Black Friday Art Show

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

A few weeks back I received an e-mail from Jon about this art show at Asbury Lanes, and we mutually expressed interest in attending because neither of us were really doing anything for the ‘holiday’ weekend.  It would be an understatement to say that things have not been the same since his accident, and I am frustrated because he is reluctant to open up yet I know there is something wrong.  The time we spend apart takes a toll on him in many ways which is evident in his appearance and actions, signs I am so familiar with but I have no idea what else I can do beside making it blatantly obvious that I am here for help and support.

Meanwhile, I have acquired a performing partner because Jon is in no shape to be doing anything of that sort, and we had a small show earlier this month that went pretty well.  Have decided that if I want to continue pursuing what makes me happy, I need to get out of this apartment and away from negative forces.  That is something I have to work on in complete privacy because I don’t want a certain someone to find out and make things difficult or whatever.

Was able to get away from E-town with a great story about seeing my relatives for the ‘holiday’ or whatever, and thatsuccessfully prevented me from being bombarded by useless questions which was such a relief.  While there was some traffic when I first got on the highway, the comfort of the ocean was waiting for me just like always when I exited it.  The afternoon was lost to lunch at a diner where Jon seemed to be much happier than the last time I saw him, but there was still a dullness in his eyes that I found unsettling.

Later on we cruised over to Asbury Lanes for a most excellent art show, decked out in retro attire and playing the role of the classic couple so often portrayed on 1950s sitcoms.  Chilled at the bar for a while, checking out the art on the walls and drinking colorful cocktails that had faint hints of soda among the strong flavors of whiskey and rum.  Jon finally loosened up and treated us to a round of bowling, though I have no idea who won because once the jokes started so did the laughter, and we weren’t really paying attention to the score.

We headed down to the beach and then situated ourselves on the ledge of a sidewalk that surrounds the casino, smoking a blunt and staring out at the moon-lit ocean.  It was quite surreal and reminded me of the last time we were there, complete with glowing full moon.  Passed a flask of whiskey between us while we continued to revel in the serene beauty of that moment.

Then we noticed a rather bright light in the sky, too big to be a star or planet.  It was a sizable orb, positioned above these two boats that were floating on the ocean in the distance.  We stared at it and Jon remarked that he did not think it was an airplane, as it did not move nor did it blink.  The orb was certainly odd, and we were just as puzzled by the fact that aside from the moon, it was the only thing casting its own illumination on the ocean.

We turned away to share an intimate moment, which I have to say caught me by surprise because of the way Jon had been acting earlier in the day, but none of that mattered and I was lost in the embrace of our kiss.  When were ready to head back to the Chevy, we had one last glance at the sky, but the mysterious orb was gone.  It had completely vanished and we felt creeped out enough to walk away quickly, but over all it was a fantastic evening.

The following day Jon announced that we were going for a drive, though first we stuffed our stomachs with pancakes and cups of Irish coffee.  He said he would take care of packing a lunch while I got dressed and then we were off.  As the ocean faded into the distance, a joint was lit and the stereo was turned up, twanging guitars and rhythmic drums filling the Chevy, mild air floating through half-opened windows.  Soon the scenery that whizzed by on the Parkway went from towering trees to urban landscapes, which then turned into rolling hills.  The leaves on the trees have browned and most of them are on the ground, but somehow their fragrant aroma still came swirling into the car.

After exiting the highway and briefly driving through town, Jon turned down a dirt road I am not sure we were supposed to be on, utterly curious as to where we were going.  When the Chevy came to a stop he smiled and motioned for me to get out – savory smells of the forest welcomed us as we wandered through the woods for several hours.  Eventually we found a small clearing, laid a picnic blanket across the ground and commenced to eat lunch.  Though it was fairly quiet, there were still sounds being made by birds and bug and animals scampering in the underbrush.  Sometimes I forget just how beautiful this state can be, but I am sure glad that I have someone to remind me.  The walk back did not seem as long yet evening had already begun to arrive when we climbed into the Chevy once again.

Darkness welcomed us by the time we got back on the Parkway and headed back to Jon’s house.  It had been a really great day of spending time together away from everyone and everything else, which I have to say was a lovely gesture on his part.  Though we instantly headed to bed after brief showers and a  change into comfortable clothing, we stayed up for a few hours just talking about random things and watching late night television.

The next two days were lost to smoking blunts and wandering the beach until we found ourselves several towns away from Jon’s house.  We had an amazing dinner at a Victorian style house with a fantastic ocean view before making the return trip and sleeping for twelve hours straight.

A weekend spent away from things that no longer feel like a part of my life was exactly what I needed, and it was also a reminder of how much I want to get away from here.  As soon as I am out of the apartment, I will be able to explain the whole thing to anyone who matters.  Until then, I am going to avoid those who might not understand what is happening and put on whatever front I need so as not to arouse suspicion.  The strength of my relationship with Jon is what gets me by, because it has lasted through so much and is a testament of what can be accomplished when two people share a passion.  If only he would trust himself enough to just tell me what is on his mind.

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Kung-Fu Shoes: Turquoise Poise

Though no longer officially a part of Carny Style, Kung-Fu Shoes remains a popular article and will continue to be posted once a month under the broader Fashion category that I recently added to the blog.  This way I can write about all the ridiculous and wonderful shoes out there without having to find a way to relate them to what I consider to be Circus Couture.  There are also new categories for Hair, Makeup and Bath & Body, all of which are regularly updated with articles that discuss the latest products from companies that I support in one way or another.

In color psychology, turquoise regulates emotion to create balance and stability.  Being a combination of blue and a small amount of yellow, it emits the harmony, serenity and tranquility of blue, along with the inspirational vitality of yellow.  This is a color that can revitalize your spirit during moments of fatigue and alleviate feelings of loneliness by generating calmness then offering a shot of invigoration.  Turquoise is great to have around in an emergency because it can aid in sharp thinking and decision-making, while also supporting the growth of organizational and management skills.  The hue gives control over speech and expression, building confidence and allowing you to have clear thoughts when addressing the public.  It has been said that turquoise has the ability to amplify levels of ingenuity or help build self-esteem, though there is a risk of becoming arrogant and narcissistic.

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Starting this style guide off strong with Iron Fist’s Ruff Rider Combat Boot because they are said to “show off your wild party girl side” and I have no shame endorsing such behavior.  These glitzy turquoise boots are covered with silver sequin skulls accented by studs, and while they lace up, there is also a zipper on the side to easily slip them on.  A one inch block heel also adds a bit of lift without the scariness of a stiletto.

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A modern interpretation of what I would call ‘ugly shoes’ as a kid, Bunnys Boat is a stylish flat with eyelets, hot pink stitching and patent bow that help keep them on trend instead of being the embarrassing things your father buys at the thrift store.

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If you are struggling with the question of Love Me Love Me Not, stop plucking petals and hit the town with these rose and anchor printed flats.  The bright colors and bold designs are sure to turn heads, while polka dot piping, matching bow and a black interior  that is splattered with a galaxy of crossed bones, hearts with bows and grinning skulls with bowlers strike up appreciation for artistic footwear.

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In a dream you are stumbling through towering aisles of boring brown boxes, each containing square shoes in neutral shades that are too small.  Frantically throwing one box after the next to the floor, you are ready to cry out in anguish when your eye catches something in the distance.  Wading through the catastrophe you created, X Marks The Spot where you discover an amazing treasure.  The silhouette of a pump has been wrapped in turquoise leopard print and trimmed with layers of multi color sequins, a black vinyl strip of square studs snaking across the toe.

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Of course if you desire a more dramatic dose of fierce footwear, you can always go for the X Marks the Spot Platform Boot, which features leopard print satin, 5 1/2 inch  heel and 1 1/2 inch platform, both of which are decked out in sparkling sequins.  The treads on the bottoms help you grip the sidewalk when you are stomping through fallen leaves, and I am enamored by this style because I feel it really defines me as Jersey Girl – tacky, loud and unapologetic.

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Once you have reached that proverbial ‘X’, you dig deep to find the Treasure Box, a wild leopard print wedge with a black cuff that displays an array of multi color sequins.  Though it is the third style which uses the same elements, that does not detract from the fact that it is a visually gripping shoe and will surely standout among the standard shoes one sees during the colder months.

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Simple yet stunning, this classic silhouette from Bordello is a shoe that every fashionista needs in their collection!  The lavish turquoise satin of Biggest Little City is covered in a collection of glittering rhinestones which really set off the 5 3/4 inch heel, ideal for a flirty pinup shoot or sophisticated burlesque routine.

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These round toe pumps by Michael Antonio are perfect for everyday where, as they can easily shift from day to night or work to play with the right styling.   The metallic pattern on Love Me is reminiscent of a reptile and adds some edge to the 4 1/2 inch heel.

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The edgy Gidget Wedge has turquoise straps contrasted by a black five-inch platform, along with square studs and a sturdy strap that should appeal to those  who want a bit of rocker chic in their wardrobe.

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Sweetheart cutouts, a buckled ankle strap and thick platform are all details that will make you fall in love with Cuffed by Jeffrey Campbell.  Obsession will run high over this six-inch metallic turquoise platform heel which is as romantic as it is rebellious.

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Zigzag detailing is combined with clear plastic trim to create the weirdly awesome Audrey 2, a suede pointed toe platform wedge with ankle strap that will add the right amount of quirk to your outfit.

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Have no fear, the snake part of these Maritza Platform Block Heels is completely synthetic and therefore should give you no qualms about rocking outrageous footwear if you are an animal lover.

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Turquoise is the color of the evolved soul and allows you to empathize with others, while also containing strong powers of observation.  This can be utilized to identify the way to success by balancing the pros and cons of any situation, allowing for solid decision-making.  Sometimes it is capable of being impractical and idealistic, appearing excessively calm, cool and collected.  Too much may give you an over excited mind and generate emotional imbalance, while too little may cause you to hold back your emotions which can result in bewilderment about your direction in life.

Topaz Pizazz

Who first comes to this world below

In dreary November’s fog and snow,

Should prize the topaz amber hue,

Emblem of friends and lovers true

The poem above echoes a few assets with which topaz is associated: dependability, fidelity and devoted friendship.  This stone is found in Brazil, China, Pakistan and Shri Lanka, though the name itself is derived from Topazos, a tiny island in the Red Sea where Romans acquired a stone they entitled with the same name.  It is generally colorless but has also been found in light to medium blue, violet, yellow, pink, gold, green and brown.  For the sake of this guide, however, I will be focusing on the orange-red shades, as they happen to be the most valuable topaz.  Legend dictates that gifting a piece of jewelry which includes November’s birthstone will grant good luck and protection to the wearer.

If gold chains and glittering gems are not your thing, you can still wear topaz and otherwise embrace the mystical properties associated with it.  Whether sweeping shadow across the eyes, sculpting ombre tones on nails or trying something totally new and bringing the coveted amber color into your current hairstyle, the products presented here certainly do not fall short of fantastic.  Use these tips when putting together a look for the office, a dinner date or a night on the town celebrating your Scorpio birthday!

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It is no secret that Illamasqua has superb colors which create a proclamation as distinctive as you are, and their Powder Eye Shadows offers intense, extremely long-lasting pigments that urge you to be bold and experiment with makeup.  Here I have selected three shade which can be used separately or together with a few golden highlights that can have your eyes making a statement as soon as you enter a room.  From left to right is Apex – red-orange with matte finish, Vulgar – bright flame orange with matte finish, and Vapour – tangerine with matte  finish.

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Bright orange lipstick might seem intimidating, but Flare has an iridescent finish that keeps it soft and sophisticated as opposed to overly obnoxious.  With a highly pigmented formula that glides on smoothly and is long-lasting, you might find yourself hard pressed to resist trying it at least once.

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Now is the time to emerge from being a wallflower and exude confidence as people take notice, especially if you are wearing Temper Intense Lipgloss.  This bright tangerine high shine gloss can be used over Flare or by itself; either way ensures that you will be captivating.

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Though a much cooler shade than the other products, this is still high quality Nail Varnish that is extremely chip resistant so you can enjoy the effort put into your manicure.  Take the vivid tangerine tones of Whack, blend carefully with a bit of Gamma [neon orange] and Faithful [coppered metal, metallic finish] for a powerful look.

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Don’ let your face have all the fun!   Bold color will always be a prominent trend in hair as far as I am concerned, but if you are not into neon bright enough to burn out retinas, there is a semi-permanent dye intended to deliver brilliantly fierce results.  Ion Color Brilliance Brights can be applied to natural, pre-bleached or color treated hair, though it should be noted the lighter or more pale the hair is, the more intense the resulting color will be.  Carefully blend Red, Orange and Magenta to create your custom topaz shade, and remember to do a strand test before taking the plunge to be sure you like what you see.  Select precise strips, random chunks or go for an all over coverage to transform your locks into strands of spun topaz.

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Once you have made your selections and are ready to flaunt your new look, there will certainly be a desire to sink in a tub full of refreshing fragrances that can assist you in starting the day feeling refreshed.  These delicious products from LUSH never fails to deliver when it comes to lavishing yourself with things that smell good, and when Bon Bomb hits the water you’ll know why.  The Bath Bomb contains avocado and mango butters that will make dry skin soft, while the fresh scents of orange oil and lime are sure to give you that extra boost in the morning.

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If topaz had a smell, for some reason I can imagine it being heavy on the citrus to coordinate with its tropical tones and that is the inspiration behind the selection of these products as opposed to just their color.  After your bath, treat yourself to the fruity fragrance of You’ve Been Mangoed, a delicious Bath Melt filled with mango and avocado butters that will condition your skin much like the Bath Bomb did, while citrus oils brighten it.  The added touch of lemongrass not only acts as a toner, but it can also lift your mood and get you ready to face your day.

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If heaps of frothy white bubbles  that soften skin while you sit in them soaking up the citrus and chocolate scent is your idea of heaven, then the Yuzu and Coca Bubble Bar is for you!  This unique ‘Bubbleroon’ is filled with Extra Virgin coconut oil, Fair Trade Shea Butter and just the right dose of cocoa absolute that gives it that decadent fragrance.

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Take care of you newly dyed hair with Godiva, a vegan 2 in one Solid Shampoo Bar that will assist in conditioning and moisturizing, both of which you will need if you decide to bleach for more vibrant hues.  Cocoa and Shea butters have been combined with camellia oil for manageability, while jasmine leaves an empowering and lasting aroma.

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If you have a bit of trouble getting yourself motivated in the morning, then perhaps it is time to try Back to Breakfast.  Stimulating lemon, lime and grapefruit oils in this Shower Gel cleanse and tone, gently waking up your mind and body.  There is also an added touch of honey that is great for treating dry or sensitive skin, both of which easily occur with the colder weather.

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Soap is exciting again, especially when it has been made from the peels of organic oranges, limes and lemons that give Sexy Peel the exfoliating texture of fresh marmalade.  The revitalizing orange juice and oil delivers nutritious Vitamin C to help keep skin clear, and overall it is certain to give you a reason to roll out of bed in the morning.

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When you are ready to wind down for the day and embark on a spiritual journey, Cosmic Dreamcatcher is the Massage Bar that will help you refocus energy with a specific blend of oils, while frankincense, sage and thyme help you relax.  Fresh mango has also been blended in to rehydrate and brighten skin, leaving it smooth while you lay in bed and fall into your dreams.

ResourceNovember Birthstone

Style Spotlight: Gloomth’s Haunted Circus

Whenever I hear that a clothing line releases something that is supposed to be influenced by the circus, my immediate knee-jerk reaction is to cringe with fear, wonder how much striped fabric will be used and then sigh because I prefer a red-and-black combination over the usual white-and-black that is used for a lot of garments.  It can never be said too many times that I do not believe slapping stripes on something deems it “circus inspired”, especially since such items are readily available and take little effort to add to an ordinary outfit.  There seems to also be something called “dark carnival” that allegedly mixes elements of certain subcultures with…well, I am not really sure because carnival and circus are two very different things.

Personally, I do not interchange the terms because of the meanings I attach to them and tend to be kind of confused by their constant misuse.  Being an active part of a culture that people use as a basis behind costumes and characters, the latter of which people dedicate their time to creating an entire fantasy out of things I have actually experienced, I tend to be amused then realize that this what society thinks being a part of a circus is like.  The point being that it should be understandable why I can easily cast doubt on using circus as a theme and marketing campaign.

With a cheerful invitation to explore a beautiful nightmare, Gloomth presents a collection with “show stopping pieces inspired by a spooky nocturnal circus“.  The designs feature plenty of frills, pompoms and the company’s signature strangeness, each with a name which gives a good indication of where the vision for each piece came from.  Aptly titled Haunted Circus, the line has consistent characteristics that not only makes it cohesive but allows one to truly see the story behind the clothes.

Making a grand entrance is something that I have often enjoyed since first impressions are very important, particularly when it comes to being a performer.  The aim is often to grab attention and one could certainly do that with the Star Carousel dress, which has attributes such as a rounded neckline, gold crinkled taffeta and matching bow on the bust line, as well as a natural waist that flares into a very large A-line skirt.  The skirt is trimmed with ruffles, lace and hand cut, raw-edge gold taffeta stars, while the body of the dress can be made with black-and-white striped or solid black fabric.

Though in the warmer seasons one could get away with leaving legs bare, particularly if they happen to be tattooed, the Winter wind is creeping in and I recommend you try red tights, especially since bold colors are trendy and would really pick up on the lace in the skirt.  Summon your ability to Seduce a crowd with cutout black and white Spectator pumps by Pleaser, five inch stiletto heels that lace up to create a show stopping silhouette.  Flatter your figure and your waist with Sabotage, a black faux fur coat by Iron Fist that will bring our your inner femme fatale.  The jacket has a large collar, faux leather belt that is removable and is lined in pink with black skulls, handcuffs, poison bottles and more!

Maria Spelterini was a daredevil circus performer who was the first woman to cross Niagara Gorge on a highwire in 1897, and so the Spelterini dress is named for her in the hopes of encouraging grand aspirations. The dress is designed with a longer, form-fitting bodice that sits below the waist to give the effect of a slimmer torso, while the black collar curves over the shoulders to frame the face.  It also has a wide A-line skirt which can fit a petticoat beneath, a horizontal band of stripes to break up the pattern.  A raw-edged red heart has been sewn to the front, while the skirt has been hemmed with small white pompoms flecked with gold.  Much like its counterpart, this dress is also available in solid black.

Continue the illusion that you are tall and lean with red and black vertical stripe tights; breaking up the monotony of black and white with a splash of color also makes your outfit more visually stimulating.  The Bordello line of Pleaser never fails to deliver fabulous footwear, so Tempt onlookers with a two tone patent Mary Jane, the movement between the black and white adding contrast to the straight lines of the stripes.  As mentioned earlier, presentation plays a vital role in performance and so there is no shame in flaunting opulence in the form of a Lady Lovecraft deluxe silk shrug made by Lovechild Boudoir.  Crafted from 100% dupion silk, this ruffled shrug is edged in black lace with a soft tulle frill underneath for extra volume; the black, ivory or red would suit this look.  Tie it all together with red silk burlesque gloves from Leg Avenue, the black lace overlay and faux pearl buttons adding to all of the other details.

The third dress of this collection is meant to be a striking casual piece for an eccentric daytime style.  Stimulated by the agile aerial artists of  traditional circus, the Trapeze dress is Gloomth’s interpretation of what they would wear while spending some time on the ground.  Much like the other dresses, this festive frock features vertical stripes offset by an unbleached raw cotton yolk and matching trim around the hem to give it a vintage flavor.  [Black is also available as an option for these accents.]  The cut is said to be remarkably flattering, as it is fitted at the bust and then floats away, while two darts at the front maintain the A-line shape to give you an overall airy feeling.  A raw edged red heart has been sewn to the right front hip, and side hem pockets give you a secret hiding places for all sorts of tricks or treats.

Despite popular belief that when they aren’t performing, circus folk sit around having bohemian parties with tea and crumpets, relaxing is a lot more laid-back than that and can be reflected in an outfit with a Vintage Cardigan by Sourpuss.  This lovely ivory cardigan is styled after those so often seen in vintage fashion magazines with pearl buttons, a removable black rose and pointelle detail on the wrists and hem.  Stimulate optical imagination with sheer Chevron Pantyhose from Lip Service and a pair of black lace Victorian Arm Sleeves.  Compliment with Splendor, magnificent white and black boots from the Funtasma line of Pleaser shoes.  The boot comes to about mid-calf, decorated with ten black buttons and trimmed with black lace; they also have a side zip which makes them easy to put on and take off.

These dresses can obviously be coordinated with the Ringmaster Circus Jacket: black and white stripes bell sleeves, corset lacing, sharp lapels, pompoms, peplum, white tulle, gold stars and a heart applique are just a few features that will make you the center of attention!

As a heartbreaking character of pantomime, Pierrot pines for a lover they cannot have and serves as tragic muse for the PomPom Shirt of the same name.  There are many features that add an air of whimsy to the garment, such as puffed short sleeves, ruffled hem, buttons down the front, corset lacing in the back and a rounded Peter Pan style collar that is actually a strand of gold flecked pompoms, which can also be found adorning the sleeve cuffs.  The red heart that appears on two of the dresses above has been stitched onto the left front, and for those that would prefer the shirt in black can have their wish granted!

For a more dramatic look, wear it unbuttoned over Aviatrix – another Haunted Circus item that is a fun little romper dedicated to female daredevils such as Ethel Dare, known as “Queen of the Air” for walking on the wings of planes – or snapped up tight with the Viola Corset Skirt.  In lieu of yet more stripes opt for opaque tights with a black and white diamond pattern, then slip in to a pair knee high black velvet Ringmaster boots, also by Funtasma.  Then take your choice of black polka dot 6-button length fingerless gloves, red and black stripe fingerless burlesque gloves or black fringe burlesque gloves by Lalas Couture.

The final items of this collection have been combined to create a slightly creepy yet chic look using the Un-Tamer Vest and Sideshow Bloomers.  Many aspects of the unisex vest make it a very visually appealing piece: the black and white stripes trimmed in gold piping, removable gold panels and puffed cap sleeves trimmed with black fringe.  There are two pointed tails in the back and all of the buttons are actually skulls-n-crossbones!  Meanwhile, the bloomers have an elastic waist and leg cuffs, flat front and plenty of ruffles that trim the cuffs and are layered with black scalloped lace in three rows on the back.

Prevent the outfit from being overwhelmed by selecting simple yet effect accessories like black distressed net armwarmers and red fishnet thigh highs with a back seam, both available from Leg Avenue.  The latter can be held up with as set of Too Fast Garters that are black elastic printed with gold stars and have two clips to attach to your stockings.  Check the seams and then slip into a pair of Dame boots, another stunning design from Funtasma that is crafted from golden patent leather and held together with matching lace.  A sheer tulle skirt layered over the bloomers can produce an amusing silhouette, though be sure the length is not too long or they will surely be lost beneath the floof, or now would be a good time to use that gold Lip Service Itty Bitty Micro Mini as a playful belt.

Head wear can go in a few different directions depending on the type of charm you want to infuse into your look.  For example, the two point fold open Garrison style Gaze-Cap by Futurestate or the PVC Wedge by Artifice that is modeled after an air force hat is ideal for those who are into military fashion.  One can never go wrong with a sturdy top hat, particularly one that is as striking as My Heart Belongs To You, made by Rag Dollies Madhouse, a glorious red and black striped hat made from scratch and adorned with an oval fabric picture of a crow, bones and the human heart framed by pleated black ribbon and lace.  The Etsy seller also has a miniature version that is accented by rooster feathers and a bow, as well as the Voodoo Heart, a black and white striped hat seamed with red stitching, pleated black lace and an adorable red plush heart reminiscent of the one that can be found in the Haunted Circus collection.

Overall I would say that these items are definitely wearable whether specifically aiming for an aesthetic influenced by the circus or just wanting to add something different to your everyday wardrobe.  The way an outfit is style certainly is at the discretion of the person wearing the clothes, but I always prefer a look that is unified by a theme.  When it comes to circus it seems rather easy to throw on the stripes, a corset, some heels and a petticoat, yet that is not successfully translating inspiration – it is lazy, tacky and certainly does not represent the way performers actually dress.  Then again I have never been one to fit stereotypes and instead do everything I can to contradict them, but I can also still be pleased when someone gets circus inspiration right.

Return To Asbury

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

It had been way too long since I had seen Jon, though three days after his accident he sent me a post card from Atlantic City telling me he was alright and that he was sorry I had to witness what I did.  The hand writing was shakey and I felt no better than I had since everything happened.  However, I had to put on the ‘everything-is-okay’ act and hang out with the Asshole for some stupid gig that didn’t happen.  Then I had a show at his friend’s place for post Halloween celebrations and I have no idea how I made it through that without just breaking down in tears.

Just when I thought I was going to drown in my own sorrow, I get an e-mail from Jon.  He wants me to meet him in Cherry Hill, and while I have dozens of questions spinning through my mind, I write down the address and make no haste in getting out the door.  It is a white knuckle drive down the Turnpike – I need to see his face and know that he is alright, because my gut is telling me otherwise.  My heart was racing when I spotted the Chevy and my door was half open before I even finished parking.  Stumbled over myself getting out of the car and tried to be cool as I approached Jon.  Immediately my heart sank.  This is was not my best friend – this was some drug zombie who hadn’t shaved in weeks, with sunglasses hiding the haze in his eyes because he doesn’t want me to see it.

There were so many things I wanted to say but none of the words would properly form.  Instead my mouth flopped around like a fish gasping for air, though the disappointment must have been evident on my face because Jon couldn’t even look at me.

“I fucked up,” he mumbles, slowly slipping his hand into mine.  “Hurt myself, bad.  Set myself out on a path of destruction and realized that I was hurting you too.  Sorry doesn’t cut it and I cannot change the things that have happened.”  A sigh squeezes itself past his lips as he lights a joint and finally removes the sunglasses.  “Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

An absurd question rolls around my head while I stare into his eyes and try to make sense of everything.  It was not his fault, or at least I don’t think it was, even if he did keep snorting coke when he damn well knew better.  Who am I to tell him what he can or cannot do?  A friend cares, but he is the only person who can stop himself – all I can do is be here for him no matter what.

“You owe me nothing,” I say, doing my best to keep back tears.  “It would be nice to spend the day with you, though.”

Jon smiles slightly and gestures for me to get in, so I do.  The music is blasting and we are passing a blunt between us like nothing happened.  Our destination became the D&R Canal, a place far removed from the main sections of whatever town we were in.  It was obvious he chose the spot so we could be alone and talk about things in the privacy of the woods.  We began the walk by passing through a dark tunnel and Jon makes a joke that we were crossing into another dimension.   The air was a bit chilly but we were both well-dressed in preparation and found the occasional breeze to be quite refreshing.  Might I point out here I couldn’t help but think those woods would make for the perfect out-door concert spot.  Though the trees were mostly bare, there was an odd beauty to them and I could smell the dampness of the leaves that had fallen from them.  There was a random white sheet hung from some trees across the water with no visible path passing by, so I wondered how it had gotten there.

Eventually Jon broke the silence and explained his absence, apologizing profusely for succumbing to weak moments and feeling like a failure for resorting to drugs.  What am I supposed to do, give him a lecture and make him feel worse?  There were a lot of emotional words shared between us, and while I am not exactly thrilled with his behavior, I want to be here for him so that he does not have to think drugs are his only alternative.  He still needs to make that choice by himself.  No matter what, I still love him.  Maybe I am the crazy one for saying that, but this man is the most important person in my life and I would hate myself if I ever abandoned him.

Once the air was cleared we finished smoking the blunt we had started earlier and turned around to head back to the Chevy.  Jon is in a better mood and says that it would be funny if some dude waving a machete and wearing a hockey mask suddenly jumped out to attack us.  No sooner had the thought been vocalized than a bell rang behind us.  Almost afraid to look, we slowly turned around to see a man riding a bike coming up on our right and laughed when he went by.  The evening turned cold fast as the sun was going down, and walking through the pitch black tunnel was a bit creepy.

Waiting for the Chevy to warm up, Jon said that had a surprise for me and hoped I was not in a rush to go anywhere.  Of course I said that nothing could tear me away from his side.  We head out onto the highway and the mood is definitely lighter after our walk through the woods.  Stopped off at the beautiful Seville Diner where we ordered salad and fried calamari, though I was disappointed that there were no tentacles.  We were amused by the waitress who was curious enough to ask if we were going to a show.  Why do people always assume that?  Perhaps it was the way we were dressed, and while she was not trying to be rude, it is still a question that gets asked so often it becomes annoying.  Jon put on a smile, churned out the Southern drawl and had her drooling, all the while slipping the tip money out of her apron and into his pocket.  Enjoying the rest of our meal without further disturbances, we became absorbed in casual conversation.  There was an incident at a table behind us, as I saw one guy throw a glass of water on another.  We were hoping for a fight but some employees came round to discourage any of that.

Jon tells me to go wait in the car and that he will settle up the bill.  The engine is already running when he strolls out, but he cannot stifle the laughter as he backs up and pulls out of the parking lot.  It’s good to see he hasn’t lost his touch, and for some reason I feel like he needed to make that point.  The more I smoke, the more thoughts want to be expressed, yet I don’t want to be rude or out of line.  Besides, I am having a blast and that is better than lingering on negativity.  Gazing out the window, I see a shooting star in the sky and take it as sign to just let go.

When we arrive in Asbury I am full of curiosity but trust Jon and say nothing as we exit the Chevy to do some exploring.  First location was the much neglected Metropolis hotel.  Apparently the property is for sale, but like the other abandoned buildings there, all entrances were boarded up.  Well, except for windows which are well out of our reach and that one doorway.  We would have went in but it was dark outside and even darker from what we could see of the inside, so neither of us thought it would be a good idea to explore the blackness.

Then we went over to the boardwalk to check out the casino again, but were disappointed upon discovering the loose board had been nailed up.  Strolling onto the beach, Jon comments that he really appreciates how loyal I have been as a friend after all of the things we have been through together.  He thanks me, in fact, and says that whether I knew it or not, I definitely made a difference in his life and he wanted me to know that it meant a lot.  It was really unexpected so I did not know what to say, though was assured that did not matter with a soft kiss on the forehead.

When I realized we were standing at the steps of the bowling alley, Jon pulls a ridiculous pose and shouts “Surprise!”  He had brought me there to see Demented Are Go and I was astounded.  Commenced drinking, bowling, seeing an amazing psychobilly band, dancing and having a complete blast.  There were so many moments where I was completely lost in fits of hysterics, finding little things about Jon that made me love him and being thankful that our bond would be strong no matter what.

Made a late-night early-morning coffee stop at another diner, though I was far too weary to be paying attention to details.  Though before parting, Jon said that he needed to take a little more time to get his head straight, and then promised that I would see him again soon.

NARS: Fall 2012 Color Collection

The days are growing shorter and the temperature is dropping lower and lower at night, reminding us that as we wade through crunchy leaves and drink spiced apple cider, Autumn is growing old and soon will give way to the next season.  Until then, indulging in color is one way to let your personality shine and the NARS Fall 2012 Color Collection offers nine products to assist you in doing so.  Advertised as “Bold. Breathtaking. Seductive”, this makeup  is more than just pigments on the face – it can transform your skin into a canvas you decorate in a way that pleases your aesthetics.

Having three colors that are meant to be harmonious in a single palette means taking up less room while being able to use one or all of the shades depending on the look you are going for.  Highly pigmented micro-powders are what make High Society Trio Eyeshadow long wearing and crease resistant whether you choose to use the shadow wet or dry.  Lavender, Matte Forest Green and Irridescent Amethyst can be used for lining, shading and highlighting the eyes, particularly enhancing those that are green.

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When working with metallics, it is important that they glide on smooth and evenly for a seductive shimmer, blending effortlessly and giving a true color payoff.  These are all excellent reasons the Vent Glacé Duo Eyeshadow will be a great item for all of those Ice Queen inspired looks, by offering a neutral pairing of Platinum and Silver Smoke.

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Invigorating the complexion with healthy color, even a light application of a high-intensity hue, delivers a natural flush via micronized powders that give a soft, blendable application.  This can be achieved by swiping Outlaw Blush across cheeks, the soft rose tone and golden shimmer giving them a warm glow.

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An innovative product, The Multiple is a makeup stick that can be used for eyes, cheeks, lips and body to create gleaming accents, contours or dynamic highlights on all skin tones.  It can also be applied with fingers and its unique formula takes little effort to blend, and Undress Me is a ballerina pink with silver shimmer certain to put emphasis on your best features.

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Sophisticated shine, lightweight long-lasting pigments and a blend of conditioners to hydrate, nourish and protect lips are all elements you will find in Autumn Leaves Sheer Lipstick.  The shimmering warm brandy glides across lips like gossamer and restores them while you look fabulous.

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Infused with ingredients that develops a high-shine that stays in place, nourishes lips and naturally gives them volume, Larger Than Life Lip Gloss certainly lives up to its name.  Rouge Tribal is an outrageously lustrous metallic burgundy with a high-impact finish that gives your pout a dramatic effect.

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Amsterdam is a garnet red Pure Matte Lipstick formulated with wild mango butter to repair dryness, enriched with Vitamin E for antioxidant benefits and still manages to offer high-impact, ultra-pigmented payoff.

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Created with ingredients known to moisturize and increase hydration, the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil is ultra smooth and offers convenient, easy application.  Ideal for lining lips when using Autumn Leaves, More is a haughty auburn with spectacular shine that will make lips appear fuller.

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When experiencing the chill of November rain, chase the blues away with Storm Bird, a shark grey Opaque Nail Polish that boasts incredible luster, extended wear, gloss retention with UV protection to prevent polish discoloration, and an advanced polymer system that provides a durable, chip-resistance.

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Though these products certainly stands on their own as tools for creativity, I could not resist the opportunity to add a few items from their Andy Warhol collection that I feel would coordinate with the colors above.  The inspiration behind the Andy Warhol Silver Factory Set is obviously the studio space of the same name that was located on East 47th Street in NYC.  Advertised to “capture the essence of the superstar-saturated scene of glamorous rebels and downtown divas”, this set has eight items in total, three of which are brand new.

Silver Factory is an aluminum Multiple for a polished appearance, Shadows is a Trio Eyeshadow in matte black, bright deep purple and silver, while Chelsea Girls is an innocent flesh tone pink Pure Matte Lipstick.  Complete looks with cotton candy pink Desire Blush and black Via Veneto Larger Than Life Eyeliner, while a Blush Brush and Large Domed Eyeshadow Brush will assist in flawless application.  Everything fits into a deluxe cosmetic bag which features the company logo, the name of the collection and a photo of the artist himself.

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The youthful energy of the scene that mad Andy Warhol’s studio the living, breathing embodiment of his art and films has been captured in the Silver Factory Soft Touch Shadow Pencil.  Being portable means you can use it to add a dose of silver shine to any makeup look when you are out and want to add some drama with a few simple strokes.

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What better way to celebrate Andy Warhol’s legendary 1976 painting, Self Portrait, than with an Eyeshadow Palette?  The are three in the collection, but I selected Self Portrait 2 for its black, white and silver monochromatic color scheme.  Printed with a piece of classic Warhol philosophy, “Art is what you can get away with”, reminds us that makeup is just another artistic medium meant to be interpreted by our hands for our own pleasure.  Modifying one’s appearance with such products is not indicative of moral character, personal beliefs or even gender as everyone and anyone who wants to should be able to smear pigments across their face.

Sourpuss: Happy Kamper Dress

If retro kitsch makes you squeal with delight as much as I do, you will certainly get your fill with the flirty new Happy Kamper Dress by Sourpuss.  This light pink dress is printed with flamingos, Shasta style campers, martinis and more; it features a fitted bodice, double-sided v-neck, lace trim and decorative bow.  While everyone else is buried in blankets and over-sized sweaters, be the talk of the town in this head-turning number!

Of course I cannot resist offering my personal selection of accessories to really make this dress stand out, because I am a firm believer that styling is just as important as the garment.  Besides, there are so many interesting elements that can be complimented by simply selecting a certain color of shoes, a specific purse shape or even vintage jewelry discovered in a cardboard box at your local thrift store.  The challenge of being able to coordinate all of this while still offering variety is one I am always posing to myself to better understand fashion as a whole and my own personal aesthetics.  Having such a fun dress as a jumping off point certainly just makes the hunt for items that will have your body singing a harmonious tune as it flaunts the fabulous ensemble that much more enjoyable.

A bolero shrug is one of those signature pieces that I am often seeking because it can be paired with a wide range of clothes, from halterneck dresses to bullet bras and pencil skirts.  Made from Shakira satin, the Deadly Dames Bad Girl Bolero has three-quarter sleeves and their signature Vamp stand up collar, ensuring it will be a great addition for all of your most glamorous looks.

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This darling Cropped Love Cardigan by Betsey Johnson has a lot of sassy details that make it so much more than just another cardigan.  Glittery graphics adorn the back while jeweled heart buttons accent the front.  Like the bolero above, it also has three-quarter sleeves along with a scooped neckline and ribbing on the collar, cuffs and waist.  Both items can be found on Pinup Girl Clothing.

 

Polka dot peep toe platform pumps with tattoo style skulls and roses printed on the sides?  They must be Iron Fist shoes, Hooters to be exact, and I enjoy just how much of the shoe is covered in dots, right down to accenting bow.

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At first glance this may just seem like an ordinary wedge, but the bold teal hue should be an indication that there is much more than meets the eye. In fact, the Tigre and Bunny Wedge is embossed with a skull print that is a devious contrast to the innocent shade it is etched into, which allows you to play both the predator and the prey.

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Call it cliche if you must; I could not resist posting these adorable Blue and Whiter Retro Camper Earrings, because they not only go so well with the Happy Kamper Dress but can also infuse a bit of kitschy glamour into every day outfits as well.  Made by Tailfeathers Jewerly, they are about the size of a quarter and decently priced.

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Yes, I would love to have cocktail glasses with nude pinup girls in them dangling from my ears!  These flirty Tiny Martini Earrings by Daun Thomspon are one inch high and are made from acrylic glass.

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The selling point of this Flamingo Necklace is not the hand painted enameling or sparkling rhinestones, but rather the appropriate flaming-shaped velour box that it comes in, which can be used as part of your kitschy decor!

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For a bit more subtly, try a Spoon Bracelet, made by Sileruware.  The bracelet is composed of antique spoons that have been slightly polished and a Sterling Silver flamingo charm hangs from a ring that joins the two pieces in the center.

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Continue the vintage Ornithology theme found among the campers and martinis with a Baroque Skull Ring from Plasticland.  Made from pewter, the ring features a cast metal bird skull and unique filigree.

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Described as “the perfect accessory for all of your favorite vintage dresses”, these Burlesque Stripe Pantyhose have lots of retro detailing that set them apart from the generic striped sheer stockings.  They feature a black fishnet body with diamond, chain and pinstripes that alternate down your leg to give the illusion that they are long and lean.

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This collection of beauty products reflects the attitude of the Happy Kamper Dress while maintaining a bit of a soft pinup girl vibe.  Thick black liquid liner draws a dramatic cat eye while a few coats of mascara make eyes open wide.  Prime lids then swipe on Abyssinia, a delicate pink with pearl sheen Matte Eyeshadow, or Heart Of Glass, an ice blue Shimmer Eyeshadow, both by NARS.

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Just because you are wearing campers does not mean you have to don the stereotypical White Trash too-much-blush-not-enough-face canon and instead can have glowing cheeks with Miss Liberty, a soft shimmering peach Highlighting Blush.

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Each lipstick in the trio above was selected for the personality it can help you project depending on how you want people to perceive you.  Promiscuous is a shimmering honey beige Satin Lipstick that creates a nude lip which can balance out brighter eyeshadow colors, while Viva Las Vegas is a shimmering taupe Sheer Lipstick that gives sophisticated shine.  For a more powerful pout, go with Schiap, a shocking pink Semi Matte Lipstick that is quite vivid and nourishes your lips.

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Complete your look with one of three polishes, or combine them in a French-tip vintage manicure!  Vestale is a light pink Opaque Nail Polish, Candy Baby is a baby pink Sheer Nail Polish, and Space Odyssey is an intriguing aluminum Shimmer Nail Polish; all of them belong to Iconic NARS’ Vintage  collection.