benefit party 2011

Benefit 2011: Paradise Bizarre

On June 11, 2011, Proteus Gowanus hosted its second annual benefit party, Paradise Bizarre: A Fairground of Acts, Exhortations and Seductions. Our rooms and hallways were transformed into a veritable carnival-bizarre of music, Writhers, preachers, strumpets, angels, saints, demons, fixers, puppets, and therapists all vying for the souls of those in attendance.

Benefit 2011: Paradise Bizarre from Proteus Gowanus on Vimeo.

About 100 sinners were welcomed down the alleyway by St. Peter himself (under the watchful gaze of a giant, breathing, golden God) to enjoy fourteen performances, delicious food and drink, and art, artifacts and books gathered over the course of the Paradise year.

Guests flirted with evil, eating and drinking like gluttons, succumbing to the temptations of the Poetry Brothel and giggling as they watched Ethan Jacob Gould’s comically sinister puppet show about a rabbi’s trapped demon struggling to be free. But a preview of the punishments of hell, featured in Paul Benney’s seriously sinister “Dark Forest: A Tour of the Underworld” sent them running for salvation inside Proteus Gowanus.

Some found it in the songs of the the band Goddess! Others in a song written and sung by Nina Katchadourian about finding safe haven in a library. Others saw the light in Dickson Despommier’s visionary sermon about Vertical Farming (“do I hear an amen?”); Craig Townsend’s inspiring delivery of Father Mapple’s sermon from Moby Dick; and Marty Skoble’s sermon in poetry. For those seeking a return to the safety of childhood, Madhu Kaza read bedtime stories to guests resting supine in a lush boudoir.

Salvation was also offered by the helping professions. Clarinda MacLow, Cyborg Teknotherapist, counseled guests on how to live in harmony with their electronic gadgets, and the Poetry Doctor, Rosamond King, dispensed silver capsules containing poems to “treat what ails you.” A Master Fixer from the Fixers Collective, Vincent Lai, patiently assisted guests seeking immortality for their broken objects.

Bedazzling illusions were cast throughout by films projected in every gallery by Sean Hanley and the Meerkat Media Collective with works by Steve Cossman, Lynne Sachs, James Walsh and the Meerkat Media Collective. And for those seeking real life bedazzlement, guests bid at our auction on items such as a canoe tour of the Gowanus, a pilgrimage to the mummified remains of St Cabrini, and a home visit by the Fixers Collective.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE BROOKLYN EPICUREANS FOR DONATING FOOD: Aliseo on Vanderbilt Ave, Cotta Bene on 3rd Ave, Joya Thai, Marquet Patisserie on Court St, Stinky Brooklyn on Smith St, and Brooklyn Fare on Schermerhorn.

Paul Benney, Dark Forest: A Tour of the Underworld; Burlesque Dancers; Dickson Despommier, a sermon; the Fixers Collective (bring a broken thing); Goddess! the band; Ethan Jacob Gould, The Dybbuk and the Daughter: A Puppet Show; Nina Katchadourian, a song; Madhu Kaza, This Is Where We Meet: a bedtime story; Rosamond King, Poetry Doctor; Clarinda MacLow , Cyborg Teknotherapists; Tessa Murphy, Angel; The Poetry Brothel; Peter Simon, St Peter; Marty Skoble, a sermon; Craig Townsend, a sermon; and the Writhing Society.

Tom Bisky, Hope Cooke, Sarah Crichton, Purdy Eaton, Wendy Feuer, Phillippa Gordon & Ken Bromberg, Nene Humphrey, Leslie Kerby, Tom Klinkowstein, Tom LaFarge & Wendy Walker, Eva Melas & John Baumann, Rosemary Moore & Joshua Shneider, Angela Kramer Murphy, Katya & John Redpath, Joelle Shallon, Susannah Scherzer, Marty Skoble & Gabe Howard, Alexandra Walcott, Stephen A. Warnke & Susan Sommer, Kit Warren & Mark O’Brien.

Proteus Gowanus is a non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)3. Your donation is tax deductible.