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TABLE OF CONTENTS CAMPUS LIFE Word on the Street ARTS & CULTURE Inland Ocean Chronicles of First Friday and Fall Line Fest Ashby VCU at NYC Fashion Week In Your Mouth For the Love of Fashion


03 04 06 07 08 10

A Peek into Burlesque Nikelus F Gatsby Afternoon Picnic CONTEMPORARY ISSUES RVA Street Art Machinedance Vintage Carytown Fashion Feeds the Byrd The Manner: Fashion Editorial

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NOVEMBER 2013 6.02 EDITOR IN CHIEF Jessica Clarke MANAGING EDITOR Cort Olsen COPY EDITOR Meagan Dermody FASHION EDITOR Jennifer Mawyer WEB EDITOR Cort Olsen DESIGNERS Sagal Hassan Miranda Leung Anna Shcherbakova CONTRIBUTING STAFF Mikayla Baumgartner, Kristin Caskey, Lucy Dacus, Danica Garner, Brandon Geib, Rebecca Metcalf, Alexandra Mitchell, Kiara Moore, Cort Olsen, Dave Parrish, Barbara Shore, Danny Spry, Zachary Stapel COVER BY Jennifer Mawyer, Bree Davis ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Mike Rodriguez David Mistler

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR One of the many reasons why I love attending VCU is the students in vogue and avant garde style. Walking through the Compass is like viewing an ongoing fashion show: From the cool hipster kids smoking cigarettes underneath the trees, to the highfashion students pacing their way to Pollak, I am always inspired. Richmond is evolving into a trend-setting city and it continuously reminds me to not put limits on fashion. It has allowed me to expand my thinking to see fashion in everything around me instead of just the

obvious places. In this issue, you will see more fashion than ever, and also great places where you can go to raise your style game! Along with the fashion theme we have incorporated the events held by RVA. The INK staff raided the city to document and experience the cultural and musical events of this past month. Richmond has been jam-packed with exciting and memorable events such as Fall Line Fest, First Fridays, Carytown Fashion Feeds the Byrd and more, and we have the scoop on it all! JESSICA CLARKE

INK MAGAZINE and the STUDENT MEDIA CENTER OFFICES 817 W. Broad St. P.O. Box 842010 Richmond, Va. 23284 Phone: (804) 828-1058 Ink magazine is a student publication, published quarterly with the support of the Student Media Center To advertise with Ink, please contact our Advertising representatives at Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the VCU Student Media Center. All content copyright Š 2013 by VCU Student Media Center, All rights reserved. Printed locally

Executive Editor

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on the





If you had to give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be? “Always say yes to pizza.” — Joe Miller, junior What was the happiest moment in your life? (left to right) What is your biggest struggle right now? “Time management.” — Savannah Hartline, junior

“When my sister got a full ride. It was a big relief for my family.” — Columbkille Clavin, junior When I found out I was going to be an uncle … 7 times over.” — Cameron Booth, junior

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

What was the happiest moment of your life? “Moving out of my mom’s house.” Why was that? “Independency is great. It just feels great being on your own.” — TJ Hoke, junior

If you could give one piece of advice to a group of people, what would it be? (left to right)

“I see myself building a popstar kingdom. I plan to be a world leader and an influential person.” — James Miller, senior

“Look both ways.”— Weston Lowe, senior “Walk in the shape of a rhombus.” — Ginna Shea, junior “Not every day is a great day. It’s okay to be sad.” — Theresa Ramirez, junior “Purchase a puppy at some point in your life.” — Tim Smith, junior NOVEMBER 2013

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What was the happiest moment in your life? “The happiest moment of my life was coming to America.” If you had to give one piece of advice to a group of people, what would it be?

Where are you from? “Jamaica.”

“Live life. Be genuine. And be loved.”

What was the best part about coming here?

— Britnie Dates, sophomore (left)

“Probably going to school and getting a good education.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

— Leteria Bailey, junior If you had to give one piece of advice to a group of people, what would it be? “Live life stoked.” — Alex Robertson, sophomore (left)

Hmm … 29. I see myself engaged, successful, and looking to open the family boutique I want.” — Jessica Morgan, sophomore (right)

“Don’t be a slacker.” — Andrew Webber, sophomore (right)

What is your biggest struggle right now? “That I’m in Richmond. I really want to be in New York.”

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a group of people?

Why do you want to be there?

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

“I think it’s a lot more excitement and opportunities for what I want to do.”

— Kenneth McDaniel, sophomore (left)

What is it that you want to do?

What’s your biggest struggle right now?

“Be a fashion stylist.”

What’s your biggest struggle right now?

— Martia Simms, junior

Managing parties and school.

“Morning classes.”

— Austin Coles, junior (right)

— Marissa Shafer, senior 2


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I N L A N D O C E A N Having been named RVA Music Scene Band of the Month for September, it’s clear that Chris Tait – who goes by the moniker Inland Ocean – made a promising choice when he decided to ditch aspirations of becoming a screenwriter to focus on his music at the beginning of the year. With an oeuvre of light, atmospheric sounds and Tait’s harrowing vocals, Inland Ocean is difficult to dislike. It’s also difficult to comprehend that he only started to make music in January. Citing Beatles Producer Phil Spector, Bon Iver and Deer Hunter as musical influences, Inland Ocean spoke to Ink about his sound, songwriting process and plans for an upcoming album. INTERVIEW AND PHOTO BY REBECCA METCALF INK: How would you describe your sound?

Inland Ocean: I guess my name. I read in an interview with Brian Wilson – he’s sort of the brain of the Beach Boys – he called the reverb sound an inland ocean; like an ocean sound. People like Bon Iver and Elliot Smith are a big influence. Deer Hunter is a big influence on me, too, that and the idea of making it sound like it’s more than one person. INK: Do you have any personal favorite songs of yours?

Inland Ocean: Not particularly – I don’t even like calling them their name. There was a reason I wanted to use a moniker instead of my name, because I know the idea of a dude singing and playing guitar is so passé to me. I wanted to separate myself from that as much as I could.

INK: What is your song writing and recording process like? Inland Ocean: When it comes to writ-

ing songs for me, I can never sit down and say ‘OK, today I’m going to write a song’. It always has to come naturally, but when it does come naturally, it almost comes a little too quick. I like to record my music in one tape. It would be easy for me to take something like a drum beat and loop it, but I think playing it the whole way through adds a much more human element. INK: What is coming up next for you?

Inland Ocean: I really want to get away from the digital vent of recording, although that is a difficult thing to do, because I guess that is how it’s done, but I really like the quality and idea of analogue recording. I’m thinking that for a full length I would really like to spend a lot of time on that. I want to see what would happen if I record something on tape, and then put it on the computer. You know, how would it sound? I think the idea is that it would sound more authentic. You can listen to Inland Ocean at


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Locally famous street performer Jonathan Austin performing his act at the First Fridays Art Walk.

One of Big Freedia’s dancers performing at the Hippodrome, bringing Fall Line Fest to a close.

INK’s own Cort Olsen modeling a helmet made entirely from bottle caps by Josh Stolberg of RVA CapWorks, at the First Friday’s Art Walk.

Art by Daniel Johnson at First Friday art walks.

A banjo playing street performer at the First Friday’s Art Walk. A sad clown at Gallery 5, First Fridays Art Walk. 4


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Local fold band The Richmanian Ramblers performing at Love RVA Gallery during the First Friday’s Art Walk.

Bob Gorman with famous Oderus costume at the “Let There Be Gwar!” exhibit at Black Iris Music. Gorman has been involved with GWAR since 1988, working with costumes and props and managing live shows.

Internet personality, vintage enthusiast, and metal-detecting hobbyist Kath Parker at Ghostprint Gallery during the First Friday’s Artwalk. Look for a feature on Kath in this issue.

Pity Sex performing at Gallery 5 during Fall Line Fest.

A street performer mesmerizing some of the younger First Fridays attendees.

Baltimore natives Diamond Youth rapping up Fall Line Fest’s Strange Matter line-up. Diamond Youth told INK that one fan said they drove an hour and a half to see the band play Fall Line Fest – a testament to the success of this event!

Two audience members at the Hippodrome seeing the Fall Line Fest headliner: Big Freedia.

Daniel Johnson at First Friday’s in his vegetable-oil/solar powered school bus that doubles as a gallery. See more of his art at

Two audience members at the Camel during Fall Line Fest, seeing Anousheh and Allison Self. NOVEMBER 2013

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Styled, directed and shot by Mikayla Baumgartner Models: Nicole Pollard and Savannah Hartline LOOK 1 — Nicole: top: $16, bottoms: $18, shoes: $26 / total look: $60

Savannah: dress: $8, sheer black top: $14, shoes: $24 / total look: $46

LOOK 2 — Nicole: top: $9, shorts: $15, sheer wrap: $14, shoes: $24 / total look: $62 Savannah: dress: $18, shoes: $24 / total look: $42


Ashby, voted one of the “Best New Stores of 2013” by Richmond Magazine, should be on any fashionable shopper’s radar. Store manager Shauna Davis expressed how Ashby “offers young women the latest trends in a variety of styles, all at crazy-affordable prices.” In addition to the many popular brands they carry, such as Free People, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and J. Crew, there is an amazing jewelry and accessory collection, including purses, headbands and shoes. With a bathtub in the corner full of items priced by-the-pound, a piano in the other, a penny-covered check-out counter and various interesting odds and ends, the décor of Ashby intriguingly contributes to the store’s uniqueness and diversity. “Ashby is the type of store where anyone, no matter their personal style, could walk in and find a great look,” Davis said. “We have a great selection of current trend items, from basics to edgier or unique, and even vintage items.” Racks are full of reasonably priced clothing, from designer labels to your essential mall brands. What better way to shop for new styles and expand your wardrobe without breaking the bank? Aside from being a cool place to shop, Ashby also offers the opportunity to sell your current clothes. Located in the heart of Carytown, Ashby does resale all day on Thursdays and Sundays. You can bring your in-season, on-trend and in-good-condition clothes to sell for 30 percent cash or 50 percent store credit. This credit can be used in either Ashby or their sister store, Clementine, which is just down the street. On a new and exciting note, Ashby is considering menswear. After many customer requests, they plan to offer men’s clothes and shoes, sizes 28-38, later this fall. If you hadn’t heard of Ashby until now, I would strongly encourage you to check it out. With the rare selection of clothing and accessories, along with the resale opportunity and the potential transformation into a unisex store, there is something for everyone. STORY AND PHOTOS BY MIKAYLA BAUMGATNER


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VCUARTS AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK As the fashion intern at O, the Oprah Magazine in New York City, I had to adjust to telling those who asked that I attended Virginia Commonwealth University. I was so accustomed to people already being familiar with the university that saying the name in full felt weird. Even though VCU is the No. 1 ranked public arts and design school in the United States, according to US News & World Report, the university is not well known in one of its most important markets. When I returned to campus in the fall, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the VCU Fashion department had taken the initiative to solve this dilemma. VCUarts at New York Fashion Week was a private design showcase coordinated by Donna Reamy, interim chair of the VCU Fashion department. The purpose of the event was to increase the presence of VCU Fashion in New York City, while also helping to launch the careers of recent graduates of the VCU Fashion Design program. The event spotlighted the collections of six students from the graduating class of 2013, five of which were from the VCU Richmond campus and one from the VCU Qatar campus. After the design showcase, the designers were able to network with alumni, media, human resources professionals and recruiters from companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard’s, Ralph Lauren, MTV, and Macy’s. Since the event turned out to be a success, receiving lots of positive feedback and exposure during New York Fashion Week, I was curious to know the future of the event. Donna Reamy says that in the future, she hopes to coordinate the event every other year since she is planning an event for students in the Fashion Merchandising program next year. She would also like to hold the event in a larger venue in order to have more students experience VCUarts at New York Fashion Week. STORY BY DANICA GARNER PHOTOS BY KRISTIN CASKEY


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Unless you’re going to a baseball game, seeing a movie or maybe even getting a tattoo, there’s not a whole lot to do on the Boulevard. Families used to avoid the area because of a centrally located porn shop proclaiming “Adult Movies” in big red letters. That porn shop is now “En Su Boca,” a California-style Mexican restaurant. Real estate developer Charlie Diradour and owners Eric Stangarone, Patrick Stamper and Randy O’Dell are taking on the task of giving this gateway to the city what it deserves - potato fries, tacos and burritos, and slow-braised goat. Local foodies rejoice as the people who brought you RVA favorites like Mezzanine and Bellytimber Tavern introduce a new dining experience. INTERVIEW BY ALEXANDRA MITCHELL PHOTOS BY LUCY DACUS

What was the extent of your involvement with En Su Boca? Diradour: I have always bought properties in areas that I thought needed something and then figured it out as we went. I had wanted this property and I had lusted after this property for three or four years, actually. I’d written two or three letters to the owner to no avail, and then drove by it one day and there was a forsale sign on it. I had a contract in the guy’s hand the next morning. What’s the story behind this particular restaurant?

Stamper: Well, Charlie approached Randy and myself with the building. It obviously wasn’t set up to be a restaurant by any stretch, but we could kind of see where it could be pretty interesting. Eric and I had been hanging out in the Mission District of San Francisco where every other building is a Taqueria. The food is fantastic and there’s just nothing like it in Richmond. It just seemed like a real natural fit to bring some of that here and to have the real San Francisco chef bringing the authentic Northern California-Mexican. Obviously there are Mexican restaurants all over Richmond, but none quite like the take they have in California. 8

I know this used to be a porn shop…

Stamper: Oh, it was an eyesore. I’ve had numerous people thank us already as soon as we started work on it, just thank us for getting rid of it. Everyone always makes a point of telling me that they had never been inside the shop. Someone’s got to be lying. It had been that porn shop since 1973, which is pretty incredible. That’s a hell of a ride. They were there for almost 30 years, in the age of the internet, and they still stayed alive. Diradour: I had always said that and I always will say that this is the keyhole to the Boulevard, and it was just going to take somebody sticking the key in the keyhole to open development. You had to get rid of a pretty bad usage of this property to let everybody feel comfortable to start buying the other pieces of property. Now that this has been done I’m sure you’re going to see a lot more stuff. The Boulevard deserves to be more than it ever has been. Tell me about the name of the restaurant, En Su Boca (“In Your Mouth”).

Diradour: It is where you put tacos. Stamper: Yeah, that’s right, it’s where you put tacos. I don’t know what your filthy mind is thinking. I saw a picture on your Facebook of Ed

Trask painting the building. Is the artwork California-inspired?

Stamper: This is all Ed’s work. The idea with that is we’re trying to recreate images you see when you go down the California coast, kind of entering the Baja, on your way to Tijuana, in some pretty impoverished areas. There are some pretty beaten up homes, and people patch their houses up with pieces of signage. And so you’d see these patchworks of advertisements and stuff incorporated into people’s homes. So that was the inspiration for that. Can you give me any details of the menu?

Stangarone: There’s this spectrum of how authentic we want to be, and how playful and where does Richmond live in that world? The food that we’re going to be doing here is nodding to authenticity with authentic uses of ingredients, but we’re doing it in very playful ways that I think people in Richmond are really going to appreciate. We’re bringing in a lot of ingredients that might be staying in the South Side in the Mexican markets and bringing those to the masses and serving it with great cocktails and great beer in a great space. I want this to be a fun experience, I don’t want this to be a fine-dining, white table cloth expe-


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rience where you sit quietly and you’re sort of into the zone. I want you to come in and have drinks and have the food complement your experience, not dictate your experience. I’ve seen a lot of restaurants come and go recently. Are you worried at all about that? Diradour: If you read (Richard) Florida at all, he wrote a book called The Rise of the Creative Class. These are the kinds of people that are the creative class of society that no matter what will always have an abiding interest in what makes a city go. A lot like Manny, from Kuba Kuba. When I bought (Kuba Kuba) it was a drug store. Ed Trask, Dave Brockie (of GWAR), all those guys started hanging out there. I see the same thing, I feel the same thing, happening here. Even before it’s opened, you walk in and Ed Trask is painting and there’s musicians here working. That creative class is at work here, in this property.

Stamper: People fall in love with this romantic idea of opening a restaurant and really don’t know how to do it. It’s not something they’re going to teach you in culinary school or business school, you learn by sweating it out in restaurants for ten or fifteen years, and then you’ll get an idea of what’s going on. What do you love so much about Richmond, what keeps you involved here?

Diradour: I’ve been from Richmond to Hopewell to Paris. This town is full of people who get it. It goes back to that creative community vibe that we’ve got here. Even a developer can be called a creative sort. Richmond’s going to support these guys because they’ve

known them for twenty years. They’re going to support these guys because (this building) used to be what it used to be and thank God, it’s not what it used to be. So people from the North Side and the Fan District are just dying for this place to open—because they get it.

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If you call Deanna Danger a tease, she certainly won’t be offended. In fact, she has mastered the art of the tease, as one of Richmond’s premiere burlesque dancers. Along with being a seasoned, full-time performer, she founded the burlesque studio, Boom Boom Basics, where under her careful tutelage she helps students blossom into confident performers. There are many differing views floating around Deanna Danger’s profession. Some think that there is nothing to burlesque: Throw out suggestive winks, provocatively prance around the stage, take your clothes off, and voila — you have a successful burlesque performance. Some think that this is just another way of objec-

How did you get into Burlesque?

Deanna: I got laid off from an Assistant Market and Graphic Design job at Plan 9 music. I had lived in Richmond from 2003-09 and worked for them … they were kind of turning over and I was let go. So, right around that time burlesque was really start to happen in Richmond, and a club that I dance at called Fallout had a burlesque night and I was like you have to let me perform! So, I did. I kept getting booked for things and it just immediately clicked in, after that. In about a year’s time, I was teaching and about two years after that, I was doing it full time professionally. For a person who may not know what burlesque is, how would you describe it?

Deanna: It is the art of the striptease. A lot of burlesque acts have that element of shtick and some kind of story. There’s some kind of nugget of information there that makes you think at the end of it. Could you walk me through the art of the tease? What makes a successful performance?

Deanna: It’s very engaging to the audience. It’s an art form that encompasses everything about the individual performer. She picks the 12

tifying women and that the woman exists in the perverse gaze of the audience, to be gawked at for the spectators’ pleasure. There’s a lot more to burlesque than many realize. It is an art form, and when held in the hands of a talented performer like Deanna Danger, it translates into a powerful experience that engages both the performer and audience. I had the opportunity to speak with Deanna Danger and she was more than happy to answer questions about her career and enlighten me about the world of burlesque. INTERVIEW BY KIARA SHAREE PHOTOS PROVIDED BY DAVE PARRISH AND BARBARA SHORE

music. It’s her moves. It’s her costume ideas. Everything is in and of her. So, it’s kind of creating this element of fantasy and larger-thanlifeness. There’s definitely titillation in it and you kind of build up the anticipation through the routine until you get to the final reveal and then it’s KAPOW. Whether it’s just fabulous rhinestones, pasties or like this kind of crazy joke thing that you pull out of yourself. It definitely tells a story from beginning to end. It’s a lot about audience interaction, like in theater you have that fourth wall up between you and the crowd. In burlesque, you break that down. there is no fourth wall. Yeah, I noticed that. The performers seem to have this brazen gaze (directed towards the audience).

Deanna: Yes, it’s very engaging. You definitely want to throw that back out towards the audience but also, pull it back from them. There’s a lot of give and take that happens between the performer and her audience, so the more engaged an audience is, the more fabulous the performance is going to be. What about your performance style makes you different than other burlesque performers? What makes you

distinctly Deanna Danger?

Deanna: My dance training, my dance skill. I pull a lot of my training in ballet and jazz and modern. Not to say they’re aren’t a lot of performers doing that, but there aren’t a lot of us in Richmond. Some girls are about the funny, some girls are about the innovative costume, which I am definitely starting to bring more into in my performances. But it is about showcasing that dance skill and the theatrics behind building whatever character of that routine is. This actually leads me to my next question, persona seems to be a huge part of burlesque. What aspects of Deanna Danger do you possess?

Deanna: All of them. I am Deanna Danger all of the time, pretty much. I am very spiritual person so every single performance that I do has some basis of heart and soul with it. When I am out there doing my Bird in Paradise routine, it’s not just a fancy costume in a parrot routine. I look to the animal’s properties and spiritual manner and what that animal exudes and what message that animal portrays, so all of my performances has some bit of that with me, and I like to pull a lot of things like myths and stories.


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Deanna: I get that question a lot and I always rack my brain trying to think and I don’t think so. That’s good that you have complete support from the people in your life!

Deanna: Absolutely! And even my parents. It might have taken them a little time to roll around to it, but it was pretty quick that they understood that this was what I was meant to do, that I was good at it, making a living of it, and that it was a real art form. I think that point is just now getting across to the out there world today. Burlesque is really starting to become mainstream and it’s breaking down those barriers. It’s starting to become acceptable to really be out there with your feminine self and exude that. I think that why my parents were kind of “Oh my gosh, you’re going to be naked!” It’s just a body; we all have one. And that’s one of the greatest things about burlesque. Every body type is in, it doesn’t matter how big you are, what color you are, what your background is, whether you’re a dancer, whether you’re a theatre person. It is all-encompassing. It’s pretty wonderful. Burlesque definitely seems to be growing. I tried to take one of your classes and it was completely full! What do you think that says about society in general that we’re more accepting of burlesque?

Deanna: People are starting to become okay with being themselves. Burlesque is one of those art forms that really puts (you) out there, in all your beauty and in all of your flaws. People are really locking into that. It’s a very empowering thing to go up there and just give it your all and show your story and show yourself at the same time, in a beautiful and/or comedic manner. I teach women who just want to do it for fun and for empowering reasons, and I also teach women who want to go off and do it professionally, and everyone across the board like grows so much confidence and so much soul just by doing it. I always call it the most free art form in the world.

it, it sparks something in everyone’s soul that does it, so when they feel it, I feel it as well. They’re my little babies and they go up there, sprout their wings and fly. So, every time they go up there and have a blast doing it, it warms my heart to watch them do that. You seem really nurturing toward them.

Deanna: They’re my little burlesque babies! (laughs) There are people who equate strippers and burlesque dancers. Would you say there is a difference?

Deanna: There is and there isn’t. Strippers came from burlesque dancers … We are very congruent nowadays. We’re parallel. We’re not necessarily on the same playing field but we’re in the same stadium. I read a quote by Dita Von Teese that said there is no burlesque without the strip and that she isn’t offended when other people call her a stripper.

Deanna: Right, we like to call ourselves fancy strippers (laughs). I think the biggest difference between the two is the audience. People will go to a burlesque show to have an experience, an evening and they get dressed up. They bring their girlfriends and their boyfriends to go and have a good time and have their sensual sides engaged as much as their brains engaged. You’re going to a strip club for one reason and that’s to get titillated, you’re not really going there to get your to have your brains engaged. That’s a really good point. It’s not just an erotic encounter, but a theatrical experience too.

Deanna: Exactly. I was really curious to hear your opinion about that because there seems to be polarized opinions.


Has anyone in your life had any negative reactions or misconceptions about what you do?

Deanna: Yeah, there are. And I know in our past, people have been really offended. Well, they wouldn’t be here if we weren’t here. We’re back-to-back, we’re fighting the same fight, just in different ways. I love being a stripper! It’s fun to go out there and be proud of yourself and be like this is what I got. Now, you’re on my terms. It’s that whole holding the power in your own hands and giving the power as you want it to. It’s not objectifying. I know that there have been plenty of complaints about it being objectifying. It’s a very woman-run industry. Do you have any upcoming projects or productions?

Deanna: Oh my gosh yes! I’m going to be hitting the road in October. I’m designing my new evening gown and some undergarments that are very unique. I don’t want to give too much away them, but the routine will definitely be Halloween and spooky movie related, so it’s got surprises underneath that I’m building. Past that, I am starting production on my next production Burlesque at the Byrd. That will be in early December, and it’s going to be Holidays at the Movies so it will be about the various holiday movies brought to life on the stage. I will be portraying a favorite kid’s movie character, but it will have a very innovative reveal, and I will just leave it at that. I can’t wait! I know you don’t want to give away any spoilers. Deanna: I’m good at the tease.

So you were just talking about your experiences as a teacher, what do you love the most about teaching others burlesque?

Deanna: What I love the most are the recitals. Watching them go through this whole workshop process and being so timid in the beginning and possibly not even wanting to do it and not be outspoken. Then they learn all the parts and they get all of the tools, then they starting working on it for themselves. Then they go up there and they do it at their recital and it clicks. Like the first time that they do NOVEMBER 2013

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NICKELUS F Richmond-based rapper Nickelus F has finally found the path he wants to take. With an already lucrative career history, serving as Black Entertainment Television 106 & Park “Freestyle Friday” champion for seven consecutive weeks, a series of collaborations with Drake and an upcoming international debut in London, it’s no wonder that his career is growing so rapidly. Nickelus F spoke to Ink about his personal successes and recent collaboration with Hip-Hop producer Ohbliv. INTERVIEW AND PHOTO BY REBECCA METCALF

INK: Can you tell me about your collaboration with Ohbliv?

Nickelus F: Yellow Gold 2 is a sequel to a tape we did in 2011 called Yellow Gold. Sonically, it’s soulful, it’s boom-bap hip-hop, it is very heavy on the rap. It’s a real loose, organic type of project. The last one was done in two weeks; this one was done in three. He usually sends me the beats and I pick and choose what stands out for me the most. INK: Do you prefer to write your lyrics or freestyle them?

Nickelus F: It’s something like freestyle, generally I just have a whole bunch of notes in my phone — I don’t have any full verses or lines written out — and I have a word or a line or an idea and it starts. It’s sort of like when you have a loose string on one of your socks, once I hit a certain point of a verse, it’s like a wormhole and it just unravels itself. INK: Would you say it’s one of your personal favorites?

Nickelus F: I mean kind of, yeah, for the boom-bap kid in me. You know, the other tapes, like Vices is really close to me because it is so personal, but this one just sort of taps back into my approach of how I was rapping in high school, just like somebody who is trying to use their imagination. But it is definitely one of my favorite tapes this year. INK: You were rapping in high school? Is music something you have done your whole life? Nickelus F: Yeah, I wrote my first rap in the 14

third grade. We had a class and they wanted all the kids in the class to make a song, and most kids just changed the words to a familiar song, like Old McDonald or Mary Had a Little Lamb, but I ended up writing a rap. I wrote my own little rap and from there on I have always done it, and I’d say around 6th grade was when I started doing it daily, it’s also when I started fiddling around with the keyboard. INK: How does the sound of Yellow Gold 2 differ from your previous albums?

Nickelus F: This one is different because it’s more like a creative writing piece. My first tape this year, Vices — that was kind of like a purge, I had been off the scene for two years because I was going through a whole bunch of personal shit. Those two years were dark. So when I came off on that tape, it was just me speaking from my gut on how I felt about things. I wasn’t trying to come up with creative metaphors; I was just speaking from my gut. That was like a closet emptying or a soul purging. After that I put out Petey Petey, which is more creative — stylistically and in my approach. This one is just creative writing; I tried to focus on obscure references, complex rhyme patterns, and true underground rap. INK: Following that two-year gap, has music become your main focus? Nickelus F: During that time, there was a whole bunch of holes I had dug myself into that I had to get myself out of, but this is what I do. Even during that whole period I was still recording daily, it’s just my lifestyle, I record and I make music.

INK: Do you ever revisit the music that you made during that part of your life?

Nickelus F: Hell yeah, I have documented so much of my life in my music that when I’m an old son of a bitch I’m going to be able to go back and re listen and relive my life, because there is a lot of things that I say that can be taken one way — but I know the background story behind it, I know why I said it and what I was feeling when I said it. A lot of the time I can tell you exactly where I was when I came up with a line or whatever, what I was doing and what I had on that day. So I am sort of excited for getting older and being able to go back and listen to years and years and years of music, and sort of relive it all again. INK: Are you excited for what’s to come?

Nickelus F: Hell yeah, I’m really excited. The thing is, is that it all comes down to being able to see. To being able to see where you are going and what it is that you are doing and accomplishing, you have to see it. In those two years, those dark years, I couldn’t see it, and I wasn’t able to see it until I put some more music out. It just energized me and revived me, and it’s calmed me down a lot and I see it now. I feel like I know where it is that I am supposed to be going at this point, so I’m just walking that path. You know, I’m seeing things through to the end, visualizing it and then going through with it to the end. Nickelus F is set to release another album this year and is playing shows across the East Coast and in the UK for the remainder of the year.


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Have you ever felt displaced? Felt that overwhelming nostalgia for a place you’ve never been and a time you weren’t alive for? I haven’t but I imagine the sentiment is common. I have a best friend who knows how to swing dance and he seems to feel that way. In an attempt to find out more and experience some delightful cultural history, I attended the Art Deco Society of Virginia’s Second Annual Gatsby Afternoon Picnic. When I arrived I found a beautiful house overwhelming my field of vision as its centuries old walls rose towards the sky. The bricklaced building set the stage for another world. In a few minutes I had not only escaped the city and found myself on a majestic plantation, but I had somehow found my way back to a classier time when dapper dudes danced with fashionable flappers. As I walked the grounds I found pleasure in a small variety of stands featuring both jewelry and clothing that my great grandparents may have worn for a night on the town. With these venders came Nirvana Hair Salon providing authentic 1920’s haircuts to anyone who ventured over and took the barber shop chair. There were photographs in front of a paper moon that would put your prom’s theme to shame. Croquet was set up for anyone man enough to play a round. By the time I reached the backyard I was already immersed in a culture a few hours prior I had thought died seventy years ago. The lawn stretched out as the flat top of a hill that tumbled down to railroad tracks and a lake surrounded by trees. The clear grass slowly began to become inundated with everything from the vibrancy of picnic blankets to fully established tea sets and an old record player. It was from here that the serenades of Ethan Uslan on the piano began and segwayed into a performance by Danny Willis, whose musical ADHD had him switching from banjo, to ukulele, to acoustic guitar and back again. These musical stylings were followed by Garter Snaps. The music popped along and soon people began to follow. Inside there was a ballroom and as the afternoon rolled on people danced off their picnic calories in true twenties fashion with swing steps and a very pleasant lack of twerking. As the afternoon came to its luxurious end, the well-dressed couples and families trickled away, out into the real world. For a while they had a fantasy though, a time of carefree fun and much better clothing choices. I got the joy of hitchhiking along for the ride and knowing that I get to come back next year.





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RVA STREET ART Richmond’s mural craze started in 2010 when RVA Magazine teamed up with Art Whino, an art gallery based out of Washington D.C., to host Art Whino’s third annual G40 festival, the focus of which was street art. The G40 festival concluded after 20 murals were painted around the art district on Broad Street, but that wasn’t enough for them. They expanded into what has become the Richmond Mural Project. Artists from all over the world have flown in to make their mark on our city, putting up murals all over Richmond, including what may be Richmond’s most famous mural, “Moonshine,” by Polish duo Etam Cru. The mural, which is more commonly known as “the Strawberry Girl,” was painted near the 7-11 on Grace and Harrison. The project hopes to put up 100 murals in five years, and, three years into the project, they haven’t slowed down. Yet, with all of these international artists coming in, where do Richmond’s thriving community of artists go to put up their art? This is the question that lead local artist Ed Trask and city councilman Jonathan Beliles to put together the RVA Street Art Festival. “The Richmond Mural Project created some cool murals, but they were people who 16

flew in from out of town for a week or so, and then they left, so what we wanted to do was mix local artistic talent with some of these big national names that have big national followings. There’s so much creative talent in this city that we can’t ignore it, we shouldn’t ignore it,” Beliles said. “We hope to increase the focus on local artists.” The RVA Street Art Festival began in 2012 in an old power plant at 12th and Byrd Street, near Off the Hookah. The modest event featured 18 artists, about half of whom were Richmond locals, who turned an old eyesore into a vibrant piece of art. This year, the Street Art Festival tackled a whole new beast: acquiring the old GRTC bus depot on Cary Street, in a successful attempt to reach the Richmond community at large and educate them about this new and still not-entirely-legitimated art form. “One weekend changed the face of GRTC bus station,” Trask said, beaming as he surveyed the jovial crowds between the walls of murals. “You’re seeing what was really a symbol of antiquated transportation, the trolley, the bus station completely taken over and turned into this pretty massive creative being, something different, and it’s really cool to watch it happen because it’s like a swarm of bees taking

over and you have every kind of art form kinda exploding and happening around it.” A total of 46 muralists, 31 of whom were Richmond locals, came out to show their work over the five-day event, which ran from September 11th to the 15th, poring over every detail while crowds of onlookers milled about in awe below their cherry pickers. The festival sought to inspire the community, specifically the children of the community, to participate and try their own hands at painting a mural with an entire wall dedicated to tags by festivalgoers. “It starts with the 16-year-old boy or 16-year-old girl that wants to push it, that wants to do something, and so that’s what I think is important; that is what I think is vital to street art right now,” Trask said. The festival put a great deal of emphasis on getting people involved in the art form, dispelling much of the stigma surrounding it. This, to San Francisco-based muralist Andrew Shultz, is the most fundamental reason why he does what he does. “On a very basic level, you can look at all the social implications of all this, but, for me, if one person in that neighborhood might be motivated to go out and maybe put something on public space themselves, then I view that


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piece of public art as a success,” Shultz said. On the surface, this sounds like a very noble cause, but it also raises many questions about the legitimacy and acceptability of street art — or, as some opponents deem it, illegal graffiti. The more artists I talked to, the more I realized that many of them got into the game at a very early age and thus are often viewed as hooligans rather than artists. “Everything started back when I was growing up. I grew up in Belarus. I guess I really started getting into street art in fifth grade. That’s when I started sketching in my black book and going out tagging, vandalizing properties and what not,” said Ilya Mazurkebich as he put the finishing touches on his Afro Samurai-inspired mural. Trask himself is an outspoken advocate for street art, though he knows that the transition from it being an underground activity with a small but devoted group of artists to a socially acceptable art form will not be easy. “Street art has exploded in the past decade. It has become, in some people’s eyes, a destructive and illegal activity, so what happens when this illegal activity becomes a commercial viable product? What happens when the people doing the illegal activity all of a sudden become art stars, rock stars, actually become something that people want to market their product?” he queried. Besides the obvious issue of legality, there is also the question of responsibility of the artist and even the art itself. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the mural is in a space where some beholders may not like to behold it, what then? “Who takes responsibility for this? If street art is done for the public itself, is it done for everybody? I believe it is, but then some that don’t see this way feel the need to take control. Where do you draw the line? Do you take control if some kid is always tagging the side of your mailbox all the time and he’s putting up

tags on the side of your building? Do you take control if a mural has been up too long and it’s become static and old and historically wrong?” Trask said. Unfortunately, none of these questions has a clear answer, but, despite these concerns, the street art movement has taken quite a foothold in Richmond, as it has in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York, even as police continue to make arrests. This brings us to the big question: Where does vandalism end and art begin? Can street art become an accepted medium in the community? The roughly 5,000 visitors at the festival seemed to think so. Trask is also optimistic about this prospect. “We see how it can divide communities and it can also bring the communities together and be optimistic at the same time. It’s a polarized issue; it’s a strong issue,” Trask said. STORY AND PHOTOS BY ZACHARAY STAPEL


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MACHINEDANCE VINTAGE There’s no argument that Richmond is the most fashionable city in Virginia. Take a walk down Broad Street and you will see that this city is a giant melting pot of styles. There are the 1980’s-style punks with their patched denim jackets, the hipsters with their Aztec prints, the frat boys with the pastel chinos and boat shoes, and the athletes with the Nike socks and Adidas soccer pants. All of these styles can be seen on a daily basis, but there are a few people who are trying to keep the Roaring 20’s alive in the 21st century. One of those people is Kathryn “Kath” Parker, who collects vintage clothing and items from decades spanning from 1900 to 1960. I first ran into Parker during September’s First Friday in one of the art galleries on Broad Street. Her 1920’s-inspired fashion and her cotton-candy-pink hair could not be passed over for a photograph. It wasn’t until that weekend that I discovered that Parkers’ outfit was not just a one-time only outfit, but a way of life for her. Under the name of Machinedance, Ms. Parker not only runs a vintage photography business—she also sells vintage clothing here in the city of Richmond. I couldn’t wait to learn more about this very beautiful and artistic woman, so I scheduled to have lunch with her at her earliest convenience to learn more about what inspires her to don this persona. INTERVIEW BY CORT OLSEN PHOTOS BY MACHINEDANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

INK: Who is Kath Parker?

Kath: I was an awkward child growing up, but I had a really close relationship with my parents. They were small time antique collectors and loved to watch old films. So I would watch these old films with them as well as accompany them to estates sales. I eventually started buying and dressing in clothes that were 30plus years old and that eventually manifested itself into what I do now, which is selling vintage and antique clothing for a living. INK: What is Machinedance? Where did that come from?

Kath: Machinedance is a name I started using when I was thirteen. I was on the internet and I saw this Russian ballet from the 1920s and they were dancing a ballet called “machinedance,” because they were dancing like they were all a part of a machine so it looked very mechanical. INK: What inspires your style?

Kath: My biggest influence for fashion has always been musicians. I couldn’t tell you the name of a designer to save my life. So I have always drawn inspiration from musicians, pri18

marily from the 70’s and 80’s. I have always been a huge fan of Siouxsie Sioux and Cyndi Lauper. Cyndi Lauper always inspired me to color my hair. Then I had influences from the 1930’s from film stars like Jean Harlow, Mae West, and Marlene Dietrich, who would shave off their eyebrows and draw them on. So, in a way, I have taken inspiration from every single decade that I love and put it all together.

INK: How do you pick your models for your photography business?

INK: How do you acquire your merchandise?

INK: Do you have an actual store location?

Kath: I have a few different sources. Primarily I get them from estate sales because it’s accessible, I can look at the clothes before I buy them and it is typically cheaper. So if I don’t like the clothes later on I can always turn them around and sell them. I also go on eBay and Etsy; there are a lot of people out there who are selling vintage clothing. Unfortunately, Northern Virginia and the Norfolk area are really big locations for vintage clothing because they have very transient cities, so it’s easier to get things on the internet than it is to get them in person.

Kath: Typically my models are my friends. I have used models that are just looking to build their portfolio, but mainly I look for people who have an alternative look. As much as I like to stay true to vintage fashion, I also like to dress it up and look for people who are more visual [performers]. Kath: I work out of my house and I have converted my garage into a studio. Being a photographer and going to school for photography has really helped me set myself apart from other shops in the sense of how I photograph my items. Everything people order online ships right from my house. INK: Where can people go to find your products?

Kath: You can go to my site which is which shows my photography and also links you to my vintage shop, and it will also link you to my Etsy and eBay accounts.


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CARYTOWN FASHION FEEDS THE BYRD Richmonders love the Byrd Theater. For those of you who are new to Richmond and haven’t felt the inevitable love yet, the Byrd is a movie palace located in Carytown, a favorite hub of eat/shop-local activity. I say “movie palace” because the theater opened in 1928 and features murals, marble accents, a red velvet curtain pulled open to display the screen, and a massive chandelier composed of over 5,000 crystals. Despite its lavish set-up, it only costs $2 to see a movie there. The films shown are ones that have left big-box theaters, but are new enough to have not been released on DVD yet. “I’ll wait for it to come to the Byrd,” is a common expression. With its classic movie-going feel and prices that even college students can afford, you can start to see why the theater is such a local staple. And you can see why the community wants to keep it up and running. The Byrd had A/C issues for a while now, and is currently using a temporary unit for heating and air that costs thousands a month. The new system it desperately needs has an even bigger price tag. The Byrd has other needs too, like new seats to replace those that have been used since the theater opened in the’20s. The Byrd Theater Foundation can’t even begin to consider these relatively smaller issues until it has a new air-conditioning unit to keep movie-goers comfortable in Richmond’s

erratic weather. Various fund raising activities have taken place, the most recent being a fashion show. “Carytown Fashion Feeds the Byrd” brought people out for a night of style at the movie palace, all for a great cause. The idea to have a fashion show to raise money for the Byrd Theater was conceived by Kathleen Preservati, co-owner of Champagne & Shoes, another Carytown hotspot. Kathleen’s idea to get together a few Carytown boutiques for the event was well received by the Carytown Merchant’s Association, and ten boutiques ultimately signed up to do the show: Bygones, Champagne & Shoes, Pink, Lex’s, Fab’rik, AlterNatives, West Coast Kix, Artisan Shops, Eurotrash and Glass Boat. Each boutique displayed 5 different looks on local models styled by Carytown Salons: Salon Vivacci, Ceco Studio, Bombshell, Look, and Flirt. Melanie Dunn, a stylist at Salon Vivaci and Communications Director for RVA Fashion Week, took on the role of producer for the show and planned the event out until she left for Paris, which is when Steven Ramirez (who works at Ceco Studio) took over. The entire event was Carytown planned and run. The show took place at the actual theater, with the stage substituting for a runway. A red carpet led up to the entrance and a drag queen in a blue sequined evening dress greeted attendees at the door. As an homage to the

Byrd’s history, the show opened with Bygones Vintage. Bygones’ looks were reproductions of vintage styles, and included a full-length red velvet dress with matching hat and a nude sequined gown (think Daisy in the latest Gatsby interpretation). Artisan Shops and AlterNatives displayed cool and relaxed looks with a global feel. Eurotrash and Pink epitomized downtown chic, while West Coast Kix showed off their sporty sneakers with simple cool-kid simplicity. Another highlight was Lex’s close to the show, featuring all tattooed models in tulle party dresses and sparkly floor-length gowns. The models had great attitude and brought cheers from the audience, some of whom went to the boutiques after the show and requested specific looks they had seen on the runway. The show was a success with all of the money from ticket sales, drink sales and raffle sales going to the Byrd Theater - although there is still a long way to go to reach the Byrd’s ultimate goals. “Our goals for next year are to get more people involved,” says Steven, the show coordinator, “and to make more money for the Byrd.” Next year’s show promises to be bigger in every way, but until then, keep waiting an extra month or two to see new releases at the Byrd Theater. STORY BY ALEXANDRA MITCHELL ILLUSTRATION BY SAGAL HASSAN NOVEMBER 2013

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The Manor

Fashion Director & Lead Stylist Jennifer Mawyer | Photographer Bree Davis | Hair & Make Up Rebecca Wylie | Model Hannah Mills Fashion Assistant Mikayla Baumgartner | Special thanks to the Scott House 20


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Left Cashmere Turtleneck by Velvet by Graham and Spencer, Pink | Relaxed Blazer by Suno, Roan | Mocha Skinny Pant by Covet, Eurotrash | Metallic Oxfords by BDG, Urban Outfitters Trust Fund Baby Necklace by My Flat in London, Eurotrash


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Calista Studded Pump by French Connection, Eurotrash | Studded Sweatshirt by Isabel Marant, Roan | Tigers Eye Cuff by Bounkit, Roan | Black Onyx Cuff by Bounkit, Roan | Triangle Drop Earrings by Jenny Bird, Pink | Vintage Plaid Skirt, Stylist's Own



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Short Sleeve Swan Dress by Clover Canyon, Roan | Loafers by Cooperative, Urban Outfitters Pyramid Crystal Bangle by Tat2, Pink | Triangle, Heart, Peace Sign Rings, H&M | Cross Midi Ring, Urban Outfitters | Gold Snake Ring by Tat2, Pink | Black Onyx Ring, Stylist's Own

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Black Sheer Woven Mesh Top by Kersh, Eurotrash Velvet Winnie Pant by Elizabeth & James, Pink Check Jacket by Maison Scotch, Eurotrash | Loafers by Cooperative, Urban Outfitters | Python Shoulder Bag by Cashimi, Roan | Necklace, H&M | Black Camisole, Stylist's Own



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Sweater by Elan, Pink | Trousers by Rebecca Taylor, Pink | Coat by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Roan | Longhorn Collar by Jenny Bird, Pink | Multicolor 28 NOVEMBER 2013 Necklace by Hoss Intropia, Eurotrash | Heels, Stylist's Own

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Coat at H&M | Scarf at H&M | Metallic oxfords by BDG at Urban Outfitters29


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Profile for Ink Magazine