Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Crafting We Will Go...

The Universe knows when to light the fire beneath your ass to get you moving. With my international bugaloo fast approaching, the doldrums of winter bearing down upon me, and the absolute disarray of my work space, jewelry production has slowed to a crawl. It's fast going to change.

Lad Named Felix will be showcasing and selling at Urban Folk Circuit's show at Abbey Pub! Urban Folk Circuit is a big deal show. The philosophy of the creators of this amazing circuit is to bring awareness of local artists and artisans through shows that take the experience of a craft show and turn the amp up. The Abbey Pub show will feature three live acoustic bands, a fully-functioning bar (HELLO) and over fifty of Chicago's premiere handmade artists. It promises to be a diverse and extremely engaging experience, and I'm STOKED to be counted among the vendors. The show is March 19th - that's right, ten days after my return to the United States from London. Ten days to put a show together. Ten days to create and tag the pieces I plan to showcase. Ten days that will definitely be long, but filled with art and inspiration and excitement. Deadlines: I crave them.

Check out the Facebook invite and RSVP if you plan to attend, and invite your friends! Art shows are all about the energy of crowds, and, yes, bloody marys. I plan on offering a printable discount coupon to ALL Facebook fans of Lad Named Felix, so make sure you're among that elite cadre!

See you all on the other side of foggy London town!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


A massive thank you to my girl April Winchell over at Regretsy for this sparkling gem. If you're an artist on Etsy who has lost sales because of their complete lack of perspective and total abandonment of the handmade culture they purport to uphold, you'll love this. And Etsy is laughing, too, as they take our money and build their hipster staff another Tweet-room out of old phone booth parts and crocheted tea cozies, while sellers suffer from a lack of customer support and indeed, anything remotely resembling what Etsy tell us they're doing "for us". The fuckery seems never-ending, and yet they have us by the balls because, really - who the hell shops on Artfire?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Flaccid Return

I'm getting lazy. Instead of rushing back to my loft, head full of ideas, and strapping into my jewelry studio to pump out genius works of wearable art created to the soundtrack of today's Top 40 hits - now I just go home and eat a dinner high in salt, fat, and bread and lay there digesting it until it's time for bed. Seriously. The other night I made tallegio-stuffed agnolotti with a butter and parmesan sauce (read: pillows of fresh pasta filled with high-fat cheese, served in fat, drenched in fat, with some fat mixed in so you get just the right amount of fat). I walk around feeling bloated, which is no mean feat for someone built like me - 5'11", 155lbs, metabolism like a chipmunk. In other words, the winter doldrums have settled their gross, paunchy asses down in the middle of my life and, like Jabba the Hut, just lay there drooling and laughing at me while they pluck another Klatooine paddy frog and shovel it down their flabby gullets.

Winter also provides a lot of time to look up severely clandestine Star Wars references with which I pepper everyday conversation; also, I don't get laid a lot in the winter.

In short: production has been slow. Fortunately, sales have been high. If you've been a reader since LNF's inception, you'll know I'm one of those artists who experiences serious high-and-low states, creatively-speaking. When I force myself to sit in my studio and start tinkering with jewelry, I end up with a lot of ruined components and a pile of tangled mess and heartburn. No one wants to see me when I have heartburn.

So here's a list of awesome things I'm considering doing while in my "low" state:

Blink wildly and then close my eyes really tight for an amazing light show
Practice my karaoke standards
Invent a weird twitch to use in awkward coversation
Make a low buzzing noise to confuse my cat
Try not to think about penguins
Develop my telekinesis
Rate strangers' appearances near the train station with large poker cards
Send spooky emails to spammers
Deliver pizza with a Welsh accent
Learn an entire episode of "The Office" in Italian
See how long it takes to gargle water until it all gets swallowed (extra awesome if it's rum)
Pick up my cat so she can see the world from my point of view
Continue not shooting up heroin (28 years and goin' strong!)
Experiment with homemade fireworks
Eat food I bought on Etsy and time my food poisoning
Learn Elvish
Drop a marble in a public bathroom and say, "OH NO MY GLASS EYE"
Get a manicure somewhere new (maybe even have a white person do it...!)
Create new form of street art with mustard
Eat Spam while reading spam
Read the oldest possible computer magazine I can find
Take a hamster to the beach for some "quality time"

Or I could just go to London next week.

Yeah, I'm gonna do that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


It's been a long, long day and I'm spent. Please watch this video in anticipation of my return tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

30 DoP #23 - "It Gets Better"

Same Sex Wedding Cake Toppers

A week ago, I received this message on Facebook from my very first boyfriend (the only ex that I still consider alive):

"A friend of mine has a 14 year old son who just came out. He's going through a really rough time right now at school with bullies. His mother has mentioned that all the bullying and name calling is starting to take a toll on his health and well being.
The cast I am currently working with is putting together an "It Gets Better" care package filled with encouragement, and our own personal stories to help him though this tough time. If you'd like to share your story or provide words of encouragement, please email them to me or send them in a Facebook message. I will print out your story and send it with our package. We are going to get everything ready to be mailed by this Wednesday Feb. 9th! I would love to send as much as I can to help him out.

His name is Kurtie."

Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign is something the world has needed for a long time. I've always been an advocate of the "old" teaching the "young". Experience, being unique, is always the best teacher, wouldn't you agree? Shared experience is equally strong, and "It Gets Better" fosters that shared experience. It brings together the people of the LGBT community, and not just in an effort to stop bullying. When we share our stories, we're tapping into something primal to the human experience, and there's beauty and strength in that. So I woke up early this morning and sat to pen my contribution to Kurtie's care package, and found some catharsis. I found myself wishing this kind of global community existed for me when I was going through hell as a kid. I'd like to share my entry, even if it's a bit of an overshare. Perhaps in posting it here, someone like Kurtie will see it and find hope.

With Love, to Kurtie:

I had big glasses. My hair was always a mess – curls on the sides and straight as a pin down the middle. I played with the girls. Theatre, drama club, main tenor in chorus, an artist to my core. Something was different about me from my first memories, and because it was encoded into my genes, it exhibited its fabulous tendencies in my body, my movement, my pattern of speech. I was gay, and I was mocked.

It was scary growing up in rural Illinois. The town I was raised in was surrounded by corn and emptiness – no bright city lights for this one. It was all stock car races, county fairs, and football. Machismo was the name of the game, and because I was more interested in pretending to be a wizard, playing with Barbies, painting, and reading fantasy novels, I was picked on relentlessly. I remember the name of every person who called me a “fag” in school. I can recall their sneers and barking laughter in locker rooms and on gymnasium floors when I was asked over and over again, “Pike – are you gay?!” It was an exercise in torture and humiliation for me to attend classes every day, and though I had my strong contingent of family and freaks and geeks to bolster me, protection from the mental and emotional abuse a dorky gay kid in rural America was limited at best. I grew up feeling “less than”. I grew up being “other” I grew up under a magnifying glass.

Bully is the wrong word for what I went through. I was abused by my peers in every sense of the word – emotional, physical, mental, and verbal. They were abusers. They didn’t let me love me.

But it got better.

I grew into my big ears and long limbs. My muscles toned to fit my body, I got contact lenses, and by senior year – the year when people in my graduating class seemed to really realize the end of something was imminent – I had decided enough was enough. I wouldn’t hide any longer. People seemed to leave me to my devices more as I stood up for myself and my friends, and though the abuse didn’t cease, I ceased allowing it to define my existence. It wasn’t easy, nor was it sudden. Perhaps my confidence developed as my body finally developed; maybe the threshold had been reached. If anything, a switch had been flipped. I came out reluctantly, though it was more for my own understanding than to tell people some hidden fact that were unaware of. Small town politics and small-mindedness were still all around me, but I tried to carve out a niche in which I was able to at least survive quietly.

It got better.

I met my first boyfriend while waiting tables at a Cracker Barrel (an establishment famous for their “no gays” policies, if you enjoy irony as much as I do). I got bold and left my number on his table one afternoon. Call it another step in throwing a wrench in the mean gearwork of the region I lived in. I was nothing if not bold. By some odd and hilarious twist of fate, he also worked at that Cracker Barrel in off-times from college, and we started dating. It was butterflies in the stomach, it was exciting, it was…well, bold. I fell into the best kind of love with him. He taught me a lot of extremely important things about myself – that I was beautiful; I was interesting; I deserved love like everyone else. I remember taking lots of long naps that summer with him, meeting his family (though I’m sure we were both terrified), and kissing him. Kissing him, for as cliche and ridiculous as it might sound, solidified my knowledge of myself as a gay person, and it turned out it wasn’t as scary as I once thought. I wasn't the only one out there. My love for him turned a fresh page and began a new chapter in my life. It let me love myself, FINALLY.

That boyfriend was our mutual friend, Shain. I’m not surprised he’s put this all together for you, Kurtie. He’s the best kind of person.

He holds a place in my heart that's unalienable. He was a link in a long chain of love in my life - not just romantic love, but a respectful love that we all need in our lives, especially as gay people. Shain and I allowed our lives to take their respective directions, and before I knew it I had left that town for college. Those four years allowed me to reinvent myself as a more genuine version of me. I studied Theatre, met people who had no knowledge of the abuse I suffered as a dorky kid in the cornfields of Illinois, and crystallized into a more honest person, both in regards to myself and my emotions, but to the world at large as well. Doors opened. I was an artist, and it was a GOOD thing there. Encouraged by a professor whose love was only matched by the size of his personality, my life blossomed further. He’s still an extremely close friend, and growing through our lives, both gay men, has been the pinnacle of education. I know you’ll find people like that, too. Look forward to it!

It got still better.

Left college. Began a short-lived career as a Costume Designer. Traveled. Loved, with all its requisite ups and downs. Learned. Made art. Eventually found myself in Chicago, a National Makeup Artist for Sephora, the first of my kind. I spent a few years all over the map nurturing a new art and a new facet of myself. I met my current partner, whose patience and care has proved that all my frustration in love and life was worth every single second. I have huge legions of friends who are all examples of the good things the world can produce out of adversity. My family loves me (you and I share that). As a twenty-something, I’m as fantastic as I’ve ever been. I made another bold move, leaving a horrible job and beginning my own jewelry line which thrives today and is a constant reminder that I was right all along – I’m a hundred times more artistic and creative, interesting, beautiful, intelligent, successful, and bold than those abusers in school ever allowed me to believe. They were wrong.

It got better.

It keeps getting better.

You have that to look forward to. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Love your friends. Be thankful for your family. Make bold strides. Don’t be scared to be scared, but move through it and take notes. You’ll need them later when your life coalesces into a unique and gorgeous thing that only YOU can take credit for. It’ll happen, trust me. Self-confidence and self-love are vital survival tools. You’re a perfect version of yourself, and you owe it to yourself and the people you love to perfect that perfection. Above all things, love yourself as openly and beautifully as you can possible stand it. Love yourself so much it hurts.

We love you, Kurtie. We’re all in this together!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

30 DoP #22 - "Sweet Salvation"

Dear readers, I'm a mess. It's been days since I've shaved, the prickly stubble that only a few days ago subtly defined my square jaw and looked a bit sexy now just itches. The skin beneath it it slightly windburned, since I live on the ice planet, so I feel flaky on top of the itching. Walking to and from my office through dunes of greasy, sooty snow requires I wear a thick and warm coat, yet when I arrive I'm coated in a film of snow sweat - that insidious dampness that immediately freezes when you remove your coat. Can't tell you when my last real manicure took place. Elbows dry, feet scuffed. We won't even talk about my poor lips. I have an overall feeling of grime that comes hand-in-hand with this nasty winter. And that's not where it ends.

Trudging through this wasteland of forgotten bikes, half-ensconced in dirty snow, and gray puddles that resemble so much the solid sidewalks beneath them until you step through, and crags of ice between which is a narrow walkway only large enough for one foot in front of the other (a tenuous balance to strike in chunky duck boots) makes the joints grind. I fall asleep each night feeling odd pains in places of which I was previously unaware. While I'm stoked that my ass is getting a workout even when I'm not consciously aware, winter in Chicago just makes you HURT.

I need a spa trip. I want some Eastern European woman with one eyebrow and a bad attitude to pummel my entire body against a padded table while the sweet and slightly annoying sounds of Enya waver on the air. A soak in a tub full of chocolate and mud. Steam my pores so open I could serve dip out of them. Scrape this film of winter from my limbs and replace it with deliciously scented oils and salves. Balm me. Peel me. Polish me. Save me.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The overwhelming response to the 300 Fans and Counting Giveaway blew me away. Srsly - you guys are the Snowpocalypse of fans. Between private messages with hilarious captions, blog comments, and wall posts, last week was made a hundred times more delightful than I ever imagined. I wanted this giveaway to be a huge, uproarious thank you to the people who make LNF what it is, and I was not disappointed.

Hopefully you all won't be either. Because I think you all deserve a chance to rock some LNF as a way to express my serious gratitude to your comments, "likes", re-posts, and general fabulous fanhood, I've changed the stakes a bit.

I chose my overall favorite caption as the big winner. If you're a current Facebook fan of LNF, you were entered this morning into the drawing for your opportunity to win, and if you submitted a caption to to the photo in the original post, you were entered twice for each hilarious attempt. The virtual hat was spilling over, and I put to work to choose the winners below. So, without further ado (and before my lunch break on this cold and snowy day in Chicago is spent), THE WINNERS ARE:

1st Prize - my favorite caption entry, and winner of "Delinquent Citrus", a LNF classic: BRITTANY WIMMER!

2nd Prize - winner of "Stray Minx", a chic and sexy new pair of LNF earrings: MIRIAM ESTRADA!

3rd Prizes - recipients of a shiny 20% off discount coupon at Lad Named Felix's Etsy shop: SIERRA DAVENPORT, ERIN VARGO, TAMARA HOFFBAUER, KELLY MARIE SCHAEFER, and ANNIE NYGARD!

I get a little carried away with the giveaways, but I'm the boss and the boss thinks you're all rock stars. Congratulations to the winners! I'll need you all to send me your email addresses so I can follow up privately to get your mailing address, or to send you your coupon! Feel free to leave them as comments here, on LNF's Facebook wall, or send them as private messages.

I can't adequately express my thanks to each and every one of you for your unending support of my dream. If I hadn't had my tear ducts removed after all my clones died, I'd shed a tear.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Morning Train to Beijing

Sometimes all it takes is some color and texture to stand out. Twenty jade rounds, each unique in color and striation, war around one side of the neck and descend to a stunning faceted hand-cut Chinese crystal in a gorgeous whiskey shade, all connected by way of pure copper headpins. As the piece ages, each headpin will gather a gorgeous and patina. From there, three long and luxurious vintage bronze chains drape in a trio of texture and strength. The chains have a slight patina, as well, so the texture is one of a kind and goes a bit further than standard antiqued bronze. The piece can be worn in a number of ways - asymetrically, as shown in the photos, or with the jade hanging in front, or be edgy and loop the long chains artfully around the neck to create a more tangled look. The piece has no clasp, and each chain is more than long enough to fit over the head.

Jade rounds - 6mm (20)
Hand-cut Chinese crystal (1)
Copper headpins (22)
Patinaed bronze flat link cross chain

30 DoP #21 - "Precise"

Navigating this snow planet sans tauntaun has caused many delays in my normal day to day activities, 30 Days of Play included. I'll admit it: cowering under blankets with a maybe-too-full glass of sherry has been preferable of late to ascending to my loft studio and freezing while squeezing out a blog entry. I'll finish this project, I promise.

Today: onto a new entry. Cara at Death Glam's work is sensational in its intricacy and composition. This is an artist who seriously understands feathers (a medium known for its fussiness and lack of precision). Her sprays of avian plumage are both delicate and aggressive - a quality I clearly appreciate. Perhaps the most striking features of her work are the technicolor animal skulls that perch, sinister, on her collection of hats and fascinators. Don't call PETA yet, and not just because PETA is a bunch of maniacal and seriously deluded radicals. Her skulls are sourced ethically, from farmers and taxidermists who collect these precious components from animals that have dies quite naturally (read: animals are not killed purposely to harvest their bones). Clients can rest assured that these pieces, though sometimes shocking, are always created with utmost care and ethics in place.

Cara is also a prolific stylist who does what can only be described as provocative, inspired, and gorgeous work. In the near future, you'll be delighted to see some Lad Named Felix originals gracing the necks of her models. I crave collaboration with artists of Cara's caliber, as combining our work will surely heighten and magnify both our creations. In short: she rocks, and you should be aware of her work.

What's 30 Days of Play?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Prizes, or Why You Should Care

Upon consultation of the scientists at Anacin, I've determined the prizes for the 300 Fans and Counting Giveaway! Ready?




20% off any LNF piece!

Hurry, hoors.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where are my fucking Tauntauns???

A city brought to its knees. Snowlocaust 2011 has officially transformed Chicago into Hoth. Last night was insane, with 60mph winds playing Ike to the city's Tina. There was fucking LIGHTNING. That's right: thundersnow. At first I thought it would be romantic - stuck inside during the worst blizzard in 40 years, have a great dinner, drink a bottle of wine. 3 hours later, and with all power and heat gone, plunged into an angry darkness to listen only to the sound of our antique building - once a brewery in the 1850's - creak and gasp and moan, I was just drunk and freaked. I checked the thermostat around 4 am to find it was 34 degrees in my loft, and outside...still no mercy. Only those smart enough to go out on tauntauns were able to make it home. I swear to god a wampa was trying to break through my bedroom ceiling.

Well, the power is back. Heat too. Outside the clerestory windows of my loft, drifts have overtaken cars. It's blindingly white when the winds die enough to allow the sun to glance off the dunes of snow. A man on cross-country skis glided past below, a "Suck it, motherbitches!" on his chapped lips. This is Lakeshore Drive, the very aorta of the city's roadways:

Buses fucking BURIED IN SNOW. And there were people stuck inside those cars for nearly 13 hours. We call them morons. This city had a week's notice for this catastrophe, so excuses for driving last night are extremely hard to come by. It's the Chicago machismo hard at work. Today those stranded cars are further crippling efforts to get the city working again. Press conferences full of defeated and frightened city official faces crack me up as I watch from over the lip of my steaming coffee mug.

Really, this isn't a joking matter. There are people here that have been seriously affected by these conditions, and I hope they receive the aid they need. Or an AT-AT walker. I was planning on vacationing on Alderaan after this, but then I got the bad news. What's Coruscant like this time of year? Great night life, I imagine.

Stay warm and stay inside. Do what I do and get some pretzel rolls proofing. This can't last forever.

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