EVENT REPORT

Pandora's Box Inspires Entertainment at Grecian-Themed Pride Gala

For the fourth annual Pride Toronto Gala and Awards, organizers took guests on "A Journey to Mount Olympus" with a Grecian-themed gala complete with statues of Greek gods and acrobat performances by entertainers dressed as Atlas and Aphrodite.

By Susan O'Neill June 25, 2008, 5:08 PM EDT

Acrobats at the Pride gala

Photo: Gary Beechey for BizBash

Pride Toronto Gala and Awards
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For the fourth annual Pride Toronto gala and awards—held at the Fermenting Cellar on Tuesday—event planner Daniel Chimento of Dragos Productions used entertainment throughout the evening to convey the theme of the event: “A Journey to Mount Olympus.”

“It's based around Pan and Pandora and the opening of Pandora's box and all of the mischief that comes with it,” Chimento said. All of the performances, courtesy of Suspended Animation Circus, involved Greek gods and goddesses. “So Atlas is basically hanging from a hoop in the air. We have Prometheus starting a fire; Aphrodite is in there seducing and landing people in a trance,” he said.

Chimento, who planned and produced the event for the first time this year, worked with Pride Toronto co-chairs Lenore MacAdam and Mark Singh. He looked to ancient Greece for the evening's inspiration in an effort to choose a theme that he felt hasn't been “overdone” in the city. “I really wanted to take it to the next level ... I absolutely love coming up with unique themes, particularly in a gala atmosphere.” During the cocktail reception, guests mingled in Zeus's statue garden, where models posed as statues throughout the venue. “The statues turn into the entertainment once Pandora's box is open,” he said.

Chimento said that while he searched for some time to find the right entertainment company, the venue was an obvious choice for the award show and dinner for 350 guests. “The venue has been used in the past for the gala. We did look into other options, but given the theme, the Distillery was a perfect fit,” he said. “You have to choose the right companies to pull this type of an event together ... I want people to feel like, 'Wow. That was amazing.'”

Sandra Bernhard hosted the evening, helping to present awards in eight categories including arts and culture, human rights, science, medicine and technology, spirituality, sports, youth leadership, and lifetime achievement.

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