Hiking, live poetry, urban revitalization, Quinceaneras, Art Deco architecture and a Hasidic Jewish jazz musician… where might you find all these glorious things? Downtown Santa Ana, CA.
I won tickets to the opera! On Monday, Speak Your Design hosted a last minute contest for two tickets to Tuesday's performance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. I was the first to correctly answer the question: "At what theater did Madama Butterfly originally premiere in 1904? Hint: it was beautifully renovated by Botta in 2004."
ANSWER: La Scala (working at an architecture firm has its perks).
I'd only attended the opera on one other occasion, while studying abroad in opera's birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi... oops that's Oprah's birthplace... I meant ITALY. My class took a field trip to Pisa to see Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Teatro Verdi. It was just what you'd expect for an opera: traditional, classic, period piece.
It was nothing like Jun Kaneko's version of opera. Kaneko is a Japanese ceramic artist who, in 2006, reinterpreted the set and costume design for Madama Butterfly. His artistry had me visually enthralled the entire performance. Each scene was blocked like a work of art. So much attention was paid to each character placed, each color used, each prop delivered, each transition choreographed, each costume adorned.
I know the opera is typically lauded for its performers... and Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio San (aka Madama Butterfly) did not disappoint... but I left the theater with a new favorite art form. Set design. (photos via junkaneko.com)
^ Spoiler Alert!
Hiiiiiyeeeeee! I've been SUPER busy since my little trip to Atlanta but I'm finally able to come up for breath of air and give yall the lowdown. Wedding Day Hooray was amazing.
I mean first of all, what a great concept. I've never been to a traditional bridal show, but I think I'll be severely disappointed after experiencing the wonderland of handmade wedding decor. There was everything from hand sewn gowns, to custom jewelry, to letterpress stationery, to homemade caterers and SO much more - all under one roof!
I couldn't have had better booth neighbors than Praxium Press and The Small Object. Praxium Press is an Atlanta based letterpress studio. They design gorgeous wedding invitations and other stationary the old fashioned way. And The Small Object creates custom wedding cake toppers. My favorite were the matching groom and groom.
Home.Made (catering from scratch) had a great display filled with delicious food samples. I just loved their clever food presentation. They had paper strawberry baskets filled with corn chips and black eyed pea salsa and used antique cooking utensils to adorn the table, giving it a vintage kitchen vibe. Add in some homemade pimento cheese straws and cayenne and black pepper cookies... well, they just put Costco to shame.
Foundling designs simple, yet personal, jewelry out of found objects. A perfect gift for any bridal party. Plus they're based out of Asheville, NC - not too far for all my Charlotte locals.
Olive featured 50s and 60s inspired wedding apparel that would make any girl swoon.
A Darling Day had one of my favorite booth displays. It's no wonder they specialize in event and invitation design.
The event also featured a table decorating contest. The bud vases and vintage china were some of my favorite clever touches.
Among all the great displays, I have to say the Are Gray Line Photography booth was my favorite. My main requirement for a photographer, is that they make you feel at ease. The cabinet filled with an abundance of frames, paired with the Ikea rug and chairs, made me feel right at home! Brilliant. And then there was Miss Wyolene who had some beautiful stationary and one of the sweetest vendors. I love the story behind her shop name too: "Miss Wyolene is my sweet Grandmother who, for most of my life, has taught me the importance of proper correspondence."
As a self proclaimed "Fabric Whore" the J. Carter Handmade display had me mesmerized. I snagged a little souvenir business card holder from their shop before the event even started!
Liddabits adorable custom banners are sure brighten any girl's big day. While Judith Lauren Designs will add a little romance and whimsy to your gown. I managed to take home a souvenir from her shop too :)
Want to add something especially unique to a wedding or event? How about some custom luminaries? Paper Acorn specializes in unique paper goods. AND they came all the way from Cincinnati, Ohio for the event!
Last, but not least, Christina Nicole had me drooling over her glamorous jewelry and adornments. Every girl needs something with a little sparkle - wedding day or not!
More on NMIC's set-up at Wedding Day Hooray coming soon!
Crafty Feast was fit for a king, or in my case, a Queen City girl. And despite the 15 min of torrential downpour (that created a river big enough for a cat to kayak)... and 20 mph wind gusts (which threatened to turn my tent into a tumbleweed)... The Columbians represented in full force. I have to admit I was impressed.
Not only did shoppers come from far and wide, they also chased after runaway magnets, sacrificed their bodies to secure the corners of my tent, bought my wet merchandise and endured it all with a smile. I can’t think of a better place to weather a storm than at Crafty Feast in Columbia, SC.
A few highlights of the day were: when the sun came out, seeing my boy KJ of H1GHER LEARNING, watching the customers’ reactions to the new buttons, witnessing a shopper freak out about the “Cocks and Shagging” button and telling me about how her relatives in England were going to DIE over it, meeting a girl who had bought a tote bag online and wore it to the event, all the people who told me they came just to see my booth (say wha!?), laughing with a girl who bought 14 things and offered to help me make biz cards, talking to Nick of The Half and Half, the volunteer who relieved me of my post so I could make a bathroom run, the guy with an "I like turtles" tshirt, getting a bag snicker doodles from Jessica’s Jacket’s mom and going for a much deserved post-Crafty Feast drink with some fellow Crown Town Handmade ladies.
All in all, it was a whirlwind of a day. I can’t wait for round two in December! And, in case you’re wondering, the best sellers were: Cocks and Shagging, I’ll buy anything with a Palmetto Tree on it, Cola, The Palmetto State, People Against Monograms, Hotter than the Devil’s Asshole and Rosewood: Yuppies in the Ghetto. If you missed it, don’t fret... they’ll all be listed for sale on the site later this week!
"No Pictures Please"?! HA! I laugh in the face of authority. Using my covert, Inspector Gadget like techniques I managed to snag a couple out-of-focus, uncentered, practically worthless photographs of the legendary Amy Sedaris. Sadly, my dreams of capturing a candid shot of Amy and I laughing over the hilarious banter we exchanged... while she signed my copy of "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People"... were dashed. But I still had a blast at the event.
Ms. Sedaris did not disappoint. She entertained, improvised, performed several of her old characters (even Piglet with her nose taped up), demonstrated a craft lesson on making twist-ties (since they're so darn expensive), answered every question from the audience (including "Would you rather eat a dreadlock or puppy meat?"... only in Asheville... she said, "puppy meat," in case you're wondering) and explained to us that crafts are for ugly people.
My cousin Janet and I had great seats, front and center. In fact, we ended up sitting right next to a woman who grew up with Amy in Raleigh, NC. While we waited in line for our books to be signed, the woman shared stories from their childhood and told us that Amy was just the same back then. "I guess you just are who you are," she said. Ain't it the truth.
When I finally got to the front of the line for the book signing, I sheepishly handed her some Not Made In China swag ("make stuff not war" and "I got my pork pulled in North Carolina"). I was mildly star struck - but I think she said "Oh, that one's funny!" and pointed to the pork button.
Here's what she wrote on my dedication page:
"Nikki, - Stripper name -
Thank you for the buttons!
~ Amy Sedaris."