Hello, Cheeses- And Rules for Surviving a Reception
There are all sorts of receptions one can go to. Wedding receptions, art receptions, post-funeral receptions, and so on. Last night I had the privilege of attending a reception with fellow writer, Winona Vollace. It was the kick-off reception for El Paso’s “Jewel Box Series” event. Several local art organizations were selected to premiere their work at the “newly renovated” Philanthropy Theatre. All this was made possible by the El Paso Community Foundation and El Paso Live and some other organization with letters in its name. There is an “S” in there, I think. M? G?
Winona and I were there to promote our show Waldo the Amazing Hypnotist!, meet potential sponsors and mingle with a host of community members. In fact, the program I have in front of me states that invitees will approximate seventy-five people from various boards and organizations.
That was the first cheese I met. The knife was rather flimsy but I managed to scrape off a chunk. Winona said hello to what we believe was Parmesan. It’s hard to tell when you’re not formally introduced. You have to go on taste and texture alone. I mean, hell, it could have been Romano or Asiago or Grana Padano imported from Italy! A Grana Padano would definitely clothe at least two members of my cast. Stupidly, we passed this cheese by. Parmesan or not, a cheese like that should be grated.
RULE #3: While at the reception, introduce yourself to the gallery director and staff.
Winona and I said hello to Ms. Maggie Sanchez-Mercado and to Asia who were tending the open bar. I managed a very quick word with Kathrin Berg-Pettit, the Donor Relations representative for the El Paso Community Foundation. She breezed by us at the bar with a wink and in a blink, then disappeared. It was most curious. Did she pass through the frieze in the back or duck out via the kitchen doors?
Hello, Gogonzola (or Roquefort?)
That’s right. I put Penicillium on a cracker and quite liked it. I’m giving this cheese my card. I’m hoping it was a Roquefort but, it’s most likely Gorgonzola. If I had known there would be so much cheese here, I would have done my research.
RULE #4: Mingle with the other guests.
Winona and I managed to chat up all ten people in the room. Cruz Lujan and Nico Cooper talked to us about their show, Fragile Balance Acoustic Guitarists. Their sponsor, Lynn Provenzano, explained her role and, at some point, there was a lull in the conversation. Business cards were exchanged and both parties went through their pitches. After all, that’s what we were there for. If we couldn’t pitch to potential donors, well, why not each other? It’s good practice after all. Maybe, just maybe, at some point in El Paso’s future, people will actually give a damn about the visions our artists carry with them every day in the hopes that someone will step into the light and see it with them.
I finish this review of the reception with a reliable classic. The Cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheese doesn’t need my card. We go way back to the days when grilled cheese sandwiches were “in” along with the movie Sandlot and doing kick flips on your skateboard. I trust in the cheddar. It’s unpretentious. It doesn’t try to be another cheese. It just is. I told cheddar about Waldo the Amazing Hypnotist! It listened patiently as I unfolded some words in a breathy white wine pace. Finally, it said, “Curd your enthusiasm, lady, I just work here.” So I ate him.
That’s when I looked around the room and saw that Winona, Asia the bartender, Ms. Mercado, a bus boy, and myself were the only ones left.
RULE #5: Drink as much free wine as humanly possible (my rule).
If the reception is a fail, there’s always free wine. If I’m not going to get the support I need for my show, I may as well get drunk. And then wake up and write about it with some degree of bitterness and a lot of references to cheese.
By the way, Rules 1 and 2 are Dress Nicely and Enjoy the Hor D’oeuvres.