Good taste

People are never satisfied for very long.

For some, that all-too-familiar bar crawl — hunting up some good live tunes, or a memorable encounter of any kind — may satisfy, for a while, the relentless urge for The New.

But eventually that, too, grows old. So if an ideal night out did exist, what would it look and sound like? Chances are, this utopian gathering would include several ingredients common to all tastes: lots of attractive, interesting people dressed like hip clothes were being outlawed tomorrow; accessible-yet-meaningful music; an indefinable air of expectancy. The locale would need to be a comfortable place where everybody could feel at ease.

And of course, a little good wine — a social lubricant, if you will — never hurt.

If that sounds like the kind of social event you’ve been missing, you should definitely check out an upcoming — and unprecedented — soiree at The Grey Eagle.

The idea behind Frivolous Tonite is creating an experience you won’t find anywhere else — at least not around here. All in one evening, the event provides the fascinating pageantry of a fashion show, featuring the most eye-catching apparel local designers have been able to create; a wine tasting, that special pleasure once reserved solely for high-society types; and a late-night, pop-powered concert by Ron Neill.

This combination of seemingly disparate ingredients hints at the diverse creative talents at work behind Frivolous Tonite.

“You have hot girls and cool clothes and good music. It’s [going to be] glitzy and glamorous,” teases Anna B., one of Frivolous Tonite’s three featured designers. Her line, Recycled Clothes, plucks the retired looks of yesterday out of secondhand stores and re-fashions them into edgier, more exotic garments. The morphing of a stuffy businesswoman’s dress into a Marilyn Monroe-over-a-steam-grate-style extravaganza is one great example of her art; for Anna, the show is mostly about having fun and strutting her stuff.

“It’s going to have a lot of things you wouldn’t normally see people wear, sort of risque things. It will be a cool, sensual experience,” she promises.

Another featured designer, Alcora Gardener, creates form-fitting, seductive evening wear. A notable example of her talent is a floor-length, shimmering satin gown that’s certain to tantalize.

“I like to dress women in things they feel good about, feminine things in particular. It builds confidence,” she notes. Her previous work has mostly been in retail clothing design, but this show offers a creative outlet for her less-mainstream fashions.

Another featured designer, Eli, was unavailable for an interview — but her colleagues assured me her work is equally captivating.

The intermission between the fashion show and the concert is an event unto itself. A local wine specialist — that would be The Wine Guy — will provide a selection of great vintages, and The Grey Eagle will also offer its own selection. This tasty segue also gives the crowd a chance to mingle with the models and designers.

Headlining act Ron Neill generously confirms that this shindig is about more than his music: “You can go anywhere in town and see a band, but you’re not going to get the cross-cultural [additions] of a fashion show and a wine tasting,” he points out. “It gives people an alternative to the normal, everyday things to do.”

Neill, who also acts as the show’s organizer, is a dedicated patron of the Asheville music scene (you may remember him as the force behind last year’s open-mic showcase at The Basement). Like Frivolous Tonite, Neill’s self-named band is a mix of different elements, combining strong lyrics with melodic arrangements.

Neill’s style stems from years of searching for his own voice. After trying valiantly to copy what others had done, he found success when he began focusing his attentions closer to home.

“I’ve tried to write formula songs, but I absolutely could not do it,” he reveals candidly. “I have to write about things that have gone through me, or gone past me.” His performance will include songs from his new CD, due out later this year.

Ultimately, Neill’s hopes for Frivolous Tonite are as simple as a summer sheath: “I want people to go see this. It’s a really cool thing.”


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