After a Fashion

Erotic art, kissing, flying, substation cake, and sperm on the tip of the tongue

Octopus Club founder Lew Aldridge and Hill Country Ride for AIDS founder David C. Smith have every reason to be merry, as their back-to-back events, ArtErotica and the HCRA, bring desperately needed funds to the community.
Octopus Club founder Lew Aldridge and Hill Country Ride for AIDS founder David C. Smith have every reason to be merry, as their back-to-back events, ArtErotica and the HCRA, bring desperately needed funds to the community. (Photo by Seabrook Jones)

HARVESTING WHAT? I'm sure you've all heard about the woman who had the sperm harvested from her son's dead body. What she does with it is her business, I suppose, but it does seem a little creepy. But my favorite part of the to-do? The fact that the Austin American-Statesman can use the word "sperm" in its story about the case, but in online letters to the Statesman, the word is replaced with: s#perm, s perm, or *****. Is sperm a bad word? Should it only be uttered in hushed tones among consenting adults?

WILL IT FLY? Following up on my piece on Kiss & Fly and questioning why it calls itself Austin's best and only gay nightclub, my neighbor Caitlin Smith reported that she attended one of those club-roving bachelorette parties that ooze through the Warehouse District on a regular basis. The place they wound up? Kiss & Fly. Why the hell do these girls think that we'd be happy to celebrate their weddings with them when we ourselves are barred from getting married? On the other hand, friends and I had a wonderful time hanging out on the patio of Rusty Spurs on Seventh Street last week. I'd avoided it because of it's proximity to Sixth Street, and I avoid Sixth Street like the plague. But there we were. We chatted with one of the managers, Jen, who made us feel quite welcome and comfortable, and it is exactly the kind of place I'd be happy to relax in. (Note to brides: This is not a recommendation for a place to bring your gang of drunken, pushy bridesmaids.)

POCKET PARKING Last month, Austin inaugurated its newest park, Sparky Park, at 3701 Grooms in the North University neighborhood. After decommissioning and removing an electrical substation, the neighborhood negotiated with three telecommunications companies to turn the land into parkland. The project was led by University of Texas community and regional planning professor Simon Atkinson and North Carolina State University landscape architecture professor Robin Abrams. The neighborhood also worked in conjunction with Art in Public Places to commission internationally renowned stone artist Berthold Haas to design an amazing art wall that masked the cell tower equipment while creating a massive one-of-a-kind art piece. With a kids' costume parade and a giant "substation cake," everybody won in this situation. It's like getting a pedicure with a happy ending.

FUN-RAISING Last weekend's annual ArtErotica fundraiser, hosted by the Octopus Club, was predictably a big success. All those hot bodies and all that arousing art couldn't not raise money, among other things. Octopus Club founder Lew Aldridge expects this year's earnings to outdistance last year's take (which was the largest yet)... Next week is guaranteed to be just as sexy and sweaty in its own way with the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Saturday, April 25. You can still register to ride through Friday, April 24, at My good friends philanthropists Julie Thornton, Amy Rudy, and Steven Tomlinson are hosting the afterparty for the Fusebox Festival, 10 days of contemporary theatre, dance, music, film, writing, and visual art from around the world, starting this Thursday, April 23, at Wooldridge Square (; see "To Be Conversant" for more). In conjunction with Arthouse and Fusebox, Thornton has founded testperformancetest (, a multiyear experiment which will bring a curated mix of groundbreaking performance art to Austin, as well as occasionally commissioning works of its own... This Thursday, April 23, 6:30-9:30pm, is the Umlauf Garden Party ( Food, drink, and art in a pastoral setting make this event an annual favorite... The Austin Children's Shelter presents its fundraiser, Fashion for Compassion, on Friday, May 1, at Neiman Marcus at the Domain ( I'd mark this in my date book if I were you.

SHOW & TELL The Downtown segment that covered me is now available for viewing online at Entwining my story with that of architect David Graeber, director Kevin Pruitt performed a virtuoso's task in putting this piece together – he even manages to make me look and sound good.

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