Friday, July 17, 2009

CARNIVALE OF ASCENSION: THINGS AREN'T WHAT THEY SEEM


     I love to be sold things. I'm a hopeless romantic. I love to fall in love, to get caught up, even if I'm falling in love with a toaster made in China or the old man (of course) who sells it to me. Its the passion, the fantasy that this is the most amazing toaster in the world, made just for me. I know I will get home and burn my toast or set my house on fire, but I thrive on those few moments when I allow myself to fall for the sales pitch. 
    So when I got this invitation to the Carnivale of Ascension, presented by Adam Aleksander, Cleo Fishel and Tiana Cornelius, the subject line titled, "Debauchery in Dinner Party Form," I was ready to be sold my dream dinner party. A few snippets of the invitation read, "whole roasted animals, performers on stilts, midget Marilyn Mansons and a pet wolf ... a masquerade ball/dinner party/séance touching down for two nights only next week in the East Village ... It ends, however, with you ritualistically devouring desserts off of a human tray ... But let's back up a minute:  before you mouth sponge cake off of a doily-clad nude, you'll need to survive cocktail hour (reproductive organ hors d'oeuvres and tequila cocktails), make your way through platters of whole roasted animals (roasted goat, bunnies and salmon) ... All the while, you'll be surrounded by wildly adorned bird-people pecking away at your food, the aforementioned Mini Mans running roughshod over the table and plenty of other shell-shocked revelers. ... Suddenly, the pet wolf in the corner makes a lot more sense." 
   I was sold. Sign me up. I immediately began fantasizing, going against my "don't have any expectations or you will be disappointed" rule. (Ladies, this is a good rule when it applies to men.) Maura and I picked up matching masks and arrived, "eyes wide shut" style as Maura said, ready to be "shell shocked." We received ribbons that marked whether we were of the living or of the dead. I was alive and Maura was dead. 
    As we entered the design was phenomenal, the long low set banquet tables running along a fascinating mural the length of the dimly candle lit hall, all set a promising mood. 
   A topless server with a tray of "reproductive organ hors d'oeuvres" explained the rules: you cannot feed yourself, the living can only feed the dead, while the dead can feed anyone. But we don't follow rules. I naively believed we would be eating some well, balls, and we did: lemony raw seedy cheesy balls. A good interpretation, I think. My let down that the placenta of a goat was not being fed to me by a fake dead person was a tasty relief.  
   The promise of cocktails flowing and an enormous table of a variety of roasted animals was not a let down. Drinks sponsers were Maker's Mark, Sauza Hornitos and Chang Beer.
  The pomegranate tequila cocktail with a rim of sugar and espresso (not pictured) was other worldly. The watermelon juice cocktail (pictured) was also a crowd pleaser.
  Anne Apparu of The 18th Restaurant fame knows not only how to roast a pig, but watch out because this girl can carve a 10 foot long table of animal flesh in less than 10 minutes. 
   There was actually someone guarding the kitchen, not letting guests walk by her, because as a native Corsican prone to talking with her hands, she doesn't modify her expressions when she is holding a huge carving knife. Even the dead body guard wouldn't have been able to deal with real casualties that night. You go girl! 
   Among the amazing assortment of tableware, I did find this cat dish, which I claimed and used as a mask/plate.
   We sat down to the main event and the meat and potatoes meal was really delicious. Our server couldn't really explain what any of the meat he was serving was, but I got an entire cornish hen, chicken, pork and a really amazing piece of marinated teriyake salmon. When the butter knife didn't suffice, I ripped into it with my hands. 
The root vegetables, potatoes and beets, along with a couscous-like grain were perfect with lots of fresh herb flavor. 
    As far as the animals went, the roasted chicken was the winner, as unmasked Eric, who I'd met earlier at Halloween Adventure, agreed. 
  And then there was dessert. A human tray. I think of a tray as something carried about, but there is was, this human tray lying fully naked on the table, covered in angel food cake, surrounded by rowdy masked guests waiting to feast on her. I do think our hosts were presenting this human dessert tray in the best of taste, but some of the drunk and ravenous revelers were turning it into an unsightly scene. As you may have guessed, I have no comment on how dessert tasted. I know I'm a prude. 
  After dinner, there was live entertainment including a performance by Patrick Cleandenim
  To set matters straight, the wolf, who is Anne's pup, was there. And there was a woman on stilts, which is really something I should start looking into with my short stature and all. But what about the seance, the mini men running about the tables, the bird people pecking at my food? All no shows. The meal was itself transformative, but I set my expectations too high for the scene, thinking that everyone was there to perform for me, to carry me over the "surreal bridge between life and death." Maybe I should have had a few more of those cocktails! Hanging with Maura in itself is always more fun than I can ever ask for and I did leave full of delicious meat. I just wanted a midget it to feed me. Is that too much to ask? 

8 comments:

Justin said...

i guess i got an email about this, but wasn't sure what to make of it. interesting photos. i'm still on the fence about it.

kathyb said...

wow. what an awesome experience. and beautiful photos.

Morta Di Fame said...

it was a three day affair so i think maybe it would have been better on the first night. maybe they lost their steam or something. it was definitely a fun time though. did you see the sake shrimp recipe i posted in honor of your shrimp obsession? its like from a few weeks ago.

Morta Di Fame said...

above comment on shrimp to jason :-)

Rocco Galatioto said...

Ho the Humanity, the debauchery, the utter perversion; no doubt the inevitable result of advanced liberalism. After all it is a mental disorder. The ennui that causes such a need to search for increasingly more arcane forms of entertainment. Just "to make it through the night" as the song goes or to spend another hot summer day. These typical symptom of extreme anomie are usually manifested while a civilization has peaked and begins it's ineluctable accelerating fall. Have a good time while you can. Soon with "obamism" on it's way you will have no more disposable income to partake in such pecadillos. Oui mon cer amis, c'est la verite'.
Sorry to give you the bad news but as they say, someone has to do it.

Morta Di Fame said...

I agree Rocco. The world is coming to an end. Thanks for sharing. Sharing and caring.

Rocco Galatioto said...

I'm glad I can help.

TheGreatLordAnubis said...

Slideshow from the first night:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsZpEzM5G1A