Tuesday, January 10, 2006
The cover of the new Piecework magazine features an apron. Aprons are Hot. Oprah featured these aprons recently. Daily Candy features these aprons. Is it a new domesticity? A longing to return to the "simpler" June Cleaver lifestyle? (That bitch was so swallowing valium!) How far back will we go?
With any luck, we will not turn back the clocks so far as to revive the apron "style show." There is a report in Piecework on the "style shows" of Evelina Grimes. She had a collection of aprons that audience members would model while she read poetry or history. For example, she would read the poem from the Statue of Liberty ("Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...") while someone modeled her New York apron. She had aprons for all 50 states, several foreign countries, all stages of the lifecycle, and even one for Father's Day for dear old Dad. As I understand it, this was supposed to be some sort of entertainment. While you may think that these shows flourished in, say, the nineteenth century, people--I'm guessing women--attended these shows as late as 1988.
The only thing I can really compare them to are Charles Phoenix's slide shows--a sort of live cultural anthropology show. Only he's loving the kitsch factor. Grimes was earnest. And that is even more difficult for me to understand. (Even when I was a kid and I used to go tap-dance in the old folks homes (really) I used to think, "this is entertainment?") Her collection of handmade aprons now resides at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa. May they rest in peace.