Experience Gifts Trump Stuff Every Time: Read What Actor Cheryl Stern Has to Say

We’re delighted to share a guest post to share with you from the wonderful Cheryl Stern. Broadway veteran actress and Jonathan Larson Award-winning writer, Cheryl just received critical acclaim Off-Broadway for her new solo show, Shoes and Baggage, with music by Tom Kochan. Cheryl’s Broadway credits include the 2010 Tony Award Winning revival of La Cage Aux Folles, starring Kelsey Grammer, The Women with Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Tilly and Kristen Johnston, (Roundabout; filmed for PBS) and Laughing Room Only. Cheryl was also featured in Fiorello at Encores/NY City Center and in Candide at NY City Opera.

 

Cheryl says:

After sharing an amazing evening with April last week on Facebook Live, where one of the things we did was exchange experience gifts, I became so inspired to give and receive experience gifts this holiday season!

April got the ball rolling with her incredible gift to me, which was to see the 10th anniversary screening of Reverend Billy’s extraordinary documentary, What Would Jesus Buy?, a moving, funny, passionate journey that followed Reverend Billy the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir across the country between Thanksgiving and Christmas to stop the shopping madness, with stops at Walmart’s national headquarters, the Mall of America, and Disneyland!! ! I was just blown away by the artistry and impact created by this filmmaker. The added treat was that April is featured in the movie and it was purely joyous to behold!

The very next night, my dear friend Laurie Graff (who sported April’s side-less dress in my Shoes and Baggage Post Show Swap Meet and then returned it for her to Saks) threw a Chanukah party where she treated me and another friend to a massage right in her home! Talk about an experience! Meaningful, much needed and such a wonderful way to begin our festive dinner party! We had a blast!

Then yesterday, my BFF Diane and I shared an uber experience gift. We took ourselves to Volez,Voguez,Voyage, a free Louis Vuitton exhibit that is not to be missed! It’s a stunning and
transporting journey of the legendary master’s work as a custom trunk maker, luggage designer and handbag craftsmen extraordinaire. While in the heights of my over shopping in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I got introduced to LV bags and became absolutely addicted!! Suddenly I couldn’t get enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So….when April got me thinking about experience
gifts, this exhibit was a natural!

To see the innovation and craftsmanship and evolution of this
design legend put us in touch with the appreciation
of the creation – not the consumption!

Suddenly, I didn’t need to own it all.

To just be in the moment and savor the experience was divine!

The journey took us through the master’s career trajectory first
custom trunks designed for steamer travel, then air
travel. Following that the brand evolved
into the luxury handbags, red carpet gowns and
ready to wear that we know and love today!
The last leg of the trip brought us to a workshop
where we met the most charming and chic French bag
maker! She actually taught me to stitch the happy
yellow thread into the tan leather strap that I
have worshipped for years!!! Heaven!!

As we exited the exhibit we were given an adorable pin to
commemorate the experience. A Plus, totally free
and I truly didn’t feel the need to buy anything in
the gift shop! This is a first!!!

Here’s a short video of me talking about the show while at the museum.

So that you know I”m not making it up, here’s an excerpt from SHOES AND BAGGAGE…about my love affair with LV.

CHERYL:

My first time ever at the golden doors of Louis
Vuitton…

What is it with these bags? They are plastic for
God’s sake!! Brown and gold vinyl should be
hideous!! But it’s not. You just have to pick it
up, and put it in your hand.

HIGH– — OFF AND FLYING, BUYING
LOOKING, TOUCHING, TRYING
THINKING, DARING, CONTEMPLATING.
RECREATING, RENOVATING,
BY DESIGN, BY PASSION,
IT’S FASHION, FASHION, FASHION!

It feels so good! That brown, pebbled vinyl with
the subtle gold logo set off perfectly by the tan
leather strap with happy yellow stitching.

Ah!! HIGH
TOTALLY HOOKED ON THE HIGH
TAKE ANOTHER HIT, LIKE BREATHING AIR
OH THE LURE OF WHAT TO WEAR
TO THE WEDDING, THE MEETING, THE
DINNER, THE SHOW
THE WALKING THE DOG, THE PILATES AND OHH, THE
OCCASION’S REALLY MOOT
IT’S THE PURSUIT
AND THE WIN AND THE SIN AND THE LIFT OF THE BUY
(A Louis Vuitton bag descends from the sky like a
dangling carrot.CHERYL becomes transfixed.)

FLYING SKY HIGH
FLYING SKY HIGH
FLYING SKY HIGH
FLYING SKY
(CHERYL is hypnotized by the
floating bag and grabs it.)

My first Louis Vuitton and like the first sip of
fine wine – it would not be my last.

And finally, last night I received a card from my husband. It
seems he has really jumped on the experience gift
bandwagon too. I am invited on a date with him
tonight to attend the Items: Is Fashion Modern
exhibit at MoMA!! I can’t wait!!

Thank you, April for teaching me to appreciate
friendships, relationships and experiences over
goods!
Xxxo and Happy Holidays to all,
Cheryl

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