If Billboard rated Dallas galas like they do songs, the Perot Museum's "Night at the Museum: Rock the Perot" bash would top the charts. More than 1,000 guests filled every floor of the nature and science museum for its annual gala on November 10. And the rock-star party proved to be a million-dollar fundraiser.
Before patrons even walked through the doors, they were greeted with spectacles that would set the stage for the rest of the night. Beneath swirling light projections on the building, a woman performed "Cirque du Soleil"-style acrobatics atop a giant rotating disco ball on the plaza. An electric guitar player serenaded folks as they approached.
Early VIPS — including event chairs Heather and Chris Gilker and Linda and Ken Wimberly, and honorary chairs Fallon and Robie Vaughn — were whisked to a "backstage" pre-party on the lower level. First stop: photos with David Bowie and Prince impersonators against a colorful backdrop of electric guitars.
These exclusive guests noshed on their first delicious bites of the evening, including Alaska king crab canapes served from behind an icy seafood bar. Here they also could test their music mettle at an interactive Rock 'n' Roll Trivia station, or play "Guitar Hero" or "Video Vixen."
After the VIP party, it was up to guests to organize their night. Everyone was handed a tri-fold "Set List" that outlined each floor's experiences, entertainment, drinks, and food — including which items were dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, or vegetarian. (Yes, it was that detailed.) No Set List? No worries, as all of the information was illuminated next to the elevators.
Although many chose to work their way up from the bottom floor to the top, word quickly spread that Level 4 was tray-passing black truffle chicken pot pies. A trip up the elevator was rewarded with piping-hot, flaky, buttery pot pies coming out in such abundance that it was the rare party-goer who ate just one.
Other standout cuisine included charcoal beef short rib with Okinawa potatoes and aromatic top veg (Level 3); house-smoked coho salmon "everything" macaron with fine herbs smear and chive blossoms (Level 4); ahi tuna sushi bowl with sweet soy, wasabi aioli, tobiko, and sushi rice (Level 2); and braised oxtail with whipped semolina, Calabrian chilies, broccolini, and Parmesan foam (Main Lobby).
At one station, foods were presented as "landscapes," where guests could glimpse inside the skin of potatoes and grapefruit via microscope. A Brain Freeze station saw attendants freezing tiny popsicles before patrons' eyes. A station called Food as Art allowed adults to be kids again, swiping their salad fixings through creamy cheeses and colorful dressings on an artful "palette."
Wolfgang Puck catered every last bit.
This being a party at a science and nature museum — home to a stunning collection of gems and minerals — the evening's "rock" theme held double meaning. The signature premium cocktails, for instance, were a gin-based "Red Rock" and a whiskey-based "Amethyst Sour." Yet a Rock Star Wine Bar also poured wines by vineyards owned by famous musicians — Dreaming Tree by Dave Matthews, for example.
Floral arrangements tucked geodes into vases of tulips and roses, and giant crystals looked like they were holding up food stations.
When it came to entertainment, there was an embarrassment of riches. Each and every exhibition was open for patrons to enjoy without bumping into hordes of students on school field trips. But that was just the start. Women and men alike got their faces painted and adorned with sparkly tattoos. There were intuitive crystal readings; experts cracking geodes; an interactive photo booth called "Gettin' Giffy With It;" crash-test car experiments; and a funky experience called "Big Face Boxes," where people put boxes over their heads to magnify their faces to gigantic proportions.
As the night wore on and drinks kept flowing, happy revelers flocked to the "Rock Your Body" experiences on Level 2, where they tested their balance and strength with glee. (Designated drivers looked on with amusement.)
Eventually, most folks made it back to the Main Lobby, where they could swap their party shoes for comfy flat slippers and hit the dance floor. The Georgia Bridgwater Band kept things rocking until midnight. The party came to a rousing conclusion when "Prince" took the stage for an electrifying rendition of "Purple Rain," during which a party cannon popped and confetti rained down over the crowd.
On their way back to their cars, guests could grab a last yummy bite of the night — Frito pie "walking tacos" from a food truck parked in the plaza.
In all, the event raised about $1 million for the Perot Museum's many educational programs and research initiatives.
Guests and supporters spotted having a great time throughout the museum included Thomas Surgent, Yatzil Ruvio, Abbie McEnturff, Lacey Rotan, Sabrina Smid, Tiyunna Johnson, Catherine Devlin, Erin Devlin, Taylor Drawbridge, Stephanie Mayen, Elliot Mayen, Abby Aldrich, Jared Wilkinson, Craig Patrick, Caitlin Hurley, Jessie Montgomery, Shari Krueger, Eric Krueger, Robert Farquharson, Nicole Farquharson, Brittany Stewart, Nathan Stewart, Avery Bonora, Anna Gruber, Catherine Roblin, Amir Ansari, Najdi Ansari, Lee Hark, Marianne Hark, Royce Ramey, Amy Williams-Ramey, Kyle Larsen, Kaylee Larsen, Jarrett Woods, and Crystal Woods.