Redmoon Theater's Spectacle Lunatique is one of the most visually exciting fundraisers in town and, this year, they honored tech entrepreneur Howard Tullman with the Galvanizer Award for his contributions to the "vibrancy of Chicago." The ceremony surrounding his introduction to the crowd was straight out of Julius Caesar! Preceded by a 30 piece drummer band, Howard arrived on a rickshaw pulled by Redmoon theater members. Talk about an entrance! Spotlights followed him around the 18,000 square-foot warehouse space in Pilsen before he climbed the ladder of a sky-high podium where a video played behind him thanking him for his contributions to Chicago and beyond.
The rest of the evening was equally as exciting beginning with a gigantic swing-set where guests were encouraged to take turns upon their arrival. I saw pool playing bears, cocktail servers dressed as tables and some in Victorian garb offering drinks from ancient looking bicycles. Bright red balloons carried hors d'oeuvres as well as tiny remote controlled drones that delivered sweets to attendees. I felt like I had truly fallen down the rabbit hole just like Alice.
Several of Chicago's top chefs presented their culinary creations at tasting stations, including Luca Corazzin (312Chicago), Thai Dang of Embeya, Jerl Griffin of Flemming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Mark Mendez of Vera and Jason Vincent of Nightwood, to name a few. Aerial artists from Redmoon and Aerial Dance Chicago performed overhead and aided the chefs in presenting their creations from the sky to the mouth.
At 8 pm, executive artistic director Jim Lasko and producing artistic director Frank Maugeri greeted the crowd via video, sharing a preview of the Great Chicago Fire Festival, which launches this summer with a series of community workshops in 15 different Chicago neighborhoods, culminating in a grand finale river procession on the Chicago River, October 4.
Throughout the evening, guests had a chance to enjoy a private 10-minute tasting dinner prepared by Michael Carlson of Schwa complete with a serenading opera singer for a donation of $1000 (I saw the Mayor and wife Amy Rule partaking), or a private birthday party for two with a bear, fireworks and Redmoon performers for a $250 donation. The night continued with an open bar, sweet and savory bits, and music and dancing.
Matt and Lucy Moog served as co-chairs for this fantasy-filled gala that attracted more than 750 attendees and raised nearly $400,000 for Redmoon's free public summer programming. (www.Redmoon.org) (Photos by Al Zayed).
(See video below from a past Redmoon Spectacle Lunatique on my Watch312.com show, "Candid Candace Chicago." Now YOU can fall down the rabbit hole, too)!
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