The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, December 14, 2012, Columns


Let's commend Project Transitions on the simplicity of their Holiday Swing 2012: The Night Before the Morning After event, an absolutely lovely opportunity to mingle with old friends and spread holiday cheer for a great cause. I asked my friend Grant Hicks – healer, teacher, and performer (boy, am I running with a different crowd these days!) – to accompany me to the event. We saw Jody Scheske, Seabrook Jones, Stephen Rice, Chase Martin, Gabe Rodriguez, and a dozen other pals. Charming Grant, who, decked head to toe, shimmered in gold and black from my latest Made in Heaven men's collection, had the heads turning. At least if they weren't gawking at me, they were gawking at something I made ... or maybe I'm delusional, and it was just Grant they were gawking at.


The evening of Dec. 2 was Dancing With the Stars Austin at the Hilton. It's always one of the best-attended, best-dressed, high-glam, high-dollar events that a gossip columnist/designer could wish for. Always fabulously fun entertainment, it's the women I like to watch ... naturally. This time, amid all the tinsel and glitter of the event, I had eight gowns from my last collection on my various swans. It made the night incredibly special for me, even more so than usual. With Jacki Oh on my arm, I felt that I'd truly risen from the dead and been welcomed back with open arms. Thanks for one of the loveliest nights of my life, DWTSA – as usual.


I can't explain it; it has to be seen to be believed. It's called Land Without Evil – a simplistic title for an incredible pageant Stateside at the Paramount, Fri.-Sun., Dec. 14-16. To put it simply, it is a collaboration between almost 50 artists, aerialists, dancers, contortionists, performers, singers, musicians, and actors inspired to tell the pancultural story of love, life, family, and the assent to consciousness in the face of death. To put it not so simply, it is something that I would typically not rave about, but facing death myself has led me down an interesting path in pursuit of filling a spiritual void that I have lived with for decades. So, yeah, I want to find the meaning of life before I die. Does this show reveal the meaning of life? No, but it offers a glimpse into how other cultures and beliefs can put our own lives into perspective. With Sky Candy's dazzling aerial acrobatics and Sarah "Agent Red" Johnston's vision, this grand-scale production (brought to life by an absolutely expert team of digital artists, including the work of my dear Jacki Oh) will be featured in the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary series Arts in Context. What a circus (albeit without clowns and popcorn); a visionary treat! Psychedelic stagings of some scenes were frankly sometimes rocky in their transitions, but dear God, there were moments of sheer brilliant magic that left me gasping for breath. The parrot hunt, the mermaids, the two girls in white swinging from a hoop ... visual ecstasy. Singer/songwriter/performance artist Morgan Sorne was the star of the show in my book. I simply do not understand why the entire world doesn't know about him. A truly dazzling performance among so goddamn many star turns that night. This show reminded me of the original hippie happenings – be-ins, love-ins, etc. – with their fervent belief that love and acceptance could solve everything. A very lofty concept, of course, but with all due respect, producer Agent Red thinks very big. The complexity of this performance is a tribute to her enormous imagination and proves that with time, she could become an impresario along the lines of P.T. Barnum. Yeah, a pretty lofty statement indeed, but Agent Red, known for her skills and visions, is attracting all the right kinds of attention. Land Without Evil is an incredible delight that I urge you to see.

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