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When Salvation and Goodwill Forsake You, Take It Sitting Down

September 01, 2000|BOOTH MOORE

Standing on thick legs, she's sturdy, even if she does sag in the middle. Her plump arms, covered in well-worn checks in desert colors, are threadbare from use as scratching posts for two cats. Still, my sofa served me well for four years. But now that I've upgraded to an overstuffed number with matching chair, I can't seem to get rid of the darned thing with its Coyote Cafe print.

Believe me, I've tried. A book club pal was interested until my genius boyfriend, Adam, tried to squeeze $100 out of her. And, when an informal poll of my friends didn't turn up any takers, I decided to go the charity route for a tax write-off. The Salvation Army was the first place I tried because my grandmother insists that I'm related to the founder, William Booth. It was easy enough: One call to the 800 number and a pickup was scheduled for the next day.

I took the day off to wait at home for the driver, since the dispatcher couldn't give me a time frame for the pickup. Shortly after noon, two strapping gentlemen arrived at my door, took a two-second sideward glance at the sofa and said with disdain, "We can't take this." Shocked (and a bit hurt), I called the dispatcher after they left and was told, "All pickups are at the drivers' discretion." What did I ever do to them?

Although they don't do pickups, the folks at Goodwill had a similar story. They accept furniture for donation that's in "salable condition with no cat scratches." Puhleeze. . . . Like no one's ever bought a piece of furniture and reupholstered it before.

I went from hurt to humiliated, that I'd had the piece in my living room for so long. At dinner parties as recently as last month, guests sat on that sofa to eat. So it was a tad difficult to pry yourself out of . . . that made it all the more cozy, right? Guess not; now the needy don't even want it.

Ready to concede defeat, I called L.A.'s Solid Resource Collection Services, which offers free pickup of bulky items and dead animals. (Sofas, chairs, cats and dogs--no cows and horses.) But Adam, good soul that he is, was horrified at the thought. Intent on finding a home for the couch, he's threatened to rent a truck and drive door to door. "It just goes to show how charities are out to sell things these days and they don't consider people who really need something," he said bitterly.

In the meantime, the cats are pleased as punch to still have it around.


More Mizrahi at long last. Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi will make his cabaret debut in New York in October in "LES MIZrahi," a one-man show he wrote.

Backed by a trio of musicians, he will perform at Greenwich House Theater. The production opens Oct. 19 after two weeks of previews and will run through Nov. 25. The designer has created clothes for troupes run by such choreographers as Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp. He closed his apparel business in 1998, after Chanel Inc., his major backer, pulled its support.


Denim company Diesel always has great ads--and the latest parody of the glam world of fashion photography. Diesel's fall campaign chronicles the life of a fictitious photog named Frank P. Stevenson, who was a hit when he appeared in the flesh at the Magic apparel trade show in Las Vegas earlier this week. (He's actually the campaign's model.)

Stevenson shares tricks of the trade on his own Web site (, and in "How to Do Fashion Photography" pamphlets available at Diesel stores. For models who are shy at a shoot, he suggests the mirror technique: "The model makes sporadic movements as he or she tries to move quicker than the image in the mirror." Before snapping, never say cheese, he warns. "Surprise them by saying something they'd never expect, like 'cactus.' "

On casting, he writes, "A perfect place to pick up models is at rehab centers. That's where you'll find the popular look you can see in all the fashion magazines. The models are nice and thin, easy to work with, and they come cheap."

Wonder if he needs a slightly worn casting couch.


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