Warning ... You are about to be assaulted with photographs! The content is harmless but the sheer volume may bury you. And I must confess, not all of them are of the best quality... some are maybe a bit blurry, a couple feature that old standard "red eye" which is mandatory in the world of amateur candid photography, and some require a caption but I most likely will fail to provide one. The best I can do is give you the broad strokes version of the past couple o' weeks. Pretend you're at a friend's house, sitting back on the couch while flipping through their stacks of photos that they just picked up from CVS (or insert here where you commonly develop pictures...I feel like I haven't developed photos in years! forget film...even at one of those machines where you pop your memory card in.) ...anyway, this post is 1 part shopping trip, 1 part business meeting, and 1 part party. I think I should start with the party portion...not because I live by the whole "life's short, dessert first" credo... I'm leading off with the party because the accompanying photos are probably some of the most baffling that I've ever posted and they need some quick explaining. I've had the pics up on Flickr for a little while now and I just know that many of my Flickr pals are dying to know just who the heck and what the heck is in these pics!
The party was for Bust magazine. I got an email a while back saying that Bust was throwing this huge party to celebrate their 15th anniversary. There were a couple of names on the night's agenda that caught my eye (one name in particular...which I'll get to in a minute!!). I called my sis Missy...she wasn't working on the night of the party, neither was her boyfriend, my little bro Walt was available (of course he's available...he's 18!) ...so we grabbed 5 tickets right away and then, as life goes, we sorta forgot all about it. Next thing you know, we're busy like crazy...weeks pass...our "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" painting starts selling like hotcakes (more on that later)...we're already backed up with work...all in all, our plates are full...and then we realize "hey, that Bust magazine party is on Tuesday!!"
So we washed the paint off our hands, threw on some lipstick , (well me and Missy did...Aaron, Walt and Charley decided to go au naturale!) and headed off to NYC for a big night out.
First, a descrip of the venue... Spiegelworld. A very cool place that is largely dependant on ideal weather conditions...which we had in spades! The weather that night was magically perfect...it was in the low 70's, clear and starry, very light breeze, no humidity, a very rare August night in Manhattan. The place is situated at South Street Seaport...a really touristy part of the city, a place we never ever go. And not because we avoid touristy places (because we don't...we love touristy places and we can't stand elitists!) ...we never go down there because it's so far from everywhere else in the city...it's way down at the southernmost tip and the roads down there are so hard to navigate in a car because of how non-gridlike they are and all the one way streets.
Spiegelworld is right on the water and is almost totally outdoors except for the performance spaces and the bars which are in big circus tents. All of it's really period authentic...very vaudeville, cabaret, burlesque. You'd love it if the company you worked for threw their annual summer party there. Check out the website, plan a trip to NYC, and go see a show. All sorts of acts play there. The views are amazing. You're right on the water looking over at Brooklyn, all the connecting bridges are twinkling in the night, channel markers are dinging, ferries are passing. And we had a special treat...right now, there are couple of giant waterfalls right off the coast of Brooklyn ( temporary waterfalls...in fact they are art installations. ) I'm not sure if we could hear the waterfalls or if I'm imagining that part...they're pretty far away, but as you're looking at them you "think" you can hear them roar.
So, we got to the party. We just made the cut off for "first 500 people to arrive" so we got an awesome bag full of all sorts of stuff...books, cd's, tech stuff, fake tattoos, free subscription to Bust, etc. ( I insisted to my sis over and over..."we MUST get there early so we can get the goodie bag!) Of course, as always, we are poor planners when it comes to eating schedule so none of us really ate too much beforehand so once we got inside the party we were looking all over for the free cupcakes which were promised in the advertising. Well we found one of the girls who was walking around with a tray, got her to pose for some pics with us, and while she was busy talking to us we repeatedly grabbed cupcake after cupcake! I mean, they were MINI cupcakes and one just didn't cut it...they were good though. Provided by Babycakes in NYC. Before the performance we just hung around, drank sodas, met some people, and Walt was probably pretty excited because his gigantic gold necklace instantly got some attention. A few different guys toting big cameras, obviously on press assignments to take pics, wanted to take photos of Walt. The one pic of me and him in front of the streetscape backdrop, I found online when I did a random search for Bust Party pics. It was for some online mag called Prefix. The pic is now on Walt's myspace page of course.
Ok, now I'll get to the "one name in particular" which I mentioned above.
Sure, Bust is a good magazine...why not go to their big party, get free stuff, cool venue, bands playing, circus acts, a night away from the grind with family and friends ... and the hilarious Amy Sedaris was the M.C. for the evening. But I'm a busy girl and it's gonna take more than that to tear me away from Everyday is a Holiday headquarters. It's gonna take something really special...enter Leslie Hall!! Yes, that's her in the skin tight, metallic gold spandex jumpsuit with neon fringed shoulder pads. I am a big big big big fan! She's a bit hard to describe. She's a girl from Iowa who amassed a giant collection of Gem Sweaters. "What's a gem sweater?" you ask... well, you've seen them before, and if you go to enough thrift shops or garage sales you'll see them again. At one point in time, crafty women went crazy with bedazzlers, fabric glue, beads, gems and crystals. Among these fabulously crafty women a very popular thing to embellish was a favorite sweater! Anyway, as the legend goes...these garish creations were a wonder to Leslie and she took hundreds of pics of herself in hundreds of sweaters and put them on her website: gemsweater.com. It became immensely popular overnight. After her site got inundated with hits she was socked with a very pricey bill from her server. She had all this popularity and no way to pay the bill. So what did she do. She got out her Mac, used some basic music producing software, and made a rap album!!! She is now, what you call, a cewebrity! I cannot begin to describe how much joy her music and videos have brought me. Yes, her videos are all over Youtube! I start every day with one of her videos and laugh until I cannot laugh anymore. I tell Aaron all the time that Leslie Hall is my hero! I have all three of her cd's and play them non stop. Her live performances are outrageous. Her stage persona is enigmatic...how she ties mid-west crafty ladies, rap, and Ziggy Stardust style costumes together is miraculous. I know there are many of you out there who share a lot of my tastes almost to the letter. It's probably the way you found my blog in the first place...we're cut from the same cloth. If one could peer into our souls and see visual representations of our favorite things we'd have a million similarities. But right now, as you read this, you're probably saying to yourself "I don't get it...I usually really dig the stuff that Jenny is into...but this just don't sound right...a mid-western girl in gold spandex who raps about gem sweaters, snacks, and zombies, doesn't seem like my cup o' tea." And you might be right. If it doesn't sound like your idea of entertainment then it probably isn't...and believe me, I respect your opinion. I never claimed to have perfect taste. BUT, if anything you see in the pics or glean from the descrip sounds funny to you then I suggest you look up the amazing Leslie Hall and have your world rocked!
Ok, so back to the Bust party. Leslie Hall performed first and it was so so so so good. Her group is actually called Leslie and the Ly's (pronounced: lies). They had way too short of a set and should not have been the opening act, but they still brought the house down. People who know her stuff were overjoyed...and people who didn't were simply enthralled at the spectacle. After Leslie, Lady Circus performed. Amazing feats of acrobatics while suspending themselves from long silky drapes twenty five feet up. Then, Murray Hill and the fabulous Pontani Sisters with their burlesque act. Murray Hill "the hardest working middle aged man in show biz" , is so darn funny but there's just way too much to get into. You must check out the link!
After all the acts we hung around a little bit outside of the performance tent and took in some more of the waterfront view before calling it a night. Walt took some pics with the Pontani Sisters and Murray Hill. And just as we were about to leave I spotted Leslie Hall...out of costume and nearly unrecognizable. I got to spill my guts to her and tell her what a huge fan I am and that I've known of her since like 6 or 7 years ago when she made an e-card of herself singing about and dancing in gold pants. She was so so nice and we really hit it off and in November when me, Aar, and Missy drive out to Omaha for Silver Bella, we're going to make a stop in Iowa to go see Leslie and her actual museum of Gem Sweaters! I know, I'm a little left of center. Wait, looking through my pics I just realized that I had some shots of Leslie's mom. That's her in the red shirt and gold pants. She is responsible for sewing Leslie's outrageous costumes and she was there at the show with a suitcase full of Leslie Hall merch ... t-shirts, cd's, and random clothing that Leslie herself sewed! She totally ruled and loved my brother Walt...kept calling him an absolute gentleman. Also, since first posting I have added a couple of videos that'll give you a good idea about Ms.Leslie Hall....
( Read on for Part 2...I was forced to separate my post....darn AOL)