After a Fashion

Check it out! Stephen gets a little 'boot'y …

Vintage boots and Rockmount Western shirt at Blackmail, where three leading authors of books on Western wear will be signing books
Vintage boots and Rockmount Western shirt at Blackmail, where three leading authors of books on Western wear will be signing books

AVEDON R.I.P. "And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up," he said. It seemed like he would live forever ... and he will, in our hearts and in our imaginations. Richard Avedon is dead, and there will never be another like him. His landmark photographs echoed decades of history, summing up those eras in dozens of images that are seared into our brains – images of the celebrated, the powerful, the beautiful, and the not-so-beautiful. For nearly 60 years, his portraits, exhibitions, and ad campaigns have dazzled us in the world of fashion and far beyond. Photographer Andrew Shapter says, "Avedon was the first to break away from the statuesque poses of the past in favor of action and truth. His portraits weren't always about beauty; they were about humanity. He looked reality in the eye and never blinked. More than just a photographer, he was a journalist that used light in place of words." Echoing that sentiment more emphatically, photographer Todd Wolfson says, "To me, Avedon was humanity, soul, intellect, humor, pathos ... basically everything to photographic portraiture. He was the greatest ever. End of story."

THE SOCIAL ICON I knew I needed to make another foray into Houston society and now I have the perfect excuse – the Icons at the Icon event in Houston on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 8 and 9. The truly divine Hotel Icon, a "personal luxury hotel," will provide an absolutely dreamy backdrop for a dazzling guest list. So when the Houston-based Neuhaus Education Center celebrates its 25th Anniversary at the Icon, this birthday benefit will be one that won't soon be forgotten. Icons at the Icon is a duo of intimate dinners where guests will have an opportunity to wine and dine with perhaps the most powerful, intriguing, and colorful group of homegrown and adopted Houstonians ever assembled. The list of dignitaries is impressive: famed legal eagle Richard "Racehorse" Haynes; model, designer, and actress Jaclyn Smith; Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham; singer, author, humorist, and potential Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman; Mayor of Houston and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Bill White with his wife, accomplished lawyer and author Andrea White; and NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler. Held in the Icon's elegant Aventine Ballroom, the hotel is the last word in luxury and also features The Whiskey (a plush Rande Gerber bar), Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant Bank, and a to-die-for spa. If you say you don't like Houston, then you haven't stayed at the Icon. Tickets ($200-$10,000) are available by calling 713/664-7676.

JIMMY LUST It is no surprise that the repulsive evangelist Jimmy Swaggart is opposed to gay marriage, and he underscored his position on his September telecast by saying, "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry." Funny, I feel the same way about evangelists. But Swaggart wrapped himself even more tightly in the cloak of ignorance by stating, "And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." No doubt all the others in the barnyard – I mean congregation – thought this was pretty funny and laughed all the way back to their pens. Controversy ensued and the smarmy Mr. Swaggart was surprised that anyone could find those words insulting, but displayed a decidedly softer demeanor later, by saying, "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology." But I thought his backhanded apology was just the cutest thing, and it proves that underneath the Neanderthal white trash exterior beats a heart of pure gold, and, well, that just really touched me. Finding out that ol' prostitute-loving Jimmy is able to show real compassion just makes me feel all oozy and wet inside. I've become obsessed with him and find him deeply attractive: My dreams are filled with Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, and I want him to wrap his sweaty, stubby little arms around me and show me what a real man feels like. I want to feel his liver-lips on my skin while I run my fingers through his toupee. I want ... omigod, Jimmy, I want you! Cast off your tired fears of us homos and come to mama ...

THESE BOOTS... Spit shine those Luccheses, and get yourself to Blackmail on Sat., Oct. 30, 4pm to meet the fascinating Tyler Beard. The author of The Cowboy Boot Book, Art of the Boot, and new book Cowboy Boots, will be on hand for a booksigning along with Steve Weil of the wonderful Rockmount Ranch Wear. The Denver author will be present with his book Western Shirts: A Classic American Fashion (and a few Rockmount giveaways), and Holly George Warren, who wrote the fabulous How the West Was Worn. Of course, Blackmail is the pre-eminent place to buy your vintage cowboy boots (connoisseur Evan Voyles will assist), and you might even get a peek at Blackmail's new sister store, Vivid (it's all about color). Call 326-7670 for more info... And while we're on the subject, El Interior celebrates its 25th anniversary with a concert by Bells of Joy on Saturday, Oct. 23, followed by many holiday events. Call 474-8680 for details.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

AAF 24-08, Richard Avedon, Icons at the Icon, Hotel Icon, Neuhaus Education, 25th Anniversary at the Icon, Richard Racehorse Haynes, Jaclyn Smith, Walter Cunningham, Kinky Friedman, Bill, Andrea White, Clyde, Jimmy, liver-lips, toupee, Tyler Beard, Steve Weil, Evan Voyles, Vivid

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