by Cara Kelly
Tell a cab or rickshaw driver to take you to Bedon's Alley on a normal night, and they will probably have no idea what you're talking about. However, during Spoleto, Bedon's Alley is synonymous with an extravagant party, arguably one of the most anticipated of the season. As I left the American Theater from my first night of shows, and headed far down the Peninsula to the desired South of Broad locale, I felt I had entered another world, or country at least. Before I had finished showing the doormen my ID, I noticed the elegant French theme, "La Vie En Rose" playing softly in the background. Iron Tour D'Eiffles adorned tables featuring glasses filled with glowing red mystery cocktails, which most guests bypassed for the fully stocked bars that were covered in Parisian-style white linens with black polka dots. Party guests appeared as chic as the theme. Many attendees were connected in some way with Gustave Charpentier's opera Louise, making the event feels like an un-official after-party. The French theme was a nod to the opera, which is set in Bohemian Paris and said to be the French version of La Boheme.
Set designer Andrew Holland was present with his mother Kathie Holland, who of course had to gush about the brilliant designs he provided, like any proud mother would. However, Mrs. Holland was not the only one to rave about the opening night of the opera. Friends of director Sam Helfrich, who were in town from New York, raved about the talent of their friend and the ending of the show, which I was told wrapped the prior events into an agreeable conclusion.
In addition to conversation about the highlights of the festival that brought everyone together, guests were entertained by French cartoons and sweeping views of Paris which were projected on the walls of neighboring houses. A mime, accordion player, and unicyclist were also on hand, giving the party even more flair. After a brief demonstration, the unicyclist, who is a CofC student transplanted from Paris, had time to poke fun at my poor French heavily coated in a Southern accent. Yet, there was plenty of fluid French spoken throughout the evening, until the midnight cut-off when the party moved to neighboring houses and a few East Bay bars. See more pictures from the party here.