*Wrap It Up May 2006- the james, enclave, the fashion train…and jet was there, too*

The past two weeks were insanely fun and went by all too quickly. After finishing up the last column I hit the ground running with two Genart events, and a random invitation to ride the fashion train during the Nova Arts fair. As per usual I dragged Jet along, because I like having someone fun to do stuff with. School is winding down, it looks like I may have found the perfect summer job (fingers crossed!), and the weather is gorgeous today. Life in general is good. I swear- I always feel good when the rent is paid. It's the best feeling!The first event I went to after putting last month's column to bed was the James Hotel ‘MIXART' event hosted by Genart. On the 20th of April the art and fashion worlds collided at the super swank James with an event put together by marketing whiz Joel Morales and Kelly Ryan O'Brian of Genart. Joel looked awesome -- just as good as the photo of him in CS this month. Kelly looked great in a lilac chiffon Victorian overblouse done by Lara Miller over the newest skinny jeans. MIXART turned out to be an interactive, mixed media show of local artists curated by Monique Meloche Gallery and Andrew Rafacz of Bucketrider Gallery. In order to make sure that I ended up on the guest list I volunteered to work. There was no way that I was gonna miss out, and no- I didn't have the cash to pay for a ticket. So even though I didn't get to take pictures I did get to see the arrivals of such local art stars as Jon Gitelson and ever present sidekick Matt Siber. I also saw Tommy Price and Roger Walton, gym dandy David Barton, designers AJ Harper and Cyndi Chan, and Fabia from Chicago Fashion Foundation. -- My favorite piece was the hotel room packed in 50 antique suitcases.

I randomly met Michael Workman from Bridge Magazine as he handed out Nova Art Fair catalogues. I asked him for one and ended up getting invited to the fashion train after telling him about my column here on CDN. Life is so crazy sometimes -- I wouldn't have met him or known about the mayhem that was the fashion train otherwise. The food was amazing with fanciful, flavorful finger food like steak and eggs served in real eggshells and eaten with a silver spoon, asparagus tips wrapped in tissue-thin prosciutto, and wonderful tiny roast beef sandwiches served in David Burke's Primehouse restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel. Oh! I forgot about the lightest and most sublimely seasoned crab cakes I've ever eaten!

I missed some other stuff from forgetfulness: Green Velvet at Sound Bar on the 19th, Project Runway star Daniel Vosovic at Westfield and then at the II OF A Fame event -- I even missed the Versionfest clothing swap. I meant to go, and packed a bag of clothes to swap but at the last minute decided against. I bet it was fun.The next time I went out was the Exposed event at Enclave. Genart hosted a rollicking part featuring body painters, and an artist painting denim with abstract imagery. Band Chin up Chin up played modest mouse-y pop/rock and there was a Lollapalooza table where guests could score free t-shirts and compete for cd's and Lolla passes. Camel had a little area set up where people could smoke and paint mini-canvases. I spent the first three hours working the door with interns Byeena, Marisol, and Drew, which was fun. I got to see everyone arriving and while it was cold, it was worth it. Then Jet showed up and I was only supposed to leave the door for 15 minutes but I ended up forgetting about that and snagging a drink and then some ciggies and the drawing and then we wandered around and I took some photos and then I had like 2 more drinks and then I ran out of film just as I was gonna take Kelly Ryan O'Bryan's photo (I'm such a dork -- ) and since I was out of film and tipsy I spent the last 20 minutes dancing maniacally. Great fun. I also met Brice Cooper of HGTV's ‘Design on a Dime' (www.bricecooper.com). I know that it was Brice Cooper because his publicist, Christi with an ‘Eye' told me so. Jet and I got invited to go over to the set to do an interview with Brice, so stay tuned for that one!Right after the Enclave thing, me and Jet tumbled into a taxi to go to Subterranean to see rapper Que Billah. I was feeling bilious and things were spinning a little- but that's what happens when you hoover down 3 or 4 water glasses of liquor and soda followed by too many cigarettes for someone who doesn't ordinarily smoke. We saw the first two songs performed by rap act Fresh 2 Def, and then I seriously had to go. I made it home and safely upstairs before unloading some excess liquid. When I woke up, everything I owned was on the floor and my eyeballs felt like there was 10 pounds of pressure behind them. I rolled over and groaned, but decided I must have had a good time. Right? Yeah -- I puttered around and rested and then headed over to the Belmont Redline stop to board the Nova Arts Fashion Train. Jet came with and it ended up being a lot of standing around, then a quick rush to board, and then -- an event that almost defies description.The car that we were in was decorated with fresh flowers and painted brown paper signs and had a carpet runner on the floor. Once we got under way, 3 models (including Deborah U. the Avant Gaudy designer)sauntered up and the aisle wearing clothing by area designers like Stephanie Liner, Robin Richman, and Tom Bynum with clothing also provided by boutiques like Hejfina, P.45, and Jolie Jolie. Shoes were provided by City Soles. At certain stops the models ran out and then other models, with stylist in tow ran on. The second three were sassy, interacting with the audience and cracking jokes -- the last three? Straight wilin' out. The pictures should say it all -- On the 29th I went to Marshall Field's Water Tower location to finally meet up with accessories designer Cherry Chau. I've seen her designs many times while walking by the State Street store and I was intrigued. Who is Cherry Chau exactly? I had seen the listing for her appearance in Today's Chicago Woman, but it turned out that they hadn't gotten the right info: Cherry made an appearance on State Street to do hairstyling demos on the 26th of April, and then finished out her stay at Water Tower place from the 27th to the 29th. It made for a little confusion as I called and emailed Andrea Schwarz, pr maven for Marshall Field's (I'll switch to Macy's when they do. I'm still hoping for a reprieve. What I like about Chicago is that it's not New York -- and it'll be harder to keep that in mind after the name change -- ) Luckily her assistant Marissa called to set me straight.Ms. Chau was sweet as she told me about her beginnings in the millinery trade: she couldn't find accessories that she liked and so began to design them herself. In addition to flowery, feathery headgear- Ms. Chau does enameled and bejeweled pins that come in various sizes and price points she has something to charm anyone. She's been selling her wares through Marshall Field's for the last 18 months, with in-store boutiques at State Street and Water Tower place. Her work is also sold at Selfridge's and Harvey Nichols in London, Galleries Lafayette in Paris. It was ok. The best part was when a worker from the State Street store showed up to show off her Chau inspired jacket- she had covered it in flower patches inspired by the headpieces.

This month is gonna rock hard since we have some awesome events coming up. Straight off the bat the first week is the Chicago Fashion Foundation hosted event at the James Hotel on May 3rd featuring Stacy Wallace Albert, Style Editor for Chicago

Magazine, as the keynote speaker. Check out www.chicagofashionfoundation.com for more info -- .May 'How to Cook a Twinkie' happens at Barnes & Noble at 1 E. Jackson St at 12noon on May 4th. Free Twinkies!...May 1st to May 6th is Money Smart Week at Harold Washington Library. Check out www.chicagofed.org/moneysmart or pick up a brochure with a listing of scheduled events at the library on State Street -- -- May 4th is the SAIC fashion show at Marshall Field's. Check that out at www.artic.edu for the press release and ticket info -- Don't Miss First Friday at the MCA on May 5th! www.mcachicago.org -- Pump boutique is having its 2 year anniversary party all day May 6th with discounts, food and drink from 11am to 6pm 1659 West Division Street -- The America's Next Top Model event at Club R features ANTM winner Eva Pigford as host on May 6th at Club R- 811 W. Lake. It's 9pm to 3am, dress to impress, there is a cover -- Version fest goes on till May 7th, www.versionfest.org... Sigur Ros at the Civic Opera House May 9th -- Go on a cruise with the Chicago Historical Society May 20th, info at www.chicagohistory.org/tours.asp ... Blondie with the new Cars hits Ravinia June 3rd , www.ravinia.org...