Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Private Screening

On a recent rainy night, we braved the downpour to visit Senior Planet, a wonderful resource for seniors whose fabulous motto is "Aging with Attitude".

The reason for our rendezvous? To attend a wide-screen viewing of Sue Bourne's documentary Fabulous Fashionistas with in-person commentary from the director herself, and from one of her stars, Sue Kreitzman. Here, the auteur and muse address the audience before the show, which was followed by a very lively Q & A session. To view our coverage of the film itself and our interview with Sue Bourne in our earlier posting, please click here. This time we'll focus on the six ladies on the screen and members of the audience that evening.

Barbara Aria from Senior Planet introduced both Sues after telling the audience about Senior Planet and its mission. Barbara had interviewed us online for her article about us earlier this year (when we were among the oldest people in Stylecaster's Most Stylish New Yorkers), but we'd never actually met in person, so the evening presented us with this added bonus. Several of us, including Barbara, the speakers, and Kimberly Brennsteiner from Senior Planet, went to dinner afterward. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

This is a photo of the cake that someone baked and brought to the London premiere of the documentary featuring the faces of each of the Fabulous Fashionistas. Isn't it incredibly creative?

We had met Sue Kreitzman in New York at an Outsider Art Show about two years ago and were thrilled at this opportunity to reconnect.  After the show, we headed out into the rainstorm to have dinner with her, Sue Bourne, Jean Betancourt, Barbara Aria and Kimberley Brennsteiner.  For those of us with fashion ADD, being around Sue K. is a true challenge, because your eyes just naturally dart from one fabulous accessory (like those candy apple red glasses) to another (her red necklaces).  She is extremely witty and absolutely charming.

Take for example, this detail from the back of the jacket she is wearing in the photo above.  (Well, detail is perhaps an understatement.  More than a foot tall, it dominates the back. Basically, it IS the back.)

Here is the coat she wore over that one,  featuring these colorful, graphic female figures and animals.  (Check out her bright red patent leather clogs by Fit Flop here and in the opening photo.  Those of you with foot issues, pay attention.  She raved about how comfortable they are.)

At the screening, we immediately recognized artist Jean Betancourt, whom we hadn't seen in nearly two years. For years, Jean colored her hair a wonderful deep shade of purple. Now it's a wonderful shade of white. (You too can color your hair purple with Manic Panic. It's not permanent, so if you wished you'd tried deep blue or shocking pink, just wait a week and you can.  Jean B. colored her hair with a different product, and we wheedled it out of her only on a promise not to tell, which is why we're telling you about Manic Panic, which Valerie has used, and recommends with unmitigated glee.) (Oh, by the way, click on photos to enlarge and/or to view the slide show.)

Before deciding to focus more on her art, Jean B. was a prolific jewelry designer, as evidenced by her necklace, bracelets and rings. The bracelet on the right features one of her poems.  Even her nails are embellished and multi-colored. Of course, it figures that Jean B. and Sue Kreitzman are old friends too.

Women of a certain age comprised a large contingent of the audience and were totally entertained by the film and quite vocal about their opinions. The film sparked a lot of discussion and audience participation. One of the ladies in the second row who was in her 80's (and looked and moved like someone decades younger) said she'd just come from yoga class. Her comment was terrific: "If you feel old, you are old. If you feel young, you are young."

Here is another guest and friend of Sue K's, artist Malcah Zeldis, who is no stranger to color herself. (Love that necklace with the red face.  She said she rescued it when an artist in her building threw it away.)

There were a number of extremely stylish ladies in the audience. We loved Liliana's hair, glasses, jewelry, outfit -- and attitude!

This enthusiastic guest was so moved by the documentary and the extremely positive audience reaction that she felt compelled to show off her flexibility and acrobatic skills.  How many people half her age can do that?

About our hosts:  The Senior Planet  Exploration Center located at 127 W, 25th Street in Manhattan, is the first tech-themed center for older adults created by Older Adults Technology Services. OATS' mission is to engage, train and support older adults in using technology to improve their quality of life and enhance their social and civic engagement.  At 23 tech labs in New York, with 300 PCs, they train seniors to use them -- and digital cameras -- and offer classes and lectures and sponsor events like the screening of Fabulous Fashionistas.  Aging with attitude -- check it out!

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing a vintage Frank Olive hat in printed checked felt, vintage plastic checkered earrings, scarf by Nuno, jacket by Cals from Patricia Field, pants by Issey Miyake, Gustav Klimt print shoes by Icon.

Jean is wearing Amy Downs' "Origami" hat; Costume National jacket; Yoshiaki Yuki's "Yuuka" scarf from gallery gen; Timbuktu harem pants; designer Kirsten Hawthorne's black rubber knot earrings; vintage bakelite rings; vintage frames from Fabulous Fanny's and customized Dansko clogs.


  1. I love getting news from Senior Planet! Their website has become an essential daily choice for me. Once again, a lovely trip with the Fashionistas! Merci, xxoo

  2. Senior Planet is a brilliant idea - with a large part of the population in their "senior years" I would think there would be a huge market for their services.

    You always connect with such inspiring, and super stylish older women. I would have loved to have met Sue Kreitzman as I greatly admire her bold style. Malcah's fuschia turban and multi-hued coat is marvelous, as is Jean B.'s jewellery. What a visually inspiring evening! That cake is awesome.