17 April 2007

Sweaters, Gems, Gold Pants

Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with her work will be not at all surprised that Leslie Hall is an all caps kinda gal. The Lady of Gem Sweaters of Awesome and Solemn Beauty and Power is also a gold pants-wearing art dynamo. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts alumna makes videos, curates the Mobile Museum of Gem Sweaters (MMoGS), and tours with her band Leslie and the Ly's. But wait--there's DIY cred! The L & L album is self-released. They've done all their own booking and publicity for their country-crossing tour. And Leslie, unsurprisingly, is a rampant crafter. This very busy Gem Sweater Lady and Ames, IA, native gave the Church some of her time via email. Photo from www.lesliehall.com.

Q. Who and what inspires you?
Elvira, Ginger Spice, the chubby Ricki Lake years, and dill pickle potato chips.

Q. How did you get into gem sweaters?
I just couldn't walk away from such detailed craftsmanship in a single sweater garment for $3.99. I became obsessed and passionate about the beauty and orphan-like qualities of a thrift-store sweater.

Q. Do you have a cat?
YES. He's a stray and I named him Turtle. He's neutered.

Q. What do you wear as you go about your "everyday life?"
To disappoint and to be honest I dress as a sloppy art school student. And I wear a lot of our band merchandise because it’s on a really soft shirt that feels good on my body. Stiff cheap t shirts are a thing of the past to me.

Q. Is there a fashion figure in history you identify with? Do you havean idol from history?
Wow. Fashion history idols? I've never been asked that!

Q. Do you wear jeans?
Yes, but not those low-ride jeans EVERY store seems to only carry. I like'em MOM-style. HIGH on the hips keeps everything I got LOCKED in. And deep pockets to carry spare change, cell phone and car keys.

Q. Does costuming (in its performative aspect) inform your music/songwriting?
Well, trust me: if I'm in a gold suit draped in 36 inch long fringe I will do a lot of reaches and grand waves. If I'm in a gold suit with a puffy power vest I'm gonna do a lot of shoulder pops and laser launches.

Q. Are you much into the New York fashion scene?

Q. Did you grow up sewing? Were you in 4-H? Which town did you grow up in?
I just pick up sewing on my own for fun. I sewed 24/7 in high school. I made a lot of wallets, some vests, and purses. I really think i would have liked 4-H. The competition. EVERYTHING!

Q. Do you knit, crochet, sew or otherwise "craft?"
I AM A CRAFTER. Hot glue, jewel it, tape, plaster: I love it all. I am a craftaholic. At any moment in time I could have 10 projects going.

Q. Do you thrift?
OH, HONEY thrift is a golden song I sing. It’s right next to the grocery store. I pop in, check things out. Then off to the produce section. Ames, Iowa, is a wonderful place for my kind of people. Hunters of the fine recycled love items.

Q. What do you listen to?
Country music is my 100 percent fave right now. Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I sing along. I cry for sad songs. OH, don't get me started. YES, I LOVE IT.

Q. Do you have a "day job?"

Q. Will you be touring to promote your album?
YES! Check out my website www.leslieandthelys.com. I have all my tour dates. We are coming to every village and town to promote gem sweater rescuing and gold pants lady jams. HOLLA!

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