Elsewhere’s Annual Fundraiser Prepares for a Big Bang
By: Jessica Clifford
Time traveling is still not scientifically possible, but Elsewhere Museum will come close to it on Oct 28.
The three-floor thrift shop turned museum, will hold their ninth annual fundraiser extravaganza, this time with the theme “The Big Bang.” Each floor will be a new layer of time, starting with the prehistoric era and ending with the future.
“We thought we could do a lot with that, not only speaking to time, but also speaking to noises and sounds – making a big bang essentially,” said Guido Villalba Portel, the communication’s curator of Elsewhere Museum.
Though the fundraiser dates back to 2009, the location’s history begins with the former owners – the Gray family.
Originally, the Gray family owned a storefront across the street, but in 1939, they moved into a bigger building. The shop mostly sold furniture and upholstery until after World War II, when they began selling army surplus.
In 1955, Joe Gray, Sylvia Gray’s husband, died unexpectedly. Sylvia was forced to run the store and raise three children by herself. In the 1970s, the store’s merchandise expanded, eventually packing the space with books, clothing, knick-knacks, toys, fabric and most things imaginable.
After Sylvia died, her grandson, George Scheer, turned the shop into a nonprofit in 2003. Only two years later, Elsewhere established an artist residency program for people across the globe to live and work, finding inspiration from Sylvia’s collection.
The money raised by the annual fundraiser flows back into the museum to cover curatorial and documentation support as well as the building’s rent.
“We are supplying a lot of things to the artists, and I think that speaks a lot about the value of art production – how it’s either glorified or not valued at all – there’s no in-between, especially in small cities like Greensboro,” Villalba Portel said.
The party is more than a way to help fund the museum throughout the year.
“The fundraiser is a big way to not only have a big party and try to get some funds but also as a way to celebrate Elsewhere and the season that we completed,” they said. “[The party] has a way to bring community together.”
Every year the fundraiser’s theme changes and this year is no different. After last year’s festival, themed ‘Revolve,’ which had a 50-foot Ferris wheel outside and pole dancers inside, it seems hard to beat the previous year’s expectations.
However, Villalba Portel believes otherwise, “It gets better and better,” they said. “We always try to top last year’s party.”
Scheer, the co-founder and executive director, agrees, “If Elsewhere knows anything it is how to throw a party.”
As it did last year, this year’s partygoers will be welcomed before they enter the museum. A cave man will be pushing “the wheel,” with a fire pit blazing to his side. Though, uncharacteristic for the prehistoric era, an inflatable bouncy house will also be situated outside.
When entering the museum, guests will see several prehistoric ages such as the forming of the earth with a gravity and sun installation as well as a dinosaur and ice age zone.
Guests can then make their way to the second floor, which spans all the decades between the middle ages to the 1960s. Villalba Portel said modern components would be staged, with a model train installation giving remembrance for Amtrack being the first train to go through a city and not around one. With this, will be a focus on the industrial revolution, through a yarn spinning performance by Gate City Yarns.
The third floor will represent the present and future.
“We are going to be speaking to the end of the world and what that might look like, especially with not only the current social-political climate but also to the knowledge it can be a little scary,” Villalba Portel said.
This floor will have a video game station, donated by Lost Ark in Greensboro. Tarot by Sky will also return this year to read people’s future.
Besides these three floors of entertainment, other performances will take place throughout the night including shows by the lead singer of No One Mind, Alvin Shavers, marching bands like Cakalak Thunder and a 30-minute play by Scrap Metal Theater Company.
Select groups and people will roam the museum, showing off their talents such as Refining Vaping Company, who will air-bend, the Greensboro Martial Arts Academy, the Greensboro Fencers Club and the Ancient Combat Enthusiast School.
A disco dance party will take place as well, with D.J. Flash Car spinning the music.
However, with the party taking place on Halloween weekend, the hosts welcome guests to wear their costumes. Partygoers that want a costume and do not have one can be styled by Concept Salon, who will have a whole wardrobe and makeup station at the fundraiser.
With entertainment also comes various drink and food options.
A mood ring cocktail will be served on the third floor. “That cocktail is all about theatrics; it’s like once you pour it into the glass – it changes colors,” Villalba Portel said.
Fifty flavors of infused vodka shots will be up for the taking, with some having flavors as bazaar as prickly pear cactus, taro root, lemongrass and mustard.
Various food options will be prepared in-house by The Next Supper and Cast Irony.
“It’s just going to be the wildest party,” Villalba Portel said.
Take part in the extravaganza, and find yourself in a new dimension.
Jessica Clifford is an intern reporter. She is a senior at UNCG, majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in English.