By Christopher Arnott
12:25 PM EDT, September 12, 2013
Lipgloss Crisis, the astute packager of burlesque party events at Cafe Nine for the past several years, now has her Owen shop of sorts thanks to Project Storefronts.
On August 2, in conjunction with the latest neighborhood-boosting "On9" event in New Haven's Ninth Square, Lipgloss Crisis threw a couple of cabarets. It was a great way to show off the space, which has been open a couple of months now and is essentially a boutique for local alternative artists.
There was another cabaret just last week. They're fun, well-attended and low-key affairs. Drag queen Robin Banks is a wry, matter-of-fact hostess. Kitty Catastrophe does a demure striptease. Local pierce-punk icon Uber tap dances to industrial noise rock. There's lip-synching, hula hoop acts, audience participation.
Both the special events and the shop itself are overflowing with quirkiness but refreshingly light on bombast. The artists in this circle are individuals, but perfectly natural about and matter of fact in how they behave.
It’s a scene, that’s what it is. It’s very much in keeping with the original ideals of Project Storefronts, which may not be the multi-business arts complex it was when it began but still maintains a vital presence downtown. Project Storefronts is about giving a leg-up to arts-minded entrepreneurs, and Lipgloss Crisis is an exceptional choice for such assistance.
Ms. Crisis has been fomenting interesting arts projects for years, from her Patron Saints trading cards honoring local arts-scene celebs to her series of burlesque shows held at Café Nine. She’s used her storefront space as a boutique for local artists, a gallery space, a cabaret stage and more. Items for sale range from handmade soaps and jewelry to used vinyl records. There are local band shows and special cabaret entertainments devised for the special Ninth Square “On9” nights on the first Friday of each month. The Lipgloss Crisis site, which is basically Project Storefronts HQ, has been a central meeting place for artists working on the major LAMP illuminated-art project which will follow On9 festivities on October 4.
So Lipgloss Crisis continues to involve herself in community art projects. But her own store has been a vortex of creativity and community in and of itself. A core group of artists and performers makes everyone else feel welcome. It’s the kind of effort a small-business-savvy city like New Haven is wise to get behind. Deserving and different, thanks to a fervent fan base and city support (with key things like rent and publicity), Lipgloss Crisis has one less crisis to worry about.
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