Museum Benefit Gets Food Trucks, Surprise Performances, Lots of Shots

By Jenny Berg June 30, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Photo: Robert Carl

Museum of Contemporary Art's Performance Benefit
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The Museum of Contemporary Art celebrated the 15th year of its performance program with a June 23 gala called Remixed/Reimagined. “In the past, we've hosted a benefit around a specific performance,” said Gina Crowley, director of special events and rentals. “But on this anniversary year, we had a variety of performances staged throughout the museum to highlight the diverse programming of the MCA stage." 

According to Crowley, the greatest challenge of the planning process was “keeping all the details of the event a secret. We wanted to keep each part of the night's journey a surprise.” Food trucks replaced buffet stations at the cocktail reception on the plaza. As guests sat on stage road cases eating macaroni and cheese and sweet corn empanadas, an ensemble from JASC Tsukasa Taiko drummers appeared on the front steps and put on a rhythmic show. Mucca Pazza, a local punk marching band, later appeared to announce dinner with trumpets, drums, and pom-pom-accented cheers.

At the end of the Wolfgang Puck-catered dinner, served onstage in the museum's theater, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus appeared among the audience to belt out an ABBA medley. Some particularly enthused guests rose from their seats to twirl napkins in time to the music, and as “Waterloo” wrapped up, individual chorus members moved from table to table and encouraged partygoers to follow them to the dessert reception in the second-floor atrium. To get there, guests boarded the freight elevator, where an ice bar offered chilled shots for the short ride—and there was plenty more liquor upstairs.

Servers circulated the reception space with lime bars paired with shots of tequila and lemon custard tarts with shots of chilled limoncello; shots of espresso came with the mini doughnuts. Also circulating: a couple of spontaneously boogying break dancers from Dance Works Chicago, and Redmoon Theater performers strolling around with giant red balloons.

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