Sweatshops became an "it" cause in 1995, following the Kathie Lee Gifford debacle, but they returned to the back burner as soon as America found a new celebrity du jour to hate. The environmentally and politically active students of the KU Greens want to bring back that enthusiasm and prove that having a social conscience can be fashionable. The MayDay! Fashion Show spotlights several "anti-sweatshop" designs meant to provide an alternative to off-the-rack couture. Six area designers showcase clothing made with natural dyes and recycled fabrics; models also strut wearable art and handmade pieces. And shoppers can buy union-made clothing from companies such as American Apparel and No Enemy.
"Most people don't realize that the clothes they wear are often created with child labor or through unfair wages," says Laura Adams, one of the event's organizers.
The fashion show is presented in conjunction with Must Not Sleep, Must Warn Others, a free show presented by political art group ART at 7 p.m. at Henry's Coffee House (11 East 8th Street in Lawrence); and Dance! Dance! Revolution (not the video game but actual dancers) from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Jackpot Saloon (943 Massachusetts Street). "All of the events are spearheaded independently," Adams says. "But we've been working together to make it a May Day spectacular."
The fashion show takes place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire Street). Admission is $3; call 785-812-3149 for more information.-- Annie Fischer
Art for the Masses
The most frustrating thing about First Fridays (besides the fact that the free wine runs out in about 15 minutes) is that the art on display is completely unaffordable on the average budget. Penny-pinching wanna-be art collectors should head to the Olive Gallery (15 East 18th Street in Lawrence) May 1 for the opening of The Visitor, a collection of prints by Oregon-based Christina Ankofska. Inspired by her experiences living in Oaxaca, Mexico, Ankofska collages found materials such as bird bones and toothpicks with colorful monoprints incorporating etching and embossing. Her work is priced from $145 to $770, but the Olive also presents edgy, contemporary work by local artists starting at around $10. For details, call 785-331-4114. -- Theresa Bembnister
Dancin' in the Park
5/1 & 5/8
Anyone hanging out at Loose Park (Wornall Road and 51st Street) the next two Saturday evenings is in for a surreal treat. Starting near the shelter house at the park's main entrance, off Wornall, eight dancers in bright-orange garb embark on a "structured improvisation." They're promising to create a dialogue between their movements and the park environment. At first, the Dance on Site performers might look like landscapers attired in safety-orange jumpsuits taking an exuberant break. But it's likely to become more obvious that the city workers are really performers from the Aha! Dance Theatre following an orange flag through the park while Sam Hughes wails on a variety of instruments. Call 816-523-6732 for details. -- Michael Vennard
The overrated Whale Rider gave New Zealand's film industry a boost last year. Its next breakthrough hit might be Her Majesty, which has its U.S. theatrical premiere Friday at the Glenwood Arts Theatre (9575 Metcalf in Overland Park). Set in 1953, the year of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, Her Majesty chronicles a 13-year-old girl's obsession with bringing the titular royal to her hometown. The movie, which has done well at various festivals, is debuting in Kansas City because Stuart Stratin, president of Panorama Entertainment, was so impressed with how the Fine Arts group handled The Bread, My Sweet, another Panorama film. "It's the right movie for Kansas City at the right time," Stratin says. Call 913-642-4404 for more information. -- Steve Walker