Who: Orchestra enthusiasts, rock 'n' roll-loving fashion freaks, and people who pretend to appreciate contemporary art.
What: Crescendo Project, Voltage: Fashion Amplified, and Walker After Hours
Where: Orchestra Hall, First Ave., and the Walker
When: Friday, April 24
Why: Because Party Patrol was on the hunt for the perfect party trifecta.
Last Friday was a pretty big day in the Twin Cities. Not only was Boyz II Men playing at Epic, but it was Voltages' fifth annual rock 'n' roll fashion show, the Walker rolled out another weirdo contemporary exhibit, and a few classical greats were playing at Orchestra Hall. So what's a girl to do when she can't pick just one party?
Try to hit them all.
In order to find the perfect party trifecta, I had to abandon my teenage dream of hearing Boyz II Men sing "End of the Road" live. The concert just wasn't going to happen. But I charged on, grabbed my date, and headed to Orchestra Hall for the first event of the night, a pre-performance cocktail hour with the Orchestra's Crescendo Project. I immediately spotted a few familiar faces at the fete: Crescendo board member (and mspmag.com editor) Jane Di Leo, Brent Webb, Blake Arnold, and Matt Chau to name a few. I was super impressed with the turnout, and Emily Backstrom told me the year-old group had grown from 40 to 110 people. After sampling the amazing food (provided by Molly Herrman's Taste Bud) and chatting up a few members, I was ready to sign on the X. But the concert was about to start, and Voltage awaited, so I grabbed my date and headed out.
We had every intention of going straight to First Ave., but after spotting an empty table in the bar at Vincent-A Restaurant across the street, we had to stop by for the famous Vincent burger (stuffed with braised short ribs and smoked gouda...amazing). The restaurant was packed, and I spotted a few more familiar faces, including LEAD Project's Matt Hemsley, and Esbee PR's Stacy Bee dining with her husband, Michael, and a friend.
Then it was off to Voltage. If you've never been to Voltage, the only word I can use to describe it: Amplified. OK, I didn't come up with that. First Ave. is absolutely packed to the star-covered walls for the event, which merges local fashion designers with local up-and-coming bands. The gals at the front door escorted us to our first-row seats in the VIP section. I immediately heard my name over the roar (barely) and turned to see pal Daniel Fink. We shouted a few pleasantries across the velvet ropes before we realized the whole talking thing wasn't going to happen. Moving wasn't really easy either, unless you were willing to risk knocking over someone's oversized bottle of Heineken. I was making an attempt to move, like, five feet to grab a pic of guest judge, news anchor, and jewelry designer Robyne Robinson when the lights dimmed and Voltage founder Anna Lee came onstage to start the show. We watched Mercurial Rage rock out while models decked out in 2709 walked the catwalk, then made a quick escape between sets. After all, the show had started half-an-hour late and we still had to make it to Walker After Hours.
I'm not going to lie. I was most looking forward to Walker After Hours. It's usually a really good vibe, with a good crowd, and yummy Wolfgang food. This time around it was a mediocre eh at best. It don't blame the Walker, I blame the exhibit. The Quick and the Dead, though full of artistic merit (says this non art scholar), is weird. Like pictures of dead birds stuffed with rubies weird. So the vibe of the whole crowd was weird. Like everyone had just witnessed the same horrific car crash weird. Even the house red wine tasted weird. OK not so much weird, but really, really bad. I spotted coworker and MSP style editor Melissa Colgan who pointed me in the direction of a Target-sponsored table where they were giving away free clothing from eco-friendly line Loomstate. That, I must admit, was kind of an awesomely weird first for WAH. We stood in line for 20 minutes to get a free, supersoft and comfy hoodie (retail $40, and I'm not lying when I say super comfy, I've worn it almost every night since.) Chatted with Maura Ryan and Megan Wiley while waiting, choked down the toxic wine, then headed into the exhibit, totes and hoodies in hand, only to be turned away. Turns out the goodies weren't allowed in the exhibit hall. So after waiting 20 minutes for bad wine, and 20 minutes for a hoodie (my date got a T-shirt, which was too big for him but ripped the first time he put it on anyway), we decided we had enough. The perfect party trifecta may have been ruined, but two out of three isn't bad.