Inspired by the lavish Surrealist Ball hosted by the de Rothschild family in 1972, the all-vegan Illuminati Ball is a multi-course, immersive theatrical dinner party to be held bi-monthly on a secluded lakefront estate outside of New York City. Party-goers’ experiences will be built around an animal they choose upon entry—either a pig, monkey, cow, chicken, or mouse—and will include a handcrafted cruelty-free mask created in contrast to the animal masks worn by the Surrealist Ball’s original attendees. In addition to fire performances, opera, aerial acts, and esoteric ritual ceremonies, guests will dine on a completely vegan menu—which includes Mushroom Soup with Cashew Cream, Beet Caviar with Nut Bread, and Spicy Roasted Carrots with Tahini prepared by Chef Erin Orr—the first course of which will be consumed blindfolded to heighten sensory experience. Guests will not be informed that the event is completely vegan prior to arrival and those wearing fur will be taken into a back room where a fur-handling video will be playing. Artist, author, and playwright Cynthia Von Buhler conceptualized the ball as a way to “empower the powerless,” and describes it as, “a surreal, bourgeois dinner party filled with power struggles, morality tests, and anthropomorphic escapades.” During the party, Buhler will identify compassionate individuals based on the choices they make during the experience and will invite them to join an “illuminati” animal-rights group. “Joining the Illuminati is about wanting to gain power. Power is something that animals don’t have in a human-centric world,” says Buhler.
Photo courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry