With the new year almost here, if you're still looking for a wall calendar that's clever, fun, useful and, one might say, even uplifting, here's a doozy that will benefit a great cause. It's the BraVo 2007 calendar being sold by LifeBridge Health. Every month features a photo of a bra. These are not typical undergarments, mind you. In fact, most of them would be rather difficult to wear.
These were just a few of the more than 100 artworks displayed in an October auction that raised about $60,000 for two LifeBridge institutes. The designers were artists, celebrities and others. Including yours truly.
We each were sent a plain bra and told to choose a theme, creatively cover every surface, and give it a name and description. Most of the results were frothy, clever or sentimental. There are names such as "Hello Dali" (January) "Bra'tterfly" (April) and "Treasured Chests" (May). "MardiBra" graces September's page, and the year ends with "Fanta-sea" in December.
One of the most delightful is "The Baltimore Charm City Girls" (March), designed by well-known local hair and wig stylist Lola Jones. As a teenager, Jones was a committee member on Baltimore television's popular The Buddy Deane Show. Her experiences came together in her creation - a pink satin, black-and-white gingham and pearl-draped brassiere that features towering blond beehive hairdos on the straps. You just want to touch it.
Not mine. Although selected for June, a month associated with softness and smiles, this bra is the only hostile one in the bunch. I figured if a bra is a symbol of femininity, then I was going to give it the going over that being female has given me the past couple of years: hot flashes, mood swings and that delightful all-over feeling of irritability. It's titled "Menobrause."
Sure. In the grand scheme of things, menopause isn't really that big a deal, particularly in light of BraVo's cause. The proceeds go to the Herman and Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital Center and the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.
But, hey, complaining about it is half the fun. Women won't miss the humor in one component that they can't even see: A dual heating pad system, coated with sticky rubber, flashes on for 20 minutes at a time.
In addition to writing for The Sun, I design and create fashion jewelry. I took the tools of that trade and applied them to the bra. And I do mean applied them. The top halves of the cups are covered in scalloped gray and burgundy sandpapers, which are used for smoothing and texturizing metals. The bottom halves are covered in Scotch-Brite, small steel brushes - both used for texture, too - and shark's teeth.
The straps are made of an abrasive aluminum tape and have large porcupine quills shooting out of them. Smaller quills and another steel brush decorate the center.
You'll find BraVo calendars ($10) and boxes of gift cards with photos of more bra-zen creations ($15) at the gift shops at Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital Center, Greetings & Readings at the Hunt Valley Towne Centre, and Trillium and Bare Necessities, both in Green Spring Station in Lutherville. Or call LifeBridge Health at 410-601-4438.