After a Fashion
Stephen finally gets to use the phrase "porn star and welfare-mother-turned-singer-
and-social-activist" in a column
R.I.P. YSL On Oct. 25, 1957, the day I was born, a 21-year-old Yves Saint Laurent began his trajectory across the star-scape of international fashion when he took over the reigns at the House of Dior. Christian Dior himself, who had revolutionized fashion a decade before with his New Look, had died the day before (of gluttony, they say), and his shy boy wonder assistant, who always seemed so fragile, became the face of Dior. He did not disappoint. Things became things, as things often do, and more than 50 years later, the YSL brand remains a hallmark of quality and style. Good night, sweet Yves – you've left an indelible mark on me, on fashion, and on the world.
SUMMERY Since Memorial Day, I've been inundated with invitations to barbecues, pool parties, and other assorted summer festivities. But the problem is that I don't own any daytime clothes, much less something to wear to an outdoor function. And why is it that as soon as it's unbearably hot, everyone wants to head outdoors? Me, I always want to be somewhere cool and dark. But, unable to avoid certain invitations, at the last minute, I found myself scrambling for a chic daytime outfit ... but wound up having to raid the closets of friends to pull it all together. Feeling smart in my Truman Capote-esque ensemble, I attended Mark Erwin and Stephen Rice's birthday party for community volunteer and Octopus Club supporter Mary Morrison. Virtually everyone there was a big-time supporter of the Octopus Club, including News 8 meteorologist Rich Segal, who emceed the most recent Octo Tea Dance. Says the charming Mr. Segal, "I am fortunate to work for people at News 8 who allow me to bring on event organizers and representatives from [AIDS Services of Austin] or Project Transitions to help spread the word that there's this really fun party that will help raise dollars for people in Central Texas who really need the help." After lounging for too many hours under the umbrella and waiting for the sun to set lower in the sky, I departed for the pool party/birthday party that Kat Jones of Milkshake Media was throwing along with her husband, Don Pitts, for Evan Voyles' 50th birthday. Jones and Pitts own the estate of the late, great Barbara Jordan with its rambling house and verdant lawns, and Pitts, who originally opened the Gibson Guitar showroom here in Austin (currently working with the Live Music Task Force, Austin Music Commission, and Austin Music Foundation), swears the house is indeed "haunted," having experienced being pushed into the pool by a spirit. The spirit also plays choral music and opens doors and cabinets, says Pitts. Perhaps it's just Barbara letting us know she's still with us. I ended the evening with my brother Scott and his beloved. We watched Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel wailing away; I loved their duet of "Let It Be Me" and of course loved that they also performed the song "My Life (Stephen's Song)," which Bobby wrote for me. The set closed with "Layla," the iconic song that Bobby performed originally with Eric Clapton. So goes summer in Austin, and it's going to be a hot one says Rich Segal.
SWEET AS CANDYE A number of weeks ago, beloved former Austin resident Candye Kane, porn star and welfare mother turned singer and social activist, underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Her prognosis is not particularly good, but if anyone's a fighter, it's Candye Kane. Last week, Rosie Flores, Susan Antone, and Connie Nelson raised $3,700 to help Candye out. Rosie performed along with Paula Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and surprise guest, Carolyn Wonderland. Mike Judge was among the luminaries bidding on auction items including donations from Waterloo Records and autographed books from Pamela Des Barres and Willie Nelson (An Epic Life went for $500). If anyone understands how useful benefits like this can be, I do, and I send all my love to Candye as she weathers this journey.
THE PRICE OF FAME I'll be making my long-anticipated return to the stage in a cameo appearance as myself this Saturday, June 7, in the Austin Lyric Opera's production of The Bat, an Austin-centric version of Die Fledermaus, at the Long Center. Listen, dolls, playing myself is no easy task.