Tania Katan Talks Sweater Vests and Shopping Habits with Laurie Notaro for This Year's Shine

Once a year, New Times puts the spotlight on Scottsdale in SHINE, our annual pocket guide. As usual, the 2012 edition includes all the best spots to drink, dine, party, and get a culture fix. But this time around, we're really all about the merchandise. So break out your piggy bank and get ready for a little retail therapy.

Tania Katan is an author, playwright, performer; Lounge Program Coordinator for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, where she's been shaking things up with literary and arm wrestling events (more on those later).

This week, author and Phoenix New Times contributor Laurie Notaro caught up with the Katan to talk about her shopping habits and the time she tried to seduce IKEA's online help for this year's Shine ...

See also: - Shine: Your Pocket Guide to Scottsdale Including Interviews with Creatives by Laurie Notaro - Mixologist Richie Moe Talks Shopping Strategies and Confessions with Laurie Notaro for this Year's Shine

What is your favorite thing to shop for -- is there something you're always on the look for where ever you go? Puppies, pens, sneakers, brightly colored wristwatches, and anything orange. The perfect hair product; stiff enough to hold up my iconic faux hawk, but soft enough for the ladies to run their fingers through. And by ladies I mean, my mom. Eyeglasses so cool that people don't realize I have -525 in each eye. Button-down shirts that show my girlish figure, but don't have those dastardly darts to reveal my lack of lady-parts.

What store/boutique/designer makes you hyperventilate? Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's retail shop wristwatches, Neo 39, Zenni, Fiat, and Piquadro. If it's smart design that facilitates forward motion, being on time and seeing what's to come...I'll take two!

Describe you hallmark score, your Hall of Fame purchase. Was is something you had been hunting, or was it serendipitous? A cashmere sweater vest hanging unassumingly on the designer clothing rack at Goodwill on 32nd and Thomas Road. A shout out to all the lady-golfers in Arizona, THANK YOU! Also finding a pair of Modern Amusement pants at ROSS (Dress For Less) in Phoenix on the CLEARANCE rack!

Is there anything you are currently obsessed with and have to have? French Bulldog. I make daily searches on Craigslist, Humane Society, Bulldog Rescue of Arizona, and obsessively Google French bulldog puppy + Arizona +Tania Katan + Love.


What is the most extreme action you've ever taken to acquire a piece? I was looking for a bed on Ikea's website and when I couldn't find it I consulted Anna the automated Swede. I'm not sure if it was the way she winked at me, or how she lowered her slightly feathered hair and smiled, but something very unexpected happened during this shopping experience that can only be conveyed in dialogue form. Note: this is NOT a dramatization, THIS really happened.

Anna: Welcome to IKEA. I'm Anna, IKEA's Automated Online Assistant. Me: I'm looking for a bed. Anna: There are many options for beds available in our catalogue. In order to narrow your search select one specific category from the ones listed on the window below me. Me: The FJELLSE bed looks nice. What does FJELLSE mean? Is it something sexy? Anna: I'd rather not enter into a discussion on this subject. If you ask me a question about IKEA I'd be delighted to help you out. Me: Anna, are you a lesbian? Anna: No. I am Anna, the IKEA USA Online Assistant. Me: I know that, but do you like the ladies? Anna: If you ask me a question about IKEA I'd be delighted to help you out. Me: Would you like to go to bed with me, Anna? Sorry, let me rephrase that in the form of an Ikea question. Would you like to sink into a FJELLSE bed with me? Anna: On the window below me you can see different options for FJELLSE bed. Me: I think your sexy, Anna. Or as you say in Ikea, FJELLSE! Anna: I'm afraid I'm not willing to discuss this subject in any way.

Needless to say we got the FJELLSE bed and it has totally lived up to its name!

What is the one thing you have in your closet that you are certain you will have 20, 30, 50 years from now? The lucky purple rabbit's foot that I've had since I was 4 years old. It's brought me an exorbitant amount of luck. Not so lucky for the rabbit though.

The one thing you would grab if your house was on fire? Angela Ellsworth. That's all I need. And if Angela wanted to carry my box of journals that I've been keeping since I was 16 years old, antique Royal typewriter, medals from running marathons, a few pieces of art, photo albums, that ashtray...who am I to stop her?

Best place in Scottsdale to shop? Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Retail Shop, Scottsdale Pen, Cartel Coffee Lab, and Ultimate Body Boot Camp!

Laurie Notaro is the author of several books, including the New York Times' best-seller The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club and It Looked Different on the Model. Catch up with her on her website.

See more Scottsdale arts/culture coverage and must-sees in the "Look" section of this year's Shine.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton