After a Fashion

Stephen gets a nasty letter and tells stories from the "Mommie Dearest" benefit. Bit-chee, bit-chee, bitcheeeeeeeeee…

The magnanimous Gail Chovan from Blackmail
<br>photo by Bryan Ockert/chaosinaustin.com
The magnanimous Gail Chovan from Blackmail
photo by Bryan Ockert/chaosinaustin.com

VIRTUAL FASHION Saturday, July 13 brings us Virtualize -- A Visual Odyssey Into the Past of the Future at Elysium (Seventh & Red River). This is a multimedia fashion event with photography, video, and music, featuring clothing from SubKult by Siren Summer (aka the lovely Summer Lawson), Sacred Heart Rubber by Astrid Inflatable, and metalwork from Brooks Coleman. Tickets are $15 at the door, or $10 through the Web site (www.typografix.com/virtualize/). Doors open at 8pm, showtime is approximately 10pm.

HATCHET JOBS AND WIRE HANGERS So, I find this anonymous, scurrilous screed in my mailbox at the Chronicle ranting about KOOP Radio. "Most Austin businesses want nothing to do with ... blah, blah, blah ... according to ... blah, blah, blah ... illegally took control ... blah, blah, blah ... We are not calling for a ... blah, blah, blah." Whatever. It's a ridiculous smear campaign, and cowardly to do it anonymously. Now, if I were going to start a smear campaign, I'd make sure everyone knew I started it. Anyway, it goes on and on with its far-fetched conspiracy theory and ends with this very surprising remark: "KOOP BS Provierd [sic] by: Austin Chronicle's Stephen Moser." Um, excuse me? Did you know I was involved with KOOP Radio? Well, I didn't either! But there it is, in strangely worded black & white. Ever since I received the tacky document, I've worn my fingers to the bone, searching dictionaries and the Internet for a definition of the word "provierd." Can anyone out there enlighten me? What exactly was it that I provierd? And how can I avoid doing it in the future, if I don't know what it means? For the record, I am about as political as Capri pants. I am, however, a big fan of Lonny Stern's ("Best and Hardest-Working Man in the Nonprofit Business" according to last year's "Best of Austin," a sentiment echoed by many around town). Stern, who moderates Outspoken, Fridays, 6-7pm on KOOP, is also the promotions director of Project Transitions, and is affiliated with aGLIFF and AIDS Services of Austin (ASA), performing excellent work across the board. I've known Lonny for a couple of years, and worked with him on a few projects, and I know that if he's involved, it's a good cause, and I support it. When he announced that he was putting together a benefit "roast" of the movie Mommie Dearest, I was immediately charmed by the idea and volunteered to help him any way I could. I didn't give a shit who it was for, just that if it involved people dressing as Joan Crawford, I wanted to be there. And I was, as a judge for the costume contest. End of story.

But let me give you some details about the event. Thursday, two weeks ago, Lonny hostessed the KOOP benefit roast at the Alamo Drafthouse. I felt all warm and runny as I met so many fans of mine as we mingled in the lobby -- for a minute I was channeling J. Lo, imagining I was wearing some trashy Versace dress and greeting my adoring public. Still, it was definitely not on my agenda to wind up on stage ... if I'd known that in advance, I'd have been waaay nervous. Though it just sort of happened that I wound up there, I mercifully did not make a complete ass of myself. I was breezy and soignée, with Joan-isms rolling off my tongue, but I completely dissed my other two celebrity judges, my NBF Bryan Ockert of www.chaosinaustin.com, and the always-fabulous always-best-friend Gail Chovan of Blackmail, by not asking them to join me onstage. The lovely Aunt Myrtle of the Austin Ebiscopal Women (we bonded over our mutual adoration of one of my favorite goddesses: actress extraordinaire Barbara Chisholm), took third place with an early-Sixties-Joan ensemble. The smartly dressed Shiree Schade won second place almost strictly on accessories: a chic little cocktail hat, a tasteful bag, and a big ol' poisonous bullwhip, which very nearly reversed my recent Botox treatment. First place went to David Lee Richardson III, for his hysterical cold-cream-Joan outfit from the infamous wire-hangers scene. (David and the festive group of friends with him were all participants at a recent party that I recently wrote of ... and still giggle about.) Lonny himself had the best costume, hands down. But since he was ineligible to be nominated, his wonderful Joan-by-the-pool outfit ("I'm bigger and faster, and will always win ...") was given honorable mention. The audience participation was the best part, primarily because the very vocal and very funny boys from the Capital City Men's Chorus were reeling off lines that were as catty and bitchy as those on the screen. Though we had scripts, it was a problem to read them in the dark; after a while, we didn't need them -- the wire hangers that we were given did all the talking for us, hissing danger as impending violence approached, or viciously echoing Christina's beatings, they added fabulous dimension. Bryan told me that he never understood the movie's appeal to gay men ... until that night. Guess it's all about who you see it with, right? Lonny's next major event is the Grease Sing-Along, Saturday, July 27, 8pm at the Paramount. Featuring the Capital City Men's Chorus as the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, along with classic cars, audience participation, and a costume contest (why, yes, of course, I'd love be a judge ... thanks for asking!), tickets are $20 regular admission, $10 children. This should be an absolute riot, so order now at www.agliff.org or call 454-8646.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Virtualize -- A Visual Odyssey Into the Past of the Future at Elysium, WIRE HANGERS, KOOP Radio, Provierd, Lonny Stern, Outspoken, Project Transitions, AGLIFF, AIDS Services of Austin, Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford, Alamo Drafthouse, Bryan Ockert, Gail Chovan, Aunt Myr

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