Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Brent & Melissa overlooking the city (not yet married)

It was a dreamy evening. Brent Cunningham and Melissa Benham got themselves married up in a really lovely event. Many friends were included in the ceremony which was presided over by the redoubtable Neil Alger. I had the honor to be one of the friends, reading the Metta Sutta and feeling more like a priestess than I usually get to feel.

me, Neil, Melissa & Brent in a moment from the ceremony
(those are books piled by us)

I wanted to take many pictures of the astounding outfits that night but was too stunned by them and too busy schmoozing around and dancing to get many shots. Luckily there were professionals there, making the occasion feel like a wild media event in the best sense of paparazzi following you around. Okay, they were mostly following the bride and groom around, but still.

Melissa was perfect in her very bride-like bridal gown and then, for dancing, a shirtwaist dress in white with a pink sash and shocking pink pumps with ties. How she danced so well in those high heels I don’t know, but she and Brent were like Fred & Ginger when they made their moves. It truly was dancing with the ‘STARS ARE FAR,’ to quote Brent’s tattoo. Brent also looked flawless in his suit and fancy shoes and later sneakers. Their girl Mina ran up at key points in her pink satin and stole the show.

Brent & Melissa dancing (completely married)

Melissa & Mina dancing

There are some photos below that I bought from the wedding photographers Kim & Niki (there are more gorgeous shots on their blog -- note especially the one with Mina) and then a few I took myself. These will be obvious by being much worse.

Among the guests, I particularly liked Tanya Hollis’ brown, pink and cream satin ensemble. Erika Staiti was duded to the lovely max as were many. Jocelyn Saidenberg was wearing what she described as ‘my wedding outfit.’ There was more than one case (note Amanda in the picture below) where you couldn’t tell if something was totally designer or just excellent thrift store. Many were in their best vintage, encouraged by the bride to think Douglas Sirk in their outfit planning. Suzanne Stein was very Kim Novak in a stunning aqua satin coat and print number of with blue flowers that was truly excellent. I clearly remember taking a photo of her at Chris Vitiello's table where his daughter looked great in a checked dress and he was beaming, having also been part of the ceremony. Suzanne was table hopping and for a moment stared out at the dancers looking steamy – but that shot, as many, seems to have ended up in my mind's eye rather than in my camera.

People were in their highest heels, making me wish I could still wear those. There was a lot of décolletage and no one hesitated to dress a bit slutty if the spirit moved them. Cassie Smith’s table decorations were like something out of a novel by Jules Verne and Djuana Barnes. Truly dazzling. None of the pictures quite do them justice and I didn't get any myself though I remembering gazing fixedly at the glass dome over floating candles at our table in big delight.

Nick Robinson & I dancing

David Buuck & Lindsey Boldt, me & Nick in the background, Vic Neves in full Zoot suit

Lauren Levin, Carrie & Samantha Giles

Erika Staiti & Lindsey Boldt

Sara Larsen & David Brazil

There was a lot of hugging and kissing and at times it seemed like everyone was marrying everyone. There were many perfections -- though I think, too, it is sometimes hard to be at a wedding if you are not yourself with someone, but want to be, or are not perfectly glad, or if you want to get married but can’t because of stupid laws.

Still, all in all, it was dreamy. It was one of a number of occasions I have experienced in my long life as a poet where the community really comes together. It was nice that this was such a happy event, especially for the stars of it. I wanted to cry but didn't. There were a lot of extremely happy parents, aunts,uncles, cousins, and at least one great aunt running around. The liquor flowed like wine. (I mean it really flowed) The hangover was worth it. The community regarded itself with some satisfaction and moved on, hungry for the next event.


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