Karen Lee, owner of Karendipity, rings in the New Year with a farewell to 30 Church Street.
LENOX, Mass. – For the last few weeks, I’ve been cringing every time someone asked me what my plans for New Year’s were. First, I’d giggle and say, “I’m just looking to get through Christmas.” But then, usually, the question would resurface. The few who knew my plans were appalled, intrigued or just laughed uncontrollably at the stone cold look on my face.
You see, nothing is ever run-of-the-mill in my world, at least in my writing world. And fortunately for me, I welcomed 2011 with others whose lives, like mine, have taken strange turns to lead them to this point. So, while all of you were out enjoying an $85 five course meal on the town, or a wheel of brie and a bottle of Merlot at home, I was reading erotic poetry to a crowd of brightly-dressed strangers while ringing in the New Year with chocolate, music and pasties.
Yes, pasties. Karen Lee, or “Madame K” as she is known at such occasions, hosted a private Burlesque for Books party at her space on 30 Church Street. The Pilates studio was transformed into an underground stage where women (and men) performed high-energy, sexy burlesque numbers while wordy types (some call us starving artists, a.k.a. poets) bore their souls and their shoulders while reading original poetry and slam.
And, of course, there was a naked woman reading an etiquette book. How fitting.
The party was emceed by Marc Zegans, a collector of Hawaiian shirts and the poet laureate for Narragansett beer, and Madame K. herself, who felt compelled to read from a striptease instructional book for the novices among us party-goers.
The evening ended with a strip down to midnight and more dancing and luscious desserts. While no arrests were made, there was a bit of sadness in the evening as Lee announced that she was moving and that this raucous party was her last hoopla in Lenox. No more Karendipity on Church Street. However, in typical Madame K. fashion, she did leave us all wondering at where she would land next (rumors of a reality T.V. show with Oprah’s network and more burlesque entertainment are bubbling to the surface); simply saying that it was “time to move on.”
Kitty reading an etiquette book to yours truly.
Be on the lookout for glitter and sequins in a shop space near you. That will be the first sign that Lee has hitched her star. That and an ever-present crowd of devil-may-care artists, writers and performers looking for a home to call their own.