ACE in the hole


I followed up a hilarious dinner with my sibs on Friday night with an evening out at the ACE Awards on Saturday. I'd heard only good things about the awards in the past (mainly that they threw a good party) and I was excited to go. This year's awards were a bit different than ones in the past, as they were moving from a sit-down dinner to a pre-awards cocktail and then awards presentation in the theatre. But change in format didn't mean the event was less casual, which gave me an opportunity to finally wear the dress that I had originally purchased to wear at a wedding in February. Boom. Clothing decision made.

The dress is a pretty one... full skirt red satin with black polka dot mesh overlay with a slight portrait neckline. The neckline and bodice are altered from the original, to create soft pleats and a deeper v. It's a cute dress, but it doesn't wear well for long periods of time. The dress easily twists which causes the neckline to gape. What I should say is this is not a dress to take photos in. It's fine if you're not carrying anything more than a clutch and a drink. Of course I was carrying a my camera bag and trying to balance a drink and my camera all at the same time. No one can remain looking elegant while doing that. I tried to leave my camera bag at home but I was really keen on taking photos. I considered carrying the camera by itself and just carrying a small clutch for my phone, etc... but that meant having to sling my camera around all night. There was no happy medium. I love my camera bag for everyday adventures, but it does not transition well to evening events. I'm on the hunt for something smaller that will fit my evening requirements. Vintage Chanel camera bag anyone? I think that will do ;)

With my dress selected for the evening all that I had left was to make the rest of myself presentable. I have a tendency to not really do my hair because (a) there's a lot of it and it takes too much time and (b) it has a mind of its own. However, as my hair was looking supremely large (sort of like this) it needed a bit of taming so I attempted to tame it a bit. I recently (as of Saturday morning) came into possession of a new ceramic curling iron from Sephora, so armed with my heat-safe glove I went to work. I was reminded why my stylist has shoulder problems.

who likes to rock the party?

I made the mistake of not shampooing my hair on Friday night, so curling my hair was not the easiest it could have been. My hair is not at its best right after washing... it's frizzy and unless it's professionally styled it tends to look a bit frazzled. However, the new iron was pretty impressive. I liked the curls it made and I'll become more adept with it after I use it a few more times. After curling my whole head I fingercombed to smooth out my hair to bigger waves and then haphazardly twisted strands from either side to pin at the back of my head. I considered for a second attempting something more retro like a betty page bang or victory rolls, but to be honest I just didn't have enough bobby pins to try it. Also, lesson learned that I need to get some hairspray. In keeping with my wash and go sort of mentality I own none. But, at least for tonight it was okay. If anyone commented on my flyaways I could just tell them I was keeping with the Coney Island Freakshow theme of the night.

32nd Annual ACE Awards
The gentleman and I hopped on the LRT downtown and met up with his work colleagues at Moriarty's. I asked the gentleman to photograph me while waiting for the train but none of those photos are going to see the light of day. We both failed miserably in this endeavour. My pose was terrible and his angle was unflattering (chest like a continental shelf, cut off above the ankles). How do all these women get nice photos of themselves for their blogs? I have one reluctant assistant and his success rate is less than 50 percent.

After some cocktails we departed en masse to The Citadel, navigating the construction which blocked the sidewalk to the building and created a rather pedestrian un-friendly welcome to the building. Once we picked up our tickets we headed upstairs to the lobby by the Shoctor Theatre. The place was packed, which was good as it meant the event was well attended, but also not fantastic as it meant that it was difficult to navigate through the crowd. The bar was located in the middle of the space, resulting in a total traffic jam. There were only two attendants manning the bar, serving a crowd of a few hundred. I'm sure they were exhausted by the end of their shift.

I wasn't all that crazy about the setup. The lobby of the Shoctor is long and narrow, which works fine for an intermission of a show, but not so much for a networking event particularly when you fill up the space with food tables and massive displays that stretch the entirety of the space. In addition to the long lineups at the bar it was difficult to mill about, the cocktail tables filled up with empty glasses so quickly and the food wasn't good. The tight quarters also meant that it was difficult to photograph the people in pretty dresses in the manner to which I've grown accustomed (i.e. surreptitiously). The display boards of all the nominees were pushed to the back alongside the windows, and several displays were blocked by people who had tried to find space to mingle without being jostled by others making their way to the bar lineup. There were probably a few different configurations that might have worked better, but I think people wouldn't have minded the space so much if there were more bartenders (or two bars) and if the food was better. I heard more than a few people comment that they missed the old format.

Funny though. My favourite photo of the night came when I was trapped in a spot between a couple groups of chatty folks who seemed uninterested in allowing others to pass by. There was nothing interesting to photograph to the left or right of me (except the backs of heads) so instead I photographed this scene of the empty plaza beside Stanley Milner Library.

Eventually I found the gentleman in the crowd and we made our way up and down the lobby to look at the nominees. I spotted a former colleague of mine and chatted with a few others I know. Before long it was time for the awards presentation and we were coralled into the theatre. It took the organizers a few minutes to drag everyone inside.

But while we waited we had a chance to admire the similar style choices by two of the gentleman's work colleagues. Great minds thinking alike.

Post awards ceremony we strolled to the adjacent Tucker Amphiteatre for the after party where we treated a freakshow of our own. The gentleman and I left around midnight (he had an early day today) at the start of the second act involving a meat hook and various weights.

Morning reprise of the ACE awards... everyone was given a copy of the freakshow themed awards booklet with the spread of each of the winners, including Best in Show winner Calder Bateman for their integrated campaign for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.

Best in Show!

It was a nice night out. Edmonton has a very talented creative community and it was great to see them celebrated.