After a Fashion

Nothing validates a scene like its own magazine.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE BEAUTIFUL We have a full fashion agenda for fall beginning with a very ambitious undertaking in the works by Mark Guerra, Ali Valentine, Sundown TV, and Ryan Losser. The launch party of Losser's new I-35 fashion and lifestyle magazine, based here in Austin, will be held September 23 at the Austin Music Hall. The event promises to be the Austin fashion and live music extravaganza that is long overdue. Inside sources say E! Television has confirmed that they will be covering the party. It also promises prominent local designers and retailers, including but not limited to St. Thomas, Christina Klisanin for Vylette (opening soon in Davenport Village), and Amy Turnbull, as well as a few other regional designers -- expect some surprise appearances in that lineup. With hair and make-up magic courtesy of Wet (you know I love them) stealing the show, expect dazzling beauties from Maximum FX and Avant, among others, as well. Integrated throughout the fashion segments will be performances by Chrysta Bell (formerly of 81é2 Souvenirs), with the coup de grace being Bob Schneider (Please, Sandy, please come with Bob to the show! This is a really important fashion event and you must grace us with your presence! I know you're busy -- I can help you find something wonderful to wear!). Complete information can be found at www.markguerra/event.html.

While we're on the subject, the show could use a few more statuesque beauties to walk the runway. Come on, you new crop of UT girls, don't be modest. If you think you might have what it takes, call Mark Guerra at 419-0434. Immediately.

SERVICE WITH A SNEER "Come see the many sides of Sears," the sign at the auto service center said. And that we did. The side we remember most? The really bad side. Horrible customer service, lacking in the most basic components of common courtesy, coupled with ineptitude and shoddy work, ranks Sears in the No.1 spot of our Bad Service Hall of Fame. Get a clue, Sears -- competition is deadly and you need all the help you can get.

Then there's Public Storage. Having recently experienced a year of appalling "service" from their local office, at long last we have our belongings out of storage and feel safe in saying that they, too, give abominable customer service. The list of specific offenses is lengthy, but suffice to say that never once, in any exchange with them, were we ever treated with anything approaching respect -- arrogance and smarmy patronization seem to be their credo. The service itself, especially the pickup and delivery, is a valuable one, so if you care, call Shurgard. They, at least, pretend to care.

And Kwik Kopy on Bee Caves Road? The name's a complete misnomer.

Compass Bank also rates very low marks for communication and expediency. It simply should not take four months to receive checks. Also on the banking front, Bank of America has been an interesting experience -- in trying to open a business account at the downtown branch, we were thrown every roadblock possible by the customer service rep we dealt with, who officiously rattled off every possible reason why they couldn't help us.

But, lest you think we only have bad things to say about service, when we tried the Oltorf branch of Bank of America, customer service rep Lynda went out of her way to help us work through the documentation required. She is a true asset -- a friendly, kind, helpful employee of a behemoth corporation. The reps at the downtown branch would do well to spend a day with Lynda and learn a few social skills.

FAN MAIL The word "fan" is a very nice word. When you're a "fan" of something, it's because you like it. Of course, the word "fan" is derived from "fanatic," which can have a slightly more sinister aura, so, I use the term "fan mail" loosely. Checking my Chronicle e-mail last week, I was deeply touched to discover that some fan cared enough to send the very best -- an online voodoo curse. I didn't want to open it, and still haven't, but I made my friend Gail do it. She reported that it was this silly-looking doll with pins in it that says, "Stephen, hurts, doesn't it?" She followed the links to this voodoo doo-doo homepage and found this very generic little form that you fill out to send your curse. I've been a slave to it ever since, unburdening myself of years of emotional detritus in a few short minutes, by sending curses to everyone I can think of that ever offended me. So what was supposed to be a wretched curse turned out to be a magical, therapeutic gift, and I'm eternally grateful.

Write to our Style Avatar with your related events, news, and hautey bits: or PO Box 49066, Austin, 78765 or 458-6910 (fax).

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