Indulge in the idea of a soirée that…
Welcomes you through heavy velvet curtains into a maze of cobwebs, opening up to a circus tent of mythical creatures. The hostess lays regally atop a Louis Quatorze red velvet chaise-longue, dressed head to toe as a unicorn. Baboons scamper across the room as she bottle-feeds a lion cub and nonchalantly sips away at her Casanova cocktail. Butlers pretending to be cats scour the room for emptying cocktails and champagne glasses. And you and everyone else is dressed in black-tie attire with birdcage and Swan-wing headdresses. Here is a lavish fest for all your senses, and your prefrontal cortex. As you dilly-dally along in your surrealist costume, you’ll really be living the subconscious dream as you relish gastronomic delicacies, irreverent art and fanciful optics, games, and chatter.
What I’ve just described was only one of many of Salvador Dalí’s legendary dinner parties. He would bring in the greatest chefs of the age, and his guests were required to wear elaborate costumes according to his themes. Wild animals – including Babou, Dalí’s pet ocelot (wild cat)– would roam freely around the tables. And I can only imagine the nature of the conversations among the crowd. .
It goes without saying, organizing such extravagant affairs demands a real investment of time, thought, and money. However, the underlying concept can serve as a well of inspiration for the celebration of a birthday, a special event, or no specific occasion at all, other than bringing all your favorite people together in one stimulating pot.
You could have beautiful and bizarre flower arrangements with magnificent plastic butterflies feeding on them. You could cover the table in Venetian lace with dripping candelabras, golden fruits, wind-up chattering teeth, and savory surrealist shrimp Jell-O molds spread about. You could serve chips, bread and nuts within top hats and jewel cases, and fill in the empty spaces with plastic lobsters, lips, clocks or any surrealist objects you discover on Etsy.
You could have each invite bring a dish inspired by recipes and illustrations from Salvador Dalí’s “Les Dîners de Gala.” His book provides outlandish dishes with names like “Thousand Year Old Eggs,” “Peacock à l’Impériale Dressed and Surrounded by its Court,” and “Toffee with Pine Cones.” And you could leave the best for last and present a dessert you have custom-made in the shape of a nude woman, man, or both.
The experience is meant to over-awe and bewilder your guests, but most of all, to serve as a stimulus for those with a penchant to intrigue and be intrigued… for those with a taste and a mind for inventiveness, conceptualism and a pinch of irreverence. In honor of Dali, every last detail must pass the three requisites for Dalian activity and aesthetics: Legitimacy, Hierarchy and Mystique.
We can decide not to go to all the trouble, or we could throw ourselves in the pool of life and see what happens.
“If you understand your painting beforehand, you might as well not paint it.”
MAKE LIFE YOUR PAINTING AND SURPRISE YOURSELF AS YOU GO ALONG.
Here is the only existing snippet from Salvatore Dali’s visionary friendly “get-together”:
Online references for potential props and costumes:
Eyeball balloon garland