How We Found Love While Looking for Fabric

Kim Powers and Jess Goldstein and Frankie

In 1979, Kim Powers, a 22-year-old theater aficionado and aspiring actor, drove 30-year-old costume designer Jess Goldstein around Williamstown, Mass., looking for fabrics, but instead found love. More than 30 years later, they're still together. 

Goldstein: One of my very first jobs out of the Yale School of Drama was designing clothes at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts for a Tennessee Williams play called Camino Real. When I was a grad student, I allowed my driver’s license to lapse. I couldn’t drive anywhere, so they assigned Kim to the task. He was an intern in the production office. 

Powers: When I met him for the first time, I said, “I’d love to see your sketches.” That wasn’t a line! He needed a chauffeur so he could shop for antique clothes and fabrics. Over that two-week period, we did some long-range trips into New York City, which is about 3-½ hours away from Williamstown.

Goldstein: That’s how we got to know each other. It was love at first sight. I thought he was adorable. 

Powers: It wasn’t quite love at first sight for me, but I certainly thought he was very cute, very charming, very boyish. Back in those days, everyone said Jess resembled the actor Joel Grey because he had a little Jewish face and black-framed glasses. I have a fondness for Jewish men! Maybe there was a little crush. I was also fascinated by his world. 

Goldstein: We talked a lot about theater. I loved his curiosity about life and the arts.

Powers: As a little Texas boy, I was a very stage-struck kid and I hung on his every word. On the opening night of Camino Real, he said, “I think I’m in love with you.” It was so romantic. I don’t remember what happened next. I think we probably started making out! Then the floodgates opened.

Goldstein: At the end of the summer, Kim decided that he would move to New York, where I was already living. I had an apartment on the Upper West Side. 

Powers: 666 West End Avenue! We always joked about that.

Goldstein and Powers in the early years

Goldstein and Powers in the early years.

Goldstein: He moved in with me, and we’ve been together ever since. An enduring partnership like we have has to exist as a friendship. Beyond the sex and physical attraction, you want somebody that you can talk to 24 hours a day. And someone you can laugh with. It’s not like we don’t fight, but we always know that we’ll get through it.

Powers: It’s such a cliché to say it, but you really just become each other’s best friends over the years. 

Goldstein: We got married in Provincetown in July of 2013. It was very informal — like we eloped. 

Powers: We were wearing our flip-flops and shorts. I wasn’t a bossy bride!

Goldstein: The only witness we had was our dog Frankie. 

Powers: Even though she’s a girl, we named her after Frankie Valli from Jersey Boys, which has essentially paid for our retirement. Jess designed the costumes for it — and won a Tony!
 
Goldstein: As we exchanged vows, I remember giggling a little bit because I was trying to hold back the tears. 

Powers: My tears were sort of pouring into Frankie’s fur. It just struck me: This combination of having been together for 33 years at that point and being this little Southern Baptist boy who grew up in a small town near Texas (population 18,000) who was getting married to the love of his life — my Jew from Jersey! I never thought something like that would ever happen. It was truly overwhelming. There are a million other important issues in the world and in the LGBT community, but marriage equality is an amazing check on the bucket list. 

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