Wrap it up March 2006: I went there, I had a drink, it was all good...

So this is the third month of hardcore ‘see and be seen-ness' and I am still liking it but feeling like, is this it? I had a variety of experiences from low to high and even had to plan some branch out articles on artists and music because there was so much more than I could fit into a column about going out. I learned more about myself in the last month than I thought I would (or wanted to) and I guess that it was fitting, since February is Black History month and all. I went to some familiar places, but also tried to branch out and meet new people etc. This was the first month that I had people to hang out with as well! Normally I go alone and then run out as soon as possible, but with the help of a few friends this month started off on a low note but quickly gathered steam --

My first stop was a volunteer night at the MCA on February 2nd ushering at the Mark Bamuthi Joseph performance. I can't say I really enjoyed it. Not because of any fault of Mr. Joseph? But ( and this is so not pc) they seem to have packed half of the Robert Taylor Homes into the theater and I was leery of being alone in the dark with them. I hate that part of myself because I am black too and should therefore be more tolerant, but I spent the first half of the performance wishing they weren't there. I am truly going to hell for that feeling, but it is there inside of me and wouldn't go away. It just grew and grew until I had to run out of the auditorium and breathe. I was supposed to go to a party for Factio magazine and the ‘official' launch of Upscale TV but I felt a little ill and ended up going home. I found out later that tout le monde was there scarfing up gourmet goodies at Saltaus and getting goodie bags stuffed with Bliss soaps. That's what I get for being prejudiced. I finally get that big invitation and mess it up.

I did end up making it to the February 9th Gen-Art Red Room event with my friend Eileen, though. My elitist little soul soared at being on the guest list for the hottest event in town. The place was full of pretty people of all races running around getting their hair done all rock star style with Alberta V05 styling products. Me and my friend Eileen Molony ran around the River East Arts Center taking pics, looking at the cool rock and roll style books that were everywhere (and now one is in my apt), and saying hi to people like Gen Art volunteer Jet, good looking blond guy Jacob, model Rasa Lux, and designer Wanda Cobar. The finger food was awesome, my favorite being a tiny little fruit tart that went great with my 3 gin and tonics. We also enjoyed a performance by hot new group Dirtie Blond. I love them! There was 3 song cd sampler in my goodie bag along with a special edition t-shirt, copy of Chicago Magazine, and all the hair care products I could stuff in there. And no, as Jet so nicely told me later, I don't have the hair texture for all that stuff? But I can use it for photo shoots or re-gift it or something. All in all, it was a good haul, and a good night.

O no! I forgot: me and Eileen met up at my friend Josh Moulton's opening at Uncommon Ground on Clark. We hung out there for a second with Josh and his new girl Arianne. Sucks that I forgot. But! One opening leads to another and a few nights later I rounded up my friend Bill Aube and headed to Revolution Tattoo for their Man's Ruin tattoo art show. Round the Coyote happens all around my house, but being me I went way down Western to get my art on. Go figure. Owner Cheri Borak told me a bit about the space, that it had been open for four years and that they regularly showcase the work of the tattoo artists and their friends. She pointed me toward the work of Erik Gillespie and we talked for a few minutes. What really caught my eye was huge tattooed geisha watercolor/line drawing that dominated the front room. The starkness of the pen and ink outline contrasted with the riotous color used in the figure's tattoos worked. It was a masterful use of positive and negative space, and a strong representation of the sexuality and danger that tattoos can lend to the human figure.

Running into Wanda Cobar at the Gen-Art thing was a funny coincidence since she had already invited me to her fashion show at Depaul on February 14th. It just so happened that my friend Eileen (who's also a photographer, and who also knows Wanda) was invited too, so she was my date. The event was called ‘A Red Karpet Affair' and was in celebration of black history month. And yes, I felt comfortable there. I can understand the middle class. Everyone wants to do a little better than their parents and hold on to what they have already. Education and the finer things in life are important to them, and they are proud of their achievements individually and as a people. The underclass just frightens me. I guess I worry that that's where I'll end up. That said? The event was catered with scrumptious soul fool ( the greens were excellent), and we were treated to performances by Creation Dance aka C-Mob ( they've been dancing for about 5 years and were recently featured in the Tribune), a spoken word piece, a dramatic reading by ‘Ms. Hattie Mae Jefferson', and a surprise performance by rapper Que Billah filled the time before the fashion show. Que had great energy and really worked the crowd with a strong voice and hard beats. I gotta say, anyone that quotes Public Enemy in their first five minutes on stage without sounding weak has got my vote for next big thing. Wanda's fashion presentation was -- interesting. I'm not sure that I would have done the same thing in her place, but it was definitely an eye opener. Kudos to event organizer Marceia Hawkins for pulling it all together!

I had that photoshoot with Dionne Frasier that I was talking about last month. It was hilarious! The model was early, the makeup artist and my friend Jet (from that Genart thing, remember?) were on time -- the designer was two hours late! Arrrgh! It was worth the wait though, as the clothing and accessories that she brought were amazing. I love being able to work with designers like Dio. The way that she uses color and form are the reasons why she is successful, as well as being touted along with designers like Shane Gabier and Lara Miller. These are attractive intelligent clothing for attractive intelligent women, much like the designer herself. You can see a pic or two here: www.musecube.com/faithbowmanphoto. Next up is Anna Ehrler, if I can get ahold of her!

Work, school, eating and sleeping and then off to the next thing: Flawless Fridays at Funky Buddha Lounge. I have been getting emails from Asian Elements since they started up, but I have never attended an event. It wasn't until I saw this amazing flyer at Untitled that I got hooked enough to go visit. When I got there (dragging my friend Ruth along behind me -- ) the line was down the street. Whaaa?? It was cold as hell and people were waiting to get in. After making it past some surly door crew, I ended up in a packed to capacity club full of every kind of person on the planet! I met up with promoter Gary from Asian Elements and he told me that the night is basically an Asian-themed party thrown at Funky Buddha because of it's welcoming atmosphere and pan-asian décor.

They try to have an asian events like fashion shows, special decorations, and asian liquor sponsored nights to keep things interesting. But the crowd seemed happy just to be there vibing to hip hop beats late into the night. Gary introduced me to one of the biggest draws for the evening: ‘Sexy Bexie', who was voted hottest bartender via an aol.com and metromix surveys. She was sweet and let me take her photo, telling me that she was super surprised that she had gotten either award. I hated to leave the club, but it got later and later so I ran out? But Ruth wanted to party some more so we headed to the shhhhhh secret after-party at Crobar. It was so lame. Just cold and boring. The best thing was this drag queen that was flashing her tits at everyone, but after 3 coronas I had a splitting headache and that spelled ‘time to go home' in my book. Flawless Friday rocked me out, though. It was the most fun I had had since Madonnarama at Berlin back in November.

I messed up and missed out on some stuff the next week: The Ascension Loft open house on the 19th, the Japanese electronic music concert at the Renaissance Society at U of C, The Martin Parr and Bruce Davidson shows -- I didn't get it together again until February 23rd for the Genart movie premiere at the AMC on Illinois. I was actually working since my friend Eileen couldn't make it. I grabbed my friend Bill ( and his digital camera) and took off running to help out covering the event which included a free ticket to see ‘Winter's Passing' starring Ed Harris and Zooey Deschanel as dysfunctional father/daughter artists (he's a writer, she's an actress). Will Ferrell was featured and I still don't know if he was good or not. I kept waiting to laugh and then feeling bad when I did because I thought he might be trying to be serious. Before the feature there was a short film by Sarah Ebadi on female castration that left me wriggling uncomfortably in my seat; because of the subject matter. The film was effective about sending it's message though, and you really felt for the main character as she has flashbacks about her own initiation into womanhood.

The next night found me back at the MCA. I had volunteered to usher for the Gertrude Stein play ‘Loving, Repeating'. I'm not that familiar with Ms. Stein's work, but I am always open to new experiences and I swear I went with an open mind. Look- they had me up until the part about the cow -- I could kind of follow along, and the performers had so much energy that I couldn't help but be swept up along with them? But the cow part confused me so utterly that I just gave up. I slumped down in my seat and just got more and more lost until I finally gave up and left. I found out later that the ‘cow' is Ms. Stein's word for the female orgasm. Ooops. I also felt like one of the performers could see me sitting there looking bored and that made me feel worse. Yet again I was supposed to go out afterwards and didn't go. This is like the 6th party/ fashion show at Hard Drive that I have RSVP'd to and not attended. The promoter Melissa Brown is so sweet and has helped me out and sent me work and let me photograph her shows, and I feel rotten for not going but oh well. I hate midnight fashion shows anyways. I'm always too tired the next day.

I wanted to wait until my ‘shooting gallery' was up and running, so I went to a couple more events figuring eh, it should be up next week. On March 1st I did a backstage tour at the Civic Opera House ( I finally figured out that the I WORK at the Civic Opera House and the ‘Lyric Opera' is it's resident company. Duh.) along with some excited fourth graders from Dr. Julian Rogus School in Frankfort Illinois. I got to take photos of them trying on costumes and armor, as well as discovering the treasures backstage. We toured the whole place with one of my usher friends Judy, who showed us the wig room, the wardrobe room, the stars dressing rooms, and of course we got to go under the stage. This was even more exciting as I got to find out what the current modernistic set for ‘Orfeo ed Euridice' is made of: fake foam rocks. I watched Monday's performance with new appreciation for the work that goes into creating such a magical art form.Thanks tons to Mrs. Lesniak's class for letting me follow along!

I missed the Fashionista part at Marshall Field's on March 2nd. I rsvp'd, and Andrea Schwartz was so sweet about writing me back! But I just passed out in bed from sheer exhaustion. It sounded like fun was had though: a celebrity stylist showing the coming spring trends, makeovers, free food...but? as I always say: oh well. I did make it to the Moda party at U of C the next night. I was invited by sculptor Lucy Slivinski and her friend Michael Thompson, so I couldn't afford to blow that off. Lucy was invited by Evelyn Daitchman who runs the Jackie Ono line of vintage clothing out of Mercury Café. The event was the launch party for Moda, which is the U of C fashion magazine. I loved it! I am a firm supporter of vintage chic- not just because it looks good, but why are people throwing away good clothes? I bargain shop when I buy new anyway, and I believe that you can look hot, cute, sophisticated, whatever on a budget. If my budget expands to include Prada great -- but I'd rather get that schtuff free if I could!

The show was wonderful with all types and sizes eveident on the runway. Hot, hot designer Cyndi Chan was present and her spring line was tight! My favorite was a formfitting acqua sheath with abstract paint patterning on the front. I was also loving the clothing from www.avantgaudy.com. It was a chic, funny presentation of punky girls with attitude. I would have liked to see more menswear presented, but what I did see I liked. Especially a particular powder blue suit that looked slightly too small, but was worn with great élan by a model who managed to walk the catwalk like a high school hallway. I loved the exuberance and professionalism of the students and look forward to hearing more from this group in future.

I finally got tired of waiting for my picture gallery to get set up, so I am finally writing this up and putting it out there. I like to think people were waiting to read it -- lol! *No, I didn't watch the Oscars*. Just in case you wondered --

This coming month:

Pierrot Lunaire- a cabaret opera at the MCA March 30th and April 1st...'Fresh From Julienne's Garden' continues at the Cultural Center on Randolph until March 26th -- Friday march 7th is the Asian Elements Flawless funkfest with 7djs spinning simultaneously at Funky Buddha Lounge -- Check out ‘Women Rock!' at Harold Washington Library on Saturday March 11th -- Later that night? Head over to DVA gallery for ‘My Ink Runs Cold' a three artist show opening March 11th. Rod Fillbrandt will be signing copies of his book 'Dry Shave' at the opening -- Habit is throwing a fashion show at Sonotheque on March 15th -- Andy Warhol's ‘Stars, Death, and Disasters' show is opening at the MCA on March 18th -- Ghost Notes, an electro-acoustic concert at The Renaissance Society (at U of C) happens on March 24th -- Genart's ShopCHICago is happening at Union Station on March 30th -- Chicago Fashion Week is happening March 31st to April 7th, check out www.chicagofashionweek.com for more details and show locations --