Friday, May 31, 2013

Eastern State's Masquerade Ball

Eastern State's Dance Party on May 18th was amazing. The evening started with the surprise of a free Town Car ride to the ball. After arriving, the rain forced us to huddle under the main gate's tower waiting for the flashlight tour to begin.

Although the tour was cut short, the drizzly ambiance of the fortressed ruins against venetian masks and cocktail dresses set the mood for any B horror movie. Of course were it really a horror movie, my sexual orientation and gold high tops might insure I survive until the dance, but by no means make it out alive.

The dance began in the center tower, complete with open bar and appetizers. Music began on a wind up victrola, speak easy style, made its way through the 50s and 60s, and by the time it turned into a disco, we began to wander. Nearly every cellblock was open, lit in purples and reds. The closed cellblocks were fitted with Lynchian light displays creating optical illusions. I kept waiting to see the Man from Another Place.

Revelers were exploring decrepit cells, taking photographs against rusted cages. Working our way down one of the darker cellblocks, a lady in a simple black mask motioned to me, "Come with me, quickly."

I found myself in a room never open to the public, the prison priest's office, entirely covered from floor to ceilings in religious artwork painted by an inmate who found God and penitence during his detention at Eastern State.

Dancers performed under black lights, our host walked on stilts, and the ongoing entertainment lasted until midnight. Not to mention, I felt like quite a baller leaving Fairmount in a complimentary Escalade.  


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