We’ve always been a fan of double dipping — we know, we know, it’s uncouth. When we’re in public, we turn the chip so that the clean side dips, so we at least try to seem sanitary. But maximizing the dip-to-chip ratio is worth it. Which brings us to our party coverage.
We’ll be the first to admit there have been many a night when there were too many events to choose from, so we double dipped in an attempt to get the perfect fun ratio. But on Saturday night, we got burned just a litle bit by our greed.
Our first party was ReNude at Redux Contemporary Art Center, a joint fundraiser for the studio and Planned Parenthood. Paintings, photographs, and sculptures celebrating the body hung from the walls as we entered. Making our way through the art center, the crowd was mixed, from those who were in their 60s to small hipster children rocking out to the old-timey bluegrass band. Those kids had moves — and style. One even had a perfectly selected topper perched on his head. The youngins’ twists and spins stole the attention away from the band and some of the art too.
But before we got sucked into a kid dance-off, we grabbed a sangria and went back to looking at the work. We kept going back to two pieces: a photograph of a model in a sheer top that had a major 1950s vibe and Patrick Nevins’ vibrant painting of a hunched over woman with a red scarf covering her hair in front of a teal backdrop. Nevins’ realism made the lady appear defeated but still beautiful, as if she ached for hope.
Just as we started to mingle with the guests, our greed bit us in the ass. Grabbing a photo, we were rudely interrupted by a NYT notification alerting us to the winner of the Kentucky Derby (spoiler alert: our horse, Hoppertunity didn’t win). Uh oh, we missed the race. Hopefully, we didn’t miss the Derby Party at The Alley. Not surprisingly we left in a rush.
We thought we were in luck when we walked up to The Alley and saw a crowd gathered around a horse-racing arcade game. People watched and cheered as two girls half-gyrated and half-jockeyed atop the plastic equines, trying to beat the other. Maybe we hadn’t missed the action after all, but alas, it quickly became apparent that we had.
As we made our way inside, a few derby watchers were still around, rocking their big hats while a bluegrass band played on a stage below the giant TV, but that was about all of the Kentucky Derby we saw. Whoops. From the remaining guests, we heard it had been a rollicking time. Oh well, there’s always next year. Still, we saddled up to the bar, ordered a mint julep, and pretended like we had seen some Derby action before calling it a night.
On Sunday we rolled up to Fast & French’s 30th anniversary party. We were not disappointed. In honor of its birthday, the café recruited Mixson owner Bryan Lewis to roast a pig, while a staff member sang French tunes in the courtyard and the eatery provided the crowd with bottles of free wine — dozens in fact — to say merci. We happily obliged, sipping in the packed venue before exiting to the courthouse courtyard for the “roasting” of original owners Gwylene Gallimard and Jean-Marie Mauclet. The scene was less like a Comedy Central roast and more like a sincere appreciation, as former staffers thanked the duo for the tiny cafe. Gallimard, in his thick French accent, said their intention was to have both people who could and couldn’t afford to pay eat together, to which an excited member cheered “Socialism!” to the applause of those gathered. Things got more political when a rapper took the mic and launched into a call-and-response about changing the world. Alas no French Revolution erupted. Instead the eclectic crowd continued to mingle and munch on pulled pork as children danced on the grass, while the laidback loyalty of those assembled gave a solid promise that Gaulart & Maliclet is here to stay for good.