After a Fashion

Okay, SXSW has officially begun and your Style Avatar is deep in it. Watch where you step.

Monsieur Billy Bob Thornton, captured à la John 
Barrymore backstage at Texas Film Hall of Fame
Monsieur Billy Bob Thornton, captured à la John Barrymore backstage at Texas Film Hall of Fame (Photo By Bob Sherman)

THE KICK-OFF There were preparties, post-parties, and Texas Film Hall of Fame itself – enough glamour to make the head spin. I loved Irma P. Hall as the voodoo woman in (among dozens of other roles) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – she was the best thing in it – but I fell in love with her while compiling the film tribute to her. She's usually playing a Big Mama role in one way or another, and no one else can do it better than she, but the range of the women she plays is brilliant and she imbues them with a depth of character that can make the heart ache. When I walked into the party, I had no idea who the beautiful woman on the couch was, but I knew I would meet her. She was, hands down, the best-dressed woman there (and there were lots of well-dressed women), and I didn't know until later that it was Miss Hall herself. I rectified that immediately and sat down like a spider beside her. I was stunned to see how beautiful she is in person and couldn't help but squawk, "Omigod, you look 10 times younger in person!" She patted my arm and chuckled, "I am 70! My hair is gray and I am old!" She then told me she still learns her craft and life's lessons every day. That was obvious in her eyes. But when she laid her eyes on the gold-and-pearl brooch at my throat, she said, "I'm gonna snatch that off your neck and keep it." But she didn't need anything from me – this woman has it all. I knew Billy Bob Thornton thought so – he raved about her backstage, saying he'd adored her ever since she starred in A Family Thing 10 years ago and that he was dying to meet her. Well, here I was trying to keep a grip on myself and not start screaming, "Omigod I'm chit-chatting with Billy Bob Thornton!" – and all the while, here is Billy Bob being so thrilled about meeting Irma. At that moment, we were both starstruck fans. Meeting the stars is always interesting – some are definitely more personable than others. Billy Bob ranks among the nicest and friendliest that I've come across. We chatted several times over the evening, as I did with the wonderful Marcia Gay Harden (the first UT alumna to win an Oscar). In honor of her homecoming, she wore a wonderful gown in Longhorn Orange by designer Cynthia Steffe. Dennis Quaid was a charmer – of course – with his gorgeous wife, Kimberly, on his arm (her golden brother Blake Buffington and his glamorous wife, Lee, are among my new best friends); they mingled quietly as befitting a major star. And then there was Lauren Bacall. The parties began with a private booksigning event for Ms. Bacall at the home of Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith. The garrulous diva (and I don't mean Mr. Smith) held court while signing books – sometimes graciously, sometimes not. And that's all we'll say about that. Publicly, anyway. Another preparty was a gala at the home of co-chair Deborah Green's home – probably one of the loveliest parties I've ever been to: high-octane, low-key, with incredible food from Kurrant Events, a sparkling guest list, and private concert by Shawn Colvin. The fabulous Katy Hackerman was there, along with Robert Walker, Julia Smith, the incandescent Anne Elizabeth Wynn, filmmaker Ellen Spiro, Cliff Redd, and Gail Chovan and Evan Voyles, among so many others. The post-party at the gracious Eddie Safady's was like a night in Bel Air – beyond glamorous. Austin Film Society board president Marcy Garriott and her husband, Richard, were there – she is so vibrant and alive that it's infectious, and Richard is such a handsome, accomplished gentleman; Carolyn Farb, our goddess from Houston, was on the arm of the wickedly funny Angus Wynne (I glowed when Mayor Will Wynn told me how Carolyn Farb had raved to him about me); and AFS exec director Rebecca Campbell floated around in her glorious hand-painted coat from Wardrobe on 35th Street.

THE MONEY SHOT Helping my dear Sister Margaret in engineering this week's cover shoot was very fun; Roky Erickson is such a great guy and music legend, that it was a pleasure to enlist some of our favorite stores to help deck him out. Kenneth Miller at Capra & Cavelli dressed him beautifully in $3,000 of gorgeous clothes and accessories, with Blackmail providing the jewelry and Lucy in Disguise providing props. Kenneth also dressed our male stage escort, Talib Jones, for TFHOF.

NOT SXSW On March 20-21, at Pink Salon, legendary diarist and groupie the glorious Pamela Des Barres will be teaching a creative writing class. The $80 cost covers both nights, 7-10pm, and further info can be found and reservations made at www.pameladesbarres.com or call Pink at 447-2888. Mme. Des Barres, fashion editor of Cream magazine, who is working on her newest book, Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies, told me how excited she was to see Jimmy Page at SXSW. After Mme. Des Barres' famous tell-all books, Page famously said he wanted to spank Mme. Des Barres. This will be their first meeting since then, and I recommended that she bring a special outfit for the occasion. Speaking of special occasions, if you'd like to see legendary groupie Cynthia Plaster Caster's cast of Jimi Hendrix's, um, piece, be sure to check out Nathan James' "Rawk Show" exhibit at the Space, 4803 Airport Blvd. The show, with so much other rock & roll art, will run through Thursday, March 31. Call 740-7352.

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