Nearly a decade ago, Emilie Autumn wanted to spice things up in her small community of Nevada City, CA. She decided to put on an art and fashion show, featuring her own art, clothing designs and other artists in the community. With a crowd of around 300 people crammed into a local meeting hall, Seaman's Lodge, her young troupe and fellow designers put on their first fashion show. The event was very well received and it wouldn't be long before Emilie was at it again.
Over the course of the six years, Emilie would go on to write, produce and perform 15 or so of
these shows, all with varying themes. One thing was consistent throughout, and that was the
element of surprise. Imagine, sitting in the audience watching an already outlandish performance,
featuring such designs as people dressed like cuckoo cuckoo clocks, suits made of stuffed animals,
women dressed in aluminum foil and an entirely glow-in-the-dark finale; then out comes Emilie at
the end of the show and wishes the audience happy birthday.
"Do you remember when you were a child how your birthday would sneak up on you like magic. As
we get older we plan, we circle dates on the calender and remove the surprise. I would like to give
everyone a chance to have that feeling again...the feeling of suddenly discovering that today is special."
Before you have a chance to look at someone else in search of clarification, she asks you to look
under your seat. To your delight, you find a small hand wrapped gift taped to the bottom of it. You
open it - it's a random object of little value - but hey, it's free! To your amazement, everyone in the
room is opening a gift as well and the room is buzzing with chatter and excitement. Then, over the
crowd comes Emilie's voice again, now instructing you to go downstairs of the building, where she
has a free plate of cake and ice cream waiting for you. Sure enough, the basement area has been set
up with long tables and chairs, with two people helping serve plates. You look up to see Emilie
come downstairs, glowing with delight. Why? Because she's affected you. She has shown you
something you haven't seen before, experienced something you haven't experienced before. That's
what makes her tick. And just like that, she became the local celebrity.
Several shows were put on in the following months. Each focused on audience participation with
humorous finales such as Emilie dying her skin green, getting kidnaped by aliens, or models getting
shot with cap guns. Some were featured acts, while others were collaborative projects with other
artists. This string of shows led to an award introduced in Emilie's honor, the Rising Star for
Women in the Arts, which she won in 1997.
Emilie certainly didn't wait for fashion shows to come along as a channel to surprise people.
During a two week period in the middle of November, Emilie and her longtime artistic partner Job
O. Brother, decided to dye 537 Easter eggs. For what purpose? Why, to go hide them all
throughout downtown Nevada City in the middle of the night for people to find in the morning, of
course! As the morning progressed, Emilie and Job enjoyed a cup of coffee in a downtown cafe,
gleefully watching people's surprised faces as they came across egg after egg, in the newspaper racks,
doorways, atop parking meters...everywhere. Then of course their was the trolls...oh, never mind,
*read it for yourself troll article
Life changed for Emilie in May of 1998 when her daughter Electra was born. Over the next few
months, Emilie's focus turned to strictly motherhood. But after only six months of Electra's arrival,
Emilie was putting on three year-end shows with her husband, Ryan. The last performance, put on
with Dutch Falconi and his Twisted Orchestra, was on December 31, 1998 before a sellout crowd
of some 900 people. Just when it looked as though Emilie's Fashion Theatrics would continue on a
regular basis again, another development came about; a second child was on the way. Beyond the
obvious difficulty of developing one's career with two small children to raise, there was one other
major concern: how does someone make it in a small town? It seemed as though Emilie had
conquered Nevada City, now what?
The answer to Emilie and her husband Ryan was simple: get everything on the Internet! After
looking into professional web design options, there was little question about the first step in getting
online and that was learning how do it herself. So after the purchase of a computer, a digital
camera and plenty of long, frustrating hours for both Emilie and Ryan, FancyDeluxe.com was born.
Since its launch in July of 2000, the site has grown enormous popularity. Fancy Deluxe features
Emilie's clothing, paintings, toys, furniture, accessories, and other bizarre items for sale and available
by custom order. She also features a handful of other unique artists.
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