The Austin Chronicle

The Good Eye Looks Back

All the best glimpses caught by the Good Eye in 2014

By Amy Gentry, December 26, 2014, Columns

My one-year column-versary has arrived! Who knew, when this simple country girl came to the Chronicle a few years ago, that she would one day face her demons in the form of a weekly deadline, a closet full of caftans, and James Wood? It's been a huge honor to write "The Good Eye" this year, not least because of the opportunity to meet some of the creative individuals who make the city I love so vibrant, stylish, and diverse. I recently hunted some of them down to find out what they've been up to since we last spoke. At the risk of turning into a pillar of salt, the Good Eye is looking back at some of the folks who made Austin great in 2014.

You may remember Mo Daviau ("In Praise of Eyebrows," Jan. 17) as the poster-child for those hirsute heroes of the face, eyebrows. Get ready to see her coal-black arches on a book jacket: she recently sold her first novel to St. Martin's Press. Every Anxious Wave, a novel of love, time travel, and Nineties indie rock, will be out in about a year. New Year's resolutions: "Splurge on manicures. Get some cute dresses to wear on my book tour. Learn to sew a simple skirt."

Leslie Bonnell could help her with that last one. On the DIY front, the Stitch Lab directress ("Where Everybody Sews Your Name," May 30) has added more apparel-based classes, including one with plus-sized pattern hacks. Add in NTUMA'PA sewing boot camps offered by RunWay Underground ("You Say You Want a Resolution," Aug. 29), and it's starting to look like there's no excuse for anyone who's been putting off getting crafty. Director Nailah I. Akinyemi-Sankofa says she'll continue her organization's mission to support and promote black fashion, but without New Year's resolutions: "We personally don't swing to the western concept of a 'new year' in January. By the Yoruba calendar, it's the year 10,056! The Nigerian cultural new year is in June; January is our mid-year season, where we take a deep breath before kicking off a new set of programming." Here's to deep breaths all around.

The subject of my very first column profile ("The Good Eye," Dec. 20, 2013), Rebecca Layton, was able to Kickstart and complete a small production run of Rekh & Datta block-printed apparel, and traveled to India this spring to begin working on next year's designs. Chris & Amanda Savittiere of Mr. & Mrs. Sew It All ("Fit Fetish," Jan. 24) also looked beyond Austin, as the restaurant outfitters took their first non-local clients. Chris' New Year's resolution: "to target businesses across Texas and the rest of the country for cool new uniforms and aprons."

Costume designer Kari Perkins ("Painting With Clothes," Aug. 1), whom we last saw drowning in burnt orange after wrapping the UT football film My All American, recently finished her work on Richard Linklater's That's What I'm Talking About. Unsurprisingly, the frequent Linklater collaborator is also "in a bit of a Boyhood whirlwind, with this award season." New Year's resolution: "to commune with spring waters more often and take plenty of nature walks."

Speaking of nature, Kimberley Warren-Rhodes ("Farm to Face," Feb. 28) of Farm to Girl natural skincare and baby-care products, has good news to report: The Limited recently featured Farm to Girl as a favorite women-run business for the holidays. Rhodes hopes to begin selling in People's Pharmacy in early 2015. Another natural cosmetician, perfumer Jessica Hannah ("Perfume Is a Country," June 6), recently launched a new fragrance, Skive, in collaboration with local leather-worker Natalie Davis of Canoe. Jessica's New Years Resolution: "Bake more pies!"

Christine Giordano ("Dance Dance Party Party Reboot Reboot," July 11) reports an ever-more-diverse crowd of booty-shakers at DDPP, the ladies-only dance jam she leads every Tuesday night at Brass Ovaries – "And I got a new pair of outer-space velvet stretch pants that have shooting stars on them! So things are pretty awesome." In other dance-related news, Jayme Ramsay's improvised burlesque show Hurly Burly ("V Is for Vulnerability," May 23) won two B. Iden Payne awards this November, but Ramsay isn't resting on her pasties. She's also the drummer for Fragile Rock, a puppet-fronted emo band. (Yeah, you read that right.) They just released their first song on iTunes: "I Am Sad (And So Am I)." Jayme's New Year's resolution: "Get myself to Paris for mime school."

After finally getting her femme-zine Vagina on the shelf at BookPeople, guerrilla publisher and repro-rights diva Hillary-Anne Crosby ("Are You There, God? It's Me, Vagina," May 2) remains as passionate as ever about print media. Just last week, she wrapped the second annual Austin Zine Fest with co-founder Carly Knowles. New Year's resolution: "Get more serious about my future plans to run for political office. We'll be back in session in no time, and my brother will be working day and night for [Sen. Brian] Birdwell, so I'll be doing everything I can to work day and night for all Texans .... And hey, maybe I'll even get to see Dollywood this year!"

Might I suggest a road trip with comedian Daniel Rugg Webb? Webb ("Beauty Tips From a Comedy Queen," Jan. 31), has had a killer year, performing stand-up at Fun Fun Fun Fest and earning the Chronicle's coveted "Best Presidential Fist Bumper" award, conferred on those who stand up for marriage equality while selling barbecue to the president of the United States. Webb's alter-ego, Toyota Lopez, has been busy, too – in her words, "getting paid legally, which is a first." Toyota's New Year's resolution: "I have to stop accepting Rick Perry's sexts. I'm just leading him on."

Since guest-starring in my all-time favorite column of 2014, ("Swimming While Fat," May 16) Austin Slave to Fashion blogger Cathy Benavides has been immersed in wedding planning. Cathy called her sister for help with pre-engagement-shoot jitters: "'What if I look short and round in the pictures?' She told me, 'I'm gonna drop a truth bomb on you here; you are short and round. And that's okay. Being short and round doesn't make you any less beautiful.' Thank goodness for honest sisters, and the reality that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes."

Instead of telling you Cathy's New Year's resolution, I will tell you mine: to memorize that last line, and infuse it into every aspect of my life. Excuse me, the Good Eye is tearing up.

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