Fat Tuesday Was Phat
by Allan Appel | Mar 6, 2013 11:57 am
Posted to: Arts & Entertainment
Leland Torrance, decked out in an outfit blurring the difference between a court jester and a court justice, scratched the chest of Thomas Griggs, Jr., an affectionate and nutty gesture wholly in keeping with the spirit of Mardi Gras.
The two were part of a crowd of more than 250 who filled the main branch of the New Haven Free Public Library for a Nemo-delayed but not less fat or festive fundraising celebration Tuesday night.
While a band above the bead-strewn main lobby played a funky version of “Come on Baby, Light My Fire,” The Amazing Andy greeted the revelers.
Asked how tall he was in stilts, Andy replied, “Nine feet, three toes.”
Click here for the story of last year’s library revels when farfallina flew in from the Venice carnevale.
Public library Director of Development Clare Meade said that organized hoped to raise $55,000 through the annual party and silent auction. The money is to be targeted for initiatives like a youth summer reading program.
At least nine restaurants had set up earlier in the day and were filling partygoers’ plates with Fat Tuesday-themed treats.
They included shrimp etouffe from Zinc’s chef extraordinaire [and, alas, no relation to this reporter] Denise Appel; alligator ceviche from Soul de Cuba; and adobo de puerco from Ricardo Trejo’s Mezcal, among others.
City Plan chief Karyn Gilvarg said she had actually fulfilled a lifelong dream and visited New Orleans at Mardi Gras this year. At Tuesday night’s ball she donned what she purchased there, with its purple, gold, and green Mardi Gras colors.
As she inched closer to sampling the alligator ceviche, Gilvarg demonstrated a magical ring that had been tossed to her husband by some of the revelers in the Krewe of Muses parade, one of many festive processions that occur in the Big Easy between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday.
The Krewe of Muses parade is an all-women event. GIlvarg’s husband, who caught the ring, had the good sense to pass it along to her.
She did not reveal if she intended to wear it to City Plan meetings in the future.
Mead said that library Director Christopher Korenowsky is launching a campaign to raise $1.25 million to support the Readmobile, to refit all the branch libraries with enhanced homework centers, to provide online and new staff resources for local entrepreneurs and job-seekers, and to restore the library’s historic treasures.
The latter will include restoring the facade of the Fair Haven branch to its original 1916 Carnegie good looks.
The “historic treasures” component of the new initiative will also include restoration of five Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals located in the library’s downstairs program room and corridor.
The murals depict Washington Irving’s tale of Rip Van Winkle, a story whose themes include the perils of deferred maintenance.
Korenowsky said the murals, last repaired 20 years ago, are in dire need of restoration. The project might reveal some additional panels now covered by walls.
Korenowsky estimated this aspect of the work will cost approximately $60,000.
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