Sunday, May 26, 2019

Radost Folk Ensemble Frog Hat

If it's Memorial Day Weekend, Radost is dancing at Northwest Folklife Festival.

It is the first one without Tom Deering, who was one of the founders and a good friend. He passed this February. Although the stories that people told today indicated that as long as they are dancing, Tom is there.
And it's his wife Sidney who has asked me time and again if I can sew 'a little something'.

Today's international dance afternoon schedule

This year, it was a frog hat for the children's dance.
First you get a hat and a frog
There's a moment that's a little Joker Origin Story, but it passes

We will not show the remains.
You sew it on. You didn't cut enough to cover the back, so I'm not showing that to you.

Of course it's a circle dance. Forest friends save the day. Forest friends RULE. That's Sid in the middle. Not quite herding cats. They are good cats.

Radost Folk Ensemble photo
That's my frog.
More dance outside 
And art booths too. Not shown: hundreds more art booths.
And a billion food trucks.
One more day on Monday, May 27th. Still free, still fun, still real Seattle.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Seattle Style MOHAI, first take

There's a lot of photos of captions in this post, so yes
Click on photos to embiggen!
The Museum of History and Industry at Lake Union is where it's at this summer, with the Seattle Style Fashion/Function exhibit, now through October 2019.
Love that button!
A museum can only really tell the story with the items that are donated to it. 
MOHAI has been around for many years, only recently relocated to the former Navy Reserve Armory. It's hosted many traveling shows, and more than a few original ones.
photo MOHAI
This is Clara Berg's show, and she should be very proud of her work here.
Clara Berg in action
Ms Berg gives a quarterly lecture/presentation of clothes in the collection, usually organised by theme or reflecting an exhibit in the museum (Dior and The Great War come to mind). I make a point of attending all of them and I try very hard not to be that person who stands in front of the clothing and blocks your view.

The theme of the show is largely the history of fashion in Seattle, as told through the pieces they have in the collection.  
As with most local museums, the collection is at the mercy of the things that are available.
Some of these items have been donated, some loaned.

We start with the weather. 
Which means rain.
It's more myth than reality now, but it's the story we like to tell about ourselves.
 And as ever, click on the photos to make them bigger to read the captions.

 Let's start at the real beginning of this town. When there was actual weather.

 There are some similar items at the Burke Museum of Anthropology at the University of Washington, but I rather like that we have a full reproduction made by a first nations artist. Rainwear of all kinds.

Different textiles for different eras. Cedar to gore-tex

This really is quite funny. I mean, REI is not known for kidding around, but this is funny enough that I recommend you not have anything in your mouth when you watch it.

But what's right next to the Zip All?

Hey, fellow donor and former coworker Mary Ann Dobratz! Just another average Seattleite with valuable stuff to donate.

This visit is really just a cursory glance of the things that caught my eye.
I promise to go back and dig in deeper.
Color coordination: Seattle Woolen Company and John Doyle Bishop

 John Doyle Bishop was the MAN in Seattle clothing. He wasn't a designer, but a retailer who made the taste of his era. His shop was very important in setting the fashion trends in town. I never saw the inside of his shop (too young) but I knew who he was and what he meant just from hearing how other retailers talked about him, how the newspapers wrote him up. 

 There's no way I don't get the red shirt and the white dress into this post.
Novelty print love

But back to the history.
The prototype puffer of Eddie Bauer?
 I would like to interrupt this post by mentioning that down is equally useless in the rain.
Eddie Bauer. No, there's no Mr REI.
REI gaiters. Not the Frostline ones.

A little family history of midcentury Seattle sports wear. Every city has a story of the clothing manufacturers, the dressmakers, the stylemakers. There's some of that in this exhibit, but we'll come back to this later.

A nice preview of the show:
Seattle style New MOHAI exhibit showcases city's eclectic style and where it came from 
(there's a nice video clip of Ms Berg on this page)

There is a lot to this show that I am not getting to here, as I just didn't take enough photos and notes.
But let's skip to the finale:
Those are my shoes
I did not agree to the part about the baby doll dresses, but I was outvoted. That's fine. Not my show.

Oh, yeah, they are right by some other stuff you might know.

Cobain gear and a flannel shirt
But what made ME squeeeee?

Lindy West's wedding dress.
She is my hero.

There are pieces missing of this puzzle. The show can only present the story told by the pieces that have been donated. 

Mary Ann and I did. You can, too. Don't live in Seattle? I'll bet there's a local history museum near you that needs something you've been trying to figure out what to do with. You won't get rich, but history might.

And in the meantime, there's a host of events at the museum related to this exhibit.
Next up:

I will see you there

Sunday, May 5, 2019

My shoes from 1989 Live In A Museum Now

Back in September, this happened.
Because this thing is happening.

Organized and curated by Clara Berg of MOHAI (this photo from her lecture Sept 2016)

A image from Ms Berg's lecture, regarding Seattle clothing considerations.

The exhibit already had the gratuitous fashion spread in a local mag
Seattle Magazine April 2019 photo by Hayley Young

But let's talk about my shoes....

 The request went out last summer for this exhibit for locally acquired clothing from the 'grunge' era.
This article is one of the great pranks of Seattle history:
As it turned out, the grunge era clothing donated was all men's. Nothing from the women.

In 1990, I was 31, about ten years older than the people I worked with, the kids who saw the bands, were in the videos, went to the parties. From my ancient vantage, I had a good second hand working knowledge of the players, and made a lot of friends who still kick my ass today.
Always make younger friends.

Most importantly, I could afford to buy these shoes then.

What is interesting to me about the concept of the 'classic grunge' clothing model is the attention to what the guys wore. Everyone was thrift shopping. some were dumpster diving. I can only speak for the ladies: the older and fancier the stuff, the better. For example, I worked in a craft workshop in Ballard, using power tools and chemicals and spray paints, wearing goggles and lab coats over crinolines or silk shantung 50’s suits (and these shoes) every day. You’d drop the lab coat and goggles, get on the bus to Capitol Hill or Belltown and do the bar/show circuit in the same clothes.  I shudder to think of the beer that was spilled on those clothes (or the cigarettes smoked in them). The Goodwill Games (1990) had brought a lot of new playmates to town and put a lot of people into paying jobs those people would never have gotten any other time.  That money probably financed even more bands. Thinking about it now, this series of events just proved that the boys would never have to grow up to get a job, and the girls had to be the grownups in the room.

It could be argued that this Peter Pan attitude has continued with the tech boom. "See, I don't have to return phone calls or pay attention to bills or be a responsible member of my community. I can make a living in my pajamas."

These shoes were the envy of my friends. They were not cheap, but they lasted. Which I cannot say for the thrift store silk suits. If you do not clean the beer out promptly...

If you look very closely, you'll note the toes have been redyed with Magic Marker.

And to be honest, I wore them to work with my 50's rayon shirt dress

The show opened this weekend, May 4th. I will report on it the week after.

waiting to finish the paperwork, hanging out on the conference table, MOHAI offices
See ya later, Doc.