If you were following Instagram and Twitter on the evening of June 4th, you may have noticed some bizarre images and tweets trending under #PowerBallTO …and then you may have been kicking yourself for missing one mind-blowing party as a few of my friends had said to me the days following! If you were there, you know it was EPIC. The Power Ball is one of the most sought after fundraising events to attend in the city each year. In attendance were a long list of “who’s who” in the city including art supporters, media, fashion, music, and good corporate citizens who are interested in supporting one of Toronto’s most important arts & culture hubs, The Power Plant.
Why is this place so important? The Power Plant is Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art. Throughout the year it offers exhibitions, publications and public programming that represents a range of exploration, learning and understanding. The Power Plant gallery is open to the public all year for free thanks to the support from funds raised at this event as well as from corporate and individual donations.
Each year Power Ball pushes the creative envelope in extreme themes that brings the world of visual and performing arts with thought-provoking installations. This year’s Power Ball was themed “Appetite For Excess” and presented by MaxMara. The theme incorporated live performances, food performances and larger than life art installations.
Food was very much part of the theme and art with seductive installations that fed the massive crowd. When I had first arrived to the event I scanned the room from the media balcony and was mesmerized. It was a sea of fashionable people in a setting that is far from the standard food stations you would find at most fundraiser. There is no place for rubber chicken here..fried chicken, yes.
The theme “Appetite for Excess” examines the fine line between decadence and debauchery. My mind was spinning as I took a closer look at each food installation that seemed to fill every corner of the room.
American artist Jennifer Rubell gave us the grand vision under the title “So Sorry” (inspired by one of the most common Canadian responses) including a live performance by actress and writer Winsome Brown titled “This is Mary Brown” on centre stage in a bright red jumpsuit. We couldn’t look away! While she was front and centre she seemed to blend into the crowd yet we were completely curious as she seemed to be carrying on a conversation with us.
As we looked around we noticed bartenders in tuxedos were seated in the theatre setting with their bottles and patrons had to go to them for drinks. Hands appeared from a long white table with serving one morsel of food. Once in a while an iPhone would pop up from the serving holes to take photos of us eating — it seemed like a real twist on the whole food photo-taking craze – cameras are turned! A massive mound of asparagus was there for the picking, or shovelling onto your plate with the use of hockey sticks. We were encouraged to bang on the hockey helmets suspended above but I could only think of sweaty hockey players so I just couldn’t. Carve your own pork stations were neatly tucked away in spaces and the biggest loaves of fresh crusty bread were there for the taking. Every so often we would hear yelling from above and Cheesies were thrown into the crowd where people tried to catch them to eat. Tucked at the back of the stage Bertrand Alepee aka The Tempered Chef was carefully assembling an eclair tower as people would come and take a piece. There was a stunning (creepy but cool and very delicious) Octopus Chandelier that drew incredible attention. Guests were invited to to and snip off a piece and enjoy. It was gorgeous and as I love octopus I didn’t feel squirmish but it was definitely much talked about. My mind is still going crazy over this food collaborations with Chef Grant Van Gameren (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval), Sam James (Sam James Coffee Bar), Betrand Alepee (The Tempered Chef and The Tempered Room) and the performance by Winsome Brown. The party continued to wind into the the gallery spaces and there was definitely no shortage of fun and debauchery from a mini-club with a line up to the oversized gymnasts leotards by Karen Kraven, and a video flow of dogs projected onto the wall who were patiently watching every move we made. Of course there was a “ballroom” — isn’t that where most big fundraisers are held?
If you haven’t been to the Power Plant yet…definitely check it out! CONGRATS to the Power Ball committee for bringing us one of the most memorable events in the city! Amazing!