If you have a chance to visit Dallas' most beautiful garden on a rainy night, it's a rather sublime way to experience the lushness. For the opening of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto's new exhibition, "Cuddle on the Tightrope," our friends at the Nasher threw a soiree with South American roots on Friday night. I try to savor any moment I am in the sculpture garden from dusk to nightfall, and the dewy lawn and glasses of wine added to an already magical setting.
As the first of many evening rainstorms stirred, Dallas' well-heeled art crowd did not let it dampen the mood. Under a canopy, a Brazilian band performed, the dance floor was still dry and everyone's initial run for cover quickly led to a Samba across the floor.
Inside, folks were lined up to take turns trekking across Neto's tightrope. As we dashed in from the drizzle and took off our shoes to climb into the sculpture, the footwear became their own piece of art: A pair of rain boots from a practical child; a stunning pair of Louboutins, red soles shining; the wedges and loafers of spring. It was an interesting exercise, standing in line and matching shoes with owners by their varying levels of formality, the distinction of classic, trusted leather versus something new and shiny, perhaps purchased just for the party.
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Escapism was the name of the game. As I stepped into Neto's world of string and swing, I could still hear the band and chatter from the crowd, but it all disappeared rather easily about midway through. Then it was all about grip and balance - a small girl in front of me walked more easily through the piece. Granted, she was too young to have enjoyed as much wine, but her stability forced me into the sculpture and out of the party for a moment, and that felt important. We're lucky when art, children and celebration can make us feel that way.
On the other side of town, a different host would lead the escape. Devin the Dude at the Granada Theater has become something of a staple on my calendar. In addition to his remarkable catalog, the people-watching is fantastic and the nights feel long. Devin and his increasing entourage were in particularly good form this weekend, including more choreography than I previously remember and dropping at least two new songs on the crowd.
As he wrapped up "Anythang," I surveyed the crowd and stood there, grateful I could go from a Nasher opening fete to a smoky night at the Granada on the same night, with the same girlfriends, in the same city. As the crowd started to leave the venue, I was broken from the haze when someone got on the mic and shouted, "Hold, on y'all, come back, I want to Instagram this shit!"
Easily my favorite sentence uttered by a rapper. And yeah, me too.