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Originally published July 8, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 8, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Barneys blush: Stairs get stares

Indeed, the Barneys New York opening party at Pacific Place upheld the "spectacularly fabulous" promise of its breathlessly irreverent invitation, with...

Seattle Times columnist

Indeed, the Barneys New York opening party at Pacific Place upheld the "spectacularly fabulous" promise of its breathlessly irreverent invitation, with "mounds of food" and "buckets of champagne." Still, the lasting impression from my first glimpse of the sprawling new Barneys store? You can't walk up the stairs in a skirt.

You see, the central staircase has open slats. Which poses a navigational problem. (Ladies en route to Barneys, you have been warned.) We stood in a huddle, a group of us in skirts, at the bottom of the stairs. "I thought of that, too," confessed Jasmine Moir, editor of DailyCandy Seattle. "But I thought, 'Barneys would not let me flash anyone.' "

In Rome, on the Spanish Steps, men lie back on the steps specifically to look up women's skirts. Do you think that'll happen at Pacific Place? ...

OVERHEARD AT BARNEYS: "Is stupid really stupid, or is it a different kind of smart?" Yes, the champagne was free — and free-flowing. ...

"I HEARD A VOICE come from the toilet," Jeff Bürger wrote in an e-mail to friends on Monday morning. Of course an e-mail with this subject line would wind up being forwarded to my inbox. Of course.

Jeff was in the men's room at the Elysian on Capitol Hill, minding his business, when a voice began lecturing him about drinking and driving. He looked to the left, to the right, and under the stall. Empty. Turns out the voice was coming from the urinal. Yes, Jeff was officially in an episode of the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff, only instead of a talking elevator he had encountered a chatty urinal. The voice was coming from an electronic urinal cake that is activated when wet.

"As I was washing my hands, another fellow walks in, and the cake is silent while he steps up to the urinal next to the one I was using. His has the regular white cake," Jeff relays. "I was tempted to tell him, 'No, use the other one. It's interactive.' I left without saying a word."

If only the same could be said for the urinals. ...

AT AGE 10, Frank Garland is already a patron of the arts. The fledgling Seattle actor was inspired by the Seattle Public Theater's spring fundraiser, which he attended with his mother, Jeanne Garland. Supporters were asked to raise their paddles to donate cash. "Frank was elbowing me the whole time to raise my card," Jeanne recalls. "I finally did at the $100 level, and Frank was thoroughly disgusted with my level of giving."

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Last month, he decided to take matters into his own hands. For his 10th birthday, Frank asked guests to make a donation to the Bathhouse Theater — that's the theater you walk past on your way around Green Lake, and think, "Is that a real theater? What is that?" — to help maintain its heating system, which is prone to breaking down. Frank thought he would be able to buy a new heater with contributions from his friends, which totaled about $135. He came up a bit short, but, hey, it's the thought that counts.

Besides, the gesture wasn't entirely selfless: "Personally, I never felt quite warm enough on stage," Frank said. "I thought I might make myself warmer, in case I ever acted there again." ...

INQUIRING MINDS: Which Seattle boutique owner, when asked to identify herself, replied: "Most people call me 'Seattle's It Girl' "? ... Which local TV newsroom's employees poke fun at a competing morning anchor's "five-head?" A five-head, of course, is bigger than a forehead. ...

HEY, MIKE BLOWERS: Can I get some fries?

Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life.

Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

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