The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, August 19, 2005, Columns

APE SH*T Well, it was a busy week, highlighted by my participation as a judge in The Austin Chronicle's Ape Shout Contest. Yes, it was perhaps the most glamorous event I've ever been involved in, sitting with Chronicle special issues editor Kate Messer, art director Taylor Holland, and fabulizer Heyd Fontenot (who really does fabulize everything he touches) and watching contestants act like … apes. I felt like I should have dressed as Diane Fosse ... or at least like Mrs. Thurston Howell III. Paul Weyland emceed and longtime Chronicle ad exec Carolyn Phillips passed the hat to help support Primarily Primates (, which houses neglected and unwanted animals, often the detritus of laboratory research. The event also promoted the Texas Monkey Project, an art show currently up at Progress Coffee to raise funds and awareness for Primarily Primates. Contestants were graded on best overall tonality, composure, expression, and authenticity. The best part is that the event was held at Ruby's BBQ off Guadalupe – my favorite barbecue on earth.

EVOLUTION Okay, well, I went to one of the best parties evah the other night. It was the annual Mueller Law Offices party thrown by the fabulously successful attorney (sharp-dresser and all around good guy) Mark Mueller. Now, Mr. Mueller's parties are already legendary because he spares no expense in arranging for world-class talent to perform. I attended the party several years ago when he had Patti LaBelle perform, and he's also had Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett, and B.B. King perform. The parties are held at the Austin Music Hall due to the length of the guest list, and the Music Hall, stalwart venue that it is, has always been serviceable. But, last Saturday night, I walked into the Music Hall with my favorite walker Mark Sullivan, and I thought I had arrived at the wrong planet. First off, I don't know Mark Mueller, but I've met him before through my dear friend and hairdresser Deborah Carter at Pink Salon. He allowed Deborah to invite a handful of her friends to the party, so that's how I got invited – along with Mr. Sullivan, Brandi Cowley, the happening socialites Blake and Lea Buffington, and Deborah's beau Pat Mastelotto (drummer for Mister Mister). So we walked into this … this undersea wonderland! It was called the Evolve Party (with a Miami dresscode), and the Music Hall was draped from ceiling to floor with scrim fabric bathed in pale green light. Everywhere there were big projection screens showing magnificent underwater footage of fish, plants, and other amazing sea life. Massive pots of bamboo disguised the pilasters. There was even a lighted dance floor. Onstage, providing the music and ruling over it all was the fabulous Grupo Fantasma. The final portion of the evening's music was presided over by the incredible Ozomatli, who played their hearts out. This group – sort of an urban hybrid of the Gipsy Kings and OutKast – was so mesmerizing and energetic; they were hard to resist – truly exceptional performers. Over the course of the night, the point of view of the surrounding projections changed from under the sea to sea level, where we watched waves and beaches, to floating through the Miami of past and present, to ending the evening floating high above the city. The design of the event was by Kevin Pruitt and partner Christian Moore from Strike Productions (, assisted by fabulist Heyd Fontenot, with Big Red Sun providing the gorgeous foliage and table decorations. Breathtaking. My eyes were closed for a moment as I listened to the music play, and for a moment I was in a nightclub in old Havana. Not only had I never seen the Music Hall look so beautiful, but, aside from some of Richard Garriot's fetes, I'd never seen a theme party in Austin that was so completely well-done. Congratulations to all who worked on it; it was a true success. I always love visiting with the beautiful Michelle Valles of KXAN's news desk, and KGSR's Kevin Connor. We also visited with producer Joel Rasmussen, currently working with photographer Andrew Shapter (who is now director Andrew Shapter) on a documentary filmed in Austin, among other places, called Before the Music Dies, which we'll be hearing more about in coming weeks. I spent a good bit of time with fashionable attorney-about-town Nathaniel Chapin and Elizabeth, his beautiful artist wife, as well as furniture designer Brian Frisbie and his botanical-designer wife, Barbara, and with Big Red Sun's Selena Souders. And I know I talked to lots of other fun and interesting people, but you're all just too fab to mention.

HEAR YE, HEAR YE Austin's own "garage fashionistas," the Platforms, are going to be competing as one of six finalists for the Battle of the GoGirls '05. The event, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 at Trophy's (2005 S. Congress), is a battle of the bands competition held annually by, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians. Each band will perform a 20-minute set and both audience and judges will vote for their favorite. Cover is $5. Go to for further info on the event, and for further info on the band.

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