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 FringeArts” La 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.
What’s a ball without music? The evening’s entertainment featured CJ Steinway and the Pour Decisions.
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.
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.
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!).
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!