Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Friday -- Holiday Edition

I spent a fabulous Friday evening at Gutierrez Studios ( in the historic Clipper Mill section of Baltimore, where my dear friend, Roya Golpira, oversees the talented metalworking designers at the custom fabrication shop of her beloved life-partner, John Gutierrez, who succumbed to cancer three years ago. As a way to celebrate John’s legacy and his great love of parties, Roya instituted a "First Friday" Open House which, for the past couple of years, occurred the first Friday of every month. The event featured a light meal, catered first by the esteemed Woodberry Kitchen restaurant next door, and more recently by Clementine Restaurant, as well as live music and complementary wine and beer, and has always been open to all who ever knew and loved John.

As one might expect, the execution of such an event can get quite expensive when held every four weeks all year long, so Roya chose to limit her studio’s open houses to once a quarter, starting this past September, still a very generous gift to John’s friends. So Friday night was the "Winter Holiday" edition at Gutierrez Studios, and it was, as usual, a splendid get together.

The air was crisp inside the cavernous stone warehouse, despite ceiling-mounted heaters, although not as chilly as First Friday events I’ve attended in past winters. I selected a red sequined tank by Material Girl, a gift from my best friend, Kari’s, mother, Joyce, in Spokane, Washington, for Friday night’s affair, unconcerned about the cold because I knew there would be dancing to warm me up, along with slinky black leggings by HUE for Macy’s, adorned with beaded accents on the legs, tuxedo-style. I slipped on vintage black boots by Pleaser and plucked an open-weave crocheted wool sweater with a mohair faux-fur collar by Emma G from its hanger, which was a dynamite find on a clearance rack at a tiny boutique in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport last year.

To keep with the holiday theme, I added a vintage necklace of red crystals I purchased ages ago when I lived in northern California, a red crystal ring I found on sale at JCPenney a few weeks back, a beautiful red beaded bracelet hand made by my high school classmate, Lily Williams, and some brilliant red crystal earrings I spied in a cute boutique along Park City, Utah's, historic main street during my annual family ski trip with Kari and her parents last March. I finished my look with a tiny gold-metal clutch, also a gift from Kari's mom, and a Dea Dread hair accessory custom made for me last fall by Thea Osato of Baltimore (

The place was jumping when I arrived. I helped myself to a plate of Clementine’s delightful vegetarian curry over saffron rice ( and a glass of wine, then wandered outside to the towering firepit, custom-built of woven iron rods in celebration of John’s love of metalworking, where a blazing log fire was keeping the cold at bay. Alongside the fire, I greeted John’s handsome brother, Glen, a master landscape designer (, who was carefully tending a gargantuan pot of Hungarian goulash over a smaller wood fire, a tradition in which Glen engages at almost every Gutierrez Studios Open House during the cooler seasons. Eventually I made my way back inside the warehouse, where the funkadelic music of Rufus Roundtree and da B'more Brass Factory ( was bringing the crowd to their feet.

Gutierrez Studios was still hopping when I bid my farewell to Roya and my other friends and headed home for the evening. What a wonderful and generous gift to their many acquaintances this open house is!  It is a fitting tribute to John’s life and his love of a great party.

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