Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hi, society.

Dear Internet,

I know what you're asking yourself as you read the manifest brilliance that is this blog: What sorts of wacky fun did Uncle Joke and TFBHM have on their first normal weekend together since 2006? Well, I'll tell ya.

As you know (or, by now, ought to) I am the social arbiter in these here fringes of Paradise and therefore it behooves me to get out and about to see what sorts of fun those who fancy themselves members of the better element are having. So, on that Friday, we went the opera to catch Samson et Dalila. The best way I can describe this succintly is to say it was a brilliant presentation of a mediocre opera. The sets were spectacular, the singers as good as can be imagined (if you can get past the less than Samson-esque build of Samson) and the orchestra (and the orchestral interludes) were undeniably brilliant. The only problem is the opera itself. I -- being an unrepentant Visigoth, apparently -- am of the opinion that French, regardless of its marvels* as a language, is simply too naso-labial for operatic expression. It just doesn't go. TFBIM, who speaks French pretty fluidly didn't catch on to the fact they were singing in French until 6 minutes into the damned thing.

So I give it a B- overall, seeing as how it didn't actually suck.

So now we move on to Saturday.

I'd been rather looking forward to Saturday, because we were scheduled to attend a benefit gala for a charity that's sort of affiliated with some of the things to which TFBIM volunteers her nonexistent free time. Last year's event was an outright smash (if you can discount the utterly forgettable "dance" music) with great food, great drink and terrific stuff up for silent auction.

This year? Not so much.

Prices for the gala were jacked up by $50, which brought them up to $275 (ouch!) per person. For this kind of coin, even if it's all going to a good cause and all that, you expect some measure of, well, swank. This is compounded when the crowd swells from last year's 500something to this year's capacity crowd of 750. You don't expect to stand in line 20 minutes to get each drink, you expect a proper dinner -- preferably something frou-frou -- not occasional appetizers on skewers passing by at random and you certainly don't expect the closest thing to dinner being @#$%ing burgers. (Memo to the organizers: sticking a tiny grape tomato on a skewer atop a burger does not make it the frou-frou edibles people expect for $275 a pop.)

The silent auction was filled with things that started at $700. People who've sunk just under six-large per couple and have spent their evening standing in line for 4 oz. of restorative fluids at a time are not likely to drop bank on original oils. This actually worked to my benefit, because there were a couple of things I got at a steal. One was a sterling silver/freshwater pearl rosary for TFBIM which I had been wanting since last year's silent auction, when it clocked in at $200. This year I got it for $70.

The real shame is that this worthy cause is now left with a bunch of donor-types who are feeling somewhat ripped off by the organizers' efforts to squeeze the last bloody penny out of the endeavor, and the result will be detrimental in the long haul. If this event tanks next year, they'll have nobody to blame but themselves, and they'll rue the day they decided to handle the greater influx of attendees by decreasing the number of bartenders (and the amount of limes, lemons, tonic water...) and eliminating all the dinner stations and the goody bags.

Not everyone will repeat the "it's for a good cause, it's for a good cause" mantra to themselves.


* Whatever those may be


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