Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dreams of a Court Jester

When we give a party back in the States, don't we usually just invite a few people over and provide a bit of food? Not my friends Kurt and Annemarie! They plan their annual summer party up to a year ahead of time, complete with theme, entertainment, gallery exhibit, artistic contributions (music, literary readings, interpretive dance, you name it...) and enough food to feed people for three days! They are also kind enough to schedule the party on a day when I can come, even if I have to travel from the States to do it. I usually come a couple of days early and help with all the preparations.

K & A live near the Central Cemetery in Vienna (they always joke that they have very quiet and famous neighbors -- Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert...) and their first party in 2005 was a celebration of life and death and love and art. Well, y'all know that's essentially carpe diem, so I read Horace's Carpe Diem poem (I.11) in Latin. Pictures of the cemetery taken by Annemarie were displayed with poems that Kurt had written. They set up the garden with tables and benches, and decorated with tombstones and eternal lights (did I mention that Kurt's dad is a stone mason?). They set the bar pretty high with that first party, let me tell you!
In 2006 they had a Dilettante Fest with a terrific invitation (which I could post if Blogspot would let me link .pdfs!). Last year I missed the festivities, which made it all the more important to participate fully this year.
The theme of this year's party was Dreams of a Court Jester. The weather wasn't very cooperative, so most everything took place indoors. The party began with a reading from a children's book which was projected on the living room wall. Then Kurt's colleague, Kurt, read from the memoirs of an 18th c. court jester in Austria. We broke for food, which included a MamPaPaul's King Cake from Louisiana. We changed the rules so that whoever found the baby was a "fool." You were also a "fool" if you didn't take a book (K & A collect books all year long to give away at the party).
I opened the second half of the festivities with a poem by Don Marquis entitled "The Jesters." This was followed by a performance by a mime troupe, called "Träume des Hofnarren" (Dreams of a Court Jester - hence the theme of the party!)

As a final treat, one of Kurt's current students, Bryn from California, performed some original compositions to enormous crowd response. We will forgive her for not knowing "Me and Bobby McGee" because she was born nearly 20 years after Janis Joplin's death!
The party broke up rather early (normally the last party-goers leave about 3:00 am), probably because we weren't sitting outside enjoying the cool evening breezes. I have it easy because I am the only guest who simply gets to fall into bed at the end of the hall. And the best thing about Kurt and Annemarie's party is that the next day we get to sleep until noon, and have leftover chocolate cake for breakfast!!
Here's a link to Andreas' photos: There's quite a good one of me eating chocolate mousse that I was a little too modest to put on the blog!

1 comment:

marilyn said...

I love this idea and would have given anything to be there.
I have the Jester books by Alan Gordon. The pix is the cover of his first book--ahhhhhhhhhhh