‘Roaring Twenties’ makes a comeback at UConn
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 23:03
As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in “The Great Gatsby,” “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
In true Gatsby fashion, The William Benton Museum of Art opened its doors after hours to host a raring Speakeasy in honor of the UConn Read’s official selection, “The Great Gatsby.” During prohibition, alcohol was an illegal substance and people in search of bootleg liquor and a dance club were forced underground into clubs called “Speakeasies.” To keep the realism of the 20s alive, students were required to pick up a secret password from The Benton or tables in the library or The Student Union. Despite the necessity of the password, bands of excited students from across campus flocked in, dressed in flapper dresses, glittery head bands, suspenders, and feather boas, ready to take the Benton in truly 20s style.
Upon entering the Benton, students were invited to take novelty pictures with a 20s themed car and were given Top Hats, feather boas and pearls to accessorize for the photos. The photos were printed and taken home as party favors to remember the evening. Every student was then required to say the password to the guard at the elevator who then let students up into the galleries. The authenticity of the password system amazed students and created an exciting atmosphere.
“I loved the password concept,” said sophomore economics major Zachary Lederman and Daily Campus writer, “It makes the event that more authentic and realistic. It also adds a dimension of intimacy, the people here all went to the trouble to go out of their way to grab a password. It wasn’t a spur of the moment Friday night plan.”
The main gallery was open as well as the balcony and students flocked in and out of the back room where UConn Catering served hors d’oeuvres. Instead of bootleg liquor, students were offered Hosmer sodas and candy cigarettes to add to the atmosphere. A dance floor installed in the middle of the gallery was occupied by members of the UConn Ballroom team who offered dancing instruction, as well as students who just wanted to partake in a little fancy footwork of their own.
Aside from dancing and relaxing in the smoky blue light of the back room, guests browsed the artwork on display in the galleries, some of which pay homage to “The Great Gatsby.”
“This event was a great way for the Benton to advertise its galleries and expose students to art and culture beyond the 20s and F. Scott Fitzgerald,” commented Lederman.