Posted May 26, 2006, 11:27 AM EDT
FLORIDA Some time ago, a group of gladiators entered a historic theatre through torch-bearing Roman columns. But if you're thinking of ancient Greece, it's actually more recent than that. On April 5, Lydian Bank & Trust celebrated the grand opening of its new downtown Tampa branch. At the request of new bank president Cary Putrino, Jackie Slatkow and Allie Weiner of Slatkow & Husak Public Relations decided to give the event an ancient Greek theme, since the Lydians were a Greek society best known for being the first to trade with gold coins, circa 561 B.C.
The nearly 250 attendees saw a night at the movies clash with ancient Greek culture when they pulled into the Tampa Theatre, which now featured Lydian's name in bright lights on the marquee. The event seemed even grander when guests attempted to make their way indoors, only to find themselves walking a red carpet and having their pictures taken by Slatkow-hired paparazzi. Once they got through the ancient Roman columns that separated the red carpet from the reception area, they came face to face with four large pedestals featuring living statues of Spartacus, two toga-clad women, and a gladiator, all of which switched poses every two minutes to display their airbrush-painted bodies, courtesy of Air-O-Dynamic Productions.
Inside, guests spent the first hour and a half drinking cocktails from a bar covered in plants and decorated with columns and flowing white fabric, munching on food by Olympia Catering, listening to a musical duo perform old Greek movie themes, and socializing with one another.
Some guests watched silent screenings of movies such as Troy, while others gathered around Sounds of Motown, which performed tunes by the likes of Barry White, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. When the night ended, guests went home with some complimentary gifts: edible gold coins that were designed to represent the Lydian logo (a gold coin featuring a lion's head) and the paparazzi-snapped photos from earlier in the evening.
Albert del Toral