.No Place Like It.

At a fashionably late 7:30, the downtownster crowd of three left the wine tasting and headed to the Emerald City, recently relocated to FIDM. We sauntered up to the tables with the all important lists, past a half dozen Dorothy’s and dropped our names. The proverbial little green door slammed shut as we realized our names never made it to the press or guest list. My feet started to ache in my impossibly high red heels.

“We are from downtownster.com, here with Judy Yaras,” said Stan.

“Now that’s a horse of a different color, go on in.”

We turned to see just a glimpse of a 70-foot, neon green hot air balloon that tinted the entire entryway emerald. I was dressed to the nines in my heels and slinky black dress feeling 5-years-old smack in the middle of my favorite childhood musical. I wanted to skip down the yellow carpet, try on all the sparkly red shoes and ride off in the balloon. This night was a dream in the making from our first step inside.

We took in the scene for a second, checking out who all the cameras were clicking for, soaking in the giant image of Dorothy and her traveling friends on the balloon, then made our way to the bar where we uncovered another gem of the evening.

“Tonight we have anything you want. But, we are making the Ruby Sippers, Champagne with pomegranate juice, and the Ozmopolitan, which is really just a Cosmopolitan, but I think they are going for a theme here!” our bartender smiled and waited for our orders. We all picked the Ruby Sippers and made our way around the party.

Naturally, we migrated towards the show, the whole reason for the crowd. We rounded the corner into the gallery and hung a sharp right into the store. I absolutely couldn’t wait to mingle my way to the windowed corner and feast my eyes on Tarantino’s new line, My Pretty. I had only seen her work online and let me tell you, in person it is a whole other type of spectacular! My heart was captured by the bubble earrings and the Dorothy ring, and I coveted, it’s true. I began to notice ladies around the party donning the brilliantly sparkly red heart necklace, or the unbelievably feminine butterfly rings. I wanted them, all of them. Tarantino’s new creations for this event were perfectly playful and sophisticated. Every woman adorned with one of her pieces looked like the bell of the ball. But Tarantino’s jewelry was not her only creation present. To the left of the store entrance was a beautiful costume designed for Glinda the Good Witch. It was bejeweled with tiny hearts and millions of sparkles. On the opposite wall down the hall was another Tarantino costume stitched for one of the flying monkeys. It was a large feather and metal piece that oozed terror, and fear. I suddenly remembered how much those creatures frightened me as a child.

On the wall to the left of Tarantino’s monkey were four beautifully adapted costumes for each of the title characters. Dorothy was a modern day sweetheart with just a peekaboo of red on her skirt. The Lion was draped delicately in a stunning, ethereal nude dress. The Tin Man was adorned in mirrors, stunning in appearance, painful if worn. The Scarecrow was bathed in ruffles all the way to the ears.

And there, it began. Beside the modern day costumes were the first three pairs of designer shoes, the emeralds in the city. This show featured 19 top designers’ interpretations on the modern day ruby slippers. The collection was rounded out with a 20th design of an FIDM student who had won the contest. Sadly, that shoe was not crafted yet but it was featured in a large drawing in the foyer. It was stunning and delicate, with red jewels winding down the stiletto heel.

We made our way around the gallery, picking out favorites from the collection of shoes. Diane Von Furstenberg’s shoes were classic, jeweled at the toe and on the heel. A. Testoni’s creation was wonderfully Italian, leather with large bows at the ankle. But my favorite, by far, were the ’slippers’ made by Moschino. They were these beautiful sparkly pumps with half a bow on each shoe, so when you went to click your heals the pair formed a beautiful full bow. They were daring and fun and everything I think the modern day ruby slipper would look like.

We made our way around the rest of the gallery and took in each of the Oz inspired paintings. Joel Nakamura’s piece won top billing, with an intriguing take on the Tin Man. This Egyptian inspired painting featured the Tin Man sleeping in the center dreaming of a heart, with wings. It was clever, beautiful and fun.

We emerged from that gallery and hit up the mashed potato bar. This was fantastic, and something I had never seen before.  I grabbed a martini glass, shoved it full of potatoes and made my way down the line. Everything you could ever think to put on a potato was there. I scooped on chili, corn and sour cream and headed for a table. Janine, our graphic designer and guest for the evening, commented about George Lopez being in attendance and a stranger at our table remarked about having seen him. This stranger turned out to be the curator for Warner Brothers, Vincent. He had put together this traveling show and all of Warner Brothers other art shows. We talked for a while about where the show had been. He told me that the proceeds from the sales of this show were going toward charity. We talked about the scene in New York versus the one in L.A. We talked about curating, art sales and the dip in the economy. When our conversation turned to the hard hit art is taking being seen as an ‘extra’ I decided to grab desert.

They had an array of tiny delights. I picked out a little key lime pie/tart encased in chocolate, yum, and a small truffle on a stick, lollypop style. It was like an explosion of flavor in my mouth. Janine and I took a breather and sat behind some of the speakers. Once my feet stopped throbbing we made our way around the party for a little longer and took a closer look at the balloon. The party was winding down and we decided to head out. We were almost to the street when we noticed everyone carrying little red bags. We asked someone where they got one. They pointed and said, “oh from the Dorothy’s”.  Behind us was a line of Dorothy’s on either side of the exit bidding people farewell. Empty handed, we went back asking about the bags and sadly they were out. We perused the grounds to see if there were any abandoned bags, but alas, we were out of luck. Regardless of leaving empty handed, I had a beautiful night ‘Behind the moon, beyond the rain’.

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