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Sorceress' Magic at Central Park Ball

November 7, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Central Park Conservancy's Raise Your Spirits Halloween Ball Central Park Bandshell Tuesday, 10.30.01, 7 PM onward
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Halloween is usually filled with ghosts and goblins, but in the wake of the September 11 attacks, many event planners were wondering if a death-centric event was appropriate this year. The Central Park Conservancy went ahead with its annual Halloween fund-raiser at the Central Park Bandshell, and decided to give it a sorcery theme and name it the Raise Your Spirits Halloween Ball. (Last year's event had a fiery hell theme.) In the hands of Matthew David from Matthew David Events, this year's sorcery theme transformed some simple tents from Stamford Tents into a eyeful of spectacles and glowing lights.

David's touch was evident even outside the tent, where masked and costumed performers from the Mettawee River Theatre Company (and booked through Reemerging Arts) costumed in vintage, commedia-esque outfits and masks posed and silently greeted guests. A snaking row of lanterns covered with the evening's sorceress logo illuminated the path that led to the tents. Inside, the same logo illuminated the tent walls and freestanding curved fabric walls from Pink Inc. More entertainers, including two acrobats (from Just Carter Company) dressed in shimmering silver holographic body suits slowly shifted poses with silver globe props.

Under the dining tent, David draped red, fuschia and violet fabric along the tent piping. Bentley Meeker shone gobos of the sorceress on two white disks trimmed with floral garlands suspended on two sides of the dance floor.

David's centerpieces were unusual, innovative designs. Tables along the tent walls featured tall, moss covered-centerpieces with white disks with an illustration of a bat in flight encased inside clear globes. Fans beneath the globes made the disks spin, so the bats appeared to be in flight. Perfect spheres of hydrangea and roses surrounded the globes. The other tables featured similar fan-powered centerpieces that made single tarot cards toss around inside the globes. Fluffy red feathers were draped over the tops of the globes, and red roses and waxy green leaves with more tarot cards stuck inside surrounded them. Velvety, leaf-pattered tablecloths in an array of rich colors provided by David and Table Wraps covered the tables.

Catered by Abigail Kirsch Culinary Productions, the event offered guests Halloween-themed food, including Thai spice chilled “disappearing” shrimp; “voodoo rum” cocktails with pineapple juice and coconut; a “black and orange” smoked salmon potato galette (served on black plates and drizzled with an orange-colored roasted red pepper sauce); wild mushroom bread pudding served in mini roasted pumpkins; and a “black magic” Grand Marnier torte.

The event's security was mostly concentrated at the event's entrance, where plainclothes security personnel from Silverman Associates guided guests to the coat check and registration desks. Most of the guards were amiable and attentive, but when we asked who was handling security, one gruff guard snapped, “I don't have to tell you that.”

--Suzanne Ito

Read about last year's hell-themed benefit...

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