Were we somewhere between a riotous nightmare and a blissful reverie?
You had to wipe your eyes and blink twice to take in all of the hazy, fantastical hallucinations hovering over the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art's happy purgatory party Saturday at the Crowne Plaza. Floating clouds, spooky specters and a trio of faceless cloth-wrapped statuettes crafted by Dixie Friend Gay were set amid a canopy of trees in which fortune tellers called upon ancient voices to prophesy on sex, love and money.
Before long, upward of 600 party guys and gals in everything from black formal attire to just enough fabric and feathers to cover those nether regions swarmed this Garden of Eden alter ego, themed "Dreamscape." They were on cloud nine as they lingered around the ambitious auction organized by Erica Levit, Lance Rosmarin and Harriet Gertner that included a $40,000 mixed media assemblage by Thornton Dial, a piece by Gabriel de la Mora valued at $25,000 and a sculpture by Sharon Kopriva titled Standing Nun.
Sorely missed was Stephanie Smither, the chief benefactor of the Orange Show's newest venture, Smither Park.
Or was that euphoria courtesy of an infantry of bartenders pouring drinks faster than the speed of light? Chairs Holly Moore and Molly Hipp Hubbard know that one gets richer if there's more liquor.
Through a giant mouth sketched on a floor-to-ceiling canvas, guests entered the dining room to continue the trance with a three-course dinner. Once the music started, the dance floor was mobbed courtesy of tunes belted by the Celebrity Allstar Band, which flew in from Atlanta to tear up this 32nd annual bash. Soul lines, shake-your-thang contests and dance circles . . . ties came off and shoes went flying as everybody got down with anyone — friends or newbies.
In the crowd were Marilyn Oshman, Suzy Simons, Ernie Manouse and Jackson Hearn, Jeff Shell, Rich Latimer, Marc Schindler, Maureen and Mike Donelan, John Morton, Tamar Mendelssohn, Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, Chris Brown, Jason Reeves and Mark Sullivan, Philippe Schmit, Harriet Gertner, Dan Phillips, Erica and Benjy Levit and Lane and Bob Schultz.
Sorely missed was Stephanie Smither, the chief benefactor of the Orange Show's newest venture, Smither Park. She was on friends' thoughts as she recovers from a recent double lung transplant procedure.