Bono whistled loudly when Zimbabwean singer Netsayi and band finished their cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
“He wants to perform with you,” said the concert’s creative director, Paola Prestini, to Netsayi after the unusual fundraiser.
Billed as “An Experience in the Ruins,” the dinner party for about 60 guests and 50 musicians took place at the future home of the Original Music Workshop, a former sawdust factory in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Kevin Dolan, a tax attorney and OMW’s founder, has put in $8 million to demolish, excavate and reconstruct the 100-year-old building’s core. His money has also paid for Prestini to serve as creative director.
Now he needs $7 million to complete the complex. Dolan is seeking donations or money from investors who will get a stake in the building.
So the evening was a soft-sell springboard to the missing millions for a select group of invited guests including the Edge, Julianne Moore, Alan Fishman, a former bank chief executive, and David Ford, co-founder of Latigo Partners.
Among the musicians, who performed throughout dinner, were Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega.
The best argument for investing was music. Anderson’s violin produced the sound of the wind. Vega sang “Luka,” “Tom’s Diner” and a new song, “Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain.”
“This will be the entrance, that’s the restaurant over there,” said Dolan, standing next to a hole in the floor, covered with planks and fenced in orange netting for the occasion. The finished complex will include a performance space and a recording studio.
Helena Christensen, the model, actress and artist, worked on the decor, sweeping floors, providing photographs projected in the space, and artfully arranging bags of pavement mix, wheelbarrows, cement mixers, power tools and hard hats.
She was particularly excited about the giant mushrooms from upstate New York she had surrounded with moss and placed on the tables.
Valerie Dillon, who has a namesake gallery in Chelsea, corralled 500 candles from 360 Design that flickered atop concrete walls and a work table displaying the architectural plans.
“This place is going to have great acoustics,” said Peter Zuspan of the Williamsburg-based design firm Bureau V. The project is Bureau V’s first building. Arup and SLAB Architecture are also part of the project team.
Dillon’s husband, Alvaro Perez Miranda, brought in members of Black Ship, an artist’s collective he created. Christophe Laudamiel, the event’s scent director, replaced the smell of concrete with a sweet floral fragrance.
Miranda flew in Paladar Underground from Los Angeles to prepare the meal: ceviche, a salad with baby carrots, braised chicken leg with truffle apple puree, and yogurt panna cotta with berries.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Jeremy Gerard on theater, James S. Russell on design.