Thursday, November 6, 2014

Performa Paradiso 2014 Gala

Performance art and dinner? Count me in!

Nathan's friend has been involved with the non-profit arts organization, Performa, and she invited us to its annual gala. We were told the dress code was 21st century renaissance, but we had no idea what to expect or what the format of the gala would be, except that there would be a food performance by Jennifer Rubell. The event also honored who Performa considers as "renaissance women" (hence the theme!).

The event was held at Weylin B. Seymours in Brooklyn (an old bank), which is a beautiful space! There was cocktail hour first, and at 7pm, we were ushwered upstairs to the main dining room. Men dressed in nothing but chaps were holding flags that indicated table numbers, and guests were pointed in the direction of their table.

{Did I mention those men behind me are wearing assless chaps?}

In the center of the room was some sort of display with hanging rubber chickens. Nathan guessed that spices fell out of the chickens and on to whatever was lying below them. Upon closer inspection, he was right! Guests were given wooden sticks and were instructed to "beat" the chickens, and paprika fell out on to the deviled eggs below. The "beating" of the chickens combined with the acoustics of the room added a musical element to the first part of the "performance".

{Death of a Rubber Chicken}

As we made our way to our table, we noticed we weren't sitting next to each other. A-ha! A trick to get us to talk to people we don't know around us! I met a cool girl who works at an art gallery and a gentleman who works in real estate, and I learned more about contemporary photographers than I ever thought I could know! So, that was a successful "trick"!

As guests took their seats, the chap-clad fellows found a guest and wrapped the table number flag around him or her. This person was designated as the person to serve the rest of the table the next course. Our table had a delicious tom yum soup, and I saw the table in front of us had borscht.

{All Star Soup Kitchen}

After our course, the device holding the rubber chickens was lowered, and dinner guests were told to take their glass plates and throw them into the center. Again, thanks to the acoustics of the room, the clanking and clinging of broken glass created another unexpected musical element to this course!

I might add, there were bottles of wine lined up on our table, one for red, one for white, and they somehow never dipped below half full.

Then came our third course of the evening. Our chap-clad waiters brought out trays of oysters rockefeller, pork, and chicken, and gave us carving utensils. For a few minutes, everyone stared at each other with the thought Um, are we supposed to carve this ourselves? We then joked that carving the bird is such a "dad" thing at the holidays. Once the crowd realized it was DIY, people jumped up and started carving away.


The twist of the performance happened in our fourth course. Our servers came out with a stalk of brussels sprouts placed cheekily in their pelvic area.

{Fall Phallus}

The fifth course, named Toast, was an apertif to get us ready for the final course. Servers brought out a crate of blood oranges and some kind of alcoholic beverage. Guests peeled the oranges, and squeezed the pulp out into the drink.

And the last course was something very unique and interactive. Guests were given hammers, and instructed to hammer away at the very tables we had just been sitting at., guests went to town the hammers! I guess it is fun to be able to "destroy" something, how often can you turn a hammer to table and break it without looking like a lunatic? We found goodies inside, such as cookies, Vosges chocolates, and cotton candy strewn in between the confetti. Yes, Sweet Destruction indeed!

{Sweet Destruction}

Vosges created a special box of truffles just for this event! I ate them all in one sitting.

After dessert, there was an after party with live music, including Blood Orange! I don't remember the name of the first performer (pictured below).

What an entertaining and lively evening, I am already looking forward to next year! You can learn more about Performa here.

1 comment :

Avani said...

Sounds amazing!!