Dinner and a Wedding
I had never heard of Dîner en Blanc until I was invited to attend one in good ol' Burque. My coworker Courtney had planned on going but realized she wouldn't be able to make it due to a prior commitment, she asked me if I would like to attend in her place and I told her I would think about it. I looked it up and it seemed interesting enough—a party where people are required to wear all white at a mystery location—so I agreed. I was put into contact with a lovely woman named Kristi D. Lawrence, the event's PR manager She sent long, detailed messages about what was going to happen at the dinner, which confused me at first because I haven't experienced people actually planning their events in Albuquerque.
She said that guests were expected to wear all white, bring their own meals, table, chairs, utensils and décor that had to be all white, as well. She told me I could partake as media (walk around and observe) or as a guest. I typically wear all black, so just finding an appropriate outfit was a struggle; I opted for the media option. She emailed me the time and location the morning of the event.
I wondered why people would commit to bringing so much to an event like this—I've never been expected to provide my own food, tables, chairs, utensils and decorations at any event, so naturally, I googled it.
The technically illegal event began around 1986. A man named François Pasquier began hosting pop-up parties at historic and culturally important landmarks in Paris, France, telling his friends (who told their friends, and those people told their friends) to dress in all white so they could find each other easily. Eventually the event became legal with better organization and looked pretty fucking classy compared to local hooligans (or tourists!) running around said landmarks smoking, loitering or taking pictures.
Nowadays we don't have to depend on word-of-mouth but people do need to know someone to be a part of the event. To join you need a sponsor or be put on a waiting list which will make you wait a pretty long time because Dîner en Blanc events often sell out.
Those lucky enough to make the cut are told a meeting place and time, from there they are taken to the end location—which is a public space—and take over it. They set up a table for two (did I mention you have to have a date?) with all the bells and whistles: chairs, decorations, plates, glasses, utensils and most people bring their own meals and wine. The end location for this year's dinner was the BioPark's beautiful Botanical Gardens.
It took a bit over an hour to get all 1400 guests in and set up (a record for anything being done in such a timely fashion in this state). Then people stood up and waved their napkins above their heads like lassos meaning the space had been taken over and it was time to begin the meal. Everyone looked gorgeous. Outfits ranged from two-piece suits, either with a blouse or a fitted button up. Dresses were popular—everything from short and fitted to long and flowing. Lace was very popular amongst the lady-folk, and fedora and trilby hats were popular with the men-folk. There were also a surprising number of white wigs.
I began wandering the space trying out my new camera (and super-zoomy lens) on people eating, which I noticed made folks uncomfortable so I just did the socially acceptable thing and watched people eat instead. I saw most people brought their own meals, I saw everything from steaks to salads to fried chicken. In regards to beverages, most people opted for the wine on location.
A lot of folks were excited to get to the party part of the evening and drifted toward the stage where there was live music. I was pulled to the back of the venue by some unknowing force and heard people cheering in the ceremonial garden so I decided to pop back there for a minute to see what all the hubbub was about. As I passed the wall a voice became clearer, talking about marriage. I found a surprise wedding was in progress! The crowd seemed to be primarily family and friends of the happy couple-to-be, with the groom and officiate standing on the side closer to the Jardin Redondo. The bride joined them quickly and the ceremony was brief and lovely.
Soon after, sparklers were passed out to the guests on the green and the entire crowd lit huge sparklers at the same time. The enchantment that sparklers bring at any time lasted longer than expected, but that describes the entire night, to me. It was such a positive experience; families and friends gathering together civilly, sharing a meal with hundreds of strangers without anyone being rude or mean. Sure, it was a little hectic at times, but isn't that what makes things exciting? Unpredictability prompts bonding.
Many guests (including myself) left early because of rain, a magical end to the night. As I left I asked some people how their night went and everyone said they had a great time and the hosts—Cat Hanna, David Stroud, Taylor Trodden and all the group leaders—were marvelous and created a wonderful environment. Their guidance and efforts created a wonderfully relaxing and fun night.
The Daily Word in Isis, Motorhead and Trump v. Jeb Bus
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Donald Trump. *Shifts eyes to Jeb Bush*
Dear Olive Garden, I can use $400 to buy endless amounts of alcohol for New Years Eve and probably 10 more New Years Eve parties that I’ll never remember instead of using it on one night I’ll never remember.
Sometimes the internet can be a great place. Check out this video of a Kendrick Lamar and Mario Kart mashup!
The Daily Word in emojis, the flu and the future via Twitter
Only a twitter bot can predict the future.
The suspected organizer of the terrorist attacks in Paris is reportedly killed.
A summation of anti-feminists to induce your daily rage.
Learn more about the history of lesbianism on the island of Nantucket.
Good Charlotte is back, thank Satan.
Morsels by Megan Foldenauer is deliciously lovely.
Where revenge porn and sex work intersect.
Take-out flu shots delivered by Uber? Alright.
The Daily Word in a controversial story on encryption and the Paris Attacks, Anonymous and eating spiders in your sleep
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez is joining other states opposed to accepting Syrian refugees.
Road conditions are poor throughout New Mexico.
The Lantern Festival was a success, but The Sandia Speedway where it was held is to be fined for not having appropriate permits.
Albuquerque is ranked 6th in nation among "best digital cities" by some organization.
Sleeping, dreaming, eating lots of spiders.
While Obama was trying to be a voice of reason, he did ask for it; John McCain took the President up on his invitation to "pop off" about US foreign policy.
Because there is NO indication it's true, NYT pulled their story blaming encryption for the Paris Attacks.
Step aside and let Anonymous handle ISIS, says Anonymous.
The Daily Word in Parisian hostages, lucky prisoners and dead stingrays
Fitty Cent is bankrupt.
18 shoppers were taken hostage at a mall outside Paris.
David Letterman wishes he was back on the air just so he could make Trump jokes.
Here's how to ask for a raise.
The "F Word" was scrubbed from graffiti on an I-25 overpass, reducing the remaining phrase to "your problems." Here are some constructive ways to deal with "your problems."
A black lab in Pennsylvania had over 70 inanimate objects surgically removed from its stomach.
The Daily Word in Kim Kardashian and an ice cream named Hitler
There’s a brand of ice cream named Hitler.
This bridge in Paris is being set free.
Illuminating your neurons can retrieve lost memories.
During a concert in TJ over the weekend, Enrique Iglesias foolishly underestimated the power of a drone.
An ex-FIFA official cited an article in The Onion as part of his defense strategy.
A man obsessed with Mila Kunis has escaped a mental facility.
The Daily Word in Ebola, New Mexico arrests and a giant butt-plug
Texas health officials have ordered that anyone who visited the room of the first Ebola patient in a Dallas hospital pretty much quarantine themselves for 21 days.
Vice President Joe Biden's son was discharged from the Navy Reserves for dipping into some nose candy.
President Obama is set to appoint Ron Klain as his “Ebola czar.”
Denver police warn parents of trick-or-treaters that some candy might not be what it seems … aka it's got weed in it.
MMA fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver (aka War Machine) attempted suicide in prison. He's currently being held for the savage beating and kidnapping of ex-girlfriend Christy Mack.
A shooting took place in Downtown Albuquerque, near Third and Silver, that left one person dead.
Guess those lapel cameras are good for something. APD police officer Jared Frazier's cam caught a woman trying to falsely accuse him of sexual assault after arresting her for a DWI.
It's not exactly BUSTED, but KOAT's got you covered if you wanna see photos of New Mexicans who've recently been arrested.
APS pays $175,000 to a middle school principal, settling a lawsuit over claims of retaliation by former superintendent Winston Brooks.
A giant butt-plug (oops, I mean tree) in Paris has French folks in a tizzy.
Americans in Paris
“The Cosmopolitans” on Amazon
Love and marriage go through the ringer during a bittersweet anniversary trip to Paris
Street art stroll pt. 2
The last iteration of this blog column was used to highlight stencils, graff and found art in Downtown Albuquerque. Today we're switching things up a bit. My mom the art historian is currently in Paris, so I asked her to be the Alibi's foreign photo correspondent. Wonder what street artists with names like Miss-Tic, Boozy and and Jef Aerosol are up to in gay Paree? Here you have it in slideshow format, straight from the hip Parisian hood known as arrondissement des Gobelins (which does not mean, contrary to my language-botching proclivities, “The Round Table of the Goblins”). Check out the Hollande vs. Sarkozy presidential boxing poster!
Apparently, there is a place in France where the naked ladies dance
What do mental institutions, schools, hospitals, law enforcement, military training, the court system, social security, legislature, public housing, sports, the arts and erotic entertainment have in common? Well, one could reasonably argue that they’re fundamental cultural institutions endemic to nearly every society on Earth. Or you could just say that they’re all subjects that have attracted the attention of prolific documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. Since his notorious (if rarely seen) 1967 documentary Titicut Follies, the law-professor-turned-filmmaker has become America’s most passionately dispassionate observer of basic social constructions.
Heart of the Artichoke
Dinner with Chef David Tanis of Chez Panisse
It’s hard to know where to begin—David Tanis, world-class chef; David Tanis, author; David Tanis, will ’o the wisp. In fact, you can meet all three—taste his menu, read his book and watch him wander into the sunset when he continues his nationwide book tour to promote his new Heart of the Artichoke and other Kitchen Journeys (Artisan).
The Folks Get Freaky
Lucid dreaming with CocoRosie
You’re wandering through a labyrinthine mansion, lured on by eerily seductive voices. Spider webs audibly brush your cheeks and chimes ring out all around as you stumble into a room painted with murals of unicorns and rainbows. Some kind of plastic box emits scratchy beats and two beautiful sirens with mustaches and goatees beckon you with nonsense words. Crickets or perhaps a ceiling fan whir in the background. Did you watch a David Lynch movie right before bed? No, but you could’ve been listening to CocoRosie.
Have Fork, Will Travel
Le Nouveaux Mexique
A Duke City food critic in the land of milk and butter
An Albuquerquean foodie visiting Paris for the first time could find himself justifiably intimidated by the city’s fabled cuisine. If that’s you, I suggest you begin with a visit to one of the many restaurants in Paris that belong to the chain called “Indiana Café.”