‘Give Support’: Ah Haa Holds its Third Annual BRAvo Invitational
by Leslie Vreeland
Oct 18, 2012 | 801 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STAR TURN - Telluride Fire Department's John Bennett on the catwalk at last year's Ah Haa School BRAvo fundraiser. (File photo)
STAR TURN - Telluride Fire Department's John Bennett on the catwalk at last year's Ah Haa School BRAvo fundraiser. (File photo)

TELLURIDE – The Ah Haa School’s most entertaining – and certainly revealing – event of the year has at last arrived: tonight is its third annual BRAvo Auction and Fundraiser. The school supplies the community with free bras to decorate; the public obliges, and the bras are auctioned after they take a raucous trip down a “runway” – which is to say, the gleaming, wooden New Sheridan bar – affixed to the chests of local males, specifically, this year, five Telluride firefighters and two business owners. There are a total of 21 bras up for auction, so each model will take his turn along the slippery catwalk three times. This year, as last, the monies raised will go to the San Miguel Resource Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Center, which supplies emergency shelter, legal advocacy and other aid (according to the Center, 10 percent of sexual assault victims in the U.S. are men). This year’s other beneficiary is Bosom Buddies, a breast cancer support group of the San Juan Cancer Center, based in Montrose. Breast cancer also affects men directly: one out of every 1,000 in the U.S. will develop the disease.

It’s only fitting, then, that guys should help out with the auction this evening, particularly firefighters; they are, after all, presumably used to navigating narrow, overheated quarters (which the Sheridan’s bar will certainly be) to help save lives. There is also the matter of eye candy. “I have to say, there are some nice looking bodies out there,” said Jennifer Mueffelmann, who designed one of this year’s offerings, and the brassieres are “being worn by some kinda tough guys.” The combined effect, she says, “is pretty hilarious.”

So are the bras themselves, which last year included an “over the shoulder boulder holder” (i.e., a bra that had its cup stuffed with rocks) and a bra with kissing dolphins affixed to it (the mammals dangled suggestively). Martha Starr, an artist who has instructed for Ah Haa, was in the audience last year with her friend, Annie Carlson. “My bras have done pretty well [at auction] in past years,” Starr said. Yet the question remained: what would make them even more appealing? The answer was all around them. Booze, Carlson replied. This year, the friends have collaborated on a true booze bra, with miniature tequila bottles dangling from the bottom of the bra around the ribcage, and beer caps (Corona, Pacifica) studding the straps. “The bottles are full of tequila, so the winning bidder will have a good time,” Starr said. Jennifer Mueffelmann got the idea for her entry on a recent hike up Bear Creek. Mueffelmann attended last year’s function, and volunteers for the San Miguel Resource Center. She had a personal reason to get involved: her mother is a breast-cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with Stage 3 of the disease five years ago this fall. “It had been five years, and to be honest, I was feeling a little guilty that I’ve yet to do something for breast cancer,” she said. It was an “amazing, beautiful fall day,” so Mueffelmann began gathering leaves as she walked. Later, she affixed them to an Ah Haa bra. The leaves are completely dry, and the work is very fragile. “I hope my bra makes it down the runway,” she said. She dedicated it to her Mom.

To see a slideshow of last year’s bras, visit ahhaa.org. Tonight’s event begins at 7 p.m.

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