After a Fashion

Stephen returns to high school and the runway; Kate goes to Lo-Fi

New gal in town Maya Katz (l) and Kitty from Foodies swimming in 8-tracks at the Lo-Fi party.
New gal in town Maya Katz (l) and Kitty from Foodies swimming in 8-tracks at the Lo-Fi party. (Photo By Kate X Messer)

HIGH LO Last week, my editrix Kate Messer, sent me this e-mail: "Hey Doll, Would you have time amidst your frantic stitching and bitching to come to the unofficial opening of Nueva Onda's Lo-Fi, this Saturday? It should be pretty chill; maybe you'll need a break? Anyway, if you can handle a visit with a gaggle of lesbians (Kitty from Foodies co-hosts), please consider being one of my dates! xo, k8" Well, as much as I look forward to evenings with gaggles of lesbians, I was in fashion-design hell, so I politely declined. I'd heard about Foodies and had met Kitty at a Chronicle party, so I was intrigued. And I looove Nueva Onda (the unassuming, cozy little Tex-Mex gem just off SoCo and Oltorf). Since my days and nights have been filled with preparing for the runway debut of my first collection in years, I asked Kate for a recap. Here it is: "Saturday's 'soft opening' of Upstairs at Nueva Onda: The Lo-Fi Room was a blast. The loft space above the restaurant has been converted into a cool midcentury modern rumpus room/evening koffee klatch. The room itself, a cozy, slant-roof nook with a sunken living room, is outfitted with cool thrift/vintage finds: very Eames-y and egalitarian, a sort of low-rent Joel Mosersky. Kitty of Foodies and Onda's Nora Dodson are partners in the venture. The name is the ethos: Lo-fi music comes from an 8-track player or Victrola and the coffee from an Italian press. No whooooshing hot milk dispensers, no screaming bean machines, no banging baristas. Lo-Fi is all about the chill, the intimate. You know what you can do in a coffeehouse when you are not assaulted by the high-pitched squeal of the steamer? You can hold a conversation. In fact, the evening was loaded with conversation … and an array of foxy women, including performance artist D'Lo. And the food! Wow. Nora made some elegant sliced wraps and Foodie Lois Rodriguez concocted delicious empanadas, some outrageous almonds wrapped in dates and bacon, and a wild chocolate mousse dubbed Breasteses, small, yet ample morsels of cake, raspberry filling, and ganache. I asked Kitty if these goodies would be part of the room's regular menu, and she said that their 'test kitchens are working overtime to develop a menu for our grand opening!' The space will be open to the public Thursday-Saturdays, 5-11pm. The Grand Opening is this Saturday, Feb. 25. (Stop in before ArtErotica, see below.) Call 447-5063 or e-mail beatsagogo@aol.com for details."

LOW HIGH I'll be going to Houston to attend my 30th high school reunion in June – Class of '76 of the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. The whole event has set my mind reeling with memories of that time. I did not graduate with my class, and in fact I was only there for most of the '73-'74 school year … but what a year it was. My brother Scott (who attended the school with me that year) and I lived with my dad then. My dad wasn't very well at the time, struggling with the ugly breakup of a personal relationship and battling hideous depression and mental illness. Scott and I never knew what we'd come across when we left our room to go to school – remnants of some psychodrama my dad had been through with his soon-to-be ex-lover the night before, or suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization. I'd turned 16 that year and was in the drama department (in more ways than one), and my brother was 17 and in media tech. School was an escape for us; we found solace with our friends, our studies, and partying, of course, regularly avoiding our troubles at home in a haze of pot smoke, among other things. Though we knew that attending that school was a privilege, we were battling many demons. The year didn't end well for me. I was expelled for truancy, and a few months later, my father blew his brains out, and my life disintegrated. To this day, I've regretted not finishing school at HSPVA, but when I discovered an online group dedicated to my particular group of classmates, I was riveted, and I reveled in the names and memories of so long ago. I dove into the group, rekindling old friendships and reconnecting with that brief oasis of happiness in my troubled teenaged life. So when the discussion of a reunion came up, I had no second thoughts about attending; being among this group now has been very therapeutic and I look forward to facing the past.

HIGH NOTES My re-debut as a fashion designer is tonight (Thursday) at Antone's at the Gat5 Showcase. All info is at www.gat5art.comArtErotica, the fabulous fourth annual Octopus Club Erotic Art Auction & Dessert Party is Saturday, Feb. 25. Tickets at www.asaustin.org.

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