The Kids Play Dress Up…The Student Show at Midwest Fashion Week!


So it’s time for Midwest Fashion Week again in Indianapolis. In the past, we’ve had really mixed experiences, but this year we decided to go into it with an open mind. That being said, why should we expect anything less than we would see on a runway anywhere else if the Midwest fashion industry wants to be taken seriously. While this is a young community in Indianapolis, one of which we are supportive, the reality is real artists have the same level of passion, drive, commitment and determination whether they’re living in Wanamaker, Prague or Milan. No excuses.

Tonight was the Emergence Fashion Show, displaying the works of student designers from the Midwest. We didn’t really know what to expect when we were invited by Ian Stikeleather. When we arrived, we immediately ran into several prominent faces in the local fashion community who we have come to call close friends. We chatted it up with Kaitlin Elyse who showed her newest designs from her T. Party line Saturday night at the Blu Martini. We were so impressed with Kaitlin’s recent show that we’re currently in the process of figuring out what we want to order. What was the theme of her show? Haters. Love it! We also ran into local fashion designer extraordinaire Nikki Blaine and photographer Polina Oscherov who we recently did a shoot. Amy Beers and Nightlights TV were also in attendance taping the entire event, interviewing designers and local celebrities in the fashion community as well as modeling herself on the runway. We chatted it up with Berny Martin, developer and producer of Midwest Fashion Week as well as well respected fashion designer of Catou, who was laid back and hilarious, proudly talking about this week’s events. We have to commend Berny on exposing Indy to some style and fashion we wouldn’t have witnessed without him. Nikki Sutton, famed local stylist and architectural designer…Wow!!! Absolutely gorgeous. We hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her before and we were so impressed. Definitely someone we hope to get to know better. Later, Nikki introduced us to Spanish bridal designer Antonio Fermin and his guest, decorator and socialite Julie Oliver. These two were so much fun, and we ended up laughing late into the night with them accompanied by Nikki Blaine and photographer Abdul-Shaheed Aaron, as we closed down the new Bazbeaux.

But onto the good stuff. The show. We were lucky enough to be seated front row center right next to Denisha Greene of Mode Magazine, who entertained us the entire evening. And here’s what we thought…first of all, we understand you’re students and we commend you for putting your stuff out there and taking the chance to have everyone watch you, but we’re firm believers you should never put something out there that you can’t stand behind. No matter how little time you had to prepare, the numerous pins and unsewn hems were embarrassing. And in reality, it made three designers stand out above all of the rest.

Obviously this isn’t a contest, but if it were Jennifer Spriggs would have come in third…but a very close third to second place. Her pieces didn’t even look like student pieces. They were sellable and intriguing and seemed to come from a very private place. These clothes, unlike many of those seen from the other designers, made the female models look attractive. Most designers had at least one good piece, but Spriggs, from Cincinnati, had a uniformity and a theme that was mysterious and alluring to the eye. Definitely someone to follow in the future.

Second place would go to Lorry Plasterer from Indiana University. Ok, this girl hand dyes her pieces and when you get up close, the detail is immaculate. Even the inside of the pieces were ornate and precise. One model wore a wool jacket that looked more like burlap but was incredibly soft and wearable. “Don’t you just love this material?” she said, behind cute, dark rimmed glasses. Not only are her designs playful, creative and eye-catching, they made the models look amazingly beautiful and besides Lorry, the models themselves were even excited talking about the pieces. She appeared so genuine and passionate about her art, which she seemed more like to us, an artist not a designer, that we are definitely intrigued to see more. And we also thought she’d be a blast to take out some night. So Lorry, there’s you’re invitation!

And of course first place. Now, before, like always, we’re criticized for picking favorites for various reasons, let us just say the reason we’re picking this designer is because their show was originally created, styled appropriately and the designer’s personality made us want to see more. Once we were home and we looked at their website, FLC International, we were even more impressed, reading the story behind their process and being able to see their designs as a entirely actualized business. Fred Schwier from Indiana University. This kid is so incredibly realized that his show completely flowed. Before we even came to the Emergence show we had been told to look for his pieces. Several male models walked out in these amazing Bermuda shorts, with material from Ghana, resembling Miss Celie’s One Size Fits All pants from The Color Purple, in a way that made us itching to have several pairs to wear to all of our events this summer. He also makes these amazing grey shirts, baseball hats and pants. In the last two years, we’ve had the opportunity to interview tons of celebrities on the rise and meet people from all over the world that when we were in their presence we realized they were going to be the next big thing. This kid…is the next big thing. Watch out!

We were incredibly impressed with the echelon of the models in this year’s show and wanted to give a special shout out to Ebony Smith who told us she’ll be leaving Indy sometime in the near future to move out west. We think this is a great idea for her as we stood in awe, yet again, as we stared at her incredible physique and facial structure. The girl is incredible.

We especially wanted to comment that we were absolutely intrigued by Emily Nyberg, one of the models who resembled a mix between Grace Kelly and Elaine Irwin. She walked the runway with an incredibly, confident signature walk we’ve never seen and even when she fell, yes…she fell, she just kept on walking. Amazing. Several people we talked to about Emily mentioned they felt she was too short for true runway and while this may be true, one of dear friends, Marissa Hobson, the newest supermodel and representative of Pantene, measures in at less than 5’4. A word of advice from the guys who interact on a daily basis with beautiful women all over the world…hit it fast out of Indiana! It’s your time to make it big in the big leagues. Contact us if you want any help…we have, well maybe a few contacts…Trust us folks…this girl is the next big thing!

We were incredibly impressed with the student show this year, especially the organization thanks to Ian Stikeleather and Berny Martin. We wish all the students the best of luck…oh and Fred…we were serious about that offer!

We can’t wait until Saturday to see the fashion show at the Gala event. Prepare to see us as we put our own spin on “Black Tie”. And then it’s on to Nashville for the boys of raannt to see Kelly Cutrone, Christian Siriano, Betsey Johnson, Gustavo Cadile and Traver Rains formerly of Heatherette for Nashville Fashion Week.

Eyes Open…We’re Watching!

Zoe Inspired!!! The Secret Life of a Personal Stylist!


The first time we saw her, standing across the room from us at a charity auction, looking 8 feet tall in enormous heels, leggings, a severe black jacket and a little hat, we knew we wanted to meet her. We saw her for the second time, surrounded by an entourage of personal assistants, seated front row for the fashion show at the launch of the online fashion magazine Fashion Wrap Up…and we knew we needed to meet her. So we posted something about her being a “mystery” lady in the world of local fashion in our gossip column on IndyScene and she quickly responded. Since then, it’s been late night phone calls until 5am, her becoming the personal stylist to the boys of raannt and the constant flow of creative energy and advice inspiring all of us through our friendship to help us become stronger and more stylish. Just last weekend, Zoe participated in Model Wars in Chicago and took home the prize of second place. She is constantly planning fresher and more creative fashion outlets in her shows and styling to keep her at the top of her game. Let one thing be very clear…Zoe is very demanding. She knows what she wants and she does not apologize. She is constantly reinventing herself and challenging those around her to rise to her level. But what we have seen, that she allows very few to see, is a small fracture of simplicity, compassion, authenticity and kindness that allow even her feelings to be hurt every once in a while, which she wears on her sleeve as a reminder to push harder. Because at the end of the day, after the stockings are shed and the chains and little hats are put away, once the makeup is removed and she is simply Zoe, she is reminded that she is a woman like any other woman, which is what she brings to her styling every day. The goal to make every person…feel as utterly beautiful as she feels inside each and every day. And for that we are immensely grateful for the one and only Zoe Renee Ashely Huse…

1. Tell us the background story on Zoe Renee Ashley Huse?
I am 28…a Total Aries-Sassy, Creative, Bossy, Fun and Loving…A Workaholic-I average 90hrs a week between My Fashion Businesses and My Full Time Job! A Huge Animal Lover I currently have 8 and would love to have more. Hot Pink and Neon Green are my two Favorite Colors and With Me What You See is What you Get.

2. What first inspired you to enter the world of fashion styling?
Hmmm! I have always had my own look and had a small following of people even in High School that always wanted to borrow my clothes. I would have a check list of who borrowed what and when, and check them in and out.
My Senior Year of High School I decided to go Into Fashion as a Career. I had always seemed to follow Fashion and Finally realized it was my one and only calling. I never looked back. I went to college and got an Associates in Fashion and Minored in Business. When I graduated I worked at a number of Retail Places including a Little Jewelry Place where I got some Buying Experience. I decided about 5 years ago to start my own business as a personal shopper and it kind of morphed into fashion styling as they go hand in hand. People liked what they saw and decided to hire me to style photo shoots and fashion shows and eventually produce them. Its kind of Blown Up from There…

3. What was your style like at age 10? 15? 21?
10: I have always Loved Big Sunglasses and mixing prints and patterns even at 10 years old. Keep it mind it was the 80s so that was totally acceptable! I also was a fan of Hats then.

15:Is When I started Vintage Shopping. Some Cool Plaid pants, Leather Pants, Leopard, Pleather, Sky High Heels, Tight Vintage Tshirts. I was kind of a Diva. I refused to wear the same thing Twice so if I wore it Once you Never Saw it Again! I remember my Two Favorite Stores being Wet Seal and Goodwill & Value Village.

21: I went through a Huge Bandana Phase, Vintage Tshirts, Lots of Jewelry, Bright Colors and Prints, High Heels, Bell Bottom Pants and Jeans, Vintage Clothing from the 60’s & 70’s, Anything Glittery, Ties, Clutches.

4. Who do you believe are the three greatest designers of all time?
Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, DIOR
A Mix of these Three & a Little Gwen Steffani would be My Dream Wardrobe

5. Who is a fashion designer every stylist should admire, but you really don’t appreciate their work?
I think Every “Designer” has an affect on a stylist for the Wearable art they create.
I can’t think of a specific designer who’s work I don’t appreciate as a whole. Of course there are pieces I don’t love, but I know of all the blood, sweat and tears that go into their work and appreciate that in itself.

6. If you could sit in the front row of any designers fashion show, who would it be?
Can I only Pick One?
Oh There are just so Many…..
“Every” Designer showing at New York, L.A. and Paris Fashion Week
I could just get a sleeping bag and camp out show after show after show and be completly content
But if I had to Pick Alexander McQueen and Betsy Johnson for the Show they put On

7. What are your thoughts on Rachel Zoe as a stylist?
After reading her story of how she came to be where she is, I have a higher regard for her than I have had in the past.
I don’t think her taste level is where it should be for her position in the fashion world…but I have only seen a small part of her styling.
I also Don’t agree at all with her LOVE OF FUR* Faux Fur Yes! Real Fur HELL NO!

8. What are three components every successful stylist should have?
1. The Eye to see what others don’t
2.Creativity
3. DRIVE & Ambition

9. What male and female celebrity has the best current style?
Female: Gwen Steffani
Male: Johnny Depp and Kanye West

10. Who are two people whose style will be remembered historically and why do you think they contribute to the world of fashion?
I can’t just pick two……Every Decade has One or Two HUGE FASHION ICONS! People that we always ahead of the times and mixed it up in just the right way that they were a piece of walking art from Coco Chanel & Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe & Jackie Kennedy to Edie Sedgwick to Madonna & Lady Gaga-Just off the Top of my Head

11. Who are two people in Indianapolis that have great style and why did you pick them?
Eutemia Stockman- She always looks classy and fashionable as well as expensive. I have never seen that girl not put together from head to toe. She can wear a $2 shirt and make it look like it costs $200.

Fly Won- She is the Thrifting Queen and can Put together the coolest outfits. I love her accessories and she always has the most Unique and Funky Creative Outfits.

12. At 28, your business incorporates several different aspects including styling, shopping, closet design and organization, jewelry design and marketing for small businesses. What does it take to be successful as a young business woman?
I am building a Fashion Empire, Not just a Business. This is my Name, my Life, My Career. One thing you will learn about me Very Quickly is I dont do Anything SMALL*it gets 150% from me or I dont do it at all! I would say determination, being a workaholic and having some huge goals are three things I have found equal success. I wouldn’t say my life revolves around Fashion but instead Creativity and that is is a huge part of all the aspects of my business.
I take this Business very seriously. Who needs Sleep when you have Fashion?

13. Define SEXY…
I think Sexy is all about The Essence you Give off, its more a Confidence to me then A Look.

14. What are three movies that inspire you or contribute to who you are?

The Notebook, The Little Mermaid and All the Sex in the City TV SHOWs & Movies

15. If you could only listen to three CD’s for the rest of your life and they couldn’t be mixed, what would they be?
Anything by the Beatles!
My favorite songs are I am the Walrus & Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

16. Sexiest city, club, store and restaurant in the world?
Sexiest Store:Agent Provocateur, City:Paris. I have yet to be in the Sexiest Club But I would have to say a Classy Strip Club & Restaurant Anywhere a HOT Naked Man is laying on the table with a delicious Pizza On his Body [Similiar to a Naked Sushi Woman but a Man with Pizza]

17. The holidays are here! Be specific and tell us the perfect sexy gift for a man and the perfect sexy gift for a woman?
A Sexy Gift for a Woman-Her Man giving her a Candlelit, Full Body Massage with Oils and Then Whip Cream, he will be wearing nothing but a Red Jock Strap and a Santa Hat

A Sexy Gift for Him-A boudoir photoshoot of her in some very skimpy Agent Provocateur Lingerie on the bottom, and nothing on the Top, a Garder Belt and some Red Manolo Blahnik High Heels

18. This week you will be participating in Model Wars. Tell us about Model Wars and about your participation in this event. Model Wars is a Contest of 30 Designers between The Midwest
Indianapolis, Milwalkee, Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis Against Each Other! Its not just a Fashion Show but a Play and Fashion Show Together. The Most Unique and Creative Concept Wins $10,000 in Cash and Prizes and the Title of Winner. They will also eventually compete against New York.
My part in the Show is I am producing and styling my team of 27 people including 2 Make Up Artists, 2 Hair Dressers, 8 Models, 4 Designers and some Extras that aren’t models but will be participating in the Play part of the show.

19. Where do you see Zoe Renee in 5 years? 10 years?
I have a very set 6 year goal of being a multi millionaire and being in the same place Rachel Zoe
is at this moment. Up to 10 years I can only see the Business getting even bigger and styling Celebrities and Producing & Styling
Fashion Shows at Fashion Weeks in L.A., NY and Paris. I also see myself owning a boutique with my Jewelry and possibly some
of my designs and maybe some of friends I have accumulated over the years. I also see myself having a child or two by 10 years
from now.
Living in California preferably San Francisco and keeping a home here in Indiana as it will always be Home.

20. Boxers, briefs, jockstraps…or nothing at all?
Depends on the Situation: Jockstraps and Nothing at all in the Bedroom and Boxers when walking around the house. Briefs for Photo Shoots.

Thanks Zoe!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

the boys of raannt…unveiled!

It’s been a crazy year. We’ve stayed in business and met tons of amazing people! We’ve won several awards, been listed on National websites, entertained celebrities, written for three other major websites, been on the radio, hosted a weekly gay night called FLESH, thrown two fashion shows and a charity event and we continue to try and raise our own bar to do more and more, bettering ourselves and the environment around us, especially the social environment.

It is officially raannt’s one year anniversary and we wanted to do something special this week to make it even more special! Recently, we were contacted by West A. Ferguson on Twitter, who told us he was a fan of raannt. He also told us he thought we had a pretty huge gay following, especially younger gays. We asked him who he would like to see us interview next and he replied, “Hmmmm…the boys of raannt”. And so we told him if he sent us 20 questions, we would write up an interview and let everyone see what’s behind all the hype! And so it goes…

1. What are three interestingly random things we would want to know about you guys.
Alex: I’m bilingual, I’m in a hip hop dance team here in Indy, and I was born in Venezuela and moved here when I was 12.
Peter: I’m been clean and sober for over 15 years. I’m an only child. I’m obsessed with Willie Nelson.

2. Is your current job, you dream job?
Alex: Its not, I love the job that I have right now and I’m learning a lot… But the more and more I move forward with raannt the more I would love to work in PR or in the social event department of a magazine.
Peter: My dream job constantly changes. Currently I’m a psychotherapist in private practice. (Read my work related blog at Thoughts From the Couch!) Honestly, my dream job would be to write novels and drink coffee daily.

3. If you’re not working where you want to, then what is your dream job.
Alex: Public Relations would be great!! Or working for a Magazine
Peter: Like I said, writing full time and having my work published. I’m currently shopping literary agents and publishers.

4. Just for kicks: Team Jennifer Aniston? or Team Angelina? We’re all ears with this ongoing celebrity feud.
Alex: I personally love Jennifer Aniston! She’s sssooo pretty and She looks like a mean girl but isn’t, but we don’t really know if she really isn’t, which is what I like about her!
Peter: Team Angelina. I’ve never understood the Jennifer Aniston obsession. I love everything about Angelina Jolie; especially her mystery.

5. What are three “nevers” of your life. for example: I will never wear hot pink. Lol
Alex: I never say “I never” because I just never know!
Peter: I will never jump from a plane unless it is my only way out and I will never swim with sharks unless I’m swimming for my life.

6. Some young gay/lesbian actors have this belief that coming out might slow down or put an end to their careers. Do you believe Rupert Everett was right in saying: “It’s not that advisable to be honest. It’s not very easy. And, honestly, I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out…”.
Alex: I think it’s really up to them, being gay/lesbian shouldn’t defined their work and professional life, its personal and should stay that way.
Peter: I don’t think we’re in a position to put our careers first, especially when our coming out might be a positive example for others, especially younger gay people. When I was younger I felt all alone because there really weren’t any gay role models. I guess I’ve never thought of myself in the closet, and I don’t really care. If someone else can’t accept me…it’s not my problem. It’s just not about me. But I don’t think I have to flaunt it in someone’s face either.

7. How do you feel about society’s reaction to those actors that choose to come out?
Alex: I think they’re interesting, you can totally tell where these reactions are coming from; for example in major cities they report it and move one, but in the Midwest they linger with the idea or thought of someone they liked as being gay/lesbian… To each its own I guess.
Peter: I think society, and we’re part of that, will criticize or over-analyze whatever celebrities do. I can’t understand what it’s like living their life, so I try not to judge. I do think that many actors have been embraced by society because it’s just not that big of a deal anymore to be gay.

8. On the subject of gay youth, can we please discuss Glee? haha Do you feel that the subject of disappointment and misunderstanding between Kurt and his father represents a theme that is mis/over-used within gay culture? Are there not good relationships between gay sons and their fathers?
Alex: I personally don’t watch Glee; I feel like it’s the nerdy brother of Gossip Girl and 90210. All of these shows are filled with the same idea of young pretty sex and steam fun drama that we like to watch… But!!! I will say that in all 3 shows they have introduced gay issues and their stereotypes.
Peter: I don’t watch Glee either, although I’m planning on buying the seasons and catching up because the show is just getting way too much hype for me to not witness. My father and I have a great relationship and honestly, my being gay has never been an issue. He is a surgeon, and as a man of science, he believes my being gay is genetic makeup.

9. While growing up and coming of age, can you guys remember if it was hard to respect or believe in a religion? If your memory goes back that far 😉
Alex: Umm!! Yes my memory goes back that far!! And actually it was a little difficult for me to respect it and this is probably why I choose to not have any religious believes.
Peter: I do not consider myself a religious person. I consider myself a spiritual person. And honestly, my issues with religion have less to do with being gay and more to do with my addiction and recovery. Honestly, I’ve never found anything in a church that is for me, but I do have a great respect for people that find that kind of faith. I think religion or spirituality is personal and should be left that way. It’s a personal relationship. I don’t think most people would understand my spiritual beliefs, based on love and learning, and quite frankly, it’s none of their business.

10. With your views on religion, do you believe that marriage is for everyone? ( I only ask because I would not want to assume that all the gay community feels the same way)
Alex: I personally think that marriage shouldn’t be a religious benefit or right or anything, I actually think it shouldn’t be tied down to religion because its about loving the person you’re marring, not the religious you share or believe in.
Peter: I do not believe marriage is for everyone, whether gay or straight. I do struggle with couples who engage in committed relationships but have an open relationship, but then again, I guess that’s none of my business either if it works for them.

11. Okay, I’m going to give into a stereotype and comment on your amazing skin Raannt boys! You guys must have pretty interesting skin regimes, considering you both have amazingly beautiful complexions. So how do you guys do it…you know should know that this information will help the skin condition of all your fans! 🙂
Alex: Wow thanks!!! I actually had horrible skin when I was in High School and hated my face!! But I grew out of it, I do still get break outs here and there and still hate them, but its part of me and all I have to do is make fun of them and move on.
Peter: Honestly, my friends from high school would laugh at this question because when I was a teenager, I never had any acne and they were jealous. I think mostly it’s genes, but my mother always taught me to wash my face with bar soap, which is typically not what is recommended, but it has always worked for me. Also, I drink tons of water.

12. Speaking stereotypes: {because I totally brought up these topics so that they wouldn’t correlate *sarcasm*} Do you think there are definite roles for each person within a gay/lesbian relationship? Like bride and groom/man or woman?
Alex: I personally think that if I’m with a man it should be a man, just like me. I like guys who are guys and If I wanted a girly guy I might as well be with a girl.
Peter: I’m with men because I am attracted to masculinity. That being said, what works for me, isn’t for everyone. In our relationship, we have no set roles, entirely.

13. @CortneyStiggers wants to know: What do you like about one another?
Alex: I love how silly Peter is, he pretends our dogs have voices and are actual people and plays and talks to them… Silly but it makes me smile.
Peter: I love Alex’s confidence. Also, he is not only my fiance, but my best friend. He is willing to tell me when I am wrong about something and to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. He challenges me to be a better person.

14. Another fan (@starsintheskies) asks: Individually, which do you prefer: words of affirmation, quality time together, physical touch, receiving gifts, or acts of service?
Alex: I like a bit of them all… I’m personally not a romantic person so all the mushy mushy stuff isn’t for me but I try my hardest to do it for Peter.
Peter: All of them, but romance and passion are really important for me. I think validation in a relationship is important and I definitely think quality time, no matter how it is spent, is vital. Although I love gifts, they don’t say much in a relationship. Physical touch…a must!

15. Which emotion is stronger: Anger or Love?
Alex: I think they’re both pretty strong and there wouldn’t be one with out the other.
Peter: Anger is a secondary emotion which we give power. Love can overcome anything.

16. Looking back in the past: What will you always remember about your childhood? Is there anything that you will always remember.
Alex: I think I will always remember the big family gatherings and trips to the beach. Venezuela is where I grew up and we got to do a lot of fun stuff while I was there!
Peter: What…I’m not still a child? Hmmm..I’ll always remember my teacher reading, “Help I’m a Prisoner in the Library” during a blizzard in 4th grade. I’ll always remember my mom and I dancing in the rain, and eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on snow days. And sailing on Lake Michigan with my dad.

17. What family traditions have you brought into your own life?
Alex: I don’t think I have any… well that I can think of.
Peter: Interesting that he says that because I’ve learned a lot about Venezuelan Christmas traditions. It’s really important for me that we don’t go to bed angry and that we kiss each other good night.

18. With the anniversary of your blog, what impact do you hope to leave with your readers?
Alex: I want them to keep wanting more! I feel like they more they want the more drive we will have to be able to give them that, and by doing so growing as a page and place for people to go to and have fun reads!
Peter: At Pride Day this weekend we had a transsexual woman come up to us and thank us for our blog, saying we had given a voice to gay and trans people. Other people thanked us for giving gay people a mainstream voice. I guess I didn’t realize we were doing that, but it’s important that now that we have a voice, we use it correctly. I hope to leave readers knowing that we’re just two guys, accomplishing our dreams and trying to make the world a better place. Laugh a little bit and find love in the glitter…life just isn’t that serious. It’s over all too quick!
19. What are three platforms do each of you support?
Alex: Eating Disorders in Youth, Aids Foundation, and anything that will keep kids dancing!
Peter: Animal rights, especially for elderly dogs. Teen addiction and recovery. National equal rights to marriage.

20. Describe your life in a six word sentence. Mine (for example): Young sexy love never dies ugly 😉
Alex: Loyal Loving Crazy Sassy Sexy Dance
Peter: Life is short. Live it up!.

21. Taken from the raannt box o’ interview questions: on each other…boxers, briefs, jockstraps,…or nothing at all 😉 {your readers are dying to know}
Alex: I love sleeping in my boxers! And to go out cute sexy briefs!!
Peter: I love old school boxers, especially with buttons but typically nothing at all…And Alex looks great in a jockstrap!

So there it is…we hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks to West Ferguson for the interview…and to all our sexies…

Eyes Open…We’re Watching!

Spotlight 2010…LOVE…

Love. Red. Ribbons. Lots of them. Smiles. Embrace. Voices carry. Dancers tango on an orange dusk wind across the stage. Children sing innocently just moments before a seven foot drag queen discos her Last Dance across the stage to Donna Summer. Front porch soliloquies so southern they make you want to throw in The Color Purple. At last the jazz heats up the stage a frying pan simmering rendition while strings collide melodically and prose weaves together our heartstrings, our hands held over the arms of our seats in the auditorium. Ribbons. Red. Lots of them. Love.

Spotlight 2010…A magical journey and cacophony of 18 of the best performers in Indianapolis all together tonight at Clowes Hall, raising over $300,000($4 Million in the last 15 years)for HIV/AIDS prevention and education. All proceeds benefiting the Indiana AIDS Fund.

Love.

We had our favorites, of course. The Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and the Kenyetta Dance Company. Absolutely amazing. And Milicent Wright from IRT. No words can explain…especially Tasha Jones, whose words about Love…LOVE…inspire us even tonight.

What an amazing time we had, running into people from all of different worlds, in one place, for one reason. It was a little hard to understand, then, that to our dismay, the evening would take an interesting twist. As the Indianapolis Men’s Choir sang softly and tenderly from the stage, the two women in front of us would decide to begin calling their friends on their cell phones. For several minutes we tolerated this, coughing under our breath and slightly tapping their chairs, all decent signs, to please…be quiet. Even from rows behind and in front of us, the small chatter of uncomfortable coughing could be heard. Finally, we had had enough. “Shut up!” We said. The response, a twist of a weave, head flip, flip phone closed with one hand. “Did he just tell me to shut up? Oh, no! I’m grown!” And we were silent.

Silent.

Until she said quietly, but audible enough to be heard for several rows, “Faggot”. Silence. Until the man next to her said, “You didn’t really just say that did you.” I mean…let’s be for real, we no longer corner the market on HIV and AIDS propaganda but quite a few seats were filled by the gay men-nation, not to mention lesbians, bisexual and several, several transgendered people. And then they laughed.

But maybe we’ve been silent long enough. So we complained. Trying to remain classy and not say what we would have really liked to have said. Class is the true sign of a “grown” person. And the poor, older, white haired woman seating people said, “Oh my, I’ve never dealt with anything like that before.” But the two women got progressively louder and louder, until they were asked to leave.

And love for the respect of the performers persevered. And somebody grown got told.

And after the show, the man in front of us said, “can you believe she said that?” and a woman behind us said, “you did the right thing.” And for years and years, so many of us sit by idly and don’t say anything and allow this kind of injustice. But not tonight. And not from now on. And maybe because rows of people, and performers donating their time and organizers and planners got together and said, “shut up” to HIV/AIDS, maybe…maybe…one person’s life will be saved…and that makes all the difference.

All because of love baby. All because of love.
Ain’t it great!

Rekindle the Night Gala to Save the Children in Haiti!

Several months ago we got a call from our good friend Scarlett Thorne to help her promote an event she was organizing with her friend Mia Evans. This Saturday, the event, Rekindle the Night, will be held at Midtown Bar and Grill in Broadripple to help raise money for children in Haiti. We are extremely honored to have been asked to help forward along this message and can’t wait to be a part of this Saturday’s festivities. Mia sent us a quote on why this charity event was so important for her to organize!

“Like many other wonderful things born from tragedy, the Charity Gala was a product of necessity. I lost the love of my life, a hardship many can relate to especially those currently facing the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that hit Haiti . It became quite clear that I needed to put my efforts, energy, heart and compassion into something much larger than myself. I’m fortunate in that I’m surrounded by a circle of friends and family who are not only selfless, but extremely inspirational, and it was this inspiration that yielded the Charity Gala. Save the Children Organization is committed to doing whatever is necessary to provide a better living to those affected the most by the Haiti quakes, the children. Our community has shown just how powerful a message can be and has come together to not only meet but exceed our goal of $10,000 in donations. I am so proud of everyone who has participated and look forward to seeing all the kind, giving hearts that will be attending the Gala to make a better life for some children who are in desperate need of our help. “

Below are the details from their Facebook page:

On April 17th we will be hosting a Red Carpet Charity Gala at Mid Town Bar and Grill for Save the Children Organization with a goal to raise $10,000 for the Haiti Relief Children.

At 5 p.m. on January 12, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale struck the impoverished island nation of Haiti. It was centered 15 miles from the capital of Port-Au Prince. The earthquake is believed to be the country’s worst in 200 years.

All children in the affected area have experienced a great shock and are likely to be very stressed and in need of emotional support now and for many months to come. Save the Children has significant expertise and experience in caring for the emotional needs of children in emergency situations.

Your support is critical – Save the Children will be working nonstop for children in Haiti for many months and is seeking private support for our relief and recovery efforts.

MIDTOWN GRILL, TYLER BENDER BAND, AND NUVO HAVE ALL COLABERATED TO CREATE A SPECIAL EVENING JUST FOR YOU TO “REKINDLE THE NIGHT.”

THE EVENING WILL CONSIST OF:
– RED CARPET OPENING
– LIVE MUSIC BY TYLER BENDER BAND
– APPETIZER BUFFET
– FREE DRINK TICKET
– SILENT AUCTION/RAFFLE – concert tickets, Indy 500 tickets, jewelry, wine tasting parties, perfume, gift cards, dinners, MUCH MUCH MORE!!!
– BACHELOR AND BACHELORETTE DATE AUCTION

For more details concerning the organization please visit www.savethechildren.org.

Tickets are $35 at the door!
For more information contact Mia Evans at rekindlethenight@yahoo.com

And if you can’t make an appearance, we’re sure they would appreciate any contribution!!!

Hope to see you all there!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

Swimsuit Contest Tonight at FLESH!!!

Tonight at Landsharks in Broadripple is FLESH…from 9-3 with amazing music all night long from FLESH’s resident DJ FLESH, drink specials and boy and girl go go dancers for whatever you’re interested…maybe both! And NO Cover…

And if Spring Break just ended for you or is just started, enjoy it for a few hours tonight at FLESH…come out in your favorite swimsuit and hang out…at Midnight, we’ll give out a prize of a Jagermeister basket worth $500 to the one person we believe has the BEST bathing suit look..they’re aren’t any rules just come out in your bathing suit and enjoy the night!!! ANYONE can enter…we don’t discriminate!!!

See you there!!!
Eyes Open…We’re Watching

IndyScene…THE boys of raannt talk SCENE…

The new and improved IndyScene website will be up and running later this week…and the boys of raannt have their very own little column! So stay tuned and check out IndyScene to see what’s going on all over Indy!

And thanks to our good friends J.R. and Kelley over at IndyScene for giving us this chance…just wait as we all take over Indy!!!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!

FLESH Monday’s at Landsharks…Posse Party!

Come join us tonight for FLESH Mondays at Landsharks Posse Party!!!…Bring the biggest group of people with you and all of you be there by 11:45pm with some kind of common theme, and you will win a Jager basket worth over $500. After that, you and your posse can fight over who wins the contents!

Flesh is every Monday from 9-3 at Landsharks in BroadrippleNO COVER and DRINK SPECIALS!!!

So come on out and remove the stress of the first day back to work!!!

Eyes Open…We’re Watching!

The Word’s Mr. Ted Fleischaker

Recently, Alex and I found ourselves somehow in the middle of two Gay Media Guru’s located in our very own Indianapolis. Bil Browning, co-owner and blogger of The Bilerico Project, had approached us about being their local “gossip columnists”, which is now one site where we currently write and have enjoyed all of our experiences with them so far. A few months later, we were contacted by Ted Fleischaker, owner and publisher of The Word(the midwest gay newspaper), to be his new gossip columnists taking over his personal gossip column. After some consideration, we had to decline as Ted explained we had to be careful what we wrote always considering his advertisers. Although we don’t necessarily agree with this, we do understand that in his business, it’s vital to keep the advertisers happy. Nonetheless, we found ourselves discussing why both disagreed so much about getting information out to all of us and why they felt paper vs cyberspace was better. And really…what made each of these men tick. They were both awesome enough to grant us with an interview and what we found was that both are pretty genuine guys who just feel pretty passionate about their own ventures. Bil’s interview can be found on The Bilerico Project/Indiana. We have honored Ted’s wishes by posting his interview here instead of on The Bilerico Project. Although it’s long, we’ve written exactly as it was given to us. Good Luck to both men…we feel you both have your place!!!

1. What is your full name and position?
Ted Fleischaker (yeah really Ted, not short for anything since mom and dad said the last name was daunting enough to spell) I’m owner, publisher, do delivery for and clean toilets at The Word & Up Down Town. I started the Word in 1991. Up Down Town (the straight paper many don’t even know I own) in 1993.

2. Do you consider yourself a gay role model/leader and if so, why?
Nope. Not at all. We have no “leaders” in the community as we all are entitled to different views and directions. The only way I’d like to be a role model is with business. There were five other gay newspapers when I started in 1991, and I have managed to make it, while the rest have gone into the history books. The most recent competition here died in 2005. I chalk that up to my dad instilling a sense of business which remains the same — gay or straight — of sales, working with customers and listening then matching what they say to what they can afford. It’s also why we collect over 97% of the bills and have no debts. I tell folks that my success is because I do not drink and I mean that. Sadly, some of my 1990s competition were alcoholics or used drugs. It’s hard to do business when you go out at 12.30 a.m. and are wasted before you get the contract signed! I have daytime office hours and stick to them so I am here for the customers and readers.

3. What is one movie that has drastically impacted your life?
Thoroughly Modern Millie. It was corny, 20s musical humour but has more truisms than any other film. That said, I rarely go to the theatre and can’t recall the last full movie I watched at the cinema, on DVD, VHS or TV! I just would rather watch documentaries or news plus I fall asleep after a half hour so I’d not want to snore and disturb someone in the next row!

4. What is a book you are currently reading and what is the last book you read?
Now: Charlie Connelly’s “Attention All Shipping” dubbed as “a journey round the Shipping Forecast” which is broadcast five times a day on BBC Radio 4.
Last one: “Along Lost Lines”. About the old rail lines which have closed in the UK with photos of the final trains and what the same spots look like now.

5. What did you want to be when you were 10?16?
At 10 I don’t recall, but by 14 a journalist and newspaper man. In junior high I was getting mail copies of The Miami News (it closed in the 90s) sent to me and at lunch in the junior high cafeteria I always was reading a paper!

6. If you could only listen to one CD for the rest of your life and it couldn’t be a mixed CD, what would you listen to?
Vivaldi Concerti / Fabio Biondi leading Europa Galante

7. What is something about you that we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
That for years in my 20s, 30s and 40s I did extreme sports. I have a gold medal from 1988 for biathlon, was a certified downhill ski instructor and raced dirt motorcycles and rode crotch rocket Ninjas until about 5 or 6 years ago.

8. What is your attitude towards the issue between blogging verses newspapers?
Long answer here but honestly, there’s no similarity. They are not competition because the business models are totally different. Newspapers, especially specialist papers like The Word and ones like The Jewish Post, The Criterion for the Catholics, The Recorder for the Black community, etc., thrive because of what they offer in the way of accurate reporting, news that’s directly of interest as well as the unique place they hold in their respective communities. They are also trusted by advertisers for these very qualities. The dailies are folding because too many are corporate owned now and they had a business model based on page after page of department store, classifieds and car ads. Now that there’s way fewer department stores (think Macy’s everywhere, whereas before Indianapolis and every city had many) and car firms on the rocks, that income has vanished along with the classifieds they depended upon which have moved to Craigslist and elsewhere — often online and for free.

Blogs meanwhile have very little hard news value to most in the community and generally are regarded as comedy, rants (sorry!) , politics or complaints/personal attacks to be posted by people with axes to grind or one point of view that no mainline news organisation would print. They have it over newspapers because they are immediate, but so long as there are CNN, BBC News and all the TV and newspaper news sources out there, I don’t see anyone going to a blog for real, hard news. They might visit daily or even several times a day to see one writer’s “take” on what’s up and where and when, but only after the person reads the mainline take in the daily paper or hears it on CNN or in the case of our community reads it in The Word or sees it on our site. There is also the issue that blogs for the most part operate free and therefore are not governed by economics of keeping advertisers happy and presenting all points of view — even if some of the views disagree with their owners’ ideas.

In addition, bloggers and their contributors are for the most part unchecked sources. The reliability of what’s printed is always up for question and unless a source can be proven to be authoritative and accurate — along with being immediate — people assign it to a secondary or lower level. This is not to say blogs are bad as we all want our opinions and views out there, but it is to say that much of what’s posted has little hard news value, but is instead commentary ON the news or someone’s way to “get back at” or “attack” someone or something involved in or reporting the hard facts.

9. Who has been your greatest influence, besides a family member or close friend?
The late Dr. Jack Fought. He was head of the journalism and communications department at Bradley University from where I have my journalism degree. He taught accuracy, fairness, charity and how to handle everything from deadlines to controversies. His words have taken me a long way and we remained friends until his death in the 90s.

10. If you had to donate $1 Million to the charity of your choice with no stipulations, what would it be?
WQXR, the Classical Radio station based in New York City. It was recently saved from changing formats by becoming public and deserves my support.

11. Greatest local performer?
I work with them all, am friends with many of them, so won’t play favorites.

12. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Winston Churchill. Quotable, practical and interesting. He won WWII you know!

13. If you could have sex with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Ivan Howard, my husband. I’m totally happy after 17 years. Just wish we had time for it a bit more often with our schedules.

14. Number one item on your Christmas list this year?
Being Jewish I don’t have a Christmas list…but for Chanukah and New Year’s probably a wish that I could sell the house my dad left my sister and I in Kentucky, so she and I don’t have that on our mind or plates in 2010. It’s rented but still a lot of bother and cost to deal with. A buyer please Santa!

15. Is there an afterlife?
Nope. You better have fun while you are here cause after that it’s just the cemetery or the crematorium!

16. Three major political issues facing gay Americans today?
a.) Getting our own shit together and reminding folks who place themselves as “leaders” that most of us did not nominate, hear from or vote for them to speak for us. And getting that message out to the political powers that be.

b.) Reminding the larger community that we are here, are not going anywhere, that we always have been here and we always will stay here. Also, that we don’t rape kids, stalk people or “turn someone gay.” We have no “gay agenda”, aside from jobs, love, paying bills and voting just like everyone else struggling in this economy. We really are your co-workers, neighbours and go the the PTA and sit next to you, so please don’t demonise us!

c.) Getting full national health care for all, so that regardless of marital status or relationships we all have our own coverage and equal access to care.

17. The major pop culture issues facing gay Americans today?
Just one: Learning to communicate again. We have all become so into texts, FAXes, instant messages, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, e-mails, etc etc. that we do not know how to really talk face-to-face and communicate anymore. For any understanding within or outside the community that needs to be resolved. Real conversation, I feel, would solve 85% of the ills of the world if we could but only turn off and learn to talk again.

18. Any comments on The Bilerico Project?
With the blog Bil has finally made himself somewhat “famous” which has been his life’s goal. He and I had a few dates 17 or 18 years ago and he also dated Ivan my partner and introduced us (on a 3-way phone call), so we go back a long way. From the beginning, Bil wanted to be “famous”. The first recollection I had was a black and white photo of him the Evansville paper ran standing alone, picketing Kmart there in the early 90s with a sign that said AIDS=DEATH. Bil has always wanted to be in the media as the “community leader” and the “spokesman” and has done a lot of posturing to get his 15 minutes of fame extended…and at that he has succeeded.

I do find it sad that he has some major axes to grind against folks he feels have stood in his way (including me), and for that I am sorry, but many of us have long memories. We also know that he’s never really, truly done the “homework” to deserve the status he aspires to. Last we checked he was never elected to head any major political action group like HRC, IE, Fairness Campaign, Tri-State Alliance etc. (save for ones he, himself started for the purpose of self-PR). Also, he and his partner and their blog have never been seen that I can recall as sponsor of or major donor to anything in the community — not IYG, Grande Masquerade, AIDS Walk, Pride, DEFA Fund, Bag Ladies nor anything else. He shows up on his blog to “snipe” at the community events he feels don’t fit his mold and says to the general press he’s a “community leader” but I have never seen any evidence of any genuine volunteerism, work or involvement where he was a worker bee and not the person in charge.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I did not say it’s rude of him to attack and allow libel to be posted against The Word and me personally all the time. I am not certain what he thinks he has to gain with posts saying we’re on “media death watch” and allowing folks to call what I publish “The Turd” because personal attacks merely lower the attacker and do nothing else. He’s been told by many of his own bloggers that very same thing, yet it’s such an obsession that he continues to do it. I think it’s time he considered moving on from the attacks, doing some good and positive things in the community and not trashing a media source which advertisers and readers respond to; which is what I own. I also see few/no local ads on Bilerico and it’s usually also the same folks posting over and over and over, which shows me and the community’s real leadership that locally his base of support is small. Most just laugh at his rants about The Word and me or my poor cats. As my dad taught, every knock is a boost so I really appreciate the free PR he gives me when he “goes off”. It is, however, time he grew up a bit and moved on to some real news as his trash talking is really not helping his credibility.

19. Long or short showers?
Too long, but partner Ivan is very patient and stays in with me till the end so he can squeegee the shower door. Our shower has two heads and fits both of us, and he designed out condo with that feature! Does he know me or what?

20. Boxers or Briefs?
Stanfield’s (from Canada) briefs. They fit best and no they didn’t pay me to say that!

Thanks Buddy!!! We really appreciate it and wish you all the best!

Eyes Open, We’re Watching!!!