LIVE: Discard Avant Garb @ Grand Street Community Arts, 9/10/11

Discard Avant Garb 2011 (photo by Ed Atkeson)
(photo by Ed Atkeson)

Once again, Discard Avant Garb’s charity fundraising Recycled Fashion Show outdid itself.

Each year, we walk out after the show thinking, “Well, they won’t be able to top that next year.” And every year, they do just that.

It’s Nippertown’s hippest and most fun annual art party – at least we hope it’s annual again after taking a year off in 2010. While the party at Grand Street Community Arts in Albany went on for about three and a half hours, the fashion show itself lasted only 50 minutes. But what a wild and wonderful 50 minutes they were.

With Chris Harvey’s hot-green bamboo installation and an array of Dennis Herbert’s surreal box assemblages serving as a backdrop, the never-demure Mary Panza once again served as Emcee from Hell, detailing the recycled ingredients of each outfit and often chastising the models as they strutted their stuff upon the runway.

And, of course, the creative imagination of the designers simply boggles the mind. Roxanne Storms – one of DAG’s co-founders – created the bulk of her outfit from clothes-dryer link. Another co-founder Molly Suwara crafted her ensemble primarily with Sun Chip snack bags, accented with an orange shawl of Sunday morning newspaper bags. Thomas D’Ambrose – one of only two male designers – created a knock-out outfit from vintage orange-and-white wallpaper.

One of the new features of this year’s DAG was the selection of three spotlight designers, each of whom showcased a trio of outfits. Amy Orr themed her designs around royalty (Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette), while Katie Pray offered up three zippy ensembles created with zippers (the wedding dress was exquisite). And the elegant steampunk decadence of M. Nivens’ were assembled with an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, utilizing porcupine quills, decoupaged bible pages, animal skulls, dyed coffee filters and a typewriter, among other elements.

All 26 trash-meets-fashion creations on the runway were masterful efforts, but co-founder Val P. Funk’s “Ookey-Spooky-All Dead” ensemble – complete with a spinning wheel butt – was a real dazzlers. The Most Theatrical Presentation award goes to Jenny McShann’s goth birthing outfit, created with gazebo fabric, beach umbrella, tent, candy wrappers and some nifty choreography.

But the heart of the show was a pair of outfits that paid tribute to Tess Collins – manager of McGeary’s Pub, former owner of Tess’ Lark Tavern and longtime DAG supporter. Created and modeled by members of Collins’ extended family, Shahila Abbassi’s shimmying “Rest in Peace” was crafted from scorched Lark Tavern postcards that were recovered after the 2010 fire, while Alex Albino’s “Bodacious Babe” dress was built with wooden drink tokens from McGeary’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Together, they were the then and the now, the yin and the yang, a farewell and a moving forward.

Video by Bryan Thomas, featuring the song “Revolution” from his 2011 EP “Smash to Pieces”

Joe Putrock’s photos (including lots of behind-the-scenes shots) at The Times Union
Robin Alexandria Kettner-Zebrowski’s photos (Facebook)
Angela Cap’s photos
Richard Lovrich’s black & white photos (Facebook)
Annine Everson’s photos (Facebook)
Scarlet NinetyThree’s photos of Val P. Funk’s fab-o outfit (Facebook)
Rachelle Smith-Stallman’s photos (Facebook)
Chris Harvey’s photos of his main altar installation (Facebook)
Photographs by Michael Janairo
Photographs at The Times Union’s Arts Talk

Discard Avant Garb 2011 (photo by Cathy Frank)
(photo by Cathy Frank)
  1. Rudy says

    NIce vid Bryan!!!! Love the mix of B&W with color.

  2. Normando says

    Gorgeous looking event and video – really wonderful.

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