Greeted by fire dancer Marie Blaze Barnett at the hotel entrance, 190 arts enthusiasts, mostly masked, had jumped both All Hallows Eve and All Saints’ Day to party with the creative on Oct. 30.
Staged by co-chairs Sue Huff and Marilyn Varcoe, along with a committee of professionals and volunteers in the arts arena, the annual kickoff featured entertainment previewing the community’s arts and cultural 2010-11 season. Fairy tale-like dancers from Naples Ballet whirled while pianist George Lowris and guitarist Frank Smith provided art for the ears. Soulful-eyed tenor Livio Ferraro, representing Opera Naples circulated, serenading lucky ladies along the way, and Joey Evans mystified with magic tricks.
Tagged as “Masquerade Magic,” it was a magical extravaganza all night long with artists painting on palm fronds and canvas onsite and Saks Fifth Avenue makeup artists painting faces with everything from bats to bugs to snakes. Ali Khorasantchi, husband of artist Mally Khorasantchi, UAC board of directors president, chose the latter. Passed hors d’oeuvres and a buffet dinner featuring sweet potato martinis fueled the inner selves.
Responding to urging from emcee Scott O’Dell and moving to tunes selected by deejay Kevin Smith Entertainment, guests crowded the dance floor. Singer/entertainer Tony Avalon, second oldest son of Frankie Avalon, took to the stage with his signature “Sounds of Frank Sinatra” presentation.
High marks went to Neil and Sally O’Reilly on their authentic bobbie and English lady paper masks and to Donna Spadafora on her “Fish-Out-Of-Water” papier mache creation. While many tired of holding or wearing masks, Charles Marshall simply pushed his up on his head like a feathered cap. Richard Tooke claimed his furry eye mask was domesticated leopard and Roger Baker’s regal mask matched his intensely blue shirt and gold kerchief.
Event proceeds included income from bids on a wide range of 103 silent auction items and from $75 general admission tickets and $125 VIP tickets, although the organization did not give a total for the event. Funds will benefit the United Arts Council’s programs and services and focus on arts education for at-risk children and community outreach services in the arts.
Title sponsor was Moran Edwards Asset Management Group.