After a Fashion

When Stephen is not getting his hair styled, he is watching TV

Hill Country Ride for AIDS Executive Director David C. Smith and his team of cheerleaders celebrate the achievements of the riders for the HCRA 2011. The ride raised more than $580,000 for those living with AIDS.
Hill Country Ride for AIDS Executive Director David C. Smith and his team of cheerleaders celebrate the achievements of the riders for the HCRA 2011. The ride raised more than $580,000 for those living with AIDS. (Photo by Seabrook Jones/

SNARK TANK One of the few things I like to watch regularly on television is Shark Tank. Shark Tank might as well be called American Entrepreneur or perhaps Entrepreneurial Idol, but Snark Tank says it all. Each week, several entrepreneurs, whether they have a great idea or even an existing business, pitch their products or services to a panel of veteran investors. The investors, or sharks, ask pertinent questions to help them decide if they want to invest in so-and-so's little business. Sometimes the entertainment factor of the show comes from the entrepreneurs, either through a ludicrous product or abysmal presentation. But the lifeline of the show's allure is the interactions between the investors. The basic panel includes Barbara Corcoran: I think she is a goddess. Poor grades and dead-end employment led her to borrow $1,000 from her boyfriend at the time, and she turned it into a $5 billion real estate operation, the Corcoran Group – the largest and best-known business of its kind. She dresses faaabulously and wears a very chic short hairstyle. But she is one tough babe, and no glossy veneer can cover up the slightly rough edges that make her one of the toughest sharks in the tank. I would do anything she told me to do just because she does everything so well. My other favorite shark is Kevin O'Leary, who built an educational software company and sold it to Mattel for almost $4 billion. He's an acquired taste. Feisty and smug, he seems the most cutthroat on the panel, and even though he does display an occasional sense of humor, O'Leary often bears a look as if there were a foul odor in the room. The shark I love to hate is Daymond John, founder of the Nineties FUBU clothing and accessories giant. A master of branding, John's success is inarguable, but does he have to be so arrogant? Arrogance is not a rare trait among any of the sharks, but John wears it like a cashmere topcoat. Then there's Robert Herjavec, who has an equally impressive background in business, but he seems to be kinder and not quite as ruthless as some of the others. Though he can be snarky, he is generally gentlemanly and kind, proving that it isn't necessary to act like an asshole to get ahead – even if you really are an asshole. Besides these regular panelists, there are semiregular sharks that include Mark Cuban, Jeff Foxworthy, and Kevin Harrington, each with money to burn and each bringing different experiences to the table. The products are often very niche-y products. Sometimes they seem like a bad joke, and sometimes you wonder why no one has ever thought of that product before. Shark Tank is lively, unpredictable, and, above all, smart, which seems to set it apart from most other shows.

BLIND AUDI/AMBITION I, along with millions of others, saw my friend and local Austin performer Nakia do a kickass job singing Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" in front of Cee Lo himself on The Voice last week on NBC. Celeb panelists Cee Lo and Blake Shelton both buzzed in to take a shot at producing him, but Nakia chose to go with Cee Lo. Faaabulous work, Nakia, and good luck!

STAR STYLE I swung by the Maison d'Etoile recently on East Cesar Chavez – an unprepossessing little establishment that belies the loveliness inside. Charm School Vintage is there, offering a selection of bright, fun, and over-the-top sparkly clothes for women, arranged by color. Fab accessories and clever merchandising make this vintage store unusually cool. Coco Coquette (Allyson Garro) is also there – the wig-styling, ass-kicking icon whose dramatic looks for showgirls, burlesque queens, and glamazons are making the scene at all the best parties these days. Coco's wigs, makeup, and accessories are simply stunning. Last but not least, Maison d'Etoile has the Salon d'Etoile, featuring one of my favorite stylists, Johanna Esper. Johanna had done my hair for several years at the late, lamented Pink Salon on SoCo, but then Pink closed and Johanna moved on while I moved farther out of the city. It was great to see her again. We immediately did my hair, and I felt deliciously glamorous once again. Maison d'Etoile is among those pioneering businesses that are bringing the fashionable crowd to East Cesar Chavez ... and remember, for your next party, Maison d'Etoile can do you from head to toe and supply the party entertainment too.

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Austin style, Shark Tank, Nakia, Cee Lo Green, Charm School Vintage, Coco Coquette, Allyson Garro, Salon d'Etoile, Johanna Esper, E. Cesar Chavez, Maison d'Etoile

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