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Taffeta 'n' Cheese 

Get lucky at Mad Art's Art Prom

Senior prom is a quintessential American ritual. It's supposed to be the best night of (supposedly) the best years of your life. And for some, prom was everything they wanted it to be. But for many others, prom was quite a letdown. Maybe you passed out during the limo ride and missed the whole thing; maybe your girlfriend decided to dump you that night and sleep with some jock; maybe you got knocked up; maybe you went stag and nobody danced with you; or maybe you finally told your best friend's girlfriend that she should be with you and not him, ruining both the evening and your friendship. Or maybe you just didn't go at all.

Whether you loved it, hated it or simply regret not going, the folks at the Mad Art Gallery are giving you a second chance to make prom night the best night of your life, or at least better than it was the first time around. In celebration of its third anniversary, the gallery is throwing Art Prom, a combination art show/formal dance. When asked about the appeal of the prom theme, gallery spokeswoman Andrea Avery explains, "One of the surprising things is how many people have told me that they didn't go to their high school prom. Either they didn't get invited, or ended up partying in a hotel room hanging out with friends, or felt like they couldn't go with their [same-sex] date. Maybe some people feel cheated and a prom now is fun revenge."

And it should be fun. For starters, the Mad Art Gallery (a former police station) is a unique space for viewing contemporary art and performances (it won the RFT's critic's-choice award for Best New Gallery in 2001), and the building's art-deco style will surely provide a vibrant setting for the festivities, which include live music, DJs and video and art installations. "There will be a lot of vintage prom film footage from the '50s, the jail cells will be decorated with different prom themes, the food is a little retro, there will be spiked punch, and we'll have principals and chaperones on hand to keep people from dancing too closely -- and the music will be all about the dancing. Plus, at these events, the crowd is often the entertainment. We may set a record for the most ruffles in one room," notes Avery. Additionally, local artists have made crowns and tiaras to be raffled off, and you can even get a photo of yourself and your date in front of the "Starry, Starry Night" backdrop. Guests are encouraged to wear all manner of formal attire from the zany to the grotesque.

But the coronation ceremony should prove to be the most entertaining: Becky "Queen of Carpet" Rothman will crown the prom queen and Bob "Ambassador of Mirth" Jamerson will take care of the king; the royal couple receives gift baskets and free admission to all 2004 Mad Art Gallery events.

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