Monthly Archives: April 2012

Meet Your Wild Wild Woolly Hosts and Entertainment

Howdy pioneer folk! We’re getting SO excited for our Wild Wild Woolly Spring Benefit this Saturday at the Fairmont Hotel! For our last blog post, we decided to give you some information about your hosts for the evening and some of the entertainment that you’ll see there.

Autria Godfrey

We’re so thankful to have ABC7/WJLA-TV and News Channel 8 as our Media Sponsor for the event, and they’re sending over reporter and anchor Autria Godfrey to be our emcee during the dinner program. A native Texan, Autria has an impressive career, from her start in Charlotesville, VA where she served as reporter, weekend anchor, and finally morning anchor of Good Morning Charlottesville where she covered stories such as the Virginia Tech shootings, the death of Reverend Jerry Fallwell, and the visit by Queen Elizabeth II to historic Williamsburg, VA. During the past couple of years, Autria’s covered exciting events such as the rescue of the Chilean miners, presidential and vice-presidential debates, and even braving the frigid temperatures of Inauguration Day on the National Mall in 2009.

We’re excited to introduce you to our auctioneer for the evening: Taline N. Aynilian. Taline has served as a popular charity auctioneer for several non-profit organizations and regularly gives lectures on collecting and investing in art. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Lead Tin Yellow, a private art consultancy company, and prior to establishing this firm, Taline held the title of Assistant Vice President 19th Century European Paintings at Christies, New York; and Head of Department in Orientalist Paintings and Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern works of art at Bonhams, New York and Dubai. Her knowledge of the art business is backed by her extensive education, both in the US at Barnard College and abroad in London, Paris, and Florence, where she worked at the famed Museo degli Uffizi.

Wil Gravatt Band

If you are anything like many of the Woolly staff members, you LOVE going to Woolly’s neighbor Hill Country BBQ for some happy hour specials and delicious food! And it wouldn’t be a Wild West party without some great music so the Wil Gravatt Band is taking a break from their Hill Country gig to come hang with us for the evening! Some call it honky tonk, some call it traditional country. Call it what you will, it’s real music that people can’t seem to get enough of. With a lineup of excellent DC-area musicians, Wil has crafted a driving roots sound that has made them one-of-a-kind in their respective genre.

DC Cowboys

And last but certainly not least, we are thrilled to announce that the DC Cowboys will be performing for us as part of their Farewell Tour! Performing since 1994, the DC Cowboys is an all-male performing arts organization for gay men in the Washington, DC-metropolitan area. The group garnered international fame through appearances on NBC’s America’s Got Talent season 3, the Closing Ceremonies of the Gay Games VII at Wrigley Field in Chicago, at the Sziget Festival’s Magic Mirror venue in Budapest; shows in Dublin Ireland; and on RSVP’s Caribbean Fantasy cruise. Metro Weekly magazine has described the Cowboys’ style as a “trademark combo of Broadway-caliber verve, sizzling sex appeal and rugged good looks.”

We hope to see you all there on Saturday! For all you social media fans I’ll be posting some live updates throughout the night, make sure you follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #WildWoolly!

~ Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager

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What’s That You’re Wearing?

It would be incredibly hard to distill approximately fifty years of fashion history into a blog post. So rather than attempt it, I’ll touch upon the three major topics or themes that could assist you in assembling an outfit for Wild Wild Woolly.

The event takes place during the Victorian Era named after Queen Victoria of England’s reign of over 63 years from 1837 to 1901. Woolly Mammoth is specifically referencing the period of time after the Civil War in the United States until the turn of the century. We’ve left the era of large dresses for women (think the beginning of Gone With the Wind) and are moving towards the “natural” form where skirts are closer fitting to the body. Bustles are used to spread out the skirts behind women rather than crinolines. Corsets are still very much in use. For a great survey of women’s historical outfits, visit http://omgthatdress.tumblr.com/ and search for “Victorian” and by date (eg. “1860s” “1870s”).

Things don’t change much for men. Trousers and coats are in vogue. Suspenders keep your pants up and you get to exhibit your fashion sense through your waistcoat (vest) and tie or cravat. You didn’t leave the house without a hat but that could be a top hat, a Derby/bowler, a boater, a sporting cap in tweed to name a few.  For men, there’s a great archival photo roundup here: http://www.gentlemansemporium.com/gallery.php and you can watch the movie The Prestige for men’s Victorian costume inspiration.

Jesse James and Robert Ford

In the American West during this period, the emphasis was more on function than fashion. Women weren’t going to wear a ball gown out to tend to farm chores just like men wanted less layers if they were doing physical labor. Fabrics were more likely to be printed calicos than silks and satin. Leather was a good idea if you wanted a hat, coat, or pants that would last you.

Women's riding outfit

Some costume ideas can be found at this blog: http://www.thevictorianwest.com/, as well as the TV show Deadwood and the movies The Quick and the Dead and The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.

If you like to mix it up a little, look into Steampunk. As G. D. Falksen states:

“In three short words, steampunk is Victorian science fiction. Here “Victorian” is not meant to indicate a specific culture, but rather references a time period and an aesthetic: the industrialized 19th century.”

Steampunk allows you to take the Victorian clothing foundation and be a little more creative rather than adhering to strict historical fashion. People often create personas that direct their costume construction such as airship captain, adventurer, doctor, inventor, etc. Steampunk encourages participants to imagine what modern devices might be like through the lens of steam power, like an alternative timeline. A recent movie version of Wild Wild West heavily relies upon the Steampunk esthetic and Joss Whedon’s “space Western” Firefly is often referenced by Steampunk enthusiasts.

Whichever route you go, you’re sure to have more fun at Wild Wild Woolly if you throw on an outfit. I’ll be dressed to the nines and I know I look forward to seeing what people are wearing so don’t disappoint!

~ Kate Ahern Loveric, Graphic Design & Web Manager/Spring Benefit “Pioneer Posse” Member

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DC During the Victorian Era

"Queen Anne" style rowhouses in DC

The Victorian Era was the period from 1837 to 1901 when Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain.  What was Washington, DC like during this time period?  For starters, the city saw 18 Presidents come in and out of office, beginning with our eighth President, Martin Van Buren, and ending with William McKinley, our 25th President.  Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, held office from 1861 through 1865, and led our country through the crisis of the Civil War.

The Civil War was a turning point for DC and perhaps a good focal point for DC’s Victorian era.  Prior to the war the city remained small with a few thousand residents (the 1860 Census put the population at just over 75,000 persons), yet the outbreak of the war led to a significant expansion of the federal government, transforming the city’s economy and population (by 1870 the population was nearly 132,000).

With a growing population there was a strong demand for housing, and several of DC’s neighborhoods were established as well as transformed during this time.  Walking through DC’s U Street District and Georgetown neighborhoods, there is evidence of Victorian-era architecture at nearly every turn, as many of the brick row houses we are all so familiar with were constructed post-Civil War.

The U Street neighborhood was primarily built between 1862 and 1900.  A major contributing factor to the growth of this neighborhood was the laying of streetcar tracks along 14th and 7th Streets in 1862, making the neighborhood and city accessible to residents and government employees in a way it wasn’t before. The brick row house also first started appearing in Georgetown in the late 1870s and 1880s.  The “Queen Anne” row house was most commonly constructed in this neighborhood.  Thus, the Victorian era left its stamp on our city in a very concrete (pun intended) way.  Just take a look at these two bed and breakfast inns, which housed prominent DC families during the Victorian era: Morrison-Clark Inn and The Chester A. Arthur House.

~ Laura Jennings, Spring Benefit “Pioneer Posse” Member

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