The Apocalypse Isn’t So Bad

by Paddy Johnson on January 6, 2011 · 4 comments Events

Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw, Imeday Imeday Ollarday Icklenay

It took me two hours to write a Pussy Faggot paragraph this morning because I have the sort of hangover only the alumni of Cranbrook could help create. I blame academy graduates Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw‘s “feast for an apocalypse” at Allegra LaViola Gallery for this, though like any burgeoning alcoholic I also woke up thinking I wouldn’t mind a breakfast feast as well.

So just what happened at this private dinner yesterday? Let me set the scene:

East Broadway, near Chinatown. I arrive early with my date to find Allegra LaViola wearing an evening dress. I’m wearing a sweater and jeans. I tell her I worry I’m under-dressed as a man wearing horns, a white curly wig, and Jeffersonian attire appears to assure me I definitely am. I feel like I’m in Alice’s Wonderland.

Scooter Barbarian has a plaintive moment.

Now, normally I wouldn’t be thrilled with an Alice in Wonderland reference. It’s a favorite trope of the uncreative creative class, a classic amongst try-hards. And to be fair, there was a great deal of trying-hard to be seen: the horned man harassing me as I signed a waiver promising I wouldn’t sue anyone if I injured myself during the dinner; a bearded man in fur loincloth running around on a scooter; live roosters released to the floor over the course of the evening. Completing the scene were a black-and-white-checkered linoleum floor, a bookshelf filled with plaster books, and a woman perched on a chair affixed to a portion of the wall close to the ceiling. The dinner was better for every bit of it.

A good portion of this has to do with the dinner itself, which as far as I could tell was almost exclusively about getting people to have a good time. Set on a car lift, the 16 seat plexiglass table rose to the ceiling with every course. Two giant holes in the table were used frequently, as two of six characters milling about the gallery popped their heads through the table and talked to guests about the meal, often in a high-pitched tone. We were frequently told to switch positions once the table lowered to the ground, and our wine glasses refilled continually. Times Reporter Randy Kennedy was given so much to drink he was giving it away, which made him at least one new friend: me.

A man wearing a hat made partially out of knives raises a toast.

The dinner itself suffered from a few ups and downs (lift puns aside), though the ups were remarkable. I had a tough time with the shot glass of jerky in red ale — it was too bitter for my taste  — but the grilled lamb loin chops were full of juicy tender goodness, and were followed by a spongy bit of sweet Brioche French toast. Delicious.

The evening closed with the content of the third of three giant golden eggs being removed — a hung chicken.  Presumably that’s what they’re all having for breakfast.

*A public performance will take place January 12. An extra night has been added to the private dinner, so tickets for January 21 are available for $99.00 here. I recommend attending.


Jeff January 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm


Anonymous January 8, 2011 at 5:16 am

An additional note about the evening: As I’ve experienced it, the student body at Cranbrook is not only very tight knit, and extraordinarily friendly, but exceptionally gracious hosts. To my mind this dinner channels the best aspects of the school’s culture — and simply could not have been made by any other student body. It is singularly unique in this way.

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