It was 9:15 p.m. John Cavaliere was slicing garlic and uttering incantations warmed by his 1930s gas stove in his cozy kitchen off the performance space.
Composer and chanteuse Chrissy Gardner (pictured) was at the piano running through her big upbeat “Buddhist Blessing.”
Meanwhile by an overflowing bouquet of flowers, some the color of coagulated blood, the coachman for the apocalypse stood with his chauffeur’s hat at a jaunty angle and in black boots, shined to a gleam and ready for business.
Welcome to New Year’s eve at Lyric Hall, Westville’s always surprising performance venue.
The coachman, also known as Ames Brown, was one of nearly 100 revelers who gathered to hear Chrissy Gardner and friends greet 2013 in a tuneful post-apocalyptic style.
Among other non-apocalyptic gigs Gardner is a musician and composer for Westville’s Broken Umbrella Theater Company.
The party was formally billed as a “New Year’s Eve afterlife party,” but even before the wine began to flow, no one was quite sure what that meant.
Lyric Hall impresario Cavaliere said the event might now be best understood as both “post-apocalyptic” as well as “pre-cliff.”
As a result of the rallying of Westvillians in the wake of damage an August flash flood wreaked on his building, Cavaliere said, Lyric Hall is now warmed by a new furnace and secured by a policy with real flood insurance.
It was unclear whether the policy covers pestilence, war, or famine.
Cavliere said his protection from apocalypse comes far less from policies than from the many caring and talented people who are making Lyric Hall their artistic anchor and home. Surrounded by them, “I feel like a billionaire,” Cavaliere said.
Karen Orzack-Moore and Dan Moore came to the party from East Rock to hear new music and to support local artists like Gardner.
As they chatted with Ryan Gardner, Chrissy’s husband and the show’s producer, there was talk of how lame the supposed Mayan apocalypse was; it was to have gotten us back on Dec. 21.
As guests took their seats in the old/new Lyric Hall, and Gardner came to the keyboard, the sentiment was that if this is the afterlife, it was not bad at all. Bring on the music!
Among the other area musicians performing with Gardner were Abigail Zsiga, Professor John, Aaron Noble, Eric Tate, Andrew Zsigmond, Tim Kane, and Robert Messore.
David Sepulveda took this video of Gardner’s performance.