Yeah, I titled this post “random stuff” because that’s that this post is about: Some random stuff I wanted to highlight. (It don’t get no simpler than that. *LOL*) The first of the random stuff is an article I came across back in November profiling the central (downtown) branch of the Madison Public Library. When you think “library,” you think a place with a lot of books along with dour librarians giving you an evil eye if you make any sort of noise. Well, our Central Library has all that, but before a couple years ago, it also had an interior right out of Mad Men. Seriously, the furniture and interior were literally from the 1960s, and it goes without saying that the place did not age well. Thankfully, this retro relic would undergo a 21st century transformation, reopening in September 2013 after an inside-and-out refurbishing that took 18+ months. Now, it has a heck of a lot more than books and librarians: A children’s area, a cafe, a multimedia lab, meeting rooms, even an art gallery. The latter two are prominent in the library’s visually stunning upper level, which have featured everything from lectures and concerts to weddings and fashion shows (no, seriously). If you still don’t believe me, check out this Capital Times article from last November. Better yet, if you’re in Madison, check it out some time; it’s really worth seeing.
Okay, okay, you want some fashion stuff, don’t you? Well, there’s a beauty pageant this week, Miss Universe. This past Wednesday was “Wear Some Costume That Best Represents Your Nation Day” at the pageant, and some entrants wore some real doozies. Understandably, these outfits are not meant for the evening gown competition, and they wouldn’t dare wear these while handling the current events question and be taken seriously. The costumes on display Wednesday appeared to fall into one of two categories — the respectful and understated type, or the go-all-flashy, employ-the-greatest-stereotype type. Getting the most attention were outfits in the latter camp, perhaps the biggest highlight being Miss Canada’s getup, shown here. Sure, Chanel Beckenlehner could’ve gone with a costume patterned after, say, the Rocky Mountains or Anne of Green Gables or even the CN Tower. Instead, she takes inspiration from Canada’s national sport, hockey, and goes all out, right down to the rink layout in back and the Stanley Cup on her head. Even the scoreboard works, although it shows lots of offense for a hockey game well past the two-thirds mark (yes, I know, Miss Canada won her title in 2014). Of course, there’s something to be said for the respectful/understated route, and those were my favorites. Some of those types of outfits, which can be found here and here, included Miss France, who looked very chic in a bridal style dress topped off with a red beret and accents; Miss Columbia, whose flowered dress and accompanying umbrella were quite decorative; Miss India, whose outfit was downright hypnotic; and Miss Slovak Republic, who may have looked a little too understated but did look pretty.
It dawned upon me: All of the costumes discussed above rank right up with something a drag queen would model. And speaking of drag queens, RuPaul’s Drag Race should be starting up a new go-round pretty soon (I’m not sure of the exact premiere date, other than it being sometime in 2015). Anyway, one of the entrants for Drag Race’s 7th season hails from the state of Wisconsin, and she can be seen here in Madison! She’s Trixie Mattel, and she’s been hosting a weekly Thursday late show at Plan B, a LGBT bar and dance club on Williamson Street. It’s a great feeling knowing a Badger Stater will get the chance to sashay down that runway. You can learn more from Trixie in her recent interviews with the Capital Times and Our Lives Magazine (the latter feature is accompanied by some really well-crafted photos of Trixie and her male alter ego). Good luck, Trixie!
Speaking of Our Lives Magazine, their annual “Love Issue” is now out. Every year, Our Lives puts the call out for Wisconsin’s same sex couples and their straight allies to be listed in their “Caring & Committed Couples List,” which appears in their January/February issue (Our Lives publishes bi-monthly). The list includes photos and a few mini-profiles of several couples. My heart always melts when seeing this issue. These couples are genuine representations of true love, made even more genuine by the fact that they can now legally marry in the Badger State! (Woo hoo!) Pick up a copy of Our Lives if you’re in Madison, or access the issue at the PDF link above, and notice the joyful feeling in your heart when you know that #LoveWinsWI.