We recently enjoyed free-drink nirvana at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art's tenth-anniversary gala for the benefactors on October 9. Our friend Charles had an extra ticket, and he kindly invited us. Of course, we're all about any event that involves pulling out the tiara. Plus, we were curious to see how people with way too much money would interpret the invitation's "creative cocktail attire" directive. As it turned out, they really didn't, and an astonishing number of people expressed admiration for our $11.99 tiara from Claire's Boutique, or whatever it's called now. Flattered, we continued sucking down our free drinks.
Speaking of free, the museum -- which doesn't charge admission but accepts donations -- rocks, so please go check it out as often as possible. We've always wondered what it would be like as a party venue, and it was really quite wonderful. Surrounded by cool works of art, we sampled the Decatini, the museum's signature drink, which was created for the gala by Michael Poppa, the manager of Café Sebastienne. Served in a martini glass with a sugared rim and composed of Limoncello, orange juice, a splash of soda and a bit of Chambord sunk in the bottom, the drink had an appealing layered-yellow-and-raspberry look. We loved it and were pleased to hear that it would be served for the rest of '04 at the café.
Outside the museum, a swank tent had been set up, complete with a dance floor and a huge band that played old stuff to get people moving -- including one Jeanne Patterson, candidate for Congress, who was rocking not only the black pants look but also the dance floor with an ambiguously gay/not gay guy. (Her walker perhaps?) With her blond hair flying, she and her partner did a speeded-up version of the fox trot to Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" as her posse -- which included a ringer for Patsy Ramsey -- watched from the sidelines. We stared, not knowing whether to cheer or be frightened. Then the claws came out.
"Well, she's lost the election now," said Charles' friend Bob. He added, "She's too old to wear her hair that long. I saw her on TV and thought she looked like a country-western singer."
Since we were now pleasantly buzzed on a screwdriver and a Dewar's and water, we tried to track Patterson down for an interview. "How's the politickin' going?" we wanted to cheerfully ask, which would be followed by (in a lower, concerned tone), "Dude. What happened to your dad's eye?" (If you haven't seen the commercials featuring her dad, he's wearing an eye patch, which makes us want to say "Yarrrr!" Do not send us hate mail about this, though. Eye patches are hot -- they really are.) Unfortunately, she had been whisked away by her handlers, so our jackassedness was all for naught.
We finally found a few people who were creatively attired -- though, sadly, none in an eye patch. We chatted with Stephanie, 35, and her friend Amy, 35, who were wearing tight strapless dresses and elbow-length gloves. Their hair was tightly pulled back, and we dubbed their look very Berlin '88 in that retro, new-wave way. We also talked with Andy, 40, who was wearing a Kerry-Edwards pin, which we thought was brave in what seemed to be a conservative crowd. "They're at least open to get out and look at art, whether they understand it or not," he pointed out. Then we found out he's registered in Kansas.
"So, would you consider trading your vote with someone in Missouri for something?" we asked, wondering if anyone would seriously barter a swing-state vote for a hand job or such. Um, not that we're offering or anything. Not surprisingly, Andy was not amused, so we moved on to Burton, 34, who was wearing a black feather boa from Michael's with his suit.
"What's the weirdest thing you've seen here tonight?" we asked him.
"Well, there was a woman dressed in cowboy boots," he said. "She was wearing a long evening gown." Yawn. We were hoping for something a little more juicy, like ol' Crosby Kemper sacrificing a virgin under the giant spider sculpture. But things got spicier when we ran into some friends who pointed out a couple who, they say, wanted to swing after an art party a few months back.
"The husband kept giving shots of vodka to all the men," said "Frank." "The wife took me to her bedroom to show me their art." Apparently, about four or five people ended up staying over. We tracked the alleged swingers down just as they were leaving. We tried to get them to invite us to see their etchings, but alas, our approach was weak, so we were unable to observe their pickup technique firsthand.
Oh, well. At that point of the night, the words passing out in our own bed were the only ones that sounded appealing to us.