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Originally published Monday, October 22, 2012 at 8:24 PM

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A get-together for leather and guitar geeks galore

Nicole Brodeur reports on an opening party for "Worn to Be Wild" at EMP Museum; a Fretboard Journal anniversary party; and Seattle BRA Day.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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That sweet and sexy smell emanating from Seattle Center isn't Dale Chihuly or the shirtless rehearsals for the Seattle Shakespeare Company's "Antony and Cleopatra" at the Center House.

It's leather jackets. Lots of them.

The "Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket" exhibit just opened at EMP Museum, and it includes jackets owned and worn by Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent and a jeweled-cloth biker-style jacket worn by Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap.

("It's like Bedazzling!" one young viewer said. Gawd.)

And then there was an inexplicably tiny leather number once worn by Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest. Try as we might, viewer Lisa Dawson and I couldn't see a way into the thing.

"I guess you just grease up and slide in," Dawson said.

The exhibit also meant the return of Jim Fricke, an original curator of EMP who is now at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. He misses many things about living here. Family, friends. "And Dungeness crab," he said.

EMP CEO Tina Orr-Cahall broke out a black-leather number from LA Made, and it was hard to miss Dave Uhler, of Mercer Island, who wore a leather jacket with a white leather skeleton sewn into it.

"It's called 'Bones,' " Uhler said, adding it was a tribute jacket to motorcycle racer Dave Aldana. "I wear it to work. And I've got a black and white Ducati to go with it." (Look at you.)

The exhibit includes motorcycle jackets from clubs dating back to the '40s and '50s, which required a delicate dance. EMP curator Jacob McMurray had to get special permission from collectors and clubs to show the jackets, because when members are riding into other clubs' territories, they aren't allowed to show their colors, "even in a museum," he said.

"Most jackets were either buried with the member or given back to the club," he said. "It's Wild West territory. You don't want to mess with these people."

A Fretboard fete

Gear heads park their cars in corrals. But guitar geeks line up their cases next to the stage, waiting for their turn to plug in.

The rest of us get to watch and listen, as it was last Wednesday, when The Fretboard Journal celebrated its seventh anniversary with a bash at the private Horse and Cut Shop in Fremont.

The place was filled with musicians from all over the map: Bill Frisell played a short set, ReignWolf (aka Jordan Cook) blew the doors off the place when he borrowed a three-string guitar from Caspar Babypants' Chris Ballew to play "In the Dark." Ballew then joined him on stage for another raucous song.

In the crowd: Fretboard publisher Jason Verlinde; the magazine's marketing gal Rachel Flotard; her partner, Indigo Hook; and their son, Harry Hook Flotard; author Charles Cross; Liz Herron of The Purrs; resonator guitar player Orville Johnson; and Nancy Guppy, the effervescent host of the Seattle Channel's "Art Zone."

JetCityStream DJ Shawn Stewart came from the Internet station's debut of Shawn Kemp's new weekly show. The Sonics legend celebrated his start by inviting dozens of friends and family to Jet City's Airport Way South studio, along with a cooker from Jones Barbecue to feed them all.

Think pink

Seattle BRA Day wasn't so much about what women wear under their clothes — but the message behind all the pink ribbons we see every October.

Seven of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer aren't told about the availability of breast reconstruction after mastectomy — and that insurance coverage of the procedure has been federally mandated since 1998.

"It makes me crazy!" said Margo Spellman, one of those who helped put together a "BRA Day Soiree" last Wednesday at Wine World in Wallingford. The event featured wine tasting and tango dancing, and was put on by plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Baxter, of Mountlake Terrace.

Baxter believes in an oncologist and plastic surgeon working together to perform what's called "single stage reconstruction" along with a mastectomy.

"People don't need people to be more aware of breast cancer," Baxter said. "They need better treatment."

Parting words

Author Jennifer Worick, at the "Funny Ladies" event, part of Town Hall's Lit Crawl Seattle:

"When I hear someone say 'Namaste,' I want to beat them and their sustainable clothing with a rainstick."

Names in Bold appears Tuesdays. Reach Nicole Brodeur at 206-464-2334; nbrodeur@seattletimes.com. Twitter: @nicolebrodeur. Subscribe on Facebook: facebook.com/STNicoleBrodeur

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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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