It's Always the Quiet One

Rambling about life, culture, Project Runway, and the occasional fruity drink.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Don't Read This Book!

Don't even think about reading this book. In fact, don't look at this book or think about looking at this book! Ack! I saw you! You're thinking about it.

Today is the beginning of Banned Books Week. My mom sent me an email about it yesterday, figuring I’d be interested to see what made the list of “Most Challenged Books”. I was curious to see how many of them I’d actually read already. I was a voracious reader in my childhood (thanks to the good example set by Mom) and still do a lot of reading. I think I probably own enough books to start my own library!

So I headed over to the ALA’s Banned Books Week website to check out the list of what some people think kids shouldn’t read. I was a bit surprised by some, and not surprised at all by others. See if you agree.

2005’s most challenged book was Robie H. Harris' It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. Another book about the same topic, It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, is #10. Why were they challenged? Sexual content. Go figure. Books about sex with - GASP! - sexual content. (Like these are more damaging than a parent sputtering through that whole "bees and pollenization" routine.) And of course the Captain Underpants series made the list. Because the world has more than enough books about superheroes in their underwear, thank you very much. (Superman, I’m looking at you here!) Oh, and don't you dare go find out your Poopypants name. *

Here’s the top ten for 1990-2000:
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz – I remember reading this as a child and getting all scared by it, but I also checked it out repeatedly because it was so deliciously scary that it was fun.

2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite - I’ve not read this one, but it got good reviews on for how it deals with the issue of two-daddy families. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, a similar book, comes in at #11.

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – I was never interested to read this book and they didn’t make us in high school. I know what it’s about, though. Besides, they never picked any good books to make us read. It was all stuff like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair which in parts talks about rat droppings and dead bugs in meat processing plants before they had the USDA, which is gross, yes; but you want the kids to eat the cafeteria food after 3rd period English, don't you??

4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – What’s so bad about a kid who stands up for himself against a bunch of bullies? Or even more importantly, one who doesn’t want to participate in a school fundraiser? (Story of my high-school life right there. Band Candy! Cheese and sausage! Candles! Gah!) This book does have a lot of violence in it, but kids can probably get the same exposure to violence playing video games or watching certain cartoons. At least this way, they're reading!

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Okay, yeah, this is full of derogatory terms for ethnic groups, but come on. You have to consider the time in which it was written, and think that maybe, just maybe, the author was trying to make a social comment on those types of labels. And you know, I think there are some ethnic groups today that call themselves the exact same things. On purpose.

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – Read it, liked it okay, didn’t think it was nearly so bad as the ending of The Grapes of Wrath, also by Steinbeck. That’s got a high ickiness factor to me. I can’t even type it! (Just click on the link and read the summary.)

7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling – I’ve read all of these numerous times, and so have lots of kids I know, and not one of us learned any witchcraft from them. I do know one boy who, out of curiosity, checked out a "serious" book about witchcraft and after he read it, said to me, “That book was about stupid.” Plus we have to be honest here: who wouldn’t want the ability to summon items? Accio car keys!!

8. Forever by Judy Blume – Teenage love and sex. I read it as a teen and it didn’t make me want to go out and do anything. If anything, it probably made me a lot more wary of boys and relationships in general for a while. (Which may explain my pathetic choices in high school boyfriends.)

9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – Two friends create an imaginary world in the woods. This book has a death in it but I always thought it was handled very well. I got a lot more freaked out by the death in A Separate Peace by John Knowles (where the main character breaks his leg and some bone marrow gets into his bloodstream and kills him), which we were required to read the same year I had foot surgery, and it caused me to worry endlessly that I would meet the same fate.

10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – Oh no! Another series about a teenaged girl growing up and facing all the icky things in life that everyone else has to face! How dare they publish these? Don’t they know that teenaged girls don’t want reassurance that they’re not the only geeky awkward girl in the world? Sheesh.

You can find the rest of the list here. But here are some I’m puzzled by:

  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak – I’m hoping this one gets challenged for a better reason than the main character is naked in two pictures as he’s changing clothes! But if there’s a better reason, I sure as heck can’t think of one. It’s just about a little kid’s dream, which is not any worse than Where the Wild Things Are - which is going to be made into a movie. I hope they don't screw it up like they did with...
  • James and the Giant Peach – Okay, James’ parents get eaten by a rhinoceros. That’s pretty gruesome. But most kids know that rhinos do not eat people. And besides, the way his mean aunts get squashed by the giant peach is AWESOME. This is one of my favorite books ever. (But the Tim Burton movie? Eh, not so much.)
  • Where’s Waldo – Huh? What’s so bad about this? Maybe there are naked people doing stuff in the pictures that I just never saw… must go buy one of these and see! And for more Where's... fun, try Where's Dan Quayle? and Where's Elvis?
  • Speaking of naked people doing stuff in pictures, Sex by Madonna is all the way down at #19. I’d think THAT would be closer to the top. At least worse than Harry Potter!

Anyway, there are some ideas for your fall reading list. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for parents’ rights to not let your own child read books you think are inappropriate. What I’m NOT for is someone else being able to tell me what I can let my own children read. Will I let them read books from this list if they bring them home? Heck yeah. If it’s one I haven’t read, I’ll probably read with them, and get a good discussion going if needed. I think that’s what we all need – more discussion and less dictation.

*Mine is Poopsie Barfbuns.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

It's an age-old question. But what's it got to do with Project Runway? I'll get to that in a few minutes.

Let's take a second to review. Last week the heavens opened and the angels smiled down upon the runway as Vincent FINALLY got auf. It was like the end of The Lord of the Rings when the ring is destroyed and the tower of Sauron crumbles to the ground and Samwise gets to go home and marry his girlfriend and have adorable Hobbit babies. It was that good. (Oh, and Jeffrey won another challenge with his Mme. Ronald McDonald slit-up-to-the-unmentionables couture dress.)

So with the gloom of perpetual crankiness lifted from the runway, the Final 5 await Heidi to get their next challenge. She comes out wearing upholstery fabric tied around her neck. (It must be to honor Vincent's memory - she had some kind of weird liking for him, I think.) Anyway, she pulls that "Want your challenge? Too bad!" trick again, and tells the designers that L'Oreal is throwing them a party later, with special guests, and they'll find out then. Jeffrey very astutely observes that it's not a party, it's a trap. Which is true. Every party PR throws turns out to have an ulterior motive.

The designers either choose not to dress up, or are herded directly to the club from Parsons. They arrive to find an empty room and several bottles of champagne, which of course means they must have a toast.

This is the toasting-est group of people I've ever seen! I'm surprised they get any designing done, seeing as how they must be tipsy 75% of the time. (Have we caught on by now that Moen is a sponsor? How could we have ever known?) They make a mess all over the floor with the champagne (I bet Jeffrey shook the bottle before he handed it to Michael). Heidi comes in, wearing her seat cover, and asks the designers to "gather round", like the room is so full of people that there's a danger they won't hear her. Whom did she bring along? Who are the special "guesteses" (thanks, Kayne, for that new word). Destiny's Child? Actors? A rock group? Al Gore? Anticipation runs high!

Anticipation comes crashing to the floor when it turns out to be Vincent and Angela (who looks really freaked out). Kayne laughs politely but most of the other designers are just stunned. What the hell? Turns out that THIS is the mystery benefit to winning challenges that Heidi's been telling us about in voice-overs for the last several episodes. If you won a challenge but got auffed, you get a second chance! (At this point I'm thinking, yes, but where is Keith? He won the first challenge. Did they even ask him?) Angela and Vincent apparently didn't know this was going to happen, either. Their reactions are a bit more animated than the rest of the designers: Kayne quits sippin' his bubbly and starts chuggin'. Then he makes some rambling mean comment about cockroaches who won't die, and we actually see anger on Uli's otherwise emotionless face for about .5 seconds. Heidi drops the other shoe and tells them that three of them will be eliminated this challenge. She asks Vincent and Angela to join the other designers again, and Jeffrey rapidly moves as far away from Angela as he can get while still staying in the camera shot.

For this challenge, they will be making a cocktail outfit using only black and white material. And it will have something to do with makeup since the screen proclaims this to be the L'Oreal Challenge. (This season is horrible about shoving the sponsors in our faces. It's really annoying.)

Since it would be a totally boring party with just the seven stunned designers (several of which hate each other), Heidi has invited the models along. She herself is probably running off to a fabulous celebrity-filled party somewhere else, because she can't get out of that room fast enough. So now it's the models and the designers at the party. Nobody else. LAME, L'Oreal. Really really sad.

Next morning, Kayne asks Vincent, "Are you excited to be back?" but we don't hear the rest of it, which was "'Cause I'm sure as hell not excited to see you." Angela and Laura argue over whether it's really fair for Angela to be back, since her win was on a team challenge, and Laura and Michael pretty much rescued that outfit from rosette hell. I agree with Laura. (I also think Laura ought to leave her hair down - she is gorgeous!)

Over at Parson's, the designers get a bit of time to sketch. Kayne's is looking good! Hope it ends up looking like this.
On the other side of the room, Laura's trying something different, but she's filled with self-doubt after getting blasted for her couture design.

Tim gathers them to go shopping, but gives them another surprise: they have to use ALL the fabric they buy. No buying extra to fix mistakes with. I'm thinking this is going to make for some scrappy looking garments! My sentiments exactly, Angela.

At Mood, Kayne buys some shiny vinyl-looking material and I literally scream at the TV, "Back away, Kayne! It's evil!!", but he doesn't listen to me and buys it anyway. Jeffrey picks up a ton of tiny geometric prints. Uli says she's going to be making a hippy beach party dress, so basically she's making the same darn thing she always makes.

The designers rush back to Parsons and get started. Vincent discovers that he's bought too much fabric. (Am I a bad person for being happy to hear that?) Michael comes over to look at what Kayne's doing. He tries to help Kayne make his dress look less "working girl" - I guess since he's Captain Save-a-Ho, he's using his super powers to keep Kayne from making a 'ho' dress? Kayne tries out different belts, but Michael keeps telling him that "it cheapens your dress." He's right. The back is kind of interesting though - reminds me of the spider web that's outside my front door right now.

The models come in. Laura talks a bit about trying to make her dress younger, since the judges keep blasting her for making stuff that old matronly ladies with no chest would wear. Her model, Camilla, tries to help her out a bit. Her dress is actually looking cute - a bit like one she herself wears on the runway at times, but with a much different neckline.

Collier Strong, the L'Oreal makeup guy, interrupts everyone to drag each designer and model off to the makeup room to talk about world peace. Not really, but that would have been infinitely more interesting than watching them talk about makeup. Woo hoo.

Back in the workroom, Tim is making the rounds again. A troubling conversation takes place at Kayne's workstation.
Tim: Where's the white?
Kayne: (holding up a studded trim) Does this count
as white?
Tim: Oh JESUS!

When you cause Tim Gunn to take the name of the Lord in vain, it is Not Good. In fact, things are not good all around. Michael's having issues with a possible see-through skirt, Angela's model is going to have a fungus growing out of her neck and shoulders, and Laura's pregnancy hormones are causing her to have an emotional meltdown in front of a very uncomfortable Tim.

Sewing sewing sewing. Then some sleeping.

Next day, Laura's feeling much better. She gets a cheery message from home - a video of her kids and husband. (Good timing, Laura's husband! One million husband points for you!) Vincent's doing this:

I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to what's going on here.

Over at Parsons, Tim is the bearer of bad news - Vincent's model Jia has been in an accident. To Vincent's credit, the first thing he says is, "Will she be okay?" to which Tim replies yes, and that Javi (an eliminated model) will be taking her place. That worries Vincent, who complained about having too much fabric but hasn't left any seam allowances and won't be able to adjust the dress. (Again, is it bad that I'm laughing?)

Michael's wearing a hideous orange paisley jacket that looks like he stole it from a guy who works at Baskin-Robbins.

The models come in to get dressed and made up. Vincent tries to zip his dress up and since Javi is obviously more muscular than Jia, it doesn't close and the zipper breaks. So Vincent sews her into the dress as she's getting her hair done.

Remember how Tim said that they had to use all the scraps? Uli turns hers into a stuffed necklace. Kayne apparently uses the shiny stuff we saw him buying earlier to make a way-cute purse, while Angela goes balls-out and just crams the scraps into a red purse from the accessory wall. (I thought the makeup was supposed to be the only color in the outfit??)

Out on the runway, Heidi again reminds the designers that three of them will be going home, and introduces guest judge Zac Posen. On with the show!

  • Angela's dress, aside from the fungus shrug, makes her model appear pregnant (with an outie!) and is poorly fit. The judges proclaim it "costumey" and chew her out for just stuffing the scraps in the purse. Later Michael Kors calls her look "vampirey" (which is partly the fault of Collier's dumb Queen Amidala-inspired makeup).
  • Kayne's dress looks good on the runway. Very edited - not his usual "glam bam thank you ma'am" type of outfit. But Zac Posen refers to it as a Jeckyl and Hyde dress, and the judges blast Kayne for not using enough white. In their "little chat" Nina admits that Kayne did listen, and tried, but did he do enough?
  • Laura's look is very Josephine Baker, and she's used the extra material to MAKE a purse instead of just stuffing one. The judges throw out adjectives like chic, youthful, rich, and adorable. They're happy to see that she's designed a dress for someone other than herself this time.
  • Michael has used mostly white for his dress, with a wide black belt that has floral cut-outs in it. The judges love his total look and presentation, and say that his garment is flattering and modern. As usual.
  • I don't know what kind of cocktail parties Jeffrey goes to, because this is NOT a cocktail dress. This is a club outfit. The judges think it looks cheap, loud, too Gwen Stefani, and would like to see him do something else for a change. (And I'd like to smack those stupid sunglasses right off his face! Grr!)
  • Uli's dress made Nina raise her eyebrows in a "she made that same dress again" kind of way. Her sleeves are too long, the garment looks heavy, and her necklace makes Michael think of pool floats.
  • Vincent's garment is too short (he attributes this to Javi being "overpumped", whatever that's supposed to mean). It's basically a tube surrounded by a big shawl-type thing with a square flower on it. He gets slammed by the judges: the proportion is wrong, it looks cheap, you should have used the extra fabric to make the skirt longer.

This week's winner is Laura (finally)!! Since they didn't win, Angela and Vincent are automatically out. Bringing them back at all was probably the lamest twist in the history of PR twists. If they wanted to bring someone auffed back, they should have brought back Alison or Malan or Katherine or Robert, in my opinion. Anybody but those two.

Uli and Michael make it into the final four and are off to Fashion Week with Laura! That leaves Kayne and Jeffrey on the runway. I'm POSITIVE that Jeffrey's going to be out on this one. Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman wouldn’t have been caught dead in his “dress”. It looks like a bad Halloween hooker costume. So Kayne skimped a little on the white! At least his dress is elegant (and edited!) and could actually be worn at a cocktail party.

So, now you know what's black and white, but what's red all over? Hopefully, the faces of the producers for pulling this latest, extremely lame stunt, and also the faces of the judges, for auffing the wrong designer. Because sadly, and wrongly, Kayne is out. A bit of song lyric floats through my head:

Ain't no sunshine when he's gone
It's not warm when he's away
Ain't no sunshine when he's gone
And he's always gone too long
Anytime he goes away

They needed to give him a farewell montage of all his cute big-eyed faces with cheesy music playing in the background (remincient of the Andrae montage from last season's reunion show). But alas, he just has to go clean up his workspace like everyone else.

Au revoir, Kayne. But only for now. I see great success in your future, because in today's world, we all need some sparkle now and then.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kayne and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This isn't my recap... just an homage to Mr. Gillaspie.

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on Jeffrey’s toolbox and by mistake I dropped my T-shirt in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast Vincent found a Valium in his cereal box and Jeffrey found a Junior Tattoo Kit in his cereal box but in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal. I think I'll move to Australia.

In the van Tim let Angela have a seat by the window. Laura and Michael got seats by the window too. I said I was being scrunched. I said I was being smushed. I said, if I don't get a seat by the window I am going to be vansick. No one even answered. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could tell because Robert called and said I wasn't his best friend anymore. He said that Michael Knight was his best friend and that Uli Herzner was his next best friend and that I was only his third best friend. I hope you sit on a pincushion, I said to Robert. I hope the next time you get a triple-venti decaf cafe mocha with extra whipped cream the whipped cream falls off and lands in Australia.

There were two fleurchon-covered cupcakes in Angela’s lunch and Laura got a La Maison chocolate truffle and the craft services guy gave Vincent a piece of jelly roll that had little coconut sprinkles on the top. Guess who didn’t get dessert? It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

That's what it was, because then Tim took us all to Mood and I found this faaaabulous black sparkly fabric but there was only one yard left. Come back next week and we’ll have more, said the Mood guy. Next week, I said, I'm going to Australia.

On the way downstairs the elevator door closed on my foot and while we were waiting for Tim to go get the van Jeffrey made me fall in the gutter and then when I started crying because of the nasty gutter water Vincent said I was a crybaby and while I was punching Vincent for saying crybaby Tim came back with the van and scolded me for being wet and fighting. I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I told everybody. No one even answered.

So then we went to the notions store to buy some trims. Uli chose a white one with blue stripes. Michael chose a red one with white stripes. I chose a blue one with red stripes but then the notions man said, We're all sold out. They made me buy a plain old white one, but they can't make me use it.

When we picked up the producer at his office he said I couldn't play with his editing machine, but I forgot. He also said to watch out for the videotapes on his desk, and I was careful as could be except for my elbow. He also said don't fool around with his phone, but I think I called Australia. The producer said please don't pick him up anymore. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

On the runway Nina Garcia liked Jeffrey’s hooker outfit better than my mini-dress. Heidi said I didn’t use enough white. Michael Kors said I crossed the boundaries of taste. Who needs taste? Then I got auffed. It was the MOST terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

There were fava beans for dinner and I hate favas. There was kissing on TV and I hate kissing (sort of). My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my rhinestones went down the drain, and I had to wear my camouflage pajamas. I hate my camouflage pajamas. When I went to pick up my stuff at the Atlas Jeffrey took back the pillow he said I could keep and I lost my favorite hair gel and I bit my tongue. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Tim Gunn says some days are like that.

Even in Australia.

Et tu, Kayne?

If you read my PR recaps with any regularity, you'll know that I adore Kayne. So I was re-reading the interview he gave at back before this season started, and I found the following quote:

"What’s the biggest fashion faux pas a guy can make?
The biggest fashion faux pas… Can I give you two? The really thin guys who wear women’s jeans, I can deal with. But if you can wear a visible thong, that’s gross. And the other is socks with sandals with shorts. Especially black socks with sandals and shorts. Hate it. "


Well, two out of three ain't bad, but it's pretty danged close.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Fashion Adventure with Kara Janx!

This is a longer version of the ‘recap’ I sent to Laura K. at Blogging Project Runway. Hope you enjoy it!

After I got hooked on Project Runway last season, I told myself that if, for some strange reason, a PR designer ever showed up in central Ohio, I was going to go meet whoever it was. Now, I wouldn't call this part of the country a fashion hotspot, so I figured that it would probably never happen. So I was very surprised to see that Kara Janx was going to be in town for a fundraiser! Unfortunately, the tickets cost more than I could afford. Imagine my further surprise when I got an email from Laura K. over at BPR asking me if I’d like to go, because Kara had graciously offered to arrange a last-minute ticket to the show! Of course I jumped at the chance. So this afternoon I dressed up, put on the fabulous Kenneth Fron necklace that I won from BPR earlier this summer, and headed downtown for the event.

The event, "Not Your Mother's Fashion Show," was a fundraiser, as I’ve said, for Women Build, a branch of Habitat for Humanity that encourages women to become more involved in the actual construction aspects of Habitat projects. The Women Build crews are all-female. The Central Ohio group has built seven houses so far, and are working on securing funding for their next home. The event consisted of a pre-show reception with little sandwiches and goodies, a local version of PR, Kara’s runway show, and a cocktail party afterwards (for those people who donated $250-$500 towards Women Build). They were also raffling off three items: framed sketches of Kara's designs, an autographed Season 2 DVD, and a clothes steamer that they purchased for the show but wouldn't need afterwards, so Kara was going to sign it also. I bought a ticket for the sketches. They were really beautiful!

When I got to the registration desk to pick up my ticket, there was a bit of confusion as they couldn’t find it listed anywhere. So one of the ladies went backstage and came out with the organizer, who apologized for not having a pass for me up front. (At this I was thinking, "they think I’m somebody important here.") They gave me a ticket, and to my complete shock, wrote “cocktail party” across the top, which meant that I was going to get to meet Kara! I hadn’t thought I would get to go to that.

I went in and took a back seat near the end of the runway, thinking that it was a good angle from which to take pictures, and waited for the show to start. I got out my little reporter’s notebook and started writing notes so I could type this up when I got home. After a few minutes, one of the organizers came up to me and said, “I’m going to move you up a bit” so I packed up my stuff and followed her across the room. She even asked me if I was a reporter and I said something dumb like, “Kind of… internet,” and she said, "Ohh."

I ended up in the second row! (One of her friends had decided to sit next to someone else so I got that lady's seat.) The woman who seated me referred to me as “one of Kara’s friends.” (I was shocked again - I probably should have corrected her but didn't.) It was a great seat, right on the aisle. About five minutes later the same woman came back and said, “I’m going to move you up to the front row” and I think I about fainted! I felt like I was getting serious VIP treatment. (They even had little paint buckets of swag - a tool kit and some other stuff - but I didn't feel right taking one.) I was sitting about where the judges on PR sit, in relation to the runway, maybe a bit closer.

The show was MC’d by Andrea Cambern, a local television journalist. She talked a bit about Women Build and Habitat. Then a lovely woman named Robin, who owns a Habitat house, got up and talked a bit about her experiences.

After that, there was the very entertaining “Project FUNway”, where four teams - made up of a local designer and a Women Build volunteer - were given ten days and a mere $75 to spend at Home Depot for materials to make an outfit based on a Women Build work site. I didn’t get very good pictures of the creations, just the backs of them, but they were very creative! The first team used black and cream colored bumpy shelf liner as a wrap, some kind of rubber-like flashing for the skirt and top, and the same kind of chains Vincent used on his “kooky hat” that appeared to be spray-painted black. They also used shelf liner to make a bag.

The second team made a dress and purse out of duct tape and clear drop cloth, with pictures of bathrooms on it (the kind they put out with the paint chips to show you what your bathroom could look like if a professional interior designer fixed it up), and jewelry made out of sink stoppers and drain covers. The third team used a bright yellow safety jacket (which is kind of blinding in the picture), painting coveralls, a clothes hamper, paint and ceiling glitter (which I’ve never heard of!). The last team’s model came out in a full-body coverall with a hood, but took it off to reveal a belly-dancing outfit made out of valances and shower hooks. (She was a wonderful belly-dancer too!)

They were all very clever designs. There were four judges with little scordcards like on PR and Team #1 was named the winner. (That's who I picked too!)

Then it was time for Kara’s show! It was amazing. She brought nineteen outfits, some of which were from her Olympus Fashion Week show. There were three of her kimono dresses (I’m going to start saving and buy one!) and a couple of her new Maya wrap skirts, one worn as a strapless babydoll dress and one worn using the straps. (Someone in the audience commented later that it would make a great maternity dress, and Kara agreed.)

She also had pants, shorts with suspenders, jackets, t-shirts, and even some screen-printed leggings, all in glorious bright colors and plaids and tweed-looking fabrics. And of course, several of the models wore the knitted caps she used at Fashion Week. It was so neat to see the garments up close and take in more of the details that you just can’t get from a picture.

After the show, Kara (looking lovely and thin in jeans, a purple t-shirt and a black cropped jacket) came out onto the runway for a little question and answer session. She answered a question about leggings (her advice: invest in a good pair, not cheap ones that ride up and get stretched out) and even brought out one of the models in the Maya skirt and showed us how to wrap it in a few different ways. She talked a bit about what it was like in the workroom (the questioner specifically asked about Santino and she said he was a really funny guy) and what it was like to be up on the runway during the judgings and dealing with the criticism. Before she left the stage, Andrea (the MC) asked her who she thought was going to win this season, and she said “Michael.”

The little cocktail party was nice – they served tiny shrimp toasts and nibbly things and free drinks, and Kara came out and chatted with people. Now, you’d never know it by reading my blog (which tends to be rather verbose), but I am a pretty shy person. I am not the type who can just go and join a group of strangers who are talking. So I ended up waiting probably an hour and a half for the chance to talk to Kara, and it was nerve-wracking! I'm sure I looked really odd just hanging out by myself in the doorway nursing my bottle of water, at a cocktail party.

In the end I had to go up and kind of interrupt her, but she was sooo nice and friendly!! I told her I was the “BPR reporter” and thanked her for the ticket. She gave me her autograph and took a photo with me, and I even got bold and gave her a hug before I left! (On the way home I kept saying out loud to myself, "Why did I do that?? Argh!!")

But I had a fabulous time, even though I was really nervous to meet her, and the ladies who were running the event were so nice to me and put on a great show. Please go check out the Women Build website!!

For those of you who live in the Columbus area, you can buy a Kara design at Substance in the Short North.

Friday, September 08, 2006

L'aventure parisienne, partie deux

Bonjour ! Bienvenue à l'examen de cette semaine de la "Passerelle de Projet".*
You might want to keep your English-French dictionary handy this week! In the spirit of international harmony and appreciation, I’ve decided to use some French in my recap. Whether it’s correct French is a different story, but I've included a handy vocabulary lesson at the end. Appréciez!

Cue the kicky French accordion music!

We’re still in Paris, and Angela has just left the workroom and is on her way back to New York (actually she gets to spend the night and flies coach back the next day, which was kind of nice of Bravo), much to the glee of last week’s winner, Jeffrey. He now has immunity, which means he can basically send la merde down the runway and not get kicked off. Which, knowing Jeffrey, might happen. Qui sait?

Guest judge Catherine Malandrino tells the designers that their next challenge will be to create a couture gown. I have no clue what that means. But thank goodness for Tim Gunn, who of course knows exactly what that means and explains it. Apparently it has something to do with tedious hand-sewing and embellishing which takes weeks to do for one dress, and only certain people are allowed to do it and they must be licensed by the French government, which (besides being very snotty) means there’s a very real possibility our designers may find themselves thrown into le prison at some point in the show. (Now THERE’S some drama. Let’s cross our fingers for that.) They will have two days and 300 euros to spend at the Parisian equivalent of Mood, and must present their gowns to Catherine at a party.

Knowing full well that all work and no play makes for dull television, Tim sends the designers to their hotel (where we get to see Jeffrey doing a brilliant imitation of a monkey eating).

Tim then whisks the designers off for a lovely walk through Paris and treats them to dinner at – surprise! – a French restaurant. Who knew they had actual French restaurants in Paris? I thought it was all American fast food nowadays. Anyway, they all toast each other, and Paris, and Kayne graciously adds Jeffrey to the toast for winning the last challenge, but they all drink anyway.

Le matin suivant the designers venture out into the streets of Paris to get inspiration. First they hop on the Metro and Jeffrey is mistaken for a musician by a passenger on the train, who was clearly hoping he was someone famous. It must be the tattoo. It couldn’t be because of the spandex pedal pushers he’s wearing. He clearly looks more like Audrey Hepburn. (See, there’s that Angela connection. Even when she’s gone he can’t avoid her.)

They finally end up at Sacre Coeur, which has marvelous views of the entire city, and much sketching is done - some of it inspired, some of it same-old same-old (I'm looking at you, Laura!). Vincent informs us that he was trained in couture so there’s no WAY he can lose this. I’m wondering if he’s got the word couture mixed up with something else, like ordeur.

Tim then takes them to the fabric store, gives them their 300 euros (which are much more attractive than American money, by the way) and one hour to shop. Laura wanders, lost and pregnant among le tissu. Vincent manages to weird out the cashier, who clearly cannot understand a word he’s saying but gives him a funny look anyway as she slightly backs away from him. Jeffrey picks out a bright yellow tartan that makes me think of something Ronald McDonald might wear when he’s visiting his homeland of Scotland to eat McHaggis. He shares with us his fondest wish – to win the challenge even though he has immunity. Apparently that’s never happened before.

Back at Parsons Paris, Tim informs them that they will be using French models, but will have to make the garment fit their New York models after they get home. This is met with wild enthusiasm in the form of slack jaws and vacant stares. He then says something that sounds like dupuiez-vous, which I can’t spell and therefore can’t look up but is probably just “make it work” or “carry on”.

The designers get down to work. Uli has purchased no prints at all, which is very weird. And all of a sudden – whoa! – Laura’s showing. A lot. I swear, she wasn’t the day before! Now she’s all popped out. Maybe it’s triplets! And the pregnancy hormones have obviously upped her bitchiness factor, as she does a lot of picking on Kayne and his dress’s pageant-ness during this episode. She doesn’t have much room to talk, as she’s designing the exact same low-cut dress she always does except it’s floor-length this time.

Fashion note to Kayne: Don’t wear black socks with shorts, and if you really HAVE to, fold them down. Don’t pull them halfway up your calves. ‘Kay? Loveyameanit!

Meanwhile, Vincent spends the entire first day messing around with his muslin, and when they leave for the night it appears that he has not sewn one stitch of actual dress. So unless he’s planning to make the entire thing OUT of muslin (which I wouldn't put past him), he may be in for some trouble. Of course HE thinks everything is hunky-dory and that he’s a fashion god and everyone else’s work is la merde. But Laura sums it up best: “He’s a legend in his own mind.” She describes his work patterns, which turn out to be the Vincent variation of the Daniel Franco Shuffle.

Next morning, Jeffrey decides to run his electric razor in the bedroom while Vincent’s still sleeping (yes, Jeffrey’s doing it on purpose) and Vincent does his usual crankypants thing. He bitches, “You see me sleeping here, what’s wrong with you?” Jeffrey casts a baleful eye at the lump of blankets that is Vincent, and replies "bzzzzzzzzzzzzz" (in razor language that means “f*** you”).

Lots of activity in the workroom today! To quickly sum up, we get: Tim’s eyebrows working overtime, Jeffrey’s creepy laugh, Laura’s exposed tummy, Vincent the God of Fashion ragging on everyone's design while neglecting to work on his own, Michael in "it looks like Malan's Miss USA dress" trouble, BIG Kayne eyes about pretty much everything.

As the day comes to a close, Laura shares that she's at that uncomfortable, tiring, ankle-swelling phase of pregnancy. What's she complaining about? She’s done with her first trimester already and it's only been about 3 ½ days! If she keeps going at this rate of speed, I predict that she’ll make it to the final four and then give birth on the runway.

Day two. Lots of frantic sewing that, while interesting to see, doesn’t inspire much commentary. But I can always count on Vincent to provide something interesting to write about. Not only has he constructed his dress out of fabric that looks like he ripped it off a Louis XIV armchair, but he is gluing it like crazy. Tim is incredulous! What happened to the hand-sewing requirement? Ribbons I can understand (I guess), but gluing an entire hem?? Maybe Vincent considers it handwork, because he is holding the glue bottle in his hand, after all.

But time is up! The designers and their models go for a leisurely stroll to Catherine’s party. Unfortunately for Michael, someone hurls les ouefs off a balcony and his dress gets splattered. (Maybe he can pass it off as a couture design element.) But they get on the boat, and meet back up with Catherine, who is wearing some seriously hideous Nicole Richie-esque sunglasses and clothing that looks like she stole it from the wardrobe department of “That Girl”.

Kayne shows us that he can be amusing without BFF Robert, by pretending to be French.

Oh Kayne. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the moustache and goatee you’ve drawn on your face with black eyeliner. I love your cheesy Pepe le Pew accent. J’aime votre petit béret. All you need to say now is “come vith me to zee Cazzbah, and ve shall make zee beautiful rrrhinestoned aczezzories togezairrr!” Je m'aime un certain Kayne! Le sigh.

Catherine is quite interested in Jeffrey’s neck tattoo (or maybe just interested in Jeffrey! She is being quite flirty). But she makes equal time for each designer, asking about the inspirations for their gowns. All of the designers are able to answer this pretty basic question except for Vincent, who answers, “I don’t know, but I really like it!” or something like that. At least he didn’t say what he USUALLY says. (You all know what it is. Don't make me repeat it!) I shudder to think how Ms. Malandrino would have reacted to that. Then he proceeds to talk her up something fierce, saying how beautiful and wonderful and marvelous she is, and then out of the blue asks about her shoes, which is weird. He asks for her honest opinion on the dress, to which she replies, “It’s an interesting dress.” You go, Catherine! If he’s not gonna answer your question, you sure as enfer don't have to answer his.

Anyway, they have a little runway show on the boat so Catherine can score their gowns. Laura’s looks like Wednesday Addam’s prom dress; Michael’s model looks depressed; Kayne’s model works the heck out of it; Vincent’s dress causes Catherine to make an awful face; Uli’s is… well, Uli’s; and I guess I was wrong about Jeffrey’s. It’s not for Ronald McDonald. It’s for MRS. Ronald McDonald.

The designers spend the rest of the lovely Parisian evening partying and drinking champagne and cruising up and down the Seine, and nobody else is pelted with egg, so their time in Paris ends on a high note.

Speaking of notes - It’s time to leave the world of accordion behind, and get back to some good ol’ electric guitar! Upon arriving in New York, the designers are rushed back to Parsons for the second runway show. Some of the dresses need a little work – especially Laura, whose Elizabethan neck ruff collar got crushed in the garment bag and is now lying as limp as a dehydrated celery stalk. After some alterations, the usual models are fitted and ready to walk.

The guest judge for this week is none other than Richard Tyler. Heidi again gives the cryptic “benefits for winning” speech, and then starts the show.
  • Kayne: Loveitloveitloveit! It’s gold and butterscotchy and flows like water down the runway. Simply beautiful. The judges, however, unanimously pan this dress for being “too much” and “over the top”. After looking at some samples of actual couture, I had the idea that THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT! Kayne’s dress was pretty and flowing. THESE are “too much”. I’d also like it if someone can point me to the definition of “taste” that the judges keep invoking. They use that against him ALL the time.
  • Uli: Same hair, same silhouette. Yes, she didn’t use pattern, and yes, she added some braiding that took a long time, but her bodice looks see-through. (I had to watch it a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t seeing her model’s actual breast parts through the lace.) The judges call it “toned down” and “grown up”. Michael Kors is just happy it can’t be paired with flip-flops. (Oh, Mr. Kors?If you make an outfit, someone will wear flip-flops with it whether you like it or not.)
  • Jeffrey: Okay, this dress looks pretty awesome now. I think it’s totally due to Marilinda, who worked the enfer out of it. I still wish he had picked something other than the yellow tartan, but the silhouette is actually really attractive. The judges like.
  • Vincent: One word – boobage!!! The necklilne is so deep, and the color is so pale, it almost looks like there’s no front at all! Is it glued to her chest to keep it up? And that fleurchon on the back looks like a bunny tail. (Maybe that’s Vincent’s way of protesting Angela’s auffing.) The judges HATE it. They ask what parts of it he did by hand. He replies, “I used expensive fabric.” Um, that doesn’t answer the question!
  • Michael: golden boy no more. The color of the gown is amazing, but the top doesn’t fit and looks like giant blueberry danishes. The judges pounce all over this. They also complain about the mess on the skirt, but put a cork in it when he tells them about the egg-thrower. They feel sorry for him but still don’t like the top. Heidi asks him to tuck part of the bodice inside and voila! Different dress.
  • Laura: This dress is made out of wool – WOOL! It’s black! It has long sleeves! For an evening gown! Gah. The judges pronounce it lifeless and old. (But it could be worse... it could look like this.)

After reading Catherine’s scores, the judges make their decision and call all the designers back onto the runway. Heidi switches it up and announces the winner first, and it’s Jeffrey again. He even seems a little surprised! I guess he got his wish after all. He goes back to the waiting room and cheers to nobody, since everyone else is still out on the runway. (Cue the "Rocky" music.)

Heidi sends Uli, Michael and Kayne (le sigh!) backstage, leaving Laura and Vincent to endure the drawn-out auffing. I’ve got all my fingers and toes and even my eyes crossed that this is finally the week Vincent gets his – and he does! Remerciez un dieu! I get up and do an improvised can-can of glee! He goes backstage to tell the other designers au revoir, and even gets a hug from Tim (who probably went home and chucked his jacket in the fireplace).

This is the part where I usually say "bye" to the designer and talk about how much I'll miss their... whatever... but I just really won't miss him at all. I do wish him luck, as he's going to need it, but there will be no gaping Vincent-shaped hole in my television next week. So au revoir, Monsieur Libretti. Ne laissez pas la porte vous frapper comme vous partez.

*Vocuabulary Lesson: Appréciez! (Enjoy!), la mairde (s**t), Qui sait? (who knows?), Le matin suivant (the next morning), ordeur (trash), le tissu (fabric), les ouefs (eggs), J’aime votre petit béret (I love your little beret), Je m'aime un certain Kayne! (I love me some Kayne!), enfer (hell), Remerciez un dieu! (Thank God!), Ne laissez pas la porte vous frapper comme vous partez. (Basically, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out.") And si vous plait, don't send me angry comments telling me my French sucks. :)

*I took 3 years of French in high school but the only thing I remember is beaucoup de papier which means a lot of paper. So all of my translations were done by Babel Fish. A fun game to play there is taking what it spits out and switching it back into the original language. (Take for example, my opening phrase. I typed in: “Hello! Welcome to this week’s review of Project Runway!” and got my opening line in French. I then put that line back into Babel Fish, told it to translate French to English, and it turned into “Hello! Welcome with the examination of this week of the "Footbridge of Project!”) It made me think of, which is another fun language site.