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Society 1858 knows how to throw a good theme party, and Friday’s Bitters & Twisted party was no exception. The 19th-century New Orleans-themed fete took place in the beautiful but rather warm Gibbes Museum courtyard, where guests happily partook of chilled classic cocktails at the apothecary-bar stands to help beat the heat.

The theme of vintage New Orleans carried through the party, and partygoers nibbled on tasty bites of traditional Southern cuisine provided by Maverick Southern Kitchens while watching a human statue performance and rubbing elbows with fellow art lovers. It was perhaps too warm for most guests to really get into the idea of 19th-century costuming (petticoats and powdered wigs are hardly heat-friendly attire), but several among the crowd sported vintage feathered hats or mardi gras masks, and everyone seemed to love the creative take on your typical Charleston fete.

The energy reached a whole new level, however, as the pulse of drums sounded throughout the courtyard and guests turned around to find what can perhaps best be described as a slow procession of zombie-esque musicians and dancers lurching through garden to the stage, led by a four shirtless men carrying a turban-and-plastic-snake-wearing voodoo queen lounging on a zebra print chaise lounge.

The turbaned soothsayer wove her way through the intrigued but puzzled crowd hissing and waggling her fingers at partygoers, and then the music started. The white-wigged performers were then joined by ladies in black colonial dress and a gentleman in a white top hat, who proceeded to put on an amazing show. Just as guests were starting to get the general gist of things, however, the faint strains of Adele’s "Rolling in the Deep" sounded from the back of the courtyard, and several mavens in scarlet gowns pushed to the front and delivered an awesome performance, which was followed up by another procession of men bearing flaming torches.

“I just really don’t understand anything that’s happening right now,” one partygoer murmured behind me. The the specifics of the performance and dress may have escaped several individuals, but musicians and dancers delivered a truly mesmerizing performance that was a huge hit with everyone present. Bravo, Theatre Marvelosa!

All in all, Bitters & Twisted is sure to join the ranks as another memorable, fabulous Society 1858 fete. Bitters & Twisted complemented the subject matter of the upcoming Gibbes exhibition In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre-Civil War New Orleans, which opened on July 22. Society 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art’s group of dynamic young professionals, officially debuted last spring, and aims to promote and support the museum with social and educational programs for up-and-coming art patrons.

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