San Francisco Chronicle Leah Garchik column
March 11--Designer Yuka Uehara, whose hand-painted gowns and geometric day dresses have dazzled fashionistas at cultural openings and left shoppers at MAC awestruck, hosted a fashion presentation to celebrate her new Tokyo Gamine Capsule Collection.
This was on Tuesday, March 6, at Dirty Habit on Fourth Street, a kind of snazzy cocktail lounge-ish place with an informal atmosphere. Arriving guests peering at each other discovered a mix of friends and clients, fashion-fans of the Millennial generation and older society types, as well as Uehara's dad, a Tokyo filmmaker who seemed the epitome of cool chic.
The designer herself, whose co-hosts were Erin Carlson and Damion Matthews, flitted around greeting pals and radiating excitement. Her past shows have featured dancers dressed in the clothes, sashaying down "runways" to music. This time, she said, there would be a singer.
Suddenly, a keyboardist began playing, the preshow chatter morphed into a hush, and music filled the room. A pair of dancers in Yuka clothes came out, and then, with great self-confidence in both his appearance (a red-bearded 6-foot-2 man wearing a Yuka dress and a pair of towering high heels) and his voice (a strong tenor), Devlin Shand sang songs from the '70s as more models pranced around him.
Shand, as was described in Carolyne Zinko's Style section profile a few months ago, is a photographer on the staff of Drew Altizer, the town's main capturer of opening nights, soirees and most of all, fancy dresses. Many of the people cheering were those who often vamp for Shand's camera at events. This time, the photographer himself got the attention.
The focus of the show, of course, was Uehara's clothes, which have been and will in the future be described in the Style section. My own takeaway from the event was the pure pleasure -- ear-to-ear grins -- most guests seem to have derived from being there to support young talent, and also turning the spotlight on Shand, who spends so much professional time shining it on everyone else.
"The Audacity of Inez Burns," Stephen Bloom's new book -- reviewed in The Chronicle by Louis Masur last month -- is about the life and times of a real San Francisco outlaw.
For decades, Inez Burns was the city's premier abortionist, operating on thousands of women and amassing a huge fortune. In the glory years, she provided services to women in all walks of San Francisco society, making enough money to drape herself in furs and jewels, attend openings of cultural institutions, throw lavish parties.
Eventually, she became the target of then-Attorney General Pat Brown and his allies. Fines and penalties were levied, she was criminally prosecuted and most of her fortune slipped through her fingers.
She was aggressive, she was smart, she was well-respected for her work. The author is careful to refrain from weighing in on right-to-life issues. Although he refers to Brown as a "mean little bastard," that's in the voice of Burns. He says he's heard not a peep from right-to-lifers objecting to his having created a nuanced portrait of a person who'd made a fortune as an abortionist.
By the time Burns died, in 1976, writes Bloom, "fewer than a dozen mourners attended her funeral." Bloom, a professor of journalism at the University of Iowa who used to live in San Francisco, is scheduled to appear at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza on Thursday, March 15, and at Book Passage in the Ferry Building on Saturday, March 17.
There were more local Oscar angles than the Jim Swarz win as co-producer of the documentary "Icarus."
Dagmar Dolby, pro-choice advocate and inspiration behind the annual NARAL lunch that raises money for the protection of abortion rights, attended the awards ceremonies, in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, carrying a clutch designed by Michele Pred of Oakland. Pred's work often features feminist messages, and at a NARAL lunch on March 1, a purse that included the message "pro-choice," spelled out with light, was auctioned for $7,500.
So for the Oscars, Dolby placed a rush order: The artist custom-made one in blue to match her gown, with "Vote" on one side and "Pro-Choice" on the other. The accessory was greeted, said Dolby, with "lots of thumbs up and pictures taken by many iPhones."
Leah Garchik is open for business in San Francisco, (415) 777-8426. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @leahgarchik
"I don't care what you think, you're fat and old."
Man in full bicycle gear to older man, overheard at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek by Cynthia Bremhorst