Last Thursday, the parking situation at the Freehand never seemed so hopeless, and the only thing vacant was the unnecessary existence of motorcycle parking spots. After having a major Groundhog's Day-moment of circling the same set of streets off of Indian Creek Drive for 40 minutes, finally a parking spot effloresced before us. Though beach parking is know for making its patrons to break down and cry year-round, on this night it was extra feisty. But it was worth it once you passed through the double doors of the tranquil Freehand lobby and into the backyard clambake of art, fashion, and canned moscatos. This was a collaborative event set up by Style Mafia, Friends Fun Wine, and some badass local artists. No wonder it got so crazy out there.
The three aforementioned tastemakers inspired a migration of impeccably dressed Good Samaritans larking over to the Broken Shaker in the name of a benevolent cause: helping the homeless. Bodies conglomerated on the lower level of the hostel's bar-meets-garden where hybrid collection pieces from Style Mafia abut with wine-bottle lanterns, dangled from the fruit trees pervading its outdoor quarters. Each piece that hung from a branch represented the identity of one of the night's eight artists: Sabrina Yanguas, Gabriel ("GG") Gimenez, Marcos Conde, Ivan Roque, Aquarela Sabol, Jake Cordero, and Yuhmi Collective.
"The inspiration came behind the beauty of femininity and being a woman," says Ingrid "Yuzly" Mathurin of Yuhmi Collection about the purple Ines skirt by Style Mafia she used as her canvas of choice. "I'm a makeup artist, so I put lips on the skirt, representing myself."
Aside from the ombred kissy-faced skirt courtesy of Yuzly, pieces like the monochromatic shorts-set by Sabrina Yanguas, boasting a sporadic abstract print, and GG's spinoff of Warhol's Campbell Soup Can painted onto a white neoprene dress received a well-deserved hats off from a flurry of partygoers.
The dendritic installation of skirts, two-piece sets, dresses, and tops looked to visually stimulate, but this event wasn't for the art alone. Seeking a good home for each bespoke piece was far more important. A silent auction was set in motion to make sure the pieces were paired with owners who would sport them with pride. The lucky winners acquired the bragging rights of not only turning into a walking masterpiece, but were also relieved to know that all of their proceeds went to the non-profit agency Camillus House.
Giving seemed to be the theme of the night. Or at least the herd of local guest bartenders seemed to think so. Doling drinks infused with co-host Friends Fun Wine's canned beverages, the mix masters competed head-to-head in a battle to see who could make the most out of the brand's fruity moscatos and white and red sangrias, and left it up to the guests to determine who would be dubbed winner of the night.
"Everyone's handed a ticket, and you drop the ticket in the bin of the bartender who you think makes the best drink," curator Yess Miakoda explained. "Whoever gathers the most tickets is going to be given a one year contract with the company (Friends Fun Wine) to make the recipes for that year."
Most of the tickets were poured into the clear boxes of Freehand's resident bartender Gui Jaroschy and Blackbird Ordinary's Ben Potts. But the drink that caught our eye the most was the out-of-this-world concoction shook up by Tara Long of Midtown's Bardot. The "cockie" entitled "Alien Blood" consisted of a medley of freshly juiced Acai berries, blackberries, blood orange, Agave nectar, black tea, and a splash of St. Germain, infused with Friends Fun Wine's Red Sangria and topped with a neon green, plastic alien to emphasize just how extraterrestrial the drink was. Already packed with a gaggle of ingredients, Long thought it would be fun to add one more special ingredient - ZzzQuil, an over-the-counter sleep aid.
When asked why she decided to use ZzzQuil as the final touch, the bun-head bartender says she's "keeping it real in the streets and I want to just keep the realness around so that people don't forget - that it's hard out here for a pimp."
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Needless to say, she had our vote.
Yet in spite of our to crown Long as the night's winner, Jaroschy's "Friendly Fire" took home the gold for the first round of the five part series for the Friends Fun Wine Mixologist Competition.
And so the night of friends, fun, wine, and fashion came to an end at the Broken Shaker, where the clothes were ripe for the pickin' and the supply of spicy and fruity drinks alike were bountiful. But the union of such things still continues to unveil its splendor in the land of the 305. And for the Fashionites with a strong penchant for canned wine: Live long and prosper. We feel you.