by Juleana Enright
To prepare for Sunday’s “Mannafest,” it might be helpful to think beyond the simple terms of local art advocating for more local art and consider the concept of meta-art – art housed inside art, benefiting art and conceptually designed to support more art…still with me? Okay, instead of going all I Heart Huckabees on your ass or busting into a chorus of Barbra Streisand’s “People,” I’ll put it this way: “Mannafest” is like a massive group hug in the form of an art-tastic gala. This Sunday, just when you thought you’ve been whirled by art to your heart’s content, prepare for one last kudos to the local scene with “Mannafest: It’s Raining Manna” – an edible evening of art ‘n eats a la mode thrown in support of Madame of the Arts.
For the unfamiliar, Madame is a new-ish queer community art center akin to the now-defunct Bat Annex, sans the leftover labyrinth of Black Label cans. Equal parts solo and communal DIY spot, Madame acts as a studio space for art and music on an individual-use basis, and doubles as collective venue for hosting events, lectures and classes. And, like most cooperative art spaces, Madame could definitely use a helping hand in the finance department. Instead of going down traditional fundraiser route, “Mannafest” organizer and chef Chris Roberts saw this as an opportunity to celebrate performance and installation art while incorporating a trendy epicurean twist – the pop-up restaurant.
Roberts explains: “‘Mannafest’ is a progressive dinner party with a gallery reception beforehand and a Garden of Hedon afterparty. It’s a collaboration of visual art, kitsch, canning, costumes, gastronomy, mixology and performance all benefiting the upcoming season of exciting programming at Madame of the Arts. Many talented hands have contributed work to this collective and edible experience. While coastal hipsters have been inhabiting dark nights at existing restaurants in order to offer trendier menus of their imagining at pop-up restaurants, our twisted Midwest minds asked, ‘Why not make a pop-up restaurant that interacts with installation and performance art?’ So, we did. Myself and Rhett (of BroJobs), Scott Artley and a fantastic crew pulled it off once. ‘Mannafest’ is the second incarnation of last December’s ‘Hedonist’s Holiday’ pop-up restaurant.”
For those with some extra dough to spend, you can check out the entire experience which includes ten courses with liquid pairings, plus an evening of performance and installation art in three parts for a $60 donation. Sixty dollar ticket holders enjoy a pre-dinner amuse bouche, a full dinner party and are privy to a gallery show showcasing the solo venture of local print and poster manipulator Casey Deming – dubbed “Malleable” – and a small curated collection featuring some amazing local queer art.
If $60 is a little out of your price range, catch the $15 donation post-amuse bouche experience, which includes a gallery reception featuring installation works created by locals artist Ema C. Cook, food blogger/artist Kim Christensen and classical homeopath/artist Chris Sorenson, an afterparty rockin’ summer-worthy tunes from DJ Fat Tyra (aka Amalia Zakiya), and an abundance of beverages and food courtesy Chris and Rhett Roberts of BroJobs.
Extra deets: Tickets including pre-dinner, beverages, and the full dinner party experience are $60. Guests should arrive between 5 and 5:45 p.m. Tickets to the afterparty are sold in pairs of two for $30 ($15 each guest). Guests should arrive between 7 and 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. Held at a secret location. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for location info. Click HERE for the Facebook invite.