Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DiverseWorks Dining Ad Hoc

As critics we often think too small, review too little, and too much of the same stuff. A few weekends ago, I cleaned my son’s college apartment. I really wish my fine and brilliant work had been reviewed. Why not? Which is why I recently traded my dance/ theater gig for a dinner party review. Here goes.

The Event: The Ad Hoc Dinner, is the brainchild of DiverseWorks big guns Sixto Wagan and Diane Barber. Both are think out-of-the-downtown loft types. Does art always have to happen at an opening or a performance? That’s thinking small and you already know what I think about that. Wagan and Barber have crafted an artful event. It gets better. Tasty food is involved.

The Setting: That amazingly colorful Victorian house (Aerosol Warfare) on Alabama overlooking 288. The house is now being used by DiverseWorks for these dinners and other commissioned projects. Artists are so good at using the things that others are not. Sitting on that porch you are literally dead center at the heart of planet transition.

The Art: You can’t really have an artful event without a featured artist. Melanie Crader transformed the dining room with three of her enchanting pieces. A giant white coaster with delicate scalloped edges formed the centerpiece for the room. Crader’s Buttercream Doily…I only keep the formal ones…later throwing them away…I realized that I was curating my trash…, was crafted from one of those doilies that your mother used to use. More fun was found by the bathroom with her wood piece of frilly underwear.

The Food: Chef David Gressman provided the food art, beginning with a Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Avocado, Marcona Almonds, followed by Duo of Wagyu Beef, Shortrib Ravioli, Creamed Spinach, Roasted Loin, a marvelous construction that included beef, a spinach filled trapezoidal ravioli floating on a sea of fresh peas. If I can get a “little dance critic does food” here for a moment, I would like to add that the whole piece de-constructed with splendid ease. The peas spilled when you tickled the ravioli, creating some exciting plate motion. Dessert cheeses followed. They were considerably more still. Then came a Chocolate Mint Icebox Cake with Mint Chip Icecream. The poor dessert did not have a chance to dance as it was eaten with great gusto. Had the ice cream been allowed to melt, I am certain it would have been a knock out performance. Gressman holds hopes of opening his own place, stay tuned on that. It will be a must-eat place. A tour of the garden illuminated by the speeding cars on 288 concluded the event.

The Company: All smart, young, handsome, industrious people, doing cool and necessary things with their lives.

The Future: Life is fluid in the artful event lane, when asked if there would another dinner, Barber quipped, “I don’t know, it’s ad hoc!”

Image: Melanie Crader, Buttercream Doily…I only keep the formal ones…later throwing them away…I realized that I was curating my trash…, 12″ x 12″, handcut enamel coated paper