- PHOTOS BY RICHARD FUSILLO
- FIT TO BE TIED : A model at last year’s Embodiment series at Native Lounge features body paint, feathers, piercings, ribbon, and a teeny, tiny bikini. The new series runs four consecutive Thursdays beginning Jan. 28.
It’s all so ephemeral! Here today, gone tomorrow.
So at 9 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 28 when the models start strutting down the runway at Native Lounge and you’re one of the select few to be there, you’re going to have an experience that photographs like the awesome ones Richard Fusillo took at last year’s event can only hint at.
Over the next four Thursdays, SLO’s little slice of trendoid heaven will host the kind of event usually reserved for flavor-of-the-week urban hotspots. You see, Native Lounge has cut a little niche for itself, creating the kind of place for people who want to see and be seen.
Usually this highfalutin’ stuff makes me want to puke, what with the preening and the fawning. Give me a dirty dive bar any day. But after attending Native’s Hair Wars, which pitted local hair salons against one another, I’ve been singing a different tune. Energized, irreverent, spectacular—that’s what I witnessed, so I’m coming back for more. I decide to call Native owner Sean Faries for the lowdown on Embodiment.
- PHOTO BY RICHARD FUSILLO
- BODY AS CANVAS : An artist paints a model before sending him down the runway, at last year’s Embodiment.
“When we put out the word we were doing it again, people started coming to us,” continues Sean. “We cast 150 people before the first show!”
Not only has participation blossomed, but suddenly sponsors are lining up to catch this bullet train to awesomeville. 1800 Tequila, for instance, thinks Embodiment is perfect for its Essential Artists custom bottle series. You see, last year 1800 released a series of limited edition bottles—one artist a month for 12 months.
- PHOTO BY RICHARD FUSILLO
- SWING OUT, SISTER : There’s no other event like Embodiment, which brings together artists, models, choreographers, and crowds to experience an ephemeral art event.
One of the artists for this Thursday is Jeff Claassen, who owns and is the principal artist at the Claassen Gallery (785 Marsh St., SLO). He was a guest artist for one night at last year’s event.
“So why are you doing it, Jeff?” I ask.
“It’s fun,” he gushes. “You don’t get this opportunity too often, to paint on beautiful ladies.”
“I’ll probably skip a male model,” admits Jeff, hiding his freak flag under what sounded like a faint whiff of homophobia.
“So, do you know what you’re going to do, or do you need to survey the ‘canvas’ to get inspiration?” asks I.
“I’m pretty spontaneous with it,” he claims. “I kind of make it up as I go, same as a regular painting. I’m kind of held back by what I can use on her skin. People last year found that acrylic tends to crack on human skin. I actually found an edible spray used for cake decoration, and last year I used it with stencils and it came out pretty good. I’ll probably spray it on freehand this time and finish with India ink.”
“But India ink isn’t edible! You’re not going to be able to clean up the model the ‘fun’ way if you use that,” I say, to which Jeff says nothing, knowing better than I when to shut the hell up.
Glen Starkey takes a beating and keeps on bleating. Contact him at email@example.com.