The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, April 22, 2011, Columns

FOR THE CHILDREN I often wonder if people wake up the morning after a big fundraiser and think, "Omigod, I was so drunk, I can't believe I paid so much for that auction package!" Well, not that they were drunk, but I suspect several guests at last Friday's Austin Children's Shelter Fashion for Compassion fundraiser hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue woke up feeling that way the next morning. The auctioneer, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, had that crowd whipped into such a frenzy that I feared for my safety (and my wallet) as he charmed the money out of people's pockets. With local celebs and heavy hitters parading down the runway (the gorgeous Karen Hawkins, Donna Stockton-Hicks, Gigi Bryant, and Miss New York USA 2011 Amber Marie Collins, among others), it was such a lovely and meaningful evening, my jaded heart was touched by Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton's speech and the outpouring of love for the children of the Austin Children's Shelter and for the necessary assistance the shelter provides.

TOO HOT TO HANDLE The annual Red, Hot & Soul fundraiser for Zach Theatre last Saturday night was hotter than hot. I've been attending this event for a very long time now and am pleasantly shocked at how Zach and this event have grown. With a nod to Zach's upcoming production of Hairspray, the theme of the evening was the early Sixties, and it boasted the best-dressed guests that I've ever seen in Austin. There were Betty Drapers, Jackie Kennedys, Priscilla Presleys, Don Drapers, Beatles, go-go dancers, folkies, Carnaby Street mods, and virtually every other early Sixties archetype in attendance. I wore all black – turtleneck, jacket, slim slacks, and wrap-around shades accessorized with a silver medallion, and escorted my mother, Phyllis Stegall, who wore a Sixties-ish floral-embroidered tunic. My dear friend and photographer Seabrook Jones also sat at my table with his mother, Esther Jones, as did the Westlake Picayune's Holly Jackson and her mother, LaVada Jackson Steed – it must have been the Media Mothers Table. Co-chaired by the dazzling Maria Groten (who is now taking a well-deserved break after chairing just about every big social event in the last couple of years) and Mary Herr Talley, Red, Hot & Soul was a riot of color and music. Police Chief Acevedo was celebrity auctioneer and performed his magic on the crowd once again at this event which truly underscores what Zach is all about: community involvement, education programs, and world-class productions.

BE A ROCKSTAR ... Or at least look like one and do a good deed, as well. The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians ( is again hosting its Corporate Battle of the Bands on Thursday, April 28, 6pm at Antone's. The bands presented are company employees of sponsors Cirrus Logic and H-E-B (among others) who play music on the side. With a panel of celebrity judges in attendance, the event features a silent auction which includes the "Make Me a Rock Star" makeover package, with a hair cut and color by Farah Carter of I Love You Hair; astrology chart by Deborah Carter of Pink West Salon; closet overhaul, personal shopping and stylist services by Brooke Carter of Little Liberty vintage clothing; two new outfits donated by award-winning designer Linda Asaf; teeth whitening session; and photo shoot of your new look by Melissa Glynn of Melissa Glynn Photography.

BLO ME AWAY I love the concept of the new Blo Blow Dry Bar at the Fifth Street Commons (1611 W. Fifth #145, 355-1BLO, No cuts, no color, just walk in for a wash and blow dry – 30 minutes for $33. Other services are available, but the charm of this place is the ease of being in and out of there in no time. With 14 North American locations in Hollywood, Calif.; San Francisco; Miami, Fla.; Toronto; Vancouver, British Columbia; and now Austin, it's a concept that's catching on quickly, and Blo, with its "Just Blo Me" slogan, seems to know that Austin beauties simply don't want to spend a lot of time getting ready. Imagine dropping by before work (as early as 7am by appointment) or when you have to go straight from work to an evening event. They make it so easy: Just blow and go.

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