Gay marriage and gem sweaters

Web sensation and sequin-lover Leslie Hall is making some extra cash by wedding same-sex couples in Iowa

Published September 18, 2009 7:19PM (EDT)

Self-declared "ce-WEB-rity" Leslie Hall has given us yet one more reason to adore her: The Midwest diva is expanding her repertoire beyond merely singing about sparkly, sequined sweaters to marrying gay couples -- inside her mobile Gem Sweater Museum, but of course -- according to CNN.

In case you've been without Internet access for the past several years, allow me to explain: While shopping at a thrift store in her hometown of Ames, Iowa, Hall became suddenly enamored with these bedazzled relics of the 80s. She amassed an impressive collection of "gem sweaters," as she likes to call them, and began displaying them in an online photo gallery, in which she christened each garment with a very special name -- like "Route to My Feelings," "Fireworks Freedom Dance" and "Harvest of Boeuf Gras." The site went viral in 2004 and then followed several wildly popular low-budget music videos in which the plus-size white girl raps about her passion for sequins, spandex, Britney Spears and killing zombies. Hall, who tours the country performing in a gold lamé jumpsuit and a bouffant seemingly supported by half a can of Aquanet, is currently in talks with HBO for her very own show.

In short, Hall -- who still lives with her parents -- is an art school grad who is avoiding a regular desk job by working as a wacky performance artist. Marrying gay couples is just her latest attempt at warding off a soul-crushing nine-to-five, according to CNN's charming profile. When Iowa legalized same-sex marriage in April, Hall decided to seize the moment: "I mean, talk about Iowa business opportunities popping up at even the darkest of times." On her Web site, Hall offers several wedding packages: For $299, you get a ceremony inside the Gem Sweater Museum, a personalized song "that captures your love," an "illegal fireworks display," a cake from Dairy Queen and a ride to your hotel "where you can seal the deal." Also on offer is the "Iowa Prairie Wedding of Tenderness," which includes a fire pit and "local song and dance," along with a custom quilt "that you will keep as a love treasure."

After unabashedly rocking skin-tight onesies, ironically celebrating the lost art of gem sweaters and lampooning life in the Midwest, it's only fitting for her to fabulously and outrageously flout marital tradition. I leave you with this classic tour of the Gem Sweater Museum -- maybe one day you will find yourself walking its sequined aisle. 

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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