Party at the Patterson: the perfect night out

By ALLI GRECO | October 10, 2013

On Friday, Oct. 5th, Baltimore’s Creative Alliance hosted “Party at the Patterson: Lantini,” a pre-Halloween celebration for adults that embraced various art media in a fun, energetic and inspiring setting.

The former Patterson Movie Theater, the Creative Alliance’s current home, is itself a work of art, a restored, vintage treasure that still shows her bones.

Expanses of exposed brick peek out from behind the smoother, more modern walls, while other rooms currently used as event spaces hint at their former lives as small theaters frequented by moviegoers of yesteryear.

With such a unique, funky and artistic space, it it hard not to get one’s creative juices flowing. One of the event rooms was used as a craft area dedicated to the making and shaping of lanterns that will be used in the upcoming Great Halloween Lantern Parade in Patterson Park.

The first 200 guests were supplied with tissue paper, glue, pens, tape, plastic bottles and small lights with which to make a lantern. There were no rules on how to create the lanterns, giving everyone uninhibited creative license.

Men and women alike modeled their lanterns on animals such as birds and butterflies, while others opted for more abstract designs. Either way, the final product was a collection of brightly colored, illuminated lanterns that will surely make for a magical experience come parade time later this month.

In broader terms, this craft, though seemingly simplistic, was the perfect activity to blow off steam after a long work or school week.

Perfect strangers sat across one another, let loose, engaged in casual conversation and created fun and very cool pieces of art. Though everyone is different, they all produced an amazing end result.

To complement the colorful, zany and perfectly crazy nature of the lantern making, circus performers decked out in bright, glittery costumes, performed for the visitors, while representatives from the hair product company, Bumble and bumble, applied temporary, colorful hair dye to spirited and adventurous patrons.

After lantern making, many adults made their way over to the Marquee Lounge to sample two drinks custom-crafted for the evening, The Smurf and The Green Lantern, both aptly named and aptly colored. Paired with the free glow stick necklaces being handed out at the entrance of the building, the drinks were a welcome hit for all those of age.

Meanwhile, in a separate corner of the building was a dance party featuring DJ Landis Expandis and Ridiculous. Instead of spinning the standard dance electronic tracks that pervade nearly all dance clubs, those at the Party at the Patterson were refreshingly different — almost old school.

Motown classics and seventies disco were some of the types of music that got everyone dancing. College-age students and older adults alike found the same groove in the music, which speaks to the Creative Alliance’s mission of promoting community through the arts. These two demographics were able to enjoy a night out together, a concept not often seen in modern times.

On a more serious, yet equally artistic note, upstairs, the Creative Alliance featured a small exhibition by its Resident Artist. In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this artist mounted a photo essay of cancer patients and both their emotional turmoil and resilience.

Through these disturbing and graphic, yet strikingly and shockingly beautiful portraits, a unique story was told of the individual triumphs and tribulations of each person. However, they are all united in a common cause for survival and a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

The common thread of unity and community weaved its way throughout the evening’s various facets, from the art exhibition to the dance party to lantern making.

After a night of fun in an interesting neighborhood of Baltimore, guests came away not only having worked off the stress of a busy week, but also with a closer connection to his or her fellow Baltimoreans.

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