard. His real name is Michael, and looks like Jered Letto, only BETTER.
“How are you today?”
“Why did you come out?”
“What makes your designs different?”
“Did you go to school for design?”
We then are left to wait some more. Turns out they go to lunch. Hey, at least we are in the tent. My team (#69, #70 & the Lady) decide, no matter how far each of us get, that after we will wait for each other at the “W” bar and grab a cocktail.
3:00pm. Somehow, #69 & #70 get ushered in without me and I am left to stand outside and wait. My number gets called. A producer tells me to wait to the side, and they grab #71 and #72 to go in ahead of me. They then take me in to wait with a group that is heading up an elevator to get judged by the panel. I skip the portfolio review and hop onto the elevator with the group, which contains my gang #69 & #70. While riding the elevator a producer tells us:
“Turn all cell-phones off. They are filming. They can hear all of the noises we make, so you need to be as quite as possible. There are racks of hangers when we get off the elevator. You need to hang your garments up and sit in the order of your numbers. Wear only what you want to be seen in, so if you want to take of your jackets, now would be the time. Sit and wait in number order to be miked up. The judging panel can take 2 minutes or it can take 20, so be prepared.”
BAM. We were off the elevator. Hanging garments. Taking off jackets. Sitting in Order. Getting miked up. Grabbing our garments. Waiting two by two to enter the room of judges. You can here them inside. You can here Tim Gunn making comments and people laughing. #69 goes in first. Then #70. It is my TURN! OH MY GOD IT IS MY TURN!
I walk in, past the garment rack. Hang my three garments and look up. Sitting at a 8”, white clothed table are the panel. A female producer, TIM GUNN, NICK and another female producer. I set my portfolio in front of Tim and head to the X on the floor where I was told to stand.
Tim: “How are you, Michelle?”
M: “Sweaty! I hope you can’t smell me from there!”
All: Laughter “We are too!”
Tim: “So you flew all the way here from Portland?”
M: “I used to live here and have some retailers here in Chicago, so I thought it was a good place to try out, mixing business with pleasure.”
Tim: “What type of retailers?”
M: “I make handbags.”
Producer: “Do you do that full time?”
M: “No, I supplement my income in the wine industry.”
Tim: “What makes you think you have what it takes to be on Project Runway?”
M: “Besides my sparkling personality?”
All: Laughter, making cute faces……
I begin to describe my design aesthetic and what I have to offer. During this speech, Tim is flipping thru my portfolio and sliding it across the table to one of the producers. The other two just are staring at me. I finish my speech. Tim looks up at my garments on the rack (which are 10 feet away from the judging panel I might add) and says:
Tim: “I just don’t think that you are what we are looking for.”
Each producer and Nick file in tune: “Yeah, not quite what we are looking for.”
M: “Alright. Alright.” I pull down the dress from the rack and say “even though I have a matching handbag for my dress, I mean, it is just TACKILY WONDERFUL don’t you think?”
Nick: “You do have a wonderful personality. Keep up the good work.”
Side note: Isn't that what they say about ugly girls?