Collaboraction's 10th Annual Beggars' Banquet: Combining Artistry with Charity

Samantha Hatch

It was intended to be an evening of “decadence and debauchery,” according to events chairman, Sandra Delgado. And that it was. With live music and interactive artistry, Collaboraction’s 10th Annual Beggars’ Banquet did not disappoint.

A harmonica-playing clown greeted guests at the door, and escorted them up the steps of the Flat Iron Arts Building to the banquet being held upstairs. An eclectic array of performers from DJ’s, and dancers, to human ventriloquists and their puppeteers’ mingled with the crowd as they ate and drank.

Glasses stayed full by sponsors 42 Below Vodka, Victoria beer, and Tocco. Guests also snacked on pulled pork sandwiches, hummus, sushi and other delicacies. Sweet tooth’s were satiated by Chef Delicioso serving up a delectable array of pastries and chocolates at the dessert table. This unique, annual event puts a twist on some of the ordinary aspects of fundraising.

To get in the race to win seats for a Bears game, one need not go to a table, but rather track down the woman wearing a dress made of raffle tickets. Along two walls a silent auction took place, which included a plethora of items such as dining outings, sporting events, and spa packages. Unusual canvas artwork adorned the walls and was also up for bid. This artist took hauntingly beautiful pictures from dismal places around the city and surrounding areas. He was able to capture exquisiteness even in alleys, viaducts, and dilapidated abandoned buildings.

Halfway through the evening guests were treated to a sneak peak at the company’s newest show “Dark Play,” opening in January 2012. The fast paced performance is based around a young mans troubled past and his struggle to keep it buried. The five minute preview had the audience asking questions and begging for more.

The evening commenced with a live auction and a ‘human thermometer.’ With a starting amount of only $5, guests could donate and get the chance to paint their progress on the thermometer snaking up a young ladies body. Their goal was $5000, and the scantily clad woman certainly helped promote the cause.

This extraordinary party is Collaboractions biggest fundraising event and allows the company to support the performing arts in Chicago. While breaking free from the average, Collaboration’s 10th Annual Beggars’ Banquet kept guests engaged, while at the same time enticing them to donate money to a very worthy cause. This year they raised nearly $40,000. If you get the chance, don’t miss getting in on the fun next year.