After a Fashion

Stephen finds the natural 'Segway' between Critical Mass and SaladShooters

THEM? AGAIN? We had a near-miss with a small group of members of Critical Mass (wouldn't that be an Inconsequential Mass?) on South First recently – six or seven poorly dressed but well-behaved bicyclists took advantage of a red light, turned their bikes toward the cars, and put out their hands like they were the Supremes singing "Stop in the Name of Love." I jabbed Stephen Rice in the side with my finger: "It's them! It's them!" With traffic completely blocked, they began their slower than slow procession – so slow it made me wonder how they stayed on their bikes at all. Perhaps they were superglued to the bicycle seats or perhaps permanently impaled upon them. I'm sure if they'd known who was in the car they were blocking, they probably would have attacked me with air pumps and water bottles. Fortunately, Stephen and I were able to neatly sidestep any possible melee by zipping through an opening in their ranks and leaving them in the dust. I used to have an issue with Critical Mass, but now it's a full-blown subscription.

TRANSITIONS I moved in December. After nearly 10 great years in the same little condo on the lake, it was time. My nephew Tyler had come to live with me in the fall, and I was pleased to take him in ... but the charm of having him there grew thin as we realized day in and day out that I simply did not have enough space to accommodate both of us. I'd been in the process of divesting myself of so many possessions after I got my cancer diagnosis, just to make things easier when that final moment came, but it was hardly akin to moving. It was evident that I had not divested nearly enough, and as moving day approached, I decided the best way to pack everything was to throw it into plastic garbage bags in the back of my car. Who would have thought that I could winnow away so many things in such a small space? The walk-in closet alone was a chamber of horrors – out came wigs, costumes, furs, accessories, and glittery whatnot. It's as if Liberace himself lived in there. The kitchen cabinets were another nightmare. When was the last time I used a Crock-Pot, an omelette pan, or a SaladShooter? Can anyone even imagine me using one? An oversized armoire could have sheltered a family of six, but I had it stuffed with my prize collection of design books and antique fabrics. The artwork, mirrors, and other wall decorations were an enormous stack – they never did all fit on my walls at one time, so I always had to switch them around like a gallery. I grieved as I packed. So much had gone on in that place, and I'd lived there longer than anywhere else in my life. Leaving there gave me an overwhelming sense of insecurity, but I'd found a duplex that cost the same amount but had twice the space, including a private room for Tyler (even though it is in a slummier neighborhood). The new place needed lots of work, most of which I'd have to do myself, but we settled in reasonably quickly and comfortably. It was beginning to come together ... and then Tyler decided he would be happy living somewhere else and was gone in the blink of an eye. The irony, of course, is that I'd rearranged my entire life to accommodate Tyler, and in less than one month, he was gone. And me? Stuck alone in a very unstylish neighborhood with more space than I need. Um, anyone looking for a room to rent? Must love Eighties disco.

Librarians on the move
Librarians on the move (Photo by Seabrook Jones)

NOT YOUR AVERAGE LIBRARIANS My good friend and semiregular photographer Seabrook Jones was honored with one of the delightful Spike Gillespie's Kick Ass Awards recently for his volunteer work for the Austin Public Library system. Seabrook donates time, work, and money to numerous charities, but the recent video public service announcement he did for the library was very clever. Calling me with that particular tone that people use when they want something from you, he says: "Help! I need hair, make-up, and clothes for a Forties-themed video shoot!" Naturally, I referred him to Pink Salon, which I knew also did tons of charity work, but coming up with the clothes was a different matter. Mulling it over, I knew Seabrook would need help with the right clothes, and sending him in to just any vintage store wouldn't do, so I thought: "Bingo! Amelia's RetroVogue!" Amelia's Jane Clarke is one savvy vintage dealer who knows her clothes and her business well. She outfitted the models with the perfect clothes and accessories, and Seabrook filmed them astride those Segway things from Austin Segway Tours. Seabrook's PSA can be seen at www.cityofaustin.org/library/coollibrarians.htm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin style, Segway, Critical Mass, Inconsequential Mass, Supremes, Stop in the Name of Love, Stephen Rice, Tyler, Liberace, Crock-Pot, SaladShooter, Eighties disco, Seabrook Jones, Spike Gillespie, Kick Ass Awards, Austin Public Library, Pink Salon, Amelia's RetroVogue, Jane Clarke, Austin Segway Tours

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