Fashion. Lapham’s Quarterly. Starline Social Club. Oakland. November 14th, 2015.

“A person who sees only fashion in fashion is a fool.” —Honoré de Balzac, 1830


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Above ~ Galen Rogers, Anya Rome, Cherie Porter, rehearsal…


Above ~ At Davis Sais Salon in Oakland ~ with Deb Fink and Dwight Davis…


To begin at the ending is one way to begin. So I start from where we ended Saturday night ~ with an utterance that sums it all up. And then an image, from where we began ~ an image of the idea of the italian sun…

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Above ~ Futurists, and Cherie Porter as The Sybil…


A night of a sense of an unknowing if you will… attempting to think through the translation of FASHION as already interpreted through the lens of Lapham’s Quarterly ~ a new interpretation, and a re-thinking of how to portray, illuminate and perform the various readings through the bodies of others ~ their words, their gestures, their clothes their sense of style…. and so this happened, created by us all, for one evening only ~ in the ballroom of Starline Social Club in West Oakland ~~~~

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Above ~ Beginning the evening downstairs at Starline, with Bruce and Janet Bernberg, Eve Love, Lloyd Bernberg, Joe, and Alexandra Foote…



“Affirming the aesthetic necessity of the hat ~~~
1. We condemn the Nordic use of black and of neutral colors that give the wet, snowy, foggy streets of the city the appearance of a stagnant,
muddy melancholy, as if it were raining tortoises and chunks of stone swept along by torrents of brown!
2. We condemn the types of traditional headgear that jar with the speed and utilitarian aesthetic of our great mechanical civilization,
as for example the pretentious top hat that hinders swiftness of foot, and attracts funerals like a magnet!
“In August, in the Italian squares flooded by dazzling light and torrid silence,
the black or gray hat of the passerby floats along sadly, like dung.
Color! We need color to compete with the Italian sun.”
~ Italian Futurists



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Above ~ Anya Rome and Galen Rogers as the Italian Futurists, and a Futurist painting…



Above ~ Louise Crane and Elizabeth Bishop (1937)


” Unfunny uncles who insist
in trying on a lady’s hat,
—oh, even if the joke falls flat,
we share your slight transvestite twist
in spite of our embarrassment.
Costume and custom are complex.
The headgear of the other sex
inspires us to experiment.”

~ Elizabeth Bishop


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Above ~ Frieda de Lackner and Amy Mansfield Weinberg, and Deb Fink and I…


“Velvet is back, skin anti-skin, mimic nakedness. Like leather and suede, only more subtly, velvet simulates the flesh it conceals, a profoundly tactile fabric. Last winter’s satin invited the stroke, a slithering touch, this winter’s velvet invites a more sinuous caress. But the women who buy little brown velvet dresses will probably do so in a state of unknowing, unaware they’re dressing up for parts in our daily theater of fact; unaware, too, how mysterious that theater is…For the nature of apparel is very complex. Clothes are so many things at once. Our social shells; the system of signals with which we broadcast our intentions; often the projections of our fantasy selves… Clothes are our weapons, our challenges, our visible insults…Style means the presentation of the self as a three-dimensional art object, to be wondered at and handled. And this involves a new attitude to the self which is thus adorned… The human being who is condemned to die is, at least, magnificent before he disappears and his magnificence is his justification. In the pursuit of magnificence, nothing is sacred.” ~ Angela Carter


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Above ~ Candice Holdorf, and Mark Petrakis as one of the Brothers Grimm…


“Love is like death, it must come to us all, but to each his own unique way and time, sometimes it will be avoided, but never can it be cheated, and never will it be forgotten.” ~ Jacob Grimm



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Above ~ Adam Gordon and Candice Holdorf  and Deb Fink as Virginia Woolf…


“There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them; we may make them take the mold of arm or breast, but they mold our hearts,
our brains, our tongues to their liking…In the particular case of Orlando herself, this mixture of man and woman—one being uppermost and then the other—
often gave her conduct an unexpected turn. The curious of her own sex would argue, for example, if Orlando was a woman,
how did she never take more than ten minutes to dress?”  ~ Virginia Woolf, Orlando



Above ~ Jordan Winer as John Waters…


“You don’t need fashion designers when you are young. Have faith in your own bad taste…But past the age of forty you need all the help you can get…I modeled for Rei Kawakubo once. In Paris. In those tents outside the Louvre where collections are unveiled every year. I was really surprised to be asked but leaped at the chance for a new job. Me? A model?…..Jesus Christ, I’m a model in Paris. Don Knotts meets Mahogany. Cover of Spy magazine, here I come. But be brave, I thought, hold your head high and look unafraid. I walked to the end of the runway, turned around, and people applauded, quietly and severely. Other models followed me. No one laughed. It started to feel kind of great. It’s a long way from Lutherville, Maryland, to the runways of Paris. How did this ever happen?” ~ John Waters



Above ~ Susan Monson as Coco Chanel…


“I’ve been fighting all couturiers for the past two years on short dresses. I find them indecent. It’s not in the time, you know. To show one’s knees, they need to be perfect, they are an articulation…I’ve got nothing against knees if they’re pretty. But if they’re not pretty, if you stand on Rue Cambon all day long, you’ll struggle to find people with good legs. We never thought they had such bad legs, knock knees, too fat, purplish. Oh no, it’s awful. And I believe that if you show everything off, you don’t want anything anymore. It’s like people presented with their favorite dish after being force-fed food. They’d say no on that day. It’s a bit like that.” ~ Coco Chanel


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Above ~ Henry DiGiovanni as Franz Kafka, with Adam Gordon…


“All through the time I was at the gymnasium I naturally noticed—it was obvious—that I was unusually badly dressed, and even had an eye for others who were well-dressed, but for years on end my mind did not succeed in recognizing in my clothes the cause of my miserable appearance…” ~ Franz Kafka



Above ~ Amy Mansfield Weinberg as David Bowie…


“Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget
Ohh how how how, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide

You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don’t eat when you’ve lived too long…”

~ David Bowie, Rock n Roll Suicide…




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Above ~ Mark Petrakis as Homer, with William Fowler and Frankie Peterson…


“Now Hera poised on her golden throne looked down,
stationed high at her post aloft Olympus’ peak.
At once she saw the sea lord blustering strong
in the war where men win glory, her own brother
and husband’s brother too, and her heart raced with joy.
But then she saw great Zeus at rest on the ridge
and the craggy heights of Ida gushing cold springs
and her heart filled with loathing. What could she do?—
Queen Hera wondered, her eyes glowing wide…
how could she outmaneuver Zeus the mastermind,
this Zeus with his battle shield of storm and thunder?
At last one strategy struck her mind as best:
she would dress in all her glory and go to Ida—
perhaps the old desire would overwhelm the king
to lie by her naked body and make immortal love
and she might drift an oblivious, soft warm sleep
across his eyes and numb that seething brain.” ~ Homer




“I suppose everyone is wondering why
I am wearing such apparently unseasonable clothes.
I’ll tell you.
This white flannel suit is a uniform.
It is the uniform of the American Association of Purity and Perfection,
of which I am president, secretary, and treasurer,
and the only man in the United States eligible to membership.
I was seventy-one years old last Saturday,
and when a man reaches that age he has a right
to arrogate to himself many privileges to which younger men cannot aspire.
When you are over seventy-one you are privileged
to dress in the fashion that conforms most to your comfort and enjoyment.
I have reached the age where dark clothes have a depressing effect on me.
Light-colored clothing is more pleasant to the eye and enlivens the spirit.
Now, of course, I cannot compel everyone to wear such clothing
just for my especial benefit,
so I do the next best thing and wear it myself.”
~ Mark Twain


Left ~ Julian Lopez-Morillas as Mark Twain…


“Don’t ask me what to wear

I have no embroidered
headband from Sardis to
give you, Cleis, such as
I wore
and my mother
always said that in her
day a purple ribbon
looped in the hair was thought
to be high style indeed

but we were dark:
a girl
whose hair is yellower than
torchlight should wear no
headdress but fresh flowers” ~ Sappho

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Above ~ Deb Fink, Frieda de Lackner and Candice Holdorf as the Sapphos…



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Above ~ Desiree Cannon Wattis as Rufus Wainwright…


“Men reading fashion magazines ~ oh what a world it seems we live in Straight man… oh what a world we live in… Why am I always on a plane or a fast train Oh what a world my parents gave me Always… Traveling’ but not in love…” ~ Rufus Wainwright




Created and directed by Cari Borja, Timothy Don, Adam Hatch, Alex Stavrakas, Sam White.
With Casting director and Associate Producer Deb Fink.
Chef Austin Foley creating a special menu for the evening.
Production Manager Hilary Flood.
And Cherie Porter as the Fashion Oracle.

Performers ~

Act 1 ~ Galen Rogers + Anya Rome / Italian Futurists, Elizabeth Benedict / Elizabeth Bishop, Cari Borja + Deb Fink + Frieda de Lackner / Angela Carter, Mark Petrakis + Candice Holdorf / Brothers Grimm.

Act 2 ~ Deb Fink + Candice Holdorf + Adam Gordon / Virginia Woolf, Jordan Winer / John Waters, Susan Monson / Coco Chanel,
Henry DiGiovanni / Kafka, Amy Mansfield Weinberg + Scott Ruthrauff / David Bowie.

Act 3 ~ William Fowler + Frankie Peterson + Mark Petrakis / Homer, Julian Lopez-Gorillas / Mark Twain,
Candice Holdorf + Deb Fink + Frieda de Lackner / Sappho, Desiree Cannon Wattis / Rufus Wainwright.

Cherie Porter / The Sybil


with special thanks to Jonathan Fogel, Chef Austin Holey, JAKE, Racheal Matthews, 
Davis Sais Salon (Dwight Davis and Norma Avalos), Starline Social Club staff.

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Above ~ Chef Austin Holey, with Desiree Cannon Wattis…


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Above ~ Timothy Don with guests; Norma Avalos, Den Fink and I; Rosalie Barnes and Alyssa Newman…

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Above ~ Amy Mansfield Weinberg, Scott Ruthrauff and Deb Fink; Melanie Abrams and Tara Demoulin; Karima Cammell and Duncan Brown…

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Above ~Adam Gordon and Candice Holdorf; guests with Alex Stavrakas and Gary Kamiya; Deb and I, at 1am…


“…the people who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping…something runs among them, an exchange of glances like lines that connect one figure with another and draw arrows, stars, triangles, until all combinations are used up in a moment, and other characters come on to the scene… ” ~ Italo Calvino


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Above ~ Deb Fink, Candice Holdorf and Frieda de Lackner, rehearsing; my wedding gown in motion; Lloyd Bernberg and I, Venice, Italy 2000…


“There is nothing more comfortable than a caterpillar and nothing
more made for love than a butterfly. We need dresses that crawl
and dresses that fly. fashion is at once a caterpillar and a butterfly,
a caterpillar by day, butterfly by night.” ~ Coco Chanel


1 Comment

  • Reply December 1, 2015

    Heather Kaney

    Happy Birthday, Cari! If you are ever up this way (Vancouver or Victoria, BC–Blair Roger can tell you about it because she’s visited) please let me know because it would be great to have a reunion. Warm regards, Heather

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