Here comes that indie sinking feeling. Not content to wallow in the late-afternoon vodka marinade so generously splashed all over my holiday-weekend Sunday-afternoon recipe card (two parts depressants for every one-half smile), I've opted to try my potluck at what's promised, with a sunken hairdresser frown, to be an event. All I really know is that there are "stylists," "photographers" and "scenery/scene-sters" involved, and that in some magical combustion of mixed media — some alchemy if you will — revelations will occur, eyes will roll at them and the world will remain blisslessly submerged in the overwhelming irony of it all.
Count me in.
Before I can submit myself to this exercise in incidental appreciation, I must first incidentally depreciate myself, naturally, so I pull off for a pit stop at the Peacock, which coincidentally isn't open yet. I assume my desperate alcoholic pose, the one I've worked on my whole life, and wait out the remaining five dry minutes under the unforgiving house lights. Why? Because I'm a model, dammit.
Over at Stardust, where the alchemy is due to combust, I bump into Corrine from the Alchemy salon (natch!) who's actually the hairpiece on the head of this whole accidental occurrence. "What a nice surprise!" she greets me.
There are no surprises here.
The event is called "Home Grown" — which is sadly not an exposition on bud grooming for the High Times set — and it attempts to portray the everyday occurrences of dirty Orlando fare through the concave filters of photographers and beauticians working in tandem under the same flash bulb. I bump into contributing photog Carlos Amoedo and make the awkward conversation one makes with a former fag-hag's ex-boyfriend.
"The idea was to have each stylist choose a photographer and go out to very ‘Orlando' places …" he snaps. "But then everything kind of went crazy."
Crazy indeed. Behind Carlos' head a hipster smears chunks of Beefy King all over his headbanded face, a jarhead wrestles an alligator in front of an alligator attraction, and a bimbo fellates a hot dog near that giant hot dog— shaped hot dog stand on East Colonial at the Chevron. My own tube steak, mean-while, remains flaccid. When I cough, I swear I can hear the word "LaChapelle" fly out of my mouth, but then that always happens.
Jessica finally walks in with indie-iconic boyfriend Matt, and before I can even comment on her smart choice of leisure wear, Corrine floats into our frame. "What a nice surprise!" she robots. Again, no it isn't.
"Let's go look at art," Jessica latches on to my arm of scorn. And we do.
Over here there's a dark bob in front of Will's Pub (suggesting urban blight), over there is a collection of photo-booth clicks of a blonde with big lipstick lips (suggesting night life), and down there a series of 33rd Street mug shots in which three hipster girls — one who's eating her own pigtails — go all black-and-white and criminal (suggesting Fiona Apple). DJ Secret Weapon is blaring something that sounds remotely like Sade on speed, and my head has already wrapped itself twice around this affair. I cough again.
"Well, they're clearly inspired by good photographers," Jessica lozenges. True.
Because we're over it, and because my LaChapelle cough needs more nicotine fuel, Jess and I step outside, dragging Weekly art director Shan along with us.
"That's a nice purse," sweets Shan, straightly.
"It's a dildo bag," I stroke Jessica's elongated gold lamé clutch, not so straightly.
"It's funny that you should mention that," Jessica strokes it, too. "We just drove by a place with a sign that said ‘Adult Toy Storage,' and I got to thinking …"
At this point Shan is thoroughly repulsed and offers to meet up with us further along in the evening's mingle. Jessica then refers to herself as a drop of Dawn in a sink full of grease, and I overestimate that the reason nobody wants to talk to me is because I'm famous and mean.
"What a nice surprise!" Corrine leans in and air-kisses somebody else. Nope.
Back inside, art is imitating life imitating art again, as girls who look like the Barbies of kids with careless scissors swish around with their Kens of boys with facial hair pens. Me, I'm a misshapen mash-up in shades of yellow, blue and brown, Bright Eyes without a face, Oberst and Idol: I won't, I won't, I won't.
In order to reclaim our own incidental identities, Jessica and I make one last push through the incestuous social coil of exes and old friends and squeeze ourselves into a corner next to Matt. Devoid of theme or purpose, we take to examining the $1 VHS graveyard surrounding our heads. Milk Money is one of them, which is lactic and gross. But I Want What I Want sounds promising, in that it portrays a Roy/Wendy transgendered crisis in the brown hue of '70s bell-bottoms.
"I want what I want!" I declare nonsensically.
"I know," she really doesn't.
A middle-aged man standing nearby knows what he wants, too, but just doesn't know where to find it. "I'm looking for Napoleon Dynamite," he talks to me like I work here.
"You're soaking in it," I seethe.
And just as my sinking is just about sunk, scene goddess Katie Ball joins our fray with big talk about Orlando positivism, like grease to my toxic Dawn. I decide to keep things light and talk about how heavy I am. "I've gained 10 pounds," I joke without humor. "I'm totally fat!"
"What, no coke for you?" she snips back, fucking genius. What a nice firstname.lastname@example.org