Posted in Savannah Joy

I’m a Famous Fashion Model

Last Friday night I ventured into unfamiliar territory by attending the beautifully chic Looking Back to the Future: Ralph Rucci Evolved fashion exhibition and reception at the SCAD Museum of Art in downtown Savannah.  (Not familiar with SCAD?  It’s the Savannah College of Art and Design, with an incredible campus scattered all over the Historic District.)  Here I am beforehand, perusing the invitation and trying to decide three things.

1.  Who Ralph Rucci is.  I thought at first that maybe he was related to Susan Lucci (aka Erica Kane–All My Children), before realizing I confused the “L” and “R” of the last name.

2.  If “reception” might translate into “jumbo Savannah shrimp and mojitos.”

3.  If (since this was a fashion event) I had anything cool to wear that wouldn’t make my butt look big.  (Could I wear skinny jeans at my age?)

A bit of research revealed that Rucci is a well known American fashion designer, with a line called Chado Ralph Lucci (“chado” coming from Japanese tea ceremonies which pay close attention to detail and expertise).  His work “always embodies the same formula: the collections present the most beautiful rainwear, outerwear, furs, leathers, embroidery and rich hand techniques, dance dresses, and drop-dead evening gowns.”

Not 100% sure why, I decided to go.

I’m so glad I did.

Because now I’m famous.  (More about that later.)

I arrived about 6:30 p.m. at the amazingly beautiful museum, which was created within a crumbling National Historic Landmark railroad warehouse, part of the large Central of Georgia Railroad Depot complex.

<p node="media-caption">Photos by Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News</p><p node="media-caption">”Jewel Boxes” built out of the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art’s exterior help bring the gallery outside along Turner Boulevard.</p>  Savannah Morning News

Here I am with docent extraordinaire Brianne Shew (a SCAD Fashion Design student) who introduced me to the exhibition and explained that “couture” is high-quality, custom made clothing, usually with 80% or more of the piece hand sewn.  (And I finally learned how to pronounce the word: “koo-toor”: http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=couture.)

And here I am with one of the mannequins (right before I got a mean look/”no, no” headshake from another docent for getting too close to the mannequin/womannequin).

While browsing through the exhibit, I met a guy with the coolest pants.  Upon introducing myself and my blog, I discovered that Mangue Banzima had recently moved with his family from New York and now owns Qui? Inc., an image consulting firm.  Mangue is married to the lovely Isolde Brielmaier, art historian and chief curator of exhibitions of the SCAD museums.  He writes a fascinating fashion blog:  http://www.quistyle.com/blog (where you can see many photos from the Ralph Rucci exhibit).  As a matter of fact, at his blog, Mangue welcomes your own fashion photo submissions.

And at one point Mangue took my picture and included it in his blog:  http://www.quistyle.com/blog/page/5 (scroll down).  WHY on earth didn’t I dress up more?!  Still, since I’m now famous, from now on please treat me with the respect I deserve.

While at the museum I stuck my head in a couple of the other exhibits.  Here I am sitting in the dark watching a video of frozen shoes sinking into a hole.

And, then, at another exhibit, trying to take a stand and march to my own beat:

But failing and succumbing to the crowd:

Oh well.  Come on, join us.

I really had a wonderful time at the SCADMoA and the Rucci show.  When you can, go!

Leaving, I said goodbye to yet another friendly and helpful Scadite, student Cory Elder, a SCAD painting major.

Moral of story: go where you haven’t gone before, try something new or challenging.  Stretch.  Who knows, you might become famous too.

P.S.  If you have any suggestions for MY new fashion line, let me know ASAP.  Thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Dollar Holler

Today I arrived in Statesboro a little early for the first day of Term A Summer classes at Georgia Southern.  Since at the end of the week I’m flying to Manhattan for a long Memorial Day weekend, I decided to run by the grocery store to pick up a few of those travel size products.  (Did you know they sell Gold Bond Powder in teeny tiny containers?!  Remind me to add that to my Five Friday Happy Bringers this week.)

Waiting in a long line (very patiently I might add), I came out of my daydreaming (about, upon my retirement, the possibility at my age of becoming either a tug boat operator on the Savannah River or a Broadway star) when I heard the following exchange between the Friendly Store Clerk and the Girl with the Puppy Tattoo in front of me.

Friendly Store Clerk:  “That’ll be $5.74, ma’am.”

Girl with the Puppy Tattoo:  “Oh gosh.”  (Fumbling frantically in purse.)  “I only have $5.00.”

[Long silence]

Friendly Store Clerk:  “Uh.  Hmm.  Well.”

At this point, it hit me that I could get us all out of this thickening and beginning-to-get embarrassing plot very simply.  But the following thoughts flew through My Mind first:

My Mind:  “If I take out my billfold, open it and don’t have a dollar, will I turn red?”

My Mind:  “What if she thinks I’m a dirty old man?”

My Mind:  “What if Friendly Store Clerk gets unfriendly and belligerent?”

My Mind:  “I’m too shy to do this.”

My Mind:  “Which would bring in more money, Tugboat operator or Broadway star?”

(Okay, kidding about that last one.)

Well, I looked at my shoes, and decided to Just Do It.  I opened my wallet, breathed a sigh of relief that I had a one dollar bill and (feeling like an adult child of Mother Theresa and Donald Trump), handed GWPT the dollar.  Her eyes increased in wattage as she took it and presented it to the SMILING Friendly Store Clerk.

“Have a blessed day, sir,” the Girl with the Puppy Tattoo said.

And that was that.  I walked out with my teensy powder,  having answered a dollar holler.

Posted in Holiday Joy

Mama — Tell Her Now!

“Mama.”  Perhaps no other word in our langauge evokes such tender and loving feelings.

My mom turned 85 on May 2.  Here she is with my dad (88).  They have been married for 65 years!

Geneva Mae Reavis Saye and Harold Hulon Saye Sr.

If I had to answer the question, “Neal, what’s the greatest lesson your mother has taught you in life?” I would have NO problem at all answering.  I learned the lesson so, so early: the power and authority of humor and laughter.  Some of my greatest memories growing up consist of roaring with giggles and laughter at some of the silliest things.  My mother is a master at seeing the lightness in situations.  The Christmas when I was about six, asked for a real joke box, and FOUND IT it my parents’ bedroom closet on Christmas Eve.  Mama thought it was hilarious when I started yelling in confusion, “WHY is my juke box in your closet??!!”  She said, through fits of unrestrained laughs, “Santa wanted your dad and me to try it out first.”  (That Christmas began my distrust of Santa.)  Or the time when I asked for (and finally got) a rocking chair for my sixteenth birthday (don’t judge me), and she (like you probably) laughed and said, “WHO wants a rocking chair on their birthday?!”  I still get teased about that very practical and emotionally calming gift.

Or her ongoing confusion with the words “veterinarian” and “vegetarian.”

Or the Christmas when I was about eight and had this obsession with making sure the ornaments were placed perfectly (in my opinion) on the live tree branches.  I had gone to bed, but thought that maybe I should check the tree one more time for spatial accuracy of the bulbs and tinsel.  A big round glass ornament on a limb just out of my reach needed attention.  Reaching up, I grabbed the branch, too hard I suppose, and pulled the ENTIRE tree on top of me, electric lights and all.  Screaming in holiday terror, I flailed at the evergreen monster till my mom and dad ran into the living room.  I distinctly remember my dear mother hooting with laughter and saying to my dad (far too loudly), “Just look what he’s done now!”

Or her ongoing advice throughout the decades:  “It’s really not that important, Neal.  You’ll laugh about it soon.”  And I usually did.  (Except for early Christmas memories.)

What an incredible privilege and joy to have a mother who taught me when I was younger and who continues to teach me to this day that happiness is a choice.  That laughter is an answer, a solution, medicine.  That humor is a gift to get and to give.

My advice on this glorious Mother’s Day:  Don’t wait till your mom and dad walk out of your lives forever to tell them, show them how very much they mean to you and how much you love them.

HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 2012!

I dedicate this beautiful version of the song “Mama” by Il Divo to my mom and to yours.  And remember to tell her now!