Sunday, August 17, 2008

A visit to Merry's in Long Beach

Don't ya just love Merry’s Fashion with Passion? Not only is Merry the friendliest shopkeeper I’ve ever met, but stepping into her Long Beach boutique is like finding a little slice of heaven for a belly dancer. You’re immediately surrounded by wonderful Kuchi jewelry, serpentine armbands, Arabic amulets, shimmy hip scarves, coin belts, cholis, gypsy skirts, full cabaret costumes (full cabaret costumes!), coin bras, exquisite Nepalese and Indian scarves, Moroccan dresses, and so much more.

And you wouldn’t think that you could spend hours in this tiny little shop, but Merry has packed so many wonderful things into this space that I guarantee if you start poking around, you better be prepared to stay awhile. That’s what happened to my very good friend Katerina and I when we stopped in on Saturday and spent far more time (and money) than we intended.

But honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon. Merry certainly has a passion for fashion, but she also has a passion for belly dance, and she’s always eager to talk with dancers and help them find exactly what they’re looking for. She was thrilled to see the amazing ensemble Katerina put together with pieces in the shop (I can’t divulge more because this stunning outfit will be making its stage debut on September 6, at my new belly dance showcase in Foothill Ranch – details on that will come later this week).

Merry also had some great news to share. Her wonderful friend Aziza from Oregon (yeah, this Aziza) will be making an appearance at the shop, perhaps as soon as October. These two lovely women have a long and interesting history together, and an event that involves both is bound to be a very special event. Keep an eye on Merry’s and Aziza’s Web sites for more information.

Merry also told us about an exciting new development at the shop. The Oojam performers recently took over the dressing area, which is decorated like the most luxurious Bedouin tents you’ve ever seen, for a photo shoot. Isn’t that a terrific idea? Merry said she loved hosting them and would welcome any opportunity to work with other dancers looking for interesting backdrops. If you’re a dancer, you should definitely keep that in mind for the next time you update your portfolio.

Personally, I was delighted and humbled when Merry asked if she could host an event to celebrate my novel’s release next summer. I told her I was secretly hoping she’d be willing to work with me on something when THE BELLY DANCER published, but to hear her enthusiasm nearly brought tears to my eyes. She is a very special person and I am deeply honored for the consideration. We talked about some ideas, and I’m really looking forward to creating something that will be fun and entertaining. I mean, what's the good of publishing a book about belly dancing if you can't have a great belly dance party, right? And you can bet I’ll making those announcements right here. :-)

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