It rained and stormed in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on Friday night.
But by the time the black-tie gala crowd was about to send home for rain gear, things changed. The four seasons played out on video screens around the dining area so that while guests supped on a menu based on the seasons, the backdrop galloped through the year. And that was just the beginning of the black and white ball that still has guests talking about the most unusual, captivating entertainment imaginable.
With creative chairs Lucinda and Javier Loya and Lisa and Michael Holthouse at the helm of CAMH's annual gala, one would expect the extraordinary. The couples did not disappoint. The event surpassed its fundraising goal, leaping past the $6500,000 mark. And then there was "Xenoglossia."
Houstonian Amanda Gregory introduced her performance art in a spectacular presentation that had the black-tie crowd in awe. A trained opera singer, Gregory best describes the experience, as "an ensemble of shape-shifting matrix transplants utilizing light, sound, color and symbols to transport you into a holographic reality."
(To see her presentation, click on the video below.)
" The fact that it's inside the museum really helps us get to people who might not know about contemporary art and know that we have such a vibrant scene in the city."
In actuality, sound and video artist Jonathan Jindra, tech artist Bradley Muñoz and musician Zárate Zaaló combined their talents with a kaleidoscopic video projection that morphed as Gregory sang. Even her prismatic hair changed colors, in keeping with her vocal frequencies. For her chanting and serenading, Gregory wore a 10-foot high metal dress, sculpted by artist Patrick Renner.
As a backdrop to this otherworldly experience, Rebekah Johnson of Bergner & Johnson created the decor that included the seasonal videos and centerpiece stretches of grass speckled with cake pops. Jackson and Co. waiters, carrying umbrellas during the winter season, served the whimsical yet tasty meal that included a summery fried chicken and potato salad course, a wintry roasted rack of pork and a s'more tart served with Mexican hot chocolate.
Christie's Sara Friedlander served as auctioneer for the always exuberant live auction and DJ Kalkutta, in from New York, kept the night rocking until the wee hours. None could have been happier with the proceedings than CAMH executive director Bill Arning and CAMH board chair Bill Goldberg.
"The gala is really one of our best fundraisers," Arning said. "But it's also one of our best community events in that it's a time when the Houston community comes together in support of contemporary art . . . The fact that it's inside the museum really helps us get to people who might not know about contemporary art and know that we have such a vibrant scene in the city."
CAMH fans making the scene included Marita and J.B. Fairbanks, Liz and Tom Glanville, Louise Jamail, Gretchen and Andrew McFarland, Cabrina and Steve Owsley, Susie and Sanford Criner, Marci and Steve Alvis, Diane Lokey Farb, Stacey and Casey Crenshaw, Cynthia Petrello, Sue and Lester Smith, Dillon Kyle and Sam Lasseter.