After a Fashion

One of the family passed on this week. The Style Avatar's sister remembers the Houston Chronicle's Maxine Mesinger.

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY For more than 35 years, Maxine Mesinger covered the high life in the Houston Chronicle. When she died last week at age 71, it was like closing a book on another era. Mesinger came to the HC to write "Big City Beat" in 1964, when the golden age of Hollywood was well in decline. Nevertheless, she knew Houston would provide as much glitz, glamour, and scandal as anything Hedda Hopper or Louella Parsons could scoop in their day. At her funeral, the reverent silence was broken only by the brush of mink coats and the rattle of diamonds while Editor Jack Loftis called forth a gossip columnist's dream list of names in tribute to the woman affectionately called Miss Moonlight. New York socialite Ivana Trump couldn't make it and sent a gorgeous orchid display. H-town's Lynn Wyatt and Bob Sakowitz did attend, as did cartoonist Channing Lowe and restaurateur Tony Vallone. Former Houston mayor Bob Lanier and ex-Secretary of Commerce Bob Mosbacher were among the politicos paying respects. Opera singer Marguerite Piazza gave an emotional performance of "'Til There Was You" and political commentator Liz Carpenter provided the laughs while AMFAR's Dr. Mathilde Krim remembered Mesinger's charitable causes. But actress Mitzi Gaynor almost brought the house down when she told everyone that, "Maxine was a little lonely up there," and pointed to heaven. "All her friends are down there," Gaynor then pointed downward. "She was the last of the dot-dot-dot girls," opined Carpenter, mourning her longtime friend. Carpenter was right. They don't make 'em like Maxine Mesinger any more.
-- reported by AAF's field reporter, Margaret Moser

LA-LA LIZ Let's be frank about this -- I love Liz Taylor. So much so, that I was deeply embarrassed for her at her appearance on the Golden Globes. She certainly seemed to be in some altered state of consciousness, bungling her assignment, and this was a crime for a woman who has epitomized awards-show glamour over the decades. I have heard her appearance graciously referred to as "untutored" by her friends, but what kind of friends would let Liz go on stage in her seeming condition? But, the biggest crime was in the hands of her stylists who made one of the most beautiful women of all time look like a clown with dreadful makeup, hideous hair, and a really ugly dress. She was ripping through the envelope as the audience prompted her to read the list of nominees for Best Film, and generally seemed completely disoriented. Fortunately, Dick Clark was there to gracefully lead her out of camera range and any further embarrassment. Until she managed to make it back in front of the camera blithering her goodbyes. And how did she thank Mr. Clark for his chivalry? By presenting him with a bill for $6,000 for hair and makeup. Presumably, Liz herself was mortified, and should be.

BLACK VELVET REDUX Right on the heels of Cindy Crowe's fabulous painted black velvet collection (available at Therapy), veteran designer extraordinaire Sharon Ely reveals her passion for painted black velvet, with the intriguingly titled "The Starlight Theater Presents the New World Tango at the End of the World: A Painted Black Velvet Fashion, Music, and Dinner Extravaganza!" Written by Jo Carol Pierce and Tommi Jan Nabors, it showcases Ely's black velvet fashions painted by celebrity artists and featuring contributions of musical performances and appearances by artists and models from Bowie High School, Guy Juke, Terry Allen, Gene King, Mike Etie, Gordon Fowler, Jic Club, Mickey Mayfield, Joe Sears, Joe Ely, Kimmie Rhodes, Kevin Connor, C.K. McFarland, Dee McCandless, Mark Edwards, and many others. A benefit for the Bowie High School Drama Dept., the event takes place Friday, Feb. 9, 7pm at the Salt Lick Pavilion (next to the main restaurant on Camp Ben McCulloch Rd.). $25 (includes Salt Lick BBQ dinner, music, and fashion show). Proceeds go to benefit Bowie High School Starlight Theater. For more information and tickets call 482-4140.

EXCELLENT SERVICE REPORT (ESR) Major awards go to the Tax Assessors Office where their help with handicapped placards and my car registration were accommodating and informative -- especially helpful was a clerk named Kitten who handles her job more like a jungle cat and cut through all the B.S. Also awarded excellent marks for friendly and expedient service was Jennifer at Stanley Insurance (2207 S. Congress) who was a lot nicer than she had to be. Even the IRS was nice. Must be something in the water supply this week.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More After a Fashion
After a Fashion: A Stitch In Time
After a Fashion: A Stitch In Time
Fort Lonesome will not be lonely for long

Stephen MacMillan Moser, July 5, 2013

After a Fashion: The Main Event
After a Fashion: The Main Event
Your Style Avatar would look great sporting these parasols

Stephen MacMillan Moser, June 28, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Maxine Mesinger, Houston Chronicle, Big City Beat, Hedda Hopper, Louella Parsons, Jack Loftis, Miss Moonlight, Ivana Trump, Lynn Wyatt, Bob Sakowitz, Channing Lowe, Tony Vallone, Bob Lanier, Bob Mosbacher, Marguerite Piazza, Liz Carpenter, AMFAR, Dr. Mathilde Krim, Mitzi G

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle