For comedian Dwight Simmons, nothing is off limits. His comedy style pulls in all aspects of life, from a recent break-up to his hometown of Indy. His natural ability to get laughs–stemming back to his childhood days–has won over audiences in Indy and the Midwest, helping him to snag the title of 2012 Indianapolis Performing Artist of the Year from RAW: Natural Born Artists, an organization providing resources and exposure for artists and creatives on the rise. Simmons gave us the scoop about his comedy career so far and where we can catch his performances this year.
Your website mentions making people laugh was a way for you to get through difficult times–like a move to Carmel in 6th grade–growing up. When did you realize you wanted to pursue it more seriously?
I started getting on stage and going to open mics in 2008. I wasn’t at all serious about it back then. I’d perform at 3 or 4 shows a month and I thought I was great. Looking back, I was probably one of the worst comedians in the history of comedy. In 2011 I decided that stand-up is what I wanted to do and started to put in the time and effort needed to actually get better. Whenever people ask how long I’ve been doing it, I say 2 years because that’s when I decided to dedicate myself and take it more seriously.
What was the learning curve like going from making classmates laugh to making jokes in front of an audience at a comedy club? What was your first performance like?
In class, there was never any pressure to make people laugh. It was easy to just live in the moment with your friends. On stage, you’ve prepared material and you are hoping to connect with people through it. You are hoping they accept you. It’s fun. My goal is to get back to that carefree child-like presence on stage. That’s when I’ll be happiest.
My first performance went okay. I’m always embarrassed about it because I did two Eddie Murphy jokes verbatim. That’s a huge no-no! Of course people laughed because it was really Eddie Murphy. I was too dumb to know any better, though. It’s much more fulfilling to have people laugh at your own material. But starting out, I was just plain awful.
This entire haphazard post-theorem hinges on the stipulations* listed below the following chart-diagram. Otherwise, it is perfectly sane and suitable for public consumption. Or: is perfectly not-quite-sane, but still palatable to a deranged/rational few. The simple (or sloppy) gist of the whole sprawling thing scrawled out below is that Life is repetitive by nature; and fashion is perfectly repetitive; thus, fashion is the perfect example of what life is. Or something along those asymmetrical lines of (mis)thought.
In the early 1970′s (and the decades before & after, but I’m sticking with the 70′s bits), Kennedy Fraser wrote countless (and stunningly prophetic) fashion & style articles for The New Yorker. In one (I think it was regarding the horrific styles she witnessed whilst traipsing along some supposedly stylish New York street – primarily railing against wearing linen and ironically donning fedoras), Fraser mentions that “hemlines are not the harbingers of anarchy… but may stand as proof of [what's past].” Which floored me for awhile: But, hemlines are harbingers! Of what? Each year their portent shifts: hemlines are dynamic omens, not static seers. They’re predictive and reactive (post-dictive), harbingers and proofs - of seasons, financial wellbeing, attitude shifts, public policy – but maybe not of anarchy. Yet. So, with that preface aside, here’s where her sentence took me (in the form of a discombobulated chart nonetheless): Read more
Raised in the Indianapolis area, Eric Rees (@EricRees) is a senior at Indiana University. Studying journalism, but fascinated by the technology world, he hopes to somehow find a way that the two can join and benefit everyone involved. Social media is his second language, and when he’s not keeping up with all the news coming from his feeds, finding new recipes to make and places to explore around Bloomington are high on his list of things to do. Eric aspires to be an editor at a news publication at some point in his career and will do just about anything to get there.
Kate Newman is a native Hoosier and Butler junior studying Literature and Gender Studies. She is the current Editor in Chief of the campus’ literary magazine. When she’s not at the Pattern offices, you can find her thrifting your grandma’s skirts and your grandpa’s oxfords, drooling over everything Alexander Wang creates, or whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies in her beloved KitchenAid. She won’t leave home without a good leather bag, a poppy lipstick, and a couple of good jokes. After school, she dreams of founding an irreverent fashion and lifestyle website and moonlighting as a child therapist (or, maybe the other way around).
Ali Reith (@alireith) is a small town girl with a big city heart. She currently studies at Purdue University, majoring in Retail Management. Ali was born with fashion in her blood and loves working at her mom’s boutique. She spends her spare time finding styling inspiration (her best friends refer to these as “her visions”) via blogs, Pinterest, and Rachel Zoe (her idol!). Everyday Ali moves mountains, and she aspires to be featured in Elle under the title “stylist.”
Rachel Box (@RachelClayton26) is a Junior studying Apparel Design & Technology, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Art & Design at Purdue University. She has worked with several fashion publications, including Seventeen and the Silhouette Gazette, and is excited to be working with a fashion publication in her hometown of Indianapolis. Rachel’s favorite brands are Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Calvin Klein. Her career aspirations include starting her own philanthropic fashion label, styling editorials for a major fashion magazine, and seeing her designs on the red carpet.
Malina Padgett (@muhleanuh) is a double major in Apparel Design & Technology and Public Relations & Rhetorical Advocacy at Purdue University. She is known for obsessing over dogs, saying hi to absolutely everyone, and redoing her nails constantly. In addition to her internship with Pattern, she also works at Free People in Indianapolis. Since she was a little girl, Malina has dreamed of pursuing a fashion-related career, an endeavor that became reality after transferring to Purdue from Arizona State. She is inspired by a plethora of individuals, including Karl Lagerfeld, Edie Sedgwick, Roberto Capucci, Hanna Beth Merjos and Marilhéa Peillard. In the future, she hopes to explore the world of fashion more and find a job where she can work with people everyday.
I walked down an alley to an unmarked door. Luckily for me I was not walking down the alley alone, as other well-dressed people were right behind me. We made our way up the concrete stairway to the top floor, where we were welcomed into a large space by familiar creative fashion enthusiasts — DJs, hip-hop artists, stylists, and photographers.
FACTORY IV, Indy’s newest creative space, is the brainchild of fashionable duo Mallory Talty and Latham Hawkins, who did a fantastic menswear shoot for Issue 2 of PATTERN Magazine. They recently opened FACTORY IV on the 4th floor of the building next to The Libertine.
The space is large and open, allowing enough room for fashion talent to sew, photograph, and show their pieces. After checking out the space, I had the opportunity to talk to Talty about Factory IV.
Mallory, this space is so large and open – a perfect blank canvas. What is your vision for Factory IV?
We’re hoping that the space can serve as a hub for creative individuals to thrive and learn as many aspects of the fashion industry that we can offer. We don’t claim to be experts, but know that we have something to offer to the budding talent in Indy who might not necessarily have the resources or environment to achieve their goals. We want to push people. You want to learn how to sew? Great, we have someone to teach you and help you make a garment. You want to learn about makeup and styling? We have that too. The space is also our photography business’ studio, where we shoot everything from commercial product to conceptual fashion photography. Read more
Every time I get the opportunity to work with Saks, I am honored. Whether I’m pulling a canary yellow Roberto Cavalli cocktail dress for a fashion shoot, getting the latest scoop on men’s fashion from Sean Buckner, or attending a seasonal runway show, Saks is unparalled. So when three of my favorite things were presented in one invitation — Saks, jewelry, and an interview with well renowned 24k gold jewelry designer Gurhan Orhan, I was especially excited. Gurhan is not just any designer, but one of such caliber that celebrities such as Angelina Jolie wear his pieces. I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of interviewing someone of his skill level, but shortly into the interview he was sharing iPhone pictures of Tipsy, his cute little Yorkie.
Gurhan is a master of gold — 24K gold. You can easily find his work in magazines or on the Internet, but it is not until you actually get to see his art in person that you understand it’s true integrity. His works posses a certain weight, both physical and in appearance, that can only be truly appreciated in its physical presence. Some of his charms even date back to B.C.E.; when you consider how old these artifacts are, you can imagine what sort of experiences they contain. This type of work (and price point) typically lends itself to the serious and stuffy, yet Gurhan’s lighthearted energy combines the most wonderful elements of art and design into unique and powerful statement pieces. His work is the perfect blend of the past and the present, much like Egyptians and disco. But you don’t have to meet him in person to understand his sense of humor or zest for life; those elements are found in his jewelry. Read more
If I had my way, I would tattoo my arms, taking the stories of my life and writing them on my body. I would wear sunglasses in and out of buildings. I would wear black t-shirts that cost $200, and I would speak French. I would do exactly what I wanted, whenever.
So why, then, do I not? Why do I not have ‘my way?’ (Sounds like a Burger King commercial, no?) Is it not the American way to do what we want? Of course it is, but do we value it outside a dream? Mostly, no. We watch it on television, we enjoy it in rock stars, but we do not accept it when a co-worker dyes his/her hair, drops a few pant sizes, and starts wearing red cowboy boots everyday to work. Why not? Why are we so skeptical of others’ views on fashion? Why do we not enjoy the same vulnerability in our familiars as we do Sting? Why do we mock it?
Simple. We think we know who they are as people, and we cannot believe otherwise. It’s very easy to take a stranger at face value. It’s much harder to believe someone you know, when he/she changes into someone you “know” they aren’t (or don’t want to believe they are). Let’s experiment.
Meet Jaron Garrett, Co-Founder of Dreamapolis, an exciting new start-up accelerator and seed-funding source for start-ups, social entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators. Dreamapolis provides a platform to inspire young minds and encourage entrepreneurial growth. I chatted with Jaron about the inspiration behind Dreamapolis, their newest project, Tinkertown, and his advice for those wanting to take those first steps into starting a business.
What sparked the dream that has become Dreamapolis?
I noticed and realized that there were so many underprivileged and under-resourced individuals with great ideas, but it was very difficult for them to bring their ideas into fruition. I wanted to create a space and resource that would eliminate some of those obstacles.
I love your “dollar and a dream” motto that encompasses the vision behind Dreamapolis. What are some things that you have done so far that you are proud of?
Wow, we ourselves had to create Dreamapolis on a shoestring budget, or “a dollar and a dream,” and with that, so far, we have helped launch over 20 companies and organizations, taught over 300 individuals in our workshops, raised thousands of dollars for start-up companies and organizations (in part, through PitchFeast, a bi-monthly crowd funding, micro-grant dinner), and help create a series of networking events that have connected hundreds of Indianapolis creative entrepreneurs to resources who would have never otherwise had (the) platform to connect with.
My Style is a new series targeting fashionable people working and living in Indianapolis. For the April My Style, we sat down with Peter Walts, MD – Cardiac Surgeon, St. Vincent Heart Center.
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
I would say in general its demanding, but it varies a lot. I know if I’ll be in the operating room or office, but you have to adjust your plan based on emergencies. I usually get up and have meetings in the morning. I’m usually in the OR from 7:30AM to 5PM, but sometimes later depending on the case.
Is there any thought given to fashion around the hospital?
In general, there is not as much thought to style for the medical profession. I’m in scrubs 90% of the time, but I never wear scrubs outside of the hospital. Generally, surgeons are conservative. For the most part, doctors wear slacks, a nice shirt, and maybe a tie. I want to look professional, and I never wear any jewelry. Read more
Considering Earth Day is this week, it’s fitting that Pattern’s April Meetup (this Thursday 4/25 at Big Car Service Center), is all about eco fashion. It also happens to be the three-month anniversary of eco fashion e-boutique, Modavanti. Guest contributor Abbi Johnson caught up with Modavanti founder David Dietz to chat all things eco-friendly, sustainable, and fashionable.
Nine weeks, wait, eleven weeks! Wow! It’s really crazy how quickly time has gone by since we launched the site.
How did you decide to start Modavanti?
I was really involved in social entrepreneurship in college, and I was fortunate that one of my friends started a social entrepreneurship fellowship where I was able to learn a lot about starting a socially-responsible business. I knew I wanted to start a business that would have a broad social impact, you know, something on a wide scale. I chose fashion because it’s a consumer good that was widely needed and also desirable and fun. If you consider the sustainability movement, there are grocery chains devoted to sustainable food, home goods stores, hybrid cars; fashion is one of the last major frontiers, and there’s definitely a growing demand. It’s really exciting. Read more
Looking back at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, Day Two held four very exciting shows coming from designers whose names are perhaps too easily overlooked in the Midwest, but well known to fashionistas who value quality, originality, and wearability. Let’s take a few moments and examine the fall lines that may make you want to reconsider what hangs in your closet this fall.
CZAR by Cesar Galindo is purposed to be a more youthful look, and Galindo accomplishes that in a couple of ways this season. One is a dangerously high hem line on several of the dresses. While the black opaque hose shown with these looks provides warmth and might cover any varicose vein issues, the high hem is invariably a strength for younger, athletic and well-toned legs. The second is a number of silhouettes that are fitted on top and more flowing on bottom, again emphasizing factors that favor a younger body. The trend for arm coverings is addressed not only in terms of opera gloves, but arm warmers for those days when one might actually need to use one’s fingers, and quarter-length sweaters over bare-shouldered tops. Galindo isn’t afraid of color and utilizes a palette that is vivid and exciting. While there are certainly some beautiful winter whites and natural tones, the first piece down the runway was an eye-catching powder blue, and vivid reds, purples, and golds would come later. No matter what a woman’s personal style might be, one would have to be beyond fussy to not find something worthy of space in her wardrobe.