ART PRIZE and REALLY OUT!

2017 09 27

Been BUSY working Art Prize!!!  As Wayfinders.  We carry a satchel full of brochures and maps.  With a sign on the satchel and/or a label on a smock they provide that says “Ask Me”.  The satchel is black and ugly.  The smock is red this year and what someone would wear as a teacher when her early grade school class is doing finger painting.  So also unfashionable.  But since we also have large name tags we hang from a lanyard around our neck, that I refuse to wear the smock or carry the bag (as I have from last year) there is no problem identifying us as Wayfarer’s.  Oh and the “lollipops” I made with “Ask Me” on one side and the Art Prize logo on the other.

The Art Prize is a HUGE art show in Downtown Grand Rapids.  This is not your typical arts and craft “show” in a bunch of pop up suns shades with everything from knit winter stocking hats to the Harleys on black velvet.  Art Prize is the extremes in art from altering a building’s appearance to performance art to paintings, pen and ink, bronze sculptures and satire in art.  Only a few have for sale signs on them.  The grand prize is $200,000 for judged, $200,000 for people’s choice, and $12,500 for each of four categories times two – people’s choice and judged.

This is about 1470 pieces of art in about 140 venues scattered around downtown Grand Rapids.  With about 10,000 people in attendance each day, a half million total for the eighteen days.  Most do multiple days.

So staff is needed.  Docents, information guides, and souvenir store sales.  Each year Amy, my SO, and I volunteer.  Preferably as information guides because that puts us right OUT there in the midst of the 10,000 visitors.

Last year the weather was sort of 30 degrees cooler in the mid 60s.  This year it was HOT and sunny.  Perhaps the temperature has some bearing, perhaps it is the new political and cultural climate.  By my casual observations people are noticeably less happy, less interacting.  There is less JOY in a cupple of nutty guys dressing up to be fab and enjoying themselves.  Last year people were all around us taking pictures.  This year about 1/4 smile, 1/4 have stern looks, and the remainder are unaware of us.

But we are having FUN this day September 20th!

Photo caption:  Started the day out before our volunteer shift as a tourist appreciating the art.

 

 

Photo caption:  Billie gets her “tiny house”.  But really, this is a piece of art.  One of many outdoor installations.

 

 

Photo caption:  People everywhere.  Some notice, some don’t.  I prefer “don’t” or fun interaction.

 

 

 

Photo caption:  In the lobby of the city convention center.  Ignored.  Happy.

 

 

 

Photo caption:  Another piece of art.  One of three benches with signs inviting you to sit.

 

 

 

Photo caption:  Now working as a Wayfinder with Amy Pond and my beloved SO.  Notice no smock, no bag, and for this photo even no badge.

 

 

Photo caption:  Right OUT there!  People passing by.  People taking photos of us on the sly.  People whispering and then their companion turns their head and glances discreetly.  Occasionally a snicker from someone wise in the ways of the world, at least theirs.

 

Yes JUST one outfit today.  Downtown is BUSY during Art Prize.  We get there early so finding a parking space in a lot isn’t too bad.  To leave the area and go to our meeting place, change, and return to find a open spot is just too much trouble.  ONE outfit will have to do.  Well Tuesday and Thursday.  Saturday is a whole nother deal!

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at
Crossdressers-wmi@hotmail.com

The Grand Illusions website is at:
http://www.crossdressersmichigan.com

SUCH FUN!

Billie

Went OUT again!

2017 09 12

The Grand Illusions met for an IN meeting again.  It has been four and a half years since I started The Grand Illusions.  We have had regular meetings ever since then.  Even during a power outage, using extension cords and clip lights.

You may think that “What’s the big deal?”  Well it takes me HOURS to change this pig’s ear in to a silk purse.  And I have a LOT of really neat stuff to wear.  But wearing the outfits when OUT is not just throwing on some duds and wandering out the door.  It is quite a bit of preparation, even starting from the finding the stuff piece by piece, bit by bit.  Nearly all my stuff comes from GWs and although occasionally I find a skirt suit or dress with bolero, usually it was one piece found one year and the rest found another year.  And all of the items are purchased because they are different from what I already have or complete an outfit I already have.  AND they must be unique in some way.  And cheap or relatively so.

So the fun starts with the scrounging in multiple GWs, right through assembling the outfit a day or a week before, to actually getting dressed.

I found this flowered dress at Younkers.  It was nearly a hundred bucks!!!!  WAY out of my price range!  Well actually I am more of a GW girl so anything more than $5.99 causes extra thought and anything over $7.99 causes a rash.  Unless it is so pretty that it knocks my panties off.  Then only a mild itch.  But with a sale discount, frequent buyer discount from my SO, and a cooperative sales associate, I took it home for about $30.00!  WAY higher than I would normally go.  But it was part of a buy two and get an even better deal.  Never figured out how buying More saved More but when confronted with two dresses that I fell in love with at the beginning of spring, what was I to do? 

GAWD I love this dress!  Now how many times have I said THAT?

The shoes are from Shoe Carnival at less than $12.00 recolored in white.

 

 

The hat?  $5.00 from a recent trip to Tokyo.

 

 

 

 

 

And because of that trip just a few days before the IN Meeting my internal clock was twelve hours off.  I was exhausted.  The show must go on.  So I got to GR Pride nearly two hours early instead of being out and sopping those two hours.  Locked the doors, I closed the drapes, and laid down on the couch.  Just before the IN Meeting started I woke to people pounding on the door.  Rested and ready.

The next day was an OUTing.  Four of us met for lunch and some bargain shopping.  Marci found some shoes.  Melody didn’t find anything.  And I have too much stuff already which just means I didn’t find anything that HAD to go home with me.

 

 

 

Then changed outfits and gathered any newcomers up for a light diner.

I wanted this dress the first time I saw it.  Organza ruffles in spring colors.  But it was sleeveless and I gotta have sleeves to pull it off.  And it was on SALE.  So I parted with $24.00, WAY higher than my usual limit.  Then bought some organza, took some permanent markers, created some matching fabric, and made sleeves!

 

 

The shoes?  Found them on line.  An odd color between pink and purple.  But I LOVED the Mary Jane, suede, tie, and heel.  On sale so I bought them.
 

Then two years later I found this dress and they were made for each other.  But the shoes are NOT made for walking.  So I am careful to wear them when I KNOW I will be sitting more than even standing.

Hat $5.00 from Tokyo.  The cost of the hat was well within the GW girls range.  The transportation (shipping) costs were OUTRAGEOUS.

For clubbing.  What to wear?  Something that makes a statement, is FUN to wear, and does not look slutty.  Well again I broke the bank and went for something that I did not find at GWs.  The extra ten bucks!  I broke out in a rash!

And OMG I LOVE LOVE this dress!!!!!!  Look at the hem!!!!  This dress has a personality all it’s own. The hem becomes sorta rigid with the ruffles because they are so tightly packed.  SUCH FUN to wear!!!!!

AND JUST $16.99!!!!!!  Just but still I had a slight itch.

Boots recolored from black at $19.00
Hat $1.50 from GWs.  Shrug less than $5 at GWs.

Dancing with Amy, Kayla, Ronnie, Marci, and Melody.  These are really great people!!!!

SUCH FUN!!!!

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at
Crossdressers-wmi@hotmail.com

The Grand Illusions website is at:
http://www.crossdressersmichigan.com

SUCH FUN!

Billie

 

ART PRIZE

2017 09 06

Every year for nine years now, the largest art exhibition and competition happens in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Nearly 1800 pieces of art including paintings, sculpture, performances, digital, movies, music, urban site art.  At around 175 venues scattered around downtown, nearby and at Meijer Gardens.  The competition is judged by people’s choice with prizes of $200,000 for first place and $12,500 for four other categories.  No second and third place prizes.  Just overall winner and winners in each of four categories of art: Performance (like video), 3D art (like sculpture), 2D (like paintings), and site (like a modified building or a temporary garden).  And there are the same but judged by a panel of professionals.

This whole shebang is run by four full time people and about a few hundred volunteers.  Two of thoe volunteers are CDers.  The organizers of Art Prize tell us that they are thrilled that we are volunteering.  We are right OUT there on the main street, every other day, for two or more hours, giving directions, answering questions, and posing for bazillion pictures.  People ask us all kinds of questions about CDing and a few about Art Prize.

Something like a half million people show up to view and experience the art, Grand Rapids, and it’s citizens.  I am one of the citizens they will be viewing!

To start we must attend a “training” session that lasts about an hour and a half.  So this becomes an opportunity for Billie to have a day of enfemme OUTing!  Before the training, I went to some GWs and a couple of Salvation Army stores.  I snagged some really great stuff!  I wore a wonderfully sensuous knit skirt, very heavy yet soft and cool.  From Macy’s for less than $13!  With a blazer from GWs for about five bucks.  Hat was $5 purchased in Japan.

 

 

 

 

And stopped to fill up before the last station raises their prices.  Probably due to the hurricane that hit Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana?

 

 

Caption:
I had a laugh at this pose after I got home!  The picture was taken in all innocence.  But taken a different way the photo is quite suggestive.  So I am including it for you to enjoy a laugh too.  Funny how pictures tend to look so much different when you have time to look.

For For the training I wore a dress from GWs that I LOVE!  And shoes that kill my feet but look SO CUTE!  But I didn’t have to walk far and I could take them off during the training session.  So fashion comes before comfort!

After the training I changed shoes and we headed off to a mall food court for a late small dinner and conversation.

There is a merry go round nearby.  My beloved SO advised that it would make a great background.  She even did photographer duty again.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at
Crossdressers-wmi@hotmail.com

The Grand Illusions website is at:
http://www.crossdressersmichigan.com

SUCH FUN!

Billie

Photos by my beloved SO.