The Girlee Detroit Collective rocks my world. An eclectic group of female artists working in a variety of media, this talented bunch o’ babes celebrated their one-year anniversary Saturday by throwing a fashion show the way fashion shows should be thrown — take note, Fash Bash, you could learn a thing or four from these ladies.
The show, a refreshing mix of innovative talent and a not-so-subtle, much-deserved “fuck you” to the world of mainstream couture, was appropriately held at detroit contemporary.
This charmingly doinky and über-trendy new gallery, nestled in a sketchy neighborhood on Rosa Parks, is quickly becoming one of my new favorite places to hang, offering up a steady stream of envelope-pushing events that are breathing life into the been-there-done-that scene of Detroit art shows.
A catwalk was set up and the large crowd was literally packed in for the show; it was so hot I do believe the walls were sweating.
An exuberant array of models of all shapes, sizes and looks bounced, danced and flailed down the catwalk to the tune of lively techno-tronica spun by resident Girlee DJ Michelle Gloria. No lifeless, stiff, blank-faced, anorexic coat hangers here; only real girlees every bit as expressive as the clothes they were wearing so fabulously well. Feminism has never been so fashionable.
All the designs were simply first-rate, so I can’t single out any in particular as superior — the following highlights are just about the Girlees I managed to chase down, since everyone immediately took off after the show for the afterglow at Union Street.
Designer Lynn Hubrecht, dressed in her version of a sari, had a distinctly ethnic flair — her designs included a Thai outfit that consisted of a whole lot of intricate body paint and little else (worn by Ange la Crouch) and an earthy outfit complete with treelike hair and a complicated dangly skirt (worn by Audra Kubat).
The very burgundy Joanna Komajda was wearing a salvage piece that she designed, a lace-up top constructed from a fireplace screen. Renee Vincent combined plaid, animal prints and metal studs, which were modeled by her two daughters, mini-Girlees Iris and Ana Vincent, as well as the fully grown Erin Blumer.
Cat’s Meow employee Laura Rockwood looked adorable in a fuzzy blue dress with pink hearts, even though she was severely sleep-deprived, having pulled several all-nighters while sewing her collection of vintage-inspired outfits.
Just before I left, I spotted the naked girl the show had promised. She actually looked quite tasteful; her refreshingly female figure was elaborately decorated in mehndilike body paint and encased in a clear plastic overcoat. For having the guts to walk around buck naked in a throng of people, and managing to completely carry it off, she earns my “you go, girl” award of the week.
The show, entitled “Image Factory,” will run at detroit contemporary until Sept. 3; the closing party features a kickball challenge — and the mental image of girlees in pigtails, five-inch heels and handmade chain mail outfits playing kickball is certainly one to relish.
One of the many elbows I rubbed at the Girlee show belonged to Kit Eagal, owner of Gallery 212 in Ann Arbor. I popped down for a look-see on Sunday, and was amused to find the gallery, also owned by Diyana U., actually shares a space with a tailor.
Located smack-dab on Main Street, Gallery 212 focuses on local artists and likes to entertain shows that are edgier, gutsier and a lot less “pretty” than the standard notion of art in Tree Town (This is, after all, the town that gave birth to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs — better known as “art on a stick” or “it’s not art, and it’s not fair.”)
Eagal told me that one afternoon a police officer was so offended by a display in her window he tried to have the place shut down, and a body-painting demonstration on the sidewalk caused some major shock value (and yet the Naked Mile is OK?).
Gallery 212 is also handling the arts and entertainment for The Leopold Brothers just down the street, which is (and this could only be in Ann Arbor) a completely organic brewery. Yes, environmentalists enjoy a nice cold one too, you know.
The brewery features all organic ingredients, and all brewing is done in an environmentally conscious manner. The design of the bar is unique and spacious, and they even have a cute little outdoor beer/sculpture garden, but I just can’t quite get over the concept of politically and environmentally correct beer. Probably because I went to Michigan State.
CHAOS FOR HIRE
There’s a new promotions company in town (thank your deity of choice here), and it already has the makings of a winner. Chaotic Arts, Inc., founded by the always-charming Arthur Mize, has succeeded in booking a picky band in an offbeat venue: The industrial/synth-poppy wizards Apoptygma Berzerk along with VNV Nation will be appearing at City Club on Sept. 16 (yes, they do have shows at City Club on occasion — Alien Sex Fiend played there last year).
Chaotic Arts was formed when Mize and friends realized they were working every bit as hard as the professionals to help promote club nights, concerts and special events, so they decided to slap a snappy name on themselves and call it official. Despite a few head-butting competitions with other big Detroit promoters, Chaotic Arts has big plans, and hopes to play a large part in convincing more bands that Detroit really is a cool place to play.Sarah Klein writes here every other week. Call the Loose Lips tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial