Don’t Get Boxed In When It Comes To Your Style

My beef is with people telling a clothing designer they have to fit in a category or that they need to have only one style of clothing. That makes no sense to me. It’s like this: If you’re one-dimensional in basketball or any other thing in life, you will fail. I never want to be one-dimensional. I think style is so unlimited and constantly growing.

I remember growing up in the hood (watching the hustlers looking fly), then going to my best friend’s house and watching his perfect, well-dressed family looking so cool and happy. I was influenced by these two different worlds, seeing the style of two different cultures. When you’re less fortunate, you find ways to be creative and come up with different styles. Style defines us in so many ways. So why conform to others? My beef is simple: We are not simple. So why do we need to fit in a box? We all own who we are. —Chelsie Ravenell, designer, model

Hipsters: Fight For Your Right To Party

I think it is ridiculous that a group of intelligent, creative young people can’t throw an awesomely loud house show downtown without getting fined $1,000. I mean, it really cramps our style when we can’t wake everyone up in the neighborhood to remind them how much fun they aren’t having. Where are all the hipsters from Brooklyn and Portland going to play music now? Where have all the dance parties gone? West Ashley? —Liz Vaughn, artist and co-founder of Receiver Fest

Give My Ass A Break

When enjoying longer local performances — let’s say two hours, plus — sometimes I don’t have a beef so much as my buns do. It seems silly to complain about uncomfortable chairs when the city struggles to find enough venues for arts organizations, but it’s also hard to think clearly when the lower half of my body is crying out in pain. Church pews, for instance, are not acceptable seating options — everyone knows they were invented by Puritans to keep church-goers awake during all-day sermons. (I may or may not have just made that up). Folding chairs, while convenient for pop-up venues, are stiff and usually so creaky they create a disturbance if you shift around as much as you need to. Other theaters with more traditional seating still manage to miss the mark with rock-hard seats that’ll leave you walking funny for days, and those that do get it right manage to lose points by keeping the thermostat at sub-zero temperatures. Next time you’re at the theater and you see someone toting a stadium cushion and a Snuggie, you’ll know who it is. —Erica Jackson Curran

The Downside Of An Artist’s Holidays

For much of my life, I was anything but a bah-humbug kind of guy when it came to the holidays. Despite the rampant commercialism of the time, there was always the wonderful seasonal music that, being a lifelong choral singer, always brought me artistic fulfillment and spiritual comfort.

But most of that has changed as I’ve begun my twilight years. Christmas and the surrounding season have largely become ordeals to be survived. The most ironic personal aspect of my seasonal dissatisfaction has to do with my choice of a final career. Fairly late in life, I became a freelance music writer and semi-professional church singer, and I count my blessings for that, as I get to support myself in spare comfort while living my artistic passions for both writing and music-making. Still, what has that done for my Christmases?

Freelance writers just don’t turn down jobs from their regular clients. And my Decembers are always jam-packed. And the singing? On top of weekly rehearsals and regular Sunday services, there’ve been two special seasonal concerts to pull off, plus five separate services over the Christmas weekend. Lead singers never get a break this time of year. The same thing happens over Easter (Bah, humbunny!). —Lindsay Koob, writer, musician

Don’t Let Genitalia Ruin Your Appreciation Of Fine Art

I hate when a client asks the artist to change a color in the painting to match their couch. “I love everything about this painting, but if it just had some red instead of yellow …”

It’s a silly beef and a very stereotypical situation, but I would rather not ask the artist to change their painting. If somebody wants to commission a piece to match their decor, then that’s different.

Once we had a woman come in when guest artist Joel Parker’s art was hanging [Rite of Passage: Solo Cups, Aug. 2010], and she was so upset that the figures were all nude. When I tried to explain to her the meaning behind his work, she put up her hand and said that she was a Christian and what he did was not very Christian. It was too vulgar for her because “He spent so much time painting the details of the private parts,” she said as she pointed to the men’s genitalia. The fact is that Parker is a religious person and his paintings are expressing a deeper meaning than just showing nude figures. She left angry.

Though I don’t hear this as often anymore, some people have said, “For the price of that painting, I could buy a car!” Yes, you could buy a car, but the painting is going to last much longer than the car. You can pass it down to the next generation and influence their love for art. —Colleen Keegan Deihl, owner, SCOOP Studios