After a Fashion

Your Style Avatar with two tributes and an apology

My mother, Phyllis Ann Jackson at the time, as a young college sophomore.
My mother, Phyllis Ann Jackson at the time, as a young college sophomore.
Photo courtesy of Phyllis Jackson Stegall

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Last Friday was my mother's 83rd birthday. It's mind-boggling to think of the things she has seen and the changes in the world that have occurred since she was born in 1929. A few months after her birth, the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. My mom came from a long line of ministers. Her grandfather was a minister; her father was a minister (the real fire-and-brimstone kind); three of her uncles were ministers; many of her extended family were ministers ... 11 in all. Later she married my dad, another minister. As she was growing up, the entire family hunkered down, rationed their chow, worked hard, and had unbending faith that the Lord would take care of them all. The Depression left its mark on all of them. The battle cry was, "Don't throw that out! We might need it!" As her kids – born and raised in the Fifties and Sixties – we were from a much more lenient and fruitful time, and far more wasteful. Mom worked hard to instill in us the qualities of kindness, compassion, creativity, motivation, and respect for others. It is those qualities that I try to draw on in my own life ... a life that would have been very different without her. Happy birthday, Mother, and thank you for being there for me!

TRANSFIXED

I saw the band Sorne (www.sorne.com), fronted by Morgan Sorne for the second time last week (pronounced SOR-en, not sor-NAY). Having first seen them at the party for a film during SXSW, I was riveted by their raw, tribal energy. Morgan Sorne is a force to behold. It's as if Freddie Mercury, David Byrne, an early David Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Cure's Robert Smith had gotten together and had a baby. He is an enigma, chanting like an ancient tribesman, stomping like he's dancing for rain, and whirling like a helicopter, while his voice scales the ranges of the mesmerizing and hypnotic, to almost unnaturally Edith Piaf high notes. Sorne's story is told operatically, in a sense, to pounding drums that can both underscore the enchanting vocals and yet often be the performance itself. I saw them recently at their DVD release at Blackheart (www.blackheartbar.com). Blackheart is in what I like to call the Pearl District because of both Pearl St. and Lustre Pearl. I can understand why the residents must hate it, but the Pearl District is indeed one of the city's hottest new clubbing destinations. I was a guest of Sorne's manager Sarah Johnston (www.agentred.net), and definitely did not fit the bill of the bar's usual customer. Sorne performed on the patio, and the impending weather forced the band to shut down the visuals and graphics. As they began to play, the weather became mistier and breezier. Sorne continued, as if invoking the weather, until at one particular high point, the sky opened up, gushing rain on the crowd. Yeah, a few weenies had to run inside, but the bulk of the crowd did not budge as Sorne's electrical equipment was covered, and he continued until his glorious pompadour was matted around his face and the crowd was in a lather. Moving the show into a smaller inside room, the soaked Sorne continued to play to a crowd that was so packed that the band was completely surrounded by fans. It is this very kind of connection with the audience that is Sorne's strength. He has a story to tell and means for you to hear it. And we did. Ecstatically.

APOLOGIES

Okay, I have to apologize to my friend, the glamorous model, industrial production ace and fashion designer Esther Bowen by listing her incorrectly (as in not at all) in the photo two weeks ago. Duh. I know and adore Esther, the glamazon fashionista and designer on the right in last week's photo. I see her regularly when I drop by White Star Manufacturing, where she practically runs the place. I'm so sorry, Esther, for the slight ... so will you please stop giving me that look every time I see you?

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Style, Phyllis Moser, Mom, birthday, Morgan SornSorne, Esther Bowen

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