On this night, Redress Raleigh took over the museum for its fourth annual Eco-Fashion Show, where eco-friendly designers are given the opportunity to show off the fruits of their labor. And after previously doing the show at such spots as Flanders Gallery and Edenton Street United Methodist Church, the people behind Redress thought the CAM Raleigh would be a perfect venue.
“At CAM, we feel like it fits with our aesthetic as well,” says Eco-Fashion Show co-producer Beth Stewart, “because it’s a beautiful place but it’s a renovated space. So, this used to be a different type of building and they’re re-using it.”
Eleven designers were on the bill, many of them local, culled from applications that were sent through the Redress Raleigh website. These designers also appreciated Redress’s stylishly green mission.
“I just really loved the concept of this particular show,” says Melissa Lowery, the designer behind SSD Jewelry, “because they incorporate recycled and upcycled materials, found materials, and I use a lot of that in my work.”
Started in 2008, Redress Raleigh has specialized in proving to Raleigh and other Triangle residents that eco-friendly fashion can be washable, wearable and accessible. They also put on shows to benefit other organizations. This year’s charity is ABAN (A Ban Against Neglect), which produces upcycled bags, wallets and other products using the discarded plastic bags that litter of the streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital city.
Redress has also been known to put on other events apart from the fashion show. In March, they had a benefit show at Kings Barcade, featuring such acts as Kooley High’s Charlie Smarts and hip-hop band The Balance, to raise money to put the fashion show together.
“We do like to do some networking and fun events related to the eco-fashion show,” says Stewart. “But we mainly try to do more educational events than anything else. And the eco-fashion show is our main thing.”
The show had quite an eclectic collection of designers on hand. Leopold Designs had various female models saunter down the catwalk in hand-dyed silk, while the sophisticated Kendal Leonard and the vintage Rocket Betty both had their own ideas of what should pass for bridal wear.
Perhaps the most refreshing part of the evening was the diverse selection of models that were pouting and strutting for their respective designers. JulieApple Handbags, the first designer of the evening, had women (and a few little girls) model the trendy bags. SSD Jewelry had both men and women get on the runway. JBelle Designs and Leopold Designs features many middle-aged models for their sections.
There were young models who appeared to take their modeling careers thing quite seriously. But there were others, like Raleigh-based secretary/receptionist Cortney Rice, who was doing it on a lark.
“I think to go into the professional world, you gotta start really early now,” says Rice, who has done fashion charity shows at such Raleigh nightspots as Mirage and Solas. “I think they get you at 16, 17 – start you out early. So, I’m kind of past my prime. I’m 25, so I’m doing it for fun now.”
As for 16-year-old Raleigh model Ashton Edens, ol’ girl is in it for the long haul.
“It was just for the fun at first,” says Edens. “And, now, I’m starting to get into it and auditioning for a lot of stuff.”
She finds walking down the runway at a Redress show to be a step up from previous shows she’s done. “It’s a lot cleaner, I guess. It’s more refreshing, you could say. It’s not as clumped and it’s not as dark.”
“I was surprised because, a lot of times, it’s hit-or-miss in terms of kind of the skill level of designers,” says D.C.-bred stylist Stephanie Ford, who relocated to Raleigh from Paris. “But I was really surprised and impressed with a lot of the different designers.
The only minus she had was the ticket price.
“I think $50 is kind of high, on the high end, for a ticket price. I mean, up to $35 is kind of reasonable.”
In the end, the environmentally conscious fashionistas of Redress Raleigh did what they sought out to do. To paraphrase Project Runway’s dapper-ass Tim Gunn, they made it work.
Says Stewart: “Really, the main three things [for us] are to help raise money for charities, to help expose local artists who like to incorporate recycling and up-cycling materials and to help eco-conscious practices with their businesses. So, that’s really cool.”
Catherine, the bright, bewildered daughter of a deceased mathematical genius, isn’t the only one with something to prove in this current production of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. A new director at the helm of a new theater group is having to present a few bona fides as well.
This production marks the maiden voyage for director Jason Sharp’s company, Exit Through Eden. Sharp has achieved notice in a series of supporting roles in shows including Violet at Hot Summer Nights and Raleigh Ensemble Players’ Distracted, and this recombinant production largely relies on colleagues he’s worked with on stage in recent years.
For the most part, that’s a pretty good move. Betsy Henderson, a distinguished mid-career Raleigh actor, convinces here as the edgy, aching and alienated Catherine. An equally accomplished Ryan Brock ingratiates here as Hal, an unapologetic math geek and possible romantic interest. And it should shock no one that Page Purgar’s supporting work is solid as Catherine’s disbelieving older sister, Claire.
But at first Eric Hale appears to be acting more for the camera than the stage, in what initially translated into an almost deadpan, is-he-even-acting take on Robert, Catherine’s prickly father. Things improved considerably during both characters’ rewarding, dramatic argument at the start of the second act, but Hale’s later negotiation of Robert’s reversals leaves me still with questions about his range.
In such nacent independent companies, a skeleton crew is par for the course. In this show, director Sharp’s set design conveys the grungy backyard of an aging Chicago house. His lighting design, however, left us squinting at a noticeably dimmer backdoor area where several key scenes take place.
But if Sharp largely relied on the comforts of the known in casting this production, I should caution him against the same when it comes to script selection. This production marks the fifth time PROOF has been produced in the region in the past decade. For that reason alone I hesitated before committing to see the show—and I imagine some portion of this company’s potential audience did so as well.
The same point should be considered—carefully—by all artistic directors in the region now planning their fall season. Twelfth Night’s been done. Ditto for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
And, in this credible opening bid by Exit Through Eden, so has Proof.
When it was announced that filmmaker and previous Full Frame Career Award recipient Ross McElwee (Sherman's March) would curate this year's "Family Affairs" thematic program on Saturday, many McElwee admirers must have exclaimed "Of course!"
If there is a documentary filmmaker who knows how to merge family matters into his films, it's Charlotte's McElwee. In the 2004 film Bright Leaves, he delved into North Carolina's rich tobacco history while exploring his own family history and trying to maintain a bond with his skateboarding, preteen son, Adrian. His new film, Photographic Memory, which will receive its world premiere Friday at Full Frame, shows that the bond hasn't strengthened. Adrian has turned into a typical teenager—sullen, obnoxious, slightly self-destructive—who makes McElwee flee the country in order to better understand him. And, also, to prevent him from ringing the little punk's neck.
McElwee recently talked to the Indy about his latest film, his program at Full Frame and just how things are going between him and his son.
Independent Weekly: So, you're been summoned back to Full Frame to curate this year's "Family Affairs" thematic program. How did this union come about?
Ross McElwee: Full Frame is a wonderful event that, though homegrown—at least from the perspective of this Southerner—has achieved an international reputation. I was asked to curate a section on films about family, and since I've made a few of those myself, I guess they thought I was a natural choice for curator. I did refine the definition a bit by narrowing it to autobiographical documentaries about family, which complicates the filmmaking in interesting ways.
Your new movie Photographic Memory shows you coping with your, shall we say, ornery son by traveling to France and getting in touch with people from your youth. You appear to juxtapose your more adventurous youth with your son's, which has him always at the mercy of his computer or some device. Is this your way of telling kids to put down the damn iPhone and experience life?
Not really. Or maybe I'm just suggesting that young people perhaps consider calibrating a little the ratio of online life to actually living. But I'm not a Luddite about social media. It's clearly here to stay. I think one of the things I'm interested in in my film is the way things have changed so radically in only one generation in terms of communication and artistic expression. The effects of the generational shift from analog to digital has been massive—on our society, and on the world as a whole. But I'm certainly not saying that my generation's way of expressing itself was better than my son's. There was no dearth of foolishness associated with the analog 1960s and '70s.
You really dive into your relationship with your son quite honestly and nakedly. Has he seen the movie, and will he be there to check it out at Full Frame?
Adrian has traveled with me to Venice, Lisbon, Paris and Los Angeles, where he has helped me present the film in public and even taken questions from the audience after screenings. He's accepted the film on its own terms, perhaps more than I have.
You also quietly mourn the death of film in the movie. With film print currently going the way of the 8-track tape, was this something you really wanted to explore in this film?
Yes, it was certainly intentional that the demise of film and its replacement by high-definition digital video be acknowledged in my film. But I don't think of it as a major theme. It's more of a filmmaker's lament—a somewhat romantic, low-decibel cri de coeur—but not especially worth dwelling on. So, I don't. It just comes up now and then and also functions as a metaphor for the difference between my son's world and my own.
Finally, as someone who been to several Full Frame festivals and received the Career Award, how important has this festival been for you, and what would you like people to take away from it?
Just try to see as many films as you can. The lineup of documentaries is stunning. They were culled from more than 2,000 entries from all over the world. And, also, savor the experience of sitting in that dark room with other strangers and relating to a world that is not completely your own—in some ways, the opposite of Facebook.