After a Fashion

Caroling, Mother Ginger, and teenage wildings? You know it's 'the season.'

One of last year's Mother Gingers, Dale Dudley has never looked lovelier.
One of last year's Mother Gingers, Dale Dudley has never looked lovelier.

MOTHER LOVERS If you haven't seen Ballet Austin's annual production of the Nutcracker, run to the phone and make reservations for tonight (Thursday) or tomorrow night. Among the many surprises director Stephen Mills has up his sleeve is the character of Mother Ginger. Played by a lengthy list of localebrities and socialebrities, which have included Michael Dell, Jim Spencer, Ann Richards, and Evan Smith, among others, this year's Mother Gingers have included Karen Kuykendall, Marcia Ball, and Mayor Will Wynn. You could call Mother Ginger larger-than-life – in fact she's a giant women with a plethora of figure flaws, making all the wrong fashion choices. My fashion tips to her include avoiding the overly-fitted sausage-casing effect. Since she sports a somewhat girlish waistline, she should be wearing a top that is draped softly across her mammoth breasts, perhaps baring her shoulders a bit to draw the attention upwards. Shoulder pads can be helpful in raising the entire silhouette, for God's sake, get those cabbage roses off her shoulders. And she can get a desperately needed cosmetics makeover at the MAC counter at Saks. Then she'll have true holiday glamour.

SOCIAL DIARY The ugly truth dawned on me the other night: When you know everybody, you wind up seeing the same people all the time. But, that doesn't have to be a bad thing – especially when you like the people you see all the time (uh-oh, you can just hear the June Allyson fizziness in my words, can't you?). Well, it's Christmas, dammit, and I just love everybody. To pieces. Really. At last week's Austin Chronicle Christmas party, we were serenaded by Trish Murphy, whom I love, and of course, our legendary karaoke-a-thon led by the adorably garrulous and exuberant Kate Messer, who knows how to pick up the slack. I saw a pack of Chron Kids (offspring of staffers, not to be confused with Stephen King's chilling Children of the Chron) make their way into the large upstairs dining hall scattering among the room to investigate the spread of desserts. Fearful of some sort of preteen "wilding" incident, I watched carefully, in case I needed to provide the police with descriptions or details. Among the "wilders" was a somewhat older twenty-something Johnny Depp-ish young man, and I thought to myself, "Well, he's a little cutie." Later, Cutie approached me and said, "Hi, how are you?" "Good," I said, wondering who this guy was and why he was acting like he knew me. "You don't remember me, do you?" he said. "No," I sheepishly admitted. He said, "I'm Kate's son, Michael." My jaw hit the floor. I knew he must be lying – Michael was a sort of roly-poly kid with thick glasses that kept to himself. This boy was tall and slim with a scruff of facial hair, very well-mannered, polite, and well-spoken. And cute. Did I say cute? I was mortified. I went upstairs and said to my mother, "Omigod, it's so weird when you find your friends' children attractive." My mother was horrified and shot me a withering look (as only mothers can do), but she wasn't as horrified as I, when I found out who he was and how old he was (or wasn't)… The final Red Ribbon Dinner of the year for AIDS Services of Austin took place at Zoot – mmmarvelous restaurant, fabulous food (lobster, duck, and prime rib), lovely company, and fine conversation. These dinners are wonderful events. Check out for info on the 2006 dinners… The Anthony Nak party was dizzyingly beautiful – when the decorations are spectacular jewelry confections, nothing else is needed. The new pieces are breathtaking, of course, and what's really special is the men's jewelry collection. A highlight of the night was a spirited debate about whether Kinky will be our next governor (I said yes), but one unexpected source, a good friend, disagreed and practically began to spew invective, saying, "Kinky Friedman is making a mockery of Texas politics." The mockery's already been made, I thought to myself, and had nothing to do with Kinky. I asked my friend whom he would vote for governor, but he refused to elaborate. "Surely not Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn Burton Burton Warner Fortensky?" I gasped… Robert Nash's soiree overlooking the sparkling city lights was wonderful – great guest list, including Liz Carpenter, who gave a speech and then sang(!)…

DO IT Austin music stars Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Eliza Gilkyson, Shawn Colvin, Dale Watson, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Django Walker, and others will participate in the third annual Sing-A-Long Caroling With Jerry Jeff Walker & Friends, where they will visit a number of local hospitals and spread Christmas cheer. The event culminates with a public sing-along from 8-9pm at the Zilker Park Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve… Benefiting the Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children (, the YO Ranch in Kerrville presents its Party Like It's Prohibition!! New Year's festivities. Go to for more info.

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