Dennis Molawa, 54, is a stagehand and lighting technician at the House of Blues.
Heather Kenny: What exactly is Crown Royal, anyway?
Dennis Molawa: It's whiskey. It's a blend, as opposed to a bourbon. It's aged ten years. It's easier on my system. That's why I like it. I put my stomach through all that stuff, other different kinds of liquor, and I finally ended up settling on Crown Royal.
HK: How'd you get the idea to make the bags into a suit?
DM: I had so many of 'em, I said, man, that would be cool to have a suit made of all these bags instead of them going to waste. I didn't know any seamstresses or anything--nobody in my family does that kind of stuff. I just got talking to Deb Pastor. She's one of our greeting-room girls, she feeds the bands. I told her I always had a dream of using all the Crown Royal bags I've been saving up to have a suit made. She talked to her girlfriend [designer and musician] Sarah [Staskauskas], who's a real good seamstress I guess.
Deb throws parties at her house once in a while and she had an idea to raise some money from the people at work to make my dream come true. She raised about $400, I think. She wound up paying about $800 for the suit, so she wound up paying about half of it.
HK: How long did it take you to collect enough bags?
DM: Not that long. I can go through at least one bottle a week, maybe? I used to just give 'em away . . . put five in a pack and give 'em to people for golf club covers, knickknacks, mike clips, all sorts of little doodads. We put cable ends in 'em so they don't get damaged. I gave Deb about 150. And I think she collected a few more. I was just putting the word out, talking to all the people I knew that worked in bars.
HK: How often do you wear it?
DM: I wore it Christmas day to my relatives' house. I've worn it at Deb's parties, two of them so far. The first one was in March, in the spring, during Lent, so I was sober. I give up drinking for Lent, usually. When I went to the party, I brought it in a suit bag. I didn't want to wear it because I didn't want any derelicts chasing me down the street thinking I was a giant bottle of Crown Royal.
So I was drinking my apple cider or whatever, and everybody was getting wasted. I put on the suit and came out. Deb had to go onstage and say a little bit. I didn't say too much--I was sober! I had nothing to say sober.
I've got a Crown Royal blanket too. I wear it as a cape.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.