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Jennifer Field, whose work Honig took to Chicago, says Honig is an egalitarian who likes to help other artists succeed. "Peregrine is very feminine and very masculine in terms of getting things done," Field says. "That's threatening to a lot of people, because she has to make decisions about who to support. People who haven't been supported may have a problem with that. Her only detractors are people who are prepared to dislike her because she's successful. People are prepared to dislike successful, powerful women."
"A lot of Kansas City artists may perceive Peregrine as being self-centered, but it's not justified," Watne says. "In order to be a successful artist, you have to promote yourself constantly, even if it's shameless self-promotion. No one else is going to do it for you. Peregrine makes a living off her artwork. She's pretty, and she's successful, and that's a deadly combination."
But it's been a long time since she's snapped her fingers for service at Y.J.'s, Ford says.
"Now, Peregrine has learned how to treat people who aren't necessarily artists as being important people." If Honig is impatient at times, it's because she's got a lot going on and takes her work seriously, he says. "She sets her schedule, and other people have to get in line with it. That's how you get things done. She's like the bull in the China closet, but then she goes back to sweep it up."
Behind Y.J.'s counter is Heather Scorcha Minga, one of the artists from Honig's Valentine's Day installation. Honig gave her and Chris Devlin complete artistic freedom for their show, she says.
"A lot of galleries don't want to run the risk that [the show] isn't completely stylized with wine and beer and a white wall lit up beautifully," Scorcha Minga says. "She gave us the keys to her place and totally trusted us 100 percent."
Honig has grown up, Cohen says. As artists go, she is easier to work with than most.
"Today Peregrine is a better artist, a better thinker," he says. "She relates better with people." He's known plenty of less talented artists in New York who succeed because they know how to promote themselves. Honig is only doing what artists need to do, he says.
"It's like the movie business," Cohen says. "You've got to be in the right place at the right time."
For Honig, now is the right time for more underwear. Last month, Honig and actress Corrie Van Ausdal opened Birdies, an underwear store next door to Y.J.'s. A couple of months earlier, the women had pooled their cash and gone on a shopping spree. They browsed at Re-runs, buying unworn vintage lingerie. An antique dealer in the River Market donated more unused items. They hit the sales at Dillard's. A friend advised them on how to get a business license.
Now panties with birds silk-screened on the front and boxer shorts adorned with hand-drawn robots hang on the wall near bikinis sporting Honig's drawing of a frenetic-looking kitty. There's a thong with "WWJD" painted across the crotch.
"When the economy goes to hell and the country goes to war, women focus on underwear," Honig says. Birdies will be a "social study," she says, of who buys underwear in troubled times. She sees her new retail venture as just a natural progression of her art.
On a recent Saturday night at the Cup and Saucer in the River Market, a raven-haired woman with blood-red lips gyrates onstage in a pair of "Love Gun" panties -- black underwear with a drawing of a silver pistol shooting a red heart from the barrel.