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Swimming Upstream at the Arties!
by Jimmy Janowski, Photos by Nancy J. Parisi
Jimmy Janowski’s report from the Red Carpet
With more than 60 eligible theatrical productions presented in Buffalo this season, the Artie voters must have felt a bit like those tenacious fish, struggling up river through all those performances trying to arrive at just five nominees in each category. More importantly Vogue says that salmon is the color for red carpet events!
(Wasn’t that brilliant? That reference to the fish and the color! You still got it, Jimmy!)
For you heterosexuals who may have stumbled upon this article because you thought it was actually about fishing, I say to both of you, “salmon” is that rich deep color somewhere between pink and orange that is most becoming on people of African heritage (Beyonce chose it for both her red carpet appearance at the 40th NAACP Image Awards and her first post-baby appearance at her husband’s Carnegie Hall concert), the spicy Latina (to quote Elaine Stritch), and the occasional gay boy with a deep tan (ask anybody). Unfortunately, it would seem that no one in Buffalo reads Vogue, because only nominee Marc Sacco had the good sense to wear a striking salmon linen blazer…and yes, he was dazzling!
At first, missed opportunity seemed to be the theme of this year’s Artvoice Artie Awards. Everything seemed a bit off. The unnaturally cool evening had girls searching for matching pashminas—or, in some unfortunate cases, a bubble jacket. Main Street, in front of the Town Ballroom, is being torn up, so picture taking was forced inside. Circumstances forced a number of nominees and winners to be no-shows. To top it off, when I heard that Best Dressed legend Lisa Ludwig was not hosting the awards this year, I was saddened and bewildered: Who would dazzle us in a multitude of spangled Jimmy Lee gowns? I was reminded of the 1941 Oscar ceremony. The United States had just entered World War II, and the Academy didn’t feel it was appropriate for Hollywood to don its finery when the boys were fighting the Japanese and the Nazis overseas. The Academy suggested everyone wear “day-suits”! Day-suits? I hardly think the Japanese could see sequins from Pearl Harbor.
At least, in this department, we were not disappointed! The evening came together with the arrival of well-dressed celebrants.
Freshmen hostess Charmagne Chi was radiant in a clinging emerald green satin, off-the-shoulder gown and co-hostess, and later Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical Amy Jakiel glowed in a cream chiffon sheath.
In 1941, columnist Hedda Hopper threatened to defy the Academy’s ban on formal wear, famously proclaiming, “Would it break down anyone’s morale to see our girls beautifully dressed?” I agree with the crazy hat lady. Bring on the glitter, even if it’s not salmon-colored! Herewith are my choices for best dressed at Arties 2013:
#10—Hostess with the Mostess; Charmagne Chi in brilliant green satin.
#9—Co-host and the evenings Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, Amy Jakiel and her Into the Woods Cinderella sister Kelly Copps share a passion for designer Allie Eagen and her crème chiffon creations.
#8—The evening’s Career Achievement recipient. Mary Kate O’Connell looks suitably resplendent in black sequins and sheer black overcoat.
#7 & #6—Yes, I’m biased, but it is a mother’s prerogative that I choose my two “daughters” to be on any list. Maria Droz, my daughter in L’Imitation of Life and co-winner of the Outstanding Actress in a Musical Artie, is whimsical in a polka dot original design by Adam Kreutinger .
In my humble opinion, Bebe Bvlgari, who played my daughter in Mommie Queerest, is the best drag performer in Buffalo. Here she is in all her Tina Turner leggy glamour in this gold lame micro mini.
#5—Actress Cassie Gorniewicz caught my eye in this Grecian draped grey print; but I was even more impressed when she told me that she had found a plus-size dress, ripped it apart, and made her own dress with the fabric. She called it her “Rehab Dress”!
#4—One of my favorite performances of the season was Renee Landrigan’s brilliant portrayal of the young daughter in Next to Normal. I was even more delighted when I found her to be as charming and beautiful as she is talented in this flirty lime green cocktail dress.
#3—Jackie Kennedy would have been proud of Katy Miner, who portrayed that fashion icon in First Lady Suite, in this scarlet chiffon gown with a deeply plunging neckline.
#2—Inspired by The Great Gatsby, Outstanding Actress in a Musical nominee Nicole Marrale Cimato would break hearts as easily as Daisy Buchanan in this silver, black, and white sequined gown.
#1—Some dresses, like some performers, truly come alive on stage. This was perfectly evident when Outstanding Actress in a Musical nominee Debbie Pappas took the stage to perform a number from The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Both this moss green, jewel-encrusted gown, purchased in Paris, and the lovely lady wearing it shined brightly.
In case you missed it, the full list of the 2013 Artie Award Nominees is here, and the winners list is here.
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