• Friday , 23 February 2018

Shadow + Flame Hosts Venetian Themed Prospero’s Ball at FringeArts’ La Peg

PROSPERO: “Spirits, which by mine art
I have from their confines called to enact
My present fancies.” – 
William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1

Photos, story by Sharon Kozden

Ball dropping isn’t always a bad thing. Maybe in the sports’ world it can be, but when it comes to entertainment, you can drop me into any ball or gala, I’m out for a good time. The evening of October 26th presented just such a time, when Shadow + Flame hosted a Venetian-themed (as well as exclusive and limited-invite!) masquerade event at FringeArtsLa Peg Brasserie.

As one deemed an exclusive guest, my initial thought was how to cobble together from my present wardrobe Venetian attire, including the strongly suggested (read: required) mask. Must. Impress. Prospero. I managed with a mask I found in my Halloween-costume stash, which I paired with a Bill Blass dress and period chapeau that fit the bill. For those who dared show faces without partial covering, the hosts were prepared with hand-outs colorful and feathered.

Before detailing the magical evening, herewith an explanation of the Who? and the What?. Shadow + Flame is “a group including Hollywood production executives who present entertainment infused pop-up parties in cities across the globe. Wikid! FringeArts is “Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performance, presenting progressive, world-class art that stretches the imagination and defies expectation.” That’s almost an understatement! La Peg is an “American brasserie set in a converted historic pump house (now FringeArts), with a huge patio.” Who and what covered; let’s talk players, foodstuffs, spirits, music, and performances to rival many that I experienced this Halloween season, although my first zombie crawl has a special place in my brain. Brains! But I digress …

So what did transpire at Prospero’s Ball? What didn’t?! From actors reciting Poe’s “The Raven,” chippies detailing the gruesome murders at the hands of Jack the Ripper (featuring a tour through a set-designed replica of the infamous Ten Bells Pub in London), hoop-fire performances outdoors with the backdrop of the beautiful Ben Franklin Bridge, live music and the gorgeously outfitted couples and attendees, who went above and beyond in their exquisitely extravagant Venetian attire and masks, the event surely bested its billed “voluptuous revelry.”

If my description seems implausible, over-the-top or even as bombastic as is the character of Prospero, see for yourselves in the photos below that I know a bacchanalia when it’s dropped on me.

Sharon Kozden sandwiched between hosts, owners and producers of the event, James Petras and Jeffrey Erb.

Venetian masks were required, but if you showed bare of face, colorful masks were provided.

Shadow + Flame’s tell-tale teaser to pump the crowd for future good times.

The Thinker sans flesh. I’m thinking he’s thinking that cocktail would hit the spot right about now.

Remember these? A generation of people actually don’t. You may be one of them!

A reading from the macabre-spell, according to Poe.

What’s a ball without music? The evening’s entertainment featured CJ Steinway and the Pour Decisions.

Yummers: a light bite of delicious and slithery black linguini.

More delicacy taste-pleasers. One shouldn’t, after all, drink the specialty cocktails on an empty stomach.

Host Jeffrey Erb flanked by two fine revelers. Initiatives Events assisted with event-coordination.

From left, Ellen Wasser Hrin (MMA Agency Director), Mel Leeds, Candace Cihocki (MMA Agency Talent Agent) and Bill Ahern, (tech support) strike a perfect pose.

As dapper and appropriately attired as they come, and creating an epic success of an event.

Sharon Kozden, chain-chain-chained with Prospero.

Attendees do not take their Venetian garb lightly. This couple, as did most, arrived attired to the max.

Ladies: you’ve outdone yourselves with those masks. I barely notice the Ben Franklin Bridge in your presence.

Wow and Wow: this couple are a perfectly turned-out Venetian match. What a striking pose, to boot.

In my Home Economics class, we were taught the importance of a room’s focal point. ‘Nuff said here? But seriously, I have to wonder if all of these attendees fashion-planned long in advance for the evening of mystery and intrigue. Brilliant style, y’all.

More evidence of what has to be advance fashion period-research … or they just happened to have what-these-rags? (sarc) in their chifferobes.

Be-horned, be-feathered, be-jeweled equals be-hot and be-fine.

Fashionistas nailed a beautiful juxtaposition of ebony and ivory. Well played, you two!

Jaw-dropping gown detail. I don’t need to see the front, as the backside is to die for. What woman is not openly coveting this sartorial treasure? You know you want it! According to Jeffrey Erb, several gowns were donated by Rina Di Montella Fashions.

Sharon Kozden (in royal purple) poses with MMA Agency Director Ellen Wasser-Hrin. Wait: optical illusion, or are we wearing the same lipstick shade? One of us must leave. *chuckle*

Let’s now take it out-of-doors and get a bit of fresh flesh, erm, air, that is. WARNING: several upcoming phots enter Ripper territory. Disclaimer: don’t look if you gore isn’t your thing.

While you can actually read the details in this photo, I don’t know which is more chilling, the reading about it or the upcoming (look if you don’t mind heart palpitations or an increased pulse rate) snaps. Even the font is creepy.

A staged and presumed victim of Mr. Ripper, as the New York Times would label him. Always with the Mr., they. In terms of the art here, the too-close-for-comfort rendering is, well, breathtaking (pun!).

Shocking! Yet another disturbing Ripper-victim representation.

Ladies of the night or chippie-guides lead brave or curious (or both) participants on a guided tour, detailing the Ripper horrors.

I was actually here in London once at the real deal on one of those walking tours. I could’ve chose something less macabre; however, then my curious Gemini nature would’ve been left wanting. The prostitute actors began their tour at the entrance. I kept my eyes open the entire time, yes I did do!

A Venetian hoops’ player is quite the opposite of Allen Iverson.

Now Mister Hoops is adding fire along with a requisite mask. No room for mistakes here.

At least my ride will be safe during the evening of I-told-you-so and was promised partying, which is not strong enough a word, to put it mildly.

While beautiful people surrounded me throughout the night, on exiting the Ben Franklin Bridge was what truly captured my attention. Be still my heart: this is one thing of beauty.

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