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Originally published Monday, September 10, 2012 at 8:32 PM

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Debbie Harry, Molly Ringwald turn back the clock in Seattle

Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur rubs elbows with "Sixteen Candles" star Molly Ringwald; authors Maria Semple and Garth Stein cross paths; and some very fashionable people appear at Fashion's Night Out.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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The Eighties were in the air the other day. You could almost smell the Calvin Klein Obsession.

First I saw Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry outside the Pan Pacific Hotel before her show that night at Chateau Ste. Michelle. (And before you think anything, she looked great.)

That evening at Elliott Bay Book Co., "Sixteen Candles" star Molly Ringwald read from her new novel-in-stories, "When it Happens to You."

Ringwald took the stage wearing a sleek red dress, her hair in a chignon, and horn-rimmed reading glasses. She looked more "Mad Men" than "Breakfast Club," but still familiar. People couldn't stop smiling, and why not? She is the face of another time.

In the Q-and-A that followed, Ringwald said that she had been writing since she was a teenager, and nodded to former flame, author and Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist in the audience, saying that he read her early stories "and was very encouraging to me."

She said she would love to attend an MFA writing program, but with a husband and three kids; a television show ("The Secret Life of the American Teenager," on which she plays the mom) and a jazz album coming out next year, that must wait.

The movie questions were inevitable, and answered: Ringwald last saw her "Breakfast Club" castmates at a Lincoln Center tribute to their late director, John Hughes.

The only one missing was Emilio Estevez, "who will never do anything on behalf of those movies," Ringwald said. "That's his deal. I imagine he feels enough is enough and he wants his own life."

Ringwald gets that: "People feel attached to my movies and they get excited." Which is fine, she said, except when they ignore her company. "My husband, my children ... "

Not-very-sweet 16

On her way to the Ringwald reading, author Maria Semple took a few minutes to sign copies of her own book, the Seattle-skewering (but with love!) "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?"

Garth Stein, author of "The Art of Racing in the Rain," walked past on his way in, and stopped in his tracks.

"It's so L.A.," he joked of Semple signing stock before another author's reading.

Semple smiled and kept going.

"Have we reached critical mass?" she asked Elliott Bay owner Rick Simonson, wondering about her sales.

"It's still happening," he assured her.

On this, her second week on The New York Times best-seller list for hardcover fiction, Semple holds No. 16.

"Now I just want these other people to fail," she said.

Hardly Seattle nice. But honest.

One year

and 43 miles later

It's a big deal, moving 10 years of parties, cars and bragging rights from their lakeside home in Kirkland to a silvery new building overlooking Tacoma.

But if you park it, they will come — and they did on Sunday, when some 2,500 people attended the 10th annual Kirkland Concours d'Elegance car event.

The venue may have changed, but the faces didn't: There was emcee and actor Edward Herrmann, and Northwest car-culture constants like former Pebble Beach Concours chairman Glenn Mounger (his 1930 Rolls-Royce P-I Brewster Trouville won the Most Elegant Award) and Numerix CEO Greg Whitten (whose 1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B won the Participants' Choice Award).

At the pre-event gala Saturday night, Bob Craves, a co-founder of Costco and now CEO of the College Success Foundation, recalled his first car: a navy 1950 Plymouth Deluxe that his father bought for $75.

"The car was junk," Craves said, but he drove it from Bay City, Mich., to Wisconsin and lived to tell the tale.

"I had no fear."

The museum has seen 75,000 visitors in its first four months, according to marketing chief Scot Keller.

Not everyone can collect, but they can still feed their addiction to leather, chrome and speed.

"There's no cure for it," said Evan McMullen, of Cosmopolitan Motors in Seattle. "But there's a great support group."

What I learned at Fashion's Night Out

1. I have no right to even leave the house.

2. I need a jacket from OSKA, a bag from the new Emilie Sloan store (they're waterproof!), something in brocade and bright stockings.

3. To pay for it all, I'd need an accountant who moonlights as a drag queen, like Poison Waters, who hosted the Seattle Metropolitan magazine-sponsored fashion show at Pacific Place. (Made sense: Publisher Nicole Vogel looks a lot like Anna Wintour.)

"You're fine," said John Hepler, of Tiffany & Co. in Bellevue.

4. Hepler was being kind.

Names in Bold appears Tuesdays. Reach Nicole at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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