|Dennis and Valerie, Bryson City, N.C. August 2011|
|Valerie and June feeling special in Hip-Hop Wraps|
For many years Valerie and Dennis lived in Key West. An artist with a head for business as well as design, Valerie operated the store Pandemonium, on Duval Street. It featured beautiful and artistic things to wear and use and live with. In the same building she opened a gallery of work by Cindy Wynn, another truly innovative artist. Wynn creates furniture out of discarded metal and steel objects. Valerie called the store/museum Reworx. Perhaps it was ahead of its time. Reworx didn’t seem to catch on.
In 2005 Valerie and Dennis decided that Key West had become too challenging financially, and that Asheville would be a more manageable place to live. They sold their Key West house at the height of the real estate boom, and moved to Asheville. Valerie says she hasn’t regretted the move for a single second. Of course they do spend two months in Key West each winter and that’s gotta take the sting out of spending the other 10 months in bear country.
|Flip-Flop Hip-Hopper Miguel Perez in Valerie Hoh|
One afternoon, as we danced together, Valerie told me that in Asheville Dennis goes to a studio where he dances to the 5Rhythms, a sort of philosophy of dance and movement by Gabrielle Roth. I downloaded some 5Rhythm music onto my iPod and dance to it at the beach. When people see me gyrating to the rhythms in my head, they stare, and I tell them: "Valerie Hoh made me do it!"
|Michael Keith, in Valerie Hoh, 1987. "You should be a work of art or wear one." Oscar Wilde. I married one.|
|Anne, in Valerie Hoh, at our wedding, 1988.|
Last night son Miguel, producer of a brand of music he calls “flip-flop hip-hop”, expertly wrapped the Valerie Do around his head as if he’d done it a thousand times before. Then he posed for my camera.
In February, Valerie stages a show of her incredible fashions at Key West's Gardens Hotel. There is music, food and drink, and since Valerie does everything she does with drama, wit and flair, the show is a terrific event. Her devoted Key West fans show up to socialize and have a look at what new ideas Valerie has brought to life. The pieces are for sale, too. In the meantime, check out Valerie’s stuff at HohCouture.com. Plug in iamfurniture.com to see Cindy Wynn's wild works.
Wondering who else has a bear in their back yard? Our great friends Eugenie and Tad Malek in Northampton, Mass. Eugenie is a brilliant world class pianist, who I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing since my childhood. But that’s another blog. In the meantime, I gotta say, those art-loving bears get around!
Check out Flip-Flop Hip-Hop featuring our son Miguel here: