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Archive for April, 2009

Bunny Love

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Tonight’s theme was another of the frustrating ones. “Styling Playboy Bunny” has some rather serious limitations on male participation. There are not now, nor have there ever been male “bunnies.” There have been other kinds of acts for men — the Chippendale Dancers, for instance — but that’s not really “Playboy Bunny.” There is, however, one way to style “Playboy Bunny” that doesn’t involve putting on ears and a tail at all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the master of the Mansion …

hefner

That’s right! The only way I could style “Playboy Bunny” without getting into transvestite area was to go as the Hef himself. Without Hefner and his vision, the icon of the Playboy Bunny wouldn’t exist. I even put a little logo on the smoking jacket (which I’ve blurred to try to avoid an Intellectual Property violation lawsuit).

I have to confess this one was fun. The challenge of how to execute a “styling” event that’s so blatantly sexist and geared toward excluding male participation was a great opportunity to exercise styling out of the box.

The Results

Predictable. The winners were dressed in bunny suits. They looked good. I got two votes.

What Would I Have Done Differently?

The only real option would have been to get a Chippendale collar and cuff set with some bunny ears and gone as what a male bunny would have looked like if there had ever been such a thing. The collar and cuffs, along with a nice pair of slacks and my ankle boots would have made a great visual. The argument against it, of course, is that it’s not “Playboy Bunny” and the only relationship to Bunny is the ears. Great for pandering to the prurient but not really in theme.

The next option would have been to get the bunny outfit, with bodice and all, and played it for the laugh. The problem there is posing. While I have some women’s poses left over from the April Fools Day event, I just didn’t think I had enough to pull off a Roland as Transvestite Bunny.

Stuff
Coat: Oak Outdoors Outfitters – Smoking Jacket
Pants: AlphaMale – Formal slacks
Glasses: primOptic – Crowe

Hair: Armidi – Poyner (black)
Skin: LeLeutka – Absolute Pale

Paint It Black

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Given the mood around the venue this evening, the Styling Black theme appears to be appropriate. Not too terribly surprisingly, many people were unhappy with my post from yesterday.

The problem with color themes is that there’s no real good hook to hang a visual on. As a result I just took one of my favorite suits and built a look around it.

theme_black

The basic idea was to find something black to use as inspiration and build around it. I had a black outfit from one of the hunts but when I put it on, while it fit very well and was nicely crafted, it wasn’t inspiring. In my inventory I dug out my black AlphaMale Casual Tux and put on the pants and jacket without the shirt. I wanted a look that was a bit darker and grittier. If I’m going to be painted as a villian, I thought I should look the part.

The shirtless look with tattoo grabbed my attention so I added a face option with beard and used my old standby Illias hair. All told, I was pleased with the look. The point of tonight’s exercise wasn’t to win, but to get my two votes.

The Result
I didn’t place. I agree. Tonight, all I wanted was my two votes.

What Would I Do Differently?
It would have been a stronger presentation if I’d managed to come up with an identity theme. Black Bart, or Blackbeard the Pirate or something.

Given that all I really wanted from tonight was the 2 votes and to face down the critics, I’m very satisfied with the way the evening turned out.

Stuff
Alphamale – Casual tux – Black
Tat’Tash – Celtic_Arms_Chest-3_a58
V-twins – Classic Bandana – black
V-twins – Gloves – black
Evocative Boots – “Cuban Black” Ankle Boot
HoC-Pentagram Necklace-Celtic Silver

Uw.St Ilias-Hair type-B size-LL (tinted black)
-Belleza- Thomas tan 3 bald

Ms Beautiful Pageant 2009

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

For three months the women who have been participating in the Ms Beautiful Pageant at Classic w/Style have been maneuvering for position for one event. The ten women in the top ten of the overall standings competed today for a share of 200,000L in prizes.

And it only cost them 650,000L for the privilege.

The Top Ten
Here’s the breakdown as of just before voting closed on Friday night:

Model Lindens Votes
AngelSmiles 106650 10590
Arialee 184745 7146
Arica 81250 8410
AngelbabyJen (no show) 64369 5260
Aspasia (no show) 85130 4000
Ghost 63550 5020
Lovena 38150 3196
Rhapsody (no show) 27600 1987
Chellebby 18350 1101
Steffany (no show) 14050 618
Total 658,844 47,328

To be fair, not all that money was paid by the individual models. There was at least one day where the organizers matched 500L contributions in what they called a “Double Trouble” event. Some of this cash was undoubtedly contributed by them – back to themselves. The net result was to make the continuum of contributions wider for those who were playing along without really reflecting much in terms of actual contributions.

This kind of picture contest really is about money. We’re treating it as if it were about fashion, but it’s about who pays — or can arrange to have paid on their behalf — the most money. That money is translated into a corresponding number of votes, and the relative rankings provide a score. (I’ve written about how the scoring works before.) Anybody with deep enough pockets can buy into the top ten at the 11th hour and there is no other qualification required.

Once the preliminaries are over — and one might argue that the willingness to lose vast sums of Linden Dollars helps identify serious participants — the pageant is argued to be about style, fashion, and grace under pressure. The participants are judged by impartial experts in the field of fashion and modeling, and the results tabulated so that the prize money and bragging rights can be distributed.

The Event

In today’s pageant, the six women out of the top ten who showed up were judged by a panel consisting of a photographer, and two fashion designers. On the surface, that looks like it might be a decent panel except, where’s the runway modeling experience? Runway modeling and photography modeling are very different. Designing clothes may give one some insight into how they might be displayed, but almost none as to the technicalities involved in actually wearing the clothes and modeling in them while moving through the heavy lag of the typical show. Or pageant.

On another front, the panel failed the “impartial” test as well. One of the key members of the panel employs of one of the contestants as a model trainer. Moreover, all three judges are tenants in the Classic w/Style Mall, and derive at least some portion of their incomes from business funneled their way by the Classic w/Style relationship. Being in a fiduciary relationship with one of the contestants or the organizers would disqualify a judge in real life for conflict of interest. The same rule should hold true for this contest. Failing this aspect of impartiality raises questions of how much influence the organizers might have over the judges’ responses. This fact becomes more problematic when the event is actually scored.

The pageant itself was a pretty typical quartet of events. The contestants led with a “creative outfit” wherein they were tasked with putting together some kind of outfit that meant something to them or said something about their sense of style, and then to write an explanation about it for the judges to consider. This was followed by a swimsuit, an evening gown, and a question-and-answer segment.

By and large, the first three events were largely predictable. The creative outfits ranged from “haute couture” to “holy mackeral.” The swimsuits were a step up from the band-aid and dental floss designs. Four of the six evening gowns were created by a single designer, who — just co-incidentally — happens to be a Classic w/Style sponsor as well.

The pageant itself came off the rails with the question and answer session. The organizers asked each model a question and the judges scored the responses. In normal pageants these questions are geared toward allowing the contestant to demonstrate some level of higher order thinking. They’re often general questions with the opportunity for the contestant to show some personality and wit and to give the judges a chance to see how well the contestant can think on her feet by giving her a complex question in front of the audience.

Here are the questions offered to tonight’s contestants:

  • Have you fallen in love in rl and sl as well? If you did tell us your different feelings you had in rl and now in sl.
  • As a slave wife in sl , Do you obey whatever your Master will tell you on what to do and to honor him all the time? what would you do if your Master will ask you to quit being a model because he just wants you to spend time with him. Would you obey him?
  • You mentor someone in secondlife and taught her all the good stuff that she need to learn in modeling. Now she is famous and have been winning lots of award and never even credit you as mentor. What would do and what would you say about that?
  • You have a lot of sense of humor Erica. Could you tell us jokes. What kind of joke you will tell us?
  • You are so in love in sl very in love with your partner and you and your partner decided to be married but on the day of the wedding your partner told you , I am sorry I can’t marry you because I am really a woman. Would you still love her? What would you do?
  • Is secondlife is just a game for you? What is your opinion about secondlife?

There are three very disturbing aspects of this set of questions. First, one might reasonably expect that all models would be on the same footing in terms of being asked to respond on the fly. The reality is that the top three contributors to the event purchased their questions in advance. The information – that the top three were given the questions in advance — was not given to the audience, and there is some question as to whether or not the judges were aware of the practice. During the event itself, the organizer announced, “Also PLEASE! refrain from chatting in open chat, during the question and answer our finalists needs to concentrate on answering the question.” While it was true that three of the contestants needed to answer the questions on the fly, the other three had their responses ready to cut and paste.

Second, in a normal pageant the questions revolve around issues significant to life in the metaverse, topics relating to higher order thinking, or even issues of style. In this contest, half the questions were pandering stereotypes asking the contestant to reflect on their perceptions of love and marriage in the grid as if women have only this single dimension beyond appearance with which to be concerned. A couple of the questions seem fair, although remember that the last three on that list were provided to the contestants in advance and the responses were canned.

Last, one might reasonably expect the questions might have been assigned randomly and could have been asked with equal fairness of any of the contestants. For the most part, that expectation held up except for the question about being a “slave wife.” This question was the most troubling of all. It was clearly selected to embarrass the contestant and to expose her private relationship and lifestyle choices to the public. While the contestant in question gave an excellent answer, this question could not have been asked of any other contestant. It had to have been formulated specifically for her and one has to question the motivation of the organizers in posing such a personal question.

Following the question and answer session, the judges’ tally sheets were assembled in a process which took twenty minutes and, when completed, demonstrated more disturbing details on the organization and execution of the pageant.

The process of scoring was accomplished by giving each judge a notecard which, presumably, contained the contestant’s name and the attributes on which the particular event should be scored. We have no idea how those cards were organized or what they might have contained other than an announcement before the beginning of the pageant: “no need on writing their names everything is set, just keep scroll down.” Between each of the four events the judges were given upwards of five minutes to add notes to their scoring. In spite of that, after the final event it took twenty full minutes for the results to be calculated while the contestants stood on stage. Moreover, this process was not done by a third party but rather the judges’ notes were turned over to the organizers for calculation.

Before I go on, let me be very clear that I am not accusing anybody of anything. There is no evidence of wrong-doing, no way to determine the actual outcomes. The lack of transparency and accountability raise questions of validity and should be brought to the fore in the interest of fairness.

First, why did it take a full twenty minutes to tabulate the scores? A spreadsheet set up in advance and loaded as the show progressed would give the results almost instantly. One might argue that the judges discussed the results among themselves to determine the winner, but in that case, why bother with tabulating numeric scoring? It should also be noted that at least one of the judges left almost as soon as the question and answer period ended and could not have participated — unless remotely — in such discussion. This twenty minute gap introduces troubling questions about what was going on during that time.

Second, the people with the most to gain from the results, were the ones actually tabulating the scores. The gain, in this case, has nothing to do with the actual Linden dollars. Regardless of the order, the amount taken in and the amount paid out in total is the same regardless of who wins. The troubling issue here is that this process allows the organizers to reward some and penalize others purely on factors over which neither the judges nor the contestants have any control. I am not suggesting that this actually happened, only that the potential exists for that to occur and the organizers, by doing the tabulation themselves and not having it done by a disinterested third party, leave themselves open to charges of an engineered outcome. Financially, the revenue stream from the event is the same regardless of who wins and who loses. Politically, that is hardly the case.

The Outcome

In reverse order, the winners:

  • 5th Runner Up: ChelleBby – 2,000L
  • 4th Runner Up: Arica – 5,000L
  • 3th Runner Up: Arialee – 10,000L + 3,000L
  • 2nd Runner Up: Ghost – 25,000L
  • 1st Runner Up: AngelSmiles – 50,000L
  • Winner: Lovena – 100,000L

My heartfelt congratulations (and condolences, as appropriate) go out to the six participants in the pageant. The cost to them in time and money was substianial and my congratulations are no way colored or reduced by my criticism of the process by which the outcomes were determined. If there are problems with it, every one of these women are victims.

What I Think They Should Do Differently

Perhaps the nature of these contests is so subjective that it’s impossible to come up with a definitive answer on who should win and who should lose. Even in real life, there are frequently controversies over the outcomes. However, the organizers leave themselves open to accusations of unfair competition — and taint the results for all the participants — by failing to follow good procedure in providing adequate checks and balances in their pageant.

First and foremost, the judging pool needs to be taken seriously. It should include a judge who has runway modeling experience. The technical aspects of pose selection and stage craft are crucial to this effort. It should not include anybody who has a fiduciary relationship with any of the contestants, the organizers, or each other. All three judges are tenants in the Classic w/Style Mall and should, in my opinion, have been disqualified on the basis of conflict of interest. Their fiduciary relationship to the organizers created an opportunity for undue influence on their judgement.

Second, the tabulation of scoring should be done by a disinterested third party. The problem is that the actual detail results cannot – in fairness – be made public, so the next best possibility in service fairness and accountability is to have the tabulation done at arms’ length. In RL pageants, the organizers retain the services of an accounting firm to serve as agents and to verify the outcomes are based solely on the judges scores, as free of outside influences as can be possible.

Third, the organizers should minimize the effect of “deep pockets.” Participants should not be allowed to buy into the top 10 at the last minute. Perhaps, there should be some moratorium set on joining the contest. I am not suggesting registrations be closed when the contest opens, but the practice of allowing people to violate the rules regarding weekly voting levels should be curtailed. Further, permitting individuals who are relatively inactive in a pageant to then buy their way to the top as the final approaches needs to be controlled. Given the large sums of money involved, I’m not sure how that might be accomplished fairly, but as long as it’s possible, the finals themselves become less about fashion and style and more about the money. Alternatively, this pageant could be renamed “Ms Moneybags.”

Finally, on a personal note, Lovena Allen has been an inspiration to me ever since I joined the contests. We compete quite ruthlessly with each other regularly in the styling events and I appreciate the fierceness and dedication she brings to the work. She inspires me to try my best each time I go out. There is no doubt in my mind that Lovena deserved to win today.The question I have, however, is did she earn it by what happened on the runway this afternoon or was it a result of other factors which had nothing to do with her performance on the runway? I don’t know, and I’m certainly not qualified to say. I have my own vested interest in this process by virtue of being a participant in another of the Classic w/Style pageants.

The fact that the question can be raised at all is the tragedy here. By failing to follow good procedure the organizers have created a situation where the hard work, dedication, and true style and grace of these women is minimized by clouding the outcomes in poor process, worse execution, and unconscionable practice. I sincerely hope they clean up their act before it’s my turn to take a turn on the catwalk in June.

Freebie Friday

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

The theme for tonight was “freebie.” The deal was “head to toe.”

Easy peasy.

All_Free_Body

I blogged about this the other day so I won’t belabor the points. Suffice it to say, I was really pleased with this styling.

The Result

Third Place.

winner_freebie

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. The judge was apparently looking for something other than what I had. I did place. That’s really the important part because it means another 500L and 50 votes at the end of the month show.

But, I’m beginning to wonder what I’ve got to do to win.

What Would I Do Differently?

Swapped out the jeans and shirt. I liked the texture of the jeans but perhaps something a little less ratty and a bit more finished would have worked better. The shirt had a nice pattern and I thought it went well with the overall look, but I’ve got about forty-leven shirts to choose from. Maybe one of them would have gotten a fractionally higher mark.

Swapped out the boots. I really don’t like those boots. They’re hugely prim heavy and they looked ok but after finding the Gnubie store Shreds the other night, I have to wonder if there isn’t a better free footwear – maybe even lurking in my inventory.

Swapped out the choker for something like a scarf or a necklace.

Added shades, or maybe goggles, on the top of my head. I didn’t want to wear them over my eyes and hide the freebie eyes, but on my head would have been interesting.

I don’t know. It’s getting harder and harder to see what really matters with the judges. Tonight I got enough of a mark to make 3rd, but I saw 2nd and I saw 1st. What I didn’t see is what set them above me and until I can begin to assess that, I really don’t stand a chance here.

Stuff
Body:
Shape – self created
Hair – .::MADesigns Hair::. ~ CRUZ ~ PLBL II w resize script) – Group Gift
Skin – [LeLutka]-ABSOLUTE-pale-base-faceB_1 (new release group gift)
Eyes – MADesigns NATURALS – unbelievable blue eyes (Group Freebie)

Outfit:
Vest – :sey R & D [505] (Group Freebie)
Shirt – WoE DG-01a Men’s Dragon T-Shirt (Bunny Hop)
Choker – UK.NANA Choker -Medium (resize) (Bunny Hop – Ultra Kitty)
Bracelet – –Umi Usagi– The Bunny Hop hunt wrist Belt
Belt – Neko Belt (Mens) – Trixxy’s Shop (Spring is in the Air Hunt)
Jeans – :sey union cross Jeans (Group freebie)
Boots – Studio M’z Strap Long VH.black (Bunny Hop Hunt)

Total cost: zero L

Effect: Priceless

Frustration: Almost total.

Under 10L Look

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Grumble.

Tonight’s contest was one of those totally aggravating activities that makes me wonder why I do this.

The first problem was the theme. It was posted as “Under 10L” but there was a sense that the intent was 10L or less. In spite of repeated attempts to get that cleared up, it was never actually said. The reality is that the judge will do what the judge will do, but it would have been really nice to know what the ground rules were.

So, I started with a 10L Pirate necklace from the Relay for Life and built a look around that.

10L_Look_1

The skull necklace started me down a grunge path, so I went to my skins and pulled up the group gift that Belleza sent out with the release of Miguel last month. That gave me the facial hair and nailed down the look. All the hunts I’ve done in the last few weeks yielded a ton of clothing and accessories. More than enough to put together the rest of the look with the hat, eyes, tatts, etc.

At the last minute, though, in the absence of guidance from the organizers, I opted to pull the 10L necklace off and substituted a freebie sculpted guitar necklace. It kinda broke the theme a bit, but I played safe and made sure I wouldn’t be disqualified for being 1L over the limit. It didn’t matter.

10L_Look_2

10L_Look_3

10L_Look_4

Just today I found some lucky chair swag and was able to add the iPod Touch and watch from Bukka and I liked the look of the Shreds from the Gnubie store so I added them to round out the urban look.

The Result

I got my two votes and a heaping helping of WTF?

Usually, I can see – sorta – where the judge was going. Sometimes we’re given feedback after the event to help us understand what was happening.

This time? I’m sorry but the winners weren’t even close. I have no idea of the criteria by which the judge selected them. They looked ok, but their outfits were sketchy, and hardly fell into what I’d normally consider “style.” I’m happy they placed, but I’m just totally frustrated by this one.

A large part of my frustration comes from the judges comments. The damning issue for my look appears to be “gaps between the poses.” The organizers followed up with the judge on my behalf to get clarification and it seems she thought my AO was interfering with my posing by causing a gap between poses.

Huh?

There are only two things I can think might have explained what she’s calling gaps. Either she was on a slow link and it took time for her client to actually display the pose animation (which pretty much anybody who’s been around SL at all should recognize) or, being a photographer and used to seeing models snap from pose to pose, she interpreted the transitional movements in my pose set as being caused by the interference of an AO.

Let’s be clear. I use a specialized device that starts one animation before stopping the previous. It handles all my walking and standing and posing for me without my having to clutter up my screen with poses or deal with AO’s which shift stands on a timetable. There was no AO to interfere with the pose. There were no gaps between poses. There *may* have been gaps in her client’s display, but that kind of client-based transitional hiccup is as recognizable as watching somebody walk thru a wall tells you they’re lagging.

No, I’m sorry. This was just a newbie in judges clothing and we all got mauled.

What would I do differently?

The look was coherent and in style. With all the clothes I had to draw from, I could have picked another look (in fact I have another completely different look for the Freebie event for Friday), but I’m not sure that would matter. The looks she picked were not anything I would have considered for this competition. It was kinda like being in a movie competition and having the judge pick the cartoon short subject. Call it a failure of my imagination. I just couldn’t have imagined — out of the universe of possible choices for styling — that the judge would have picked those particularly sparse outfits.

In hindsight, I could have kept the skull necklace and at least worn something that mattered to me. I know this sounds like sour grapes and poor loser talk but this was one of the worst examples of judging I’ve seen in the weeks since I started this.

It’s just the way I see it, and I could be wrong.

But I got my two votes and, at least tonight, it didn’t cost me 1000L to lose the competition.

Beyond Freebie, Revisited

Monday, April 20th, 2009

A few months ago I started writing this blog and outfitted myself with freebies. It didn’t take long for me to find that my bulky, blocky shape, and freebie skin and clothes weren’t really making it. And by “making it” I mean that I didn’t like looking at me on the screen.

So much has changed in five short months.

Right now I’m getting ready for two events coming up this week — a 10L theme and a freebie theme — and the results are surprising.

All_Free_Body

There is nothing in that picture that I paid for. With group gifts, various hunts, and store freebies I was able to put together this whole look.

All_Free_Torso

The quality of freebies and hunt items is sometimes spotty but group gifts are often very good. That’s certainly the case with the skin from LeLeutka and the vest from :sey. I was also blown away by the “Neko belt” from Trixxy’s Shop.

All_Free_Belt

I’m not sure what the fascination is with drugs, cigarettes, etc, but there’s plenty of detail work in this belt and I really liked the fit.

Shoes and boots are often problematic but I found a lot of possibilities. What I ended up with is this pair from Studio M’z.

All_Free_Boots

I’m wearing them without the tall shafts to keep my prim count down a bit and control my ARC.

All together, I’m really pleased with the result and I think the strategy of offering stuff for free in order to interest prospective buyers works very well. I know I’m going out shopping later because I’ve really grown attached to this LeLeutka skin and I’d like to see what’s new at MADesigns.

The Rundown
Shape – self created

Hair – .::MADesigns Hair::. ~ CRUZ ~ PLBL II w resize script) – Group Gift

Skin – [LeLutka]-ABSOLUTE-pale-base-faceB_1 (new release group gift)

Eyes – MADesigns NATURALS – unbelievable blue eyes (Group Freebie)

Vest – :sey R & D [505] (Group Freebie)

Shirt – WoE DG-01a Men’s Dragon T-Shirt (Bunny Hop)

Choker – UK.NANA Choker -Medium (resize) (Bunny Hop – Ultra Kitty)

Bracelet – –Umi Usagi– The Bunny Hop hunt wrist Belt

Belt – Neko Belt (Mens) – Trixxy’s Shop (Spring is in the Air Hunt)

Jeans – :sey union cross Jeans (Group freebie)

Boots – Studio M’z Strap Long VH.black (Bunny Hop Hunt)

Total cost: zero L

Effect: Priceless

A Rose Tattoo

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Tonight the theme was “Styling Tattoo.” This was a difficult and uninspiring theme for me because I had a hard time thinking of “what do you wear with it?”

In the end, I figured “pirate” or “biker.” The Asian mode of koi/dragon leaves little for men to wear that shows off the tatts since they’re largely hidden under clothing. I had the same problem with pirate. The jacket just hid too much. So I went with the biker idea in order to give the outfit some kind of rationale.

motor_cycle_roland

The leathers were a great find at V-Twins and I added my own sunglasses, hair, and bearded skin to give the biker look. The trusty skull and crossbones necklace from Ripped came out again and picked up the skull motif in the belt buckle as well.

The actual tattoo was a problem. I looked at several hundred but, in the end, went with Prozac’s Hades again. The full body pattern looked good under the vest and the sleeves were the pattern that I thought fit the character I was creating.

The Results

Two votes. It was a large field and I can’t fault the judge for picking beautiful women over a scruffy biker.

What Would I Do Differently?

Picked a different archetype. The problem is that, while my styling of the tattoo might have been pretty good, I wasn’t “pretty.” I can’t think of a different one at the moment, and given that none of the “ink and bikini” set won, I’m pretty sure I’d have not done any better in a thong and full body tatt.

Picked a different tattoo. I like this Hades and I think it represents well, but I could have done something more traditional — skulls and roses, guns, daggers and Mother. It wouldn’t have been as classy, but might have been more in keeping with the biker image.

Stuff

Tattoos: Prozak – Hades
Vest: V-Twins Black Biker Jacket – Short
Pants: V-Twins Skull Buckle Jeans black
Gloves: V-Twins Leather Gloves black
Bandana: V-Twins Bandana Classic Black
Boots: M’z Engineer’s Boots Black

Glasses: primOptica Crowe
Necklace: Ripped Pirate Necklace
Skin: Belleza Thomas Tan 2
Hair: Unclewebs – Hibiki Coffee

No.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I’ve been looking at the calendar of events this month and pondering tomorrows contest:

Wednesday April 15
Event: Styling White Trash Theme
Time: 6pm/slt

I was pretty offended by the theme but didn’t know, really, how to deal with it.

Obviously it’s a joke, right? Tax day? Everybody’s broke from paying the gubbermint?

So we have barefoot and pregnant, drugged and dirty, poor and uneducated women (and presumably male counterparts) parading on stage on tax day in what? Celebration? Derision?

Yea, I saw the posts about the April Fool’s Day prank with the new Trashionista designs.

Hilarious.

Ok, no. Not hilarious. As an April Fool’s prank, it was a cheap shot at an easy target, but maybe it was appreciated more by those who attended than by those who only read about it after the fact. It’s April Fools and I’m willing to accept that the poke was at the elitist attitude that some of the SL fashionistas exhibit.

But this is not.

This “White Trash” label is thrown around a lot and nobody seems to take it seriously. Of course, it’s always applied to them so it’s ok, right? They’re poor, uneducated, dirty. They brought it on themselves, right? I mean anybody can have a decent standard of living if they’d just work at it a little, right? Rural poverty isn’t really an issue. Beer and fish are plentiful year round and if women get beat up or knocked up, well, that’s ok, right?

Because that’s what we’re saying here. That’s what we’re laughing at when we put on a “White Trash Theme.” We’re laughing at lives of not so quiet desperation. We’re laughing at battered women, sick kids, and broken men. We’re snickering at addiction, at disease, and at all the people who want to do better but because of circumstance so totally beyond their control they’re barely able to stay drugged into insensibility.

And then there’s the people who just don’t have enough money to live in the nice houses. Single women working as many jobs as they can to try to stay ahead of the bills and mostly not succeeding. They can only afford the trailer park by the creek. Their kids are kept awake at night by the woman screaming next door or the fist fight across the court. They try to keep their kids clean and healthy and fed and out of harm’s way, but because they live where they do, they’re painted with the same brush — White Trash.

Ha. Ha.

Funny.

Not.

I participate in these contests in order to gain experience. To practice my stage craft. To work out the details of look and movement. Usually they’re pretty arbitrary. More often than not, I find them offensive and appealing to the prurient, but typically the only people being humiliated are the models. It’s part of the game. I understand that. Boss says “Wear this!” You wear it.

But there’s a line. This crosses it.

I won’t go there.

I don’t need two votes that badly.

Sometimes, the only valid answer is, “No.”

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Tonight’s theme was Career. This is the second time, and I really wanted to do something different. I’ve learned a lot about these styling events and subtlety is never a winning strategy. I wanted something with a strong visual hook and an archetype that was linked to “rugged male.” Almost all of the usual suspects have been done pretty much to death so I picked an image from my youth — Paul Bunyan.

LumberJack

It was more difficult than I thought to find the right red, plaid shirt. When I found it at SB Men’s, the jeans came with and they were exactly what I needed as a base. After that, I just needed the lace up boots, which were in my inventory from a previous run to HOC, and the belt. The belt is from Kings Men’s Store and it’s really a nice one. It was required because the lower jacket didn’t really match the upper too well. The belt masked it nicely.

The touque was the same one I made for my go-go dancer. I just colored it black. The axe I made in about 10 minutes on Sunday afternoon. The skin is the full beard option from my Thomas in Tan (Belleza) set and the hair is MADesigns Jordan in solid brown. I really needed a hair that parted in the middle for that old-timey woodsman look. This came as part of a group gift last month and was perfect for what I wanted.

The Result

Second Place!

lumberjack_wins_2nd

I have to confess, I wasn’t expecting a place with this outfit. It’s not really like it’s a viable career or anything, but the attention to the strong hook and cleaving to the archetype paid off tonight.

What would I do different?

Suspenders. I really needed suspenders. I ran out of time trying to construct them from copies of the belt, and the pair I purchased were impossible to pose in. They looked great, but weren’t really working.

Boots. These were pretty nice for the purpose, but something a little rougher and clunkier might have been more like a Wolverine work boot.

Belt pouches. I really felt like I needed something on that belt. Maybe a canteen – altho I’m not sure a lumberjack would carry a canteen like that.

Stuff

Shirt and Pants: SB Plaid Shirt and Jeans – SB Menswear
Boots: Leather Laced Boots – HOC
Belt: Black Leather – King For Men

Skin: Belleza – Thomas Tan 3
Hair: MADesigns – Jason -Solid Brown
Eyes: E’s – Gleaming Forest Green

Dusty Duke

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Short denim shorts.

On guys?

Yeah. Ok. Another event there’s no way I can place in. There’s just not a mental model that I can tag for a judge that would allow me to place.

So, what if the Duke boys were girls? What would Dusty Duke look like?

short jean shorts

It’s feeble, but it was cheap. Like I said. There’s just no mental model here. The theme was “short denim shorts” so that’s basically all I wore. The tats were just for eye candy altho I probably could have gone without.

The competition all looked great. I find most of these outfits distasteful from the git-go. “Booty shorts” aren’t really what I think of when I think of “style” but then I’m not the organizer. In spite of that, I give credit to the other models. They looked great.

The results

Yea. Not so much.

What would I have done differently?

If “staying home” isn’t an option, then I really needed to find some hook for the judge. “Dusty Duke” just didn’t cut it. I’m not — even at my beef-cake-iest — the kind of side of beef that can pull this off against 10 women with their butt cheeks hanging out. (Ok, only a few actually hung out, but work with me.)

Perhaps I didn’t sell the “Dusty Duke” idea well enough. Would a red-neck beef cake wear celtic tats? Maybe I needed to get a mesh cap with a rebel flag on it, or a leather vest with it on the back.

Find some rational for me to be on stage. Guys don’t wear this kind of outfit. I had less trouble styling Coco Chanel than this. Even the Go-go dancer had a “gay boy stripper” hook that I could work with. This? It just never engaged me and maybe that’s why I couldn’t engage the judge.

At least I got my two votes.

Stuff
Shorts: Stud Puppy – Pale “Dude” Denim Shorts
Sandals: ShinyThings – Bo-Ho Sandals
Tats: Tat’Tash – Celtic_Arms_Chest-3_a58 and + RocX + Wings of Sin
Glasses: primOptic – Crowe
Bracelet and Leglet: MRM – Shell bracelets
Necklace: MRM – Shark Necklace

Skin: Belleze – Thomas Tan
Hair: MADesigns – Crew (TB)
Eyes: E’s – Gleeming Forest Green