Around Town: Millibo celebrates theater opening with an Ivywild flair

December 7, 2013 Updated: December 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm
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Barb Ferrill Van Hoy, left, and the Mizmar Madness Tribal Belly Dance troupe exits the photo booth at the MAT Masquerade Ball. 102613 Photo by Linda Navarro

The challenge: How many belly dancers can fit into a photo booth?

In typical Millibo Art Theater fashion, that was part of the fun at "The Wild-for-Ivy Masquerade Ball!," the MAT's welcome to the Ivywild neighborhood Oct. 26.

The Mizmar Madness belly dancers - five in the photo booth with room for one or two more squeezed in - was somehow logical in a theater filled with human shrubs, trees, ghosts and masked characters.

As is MAT! tradition, the annual fundraising extravaganza had a color theme. In the past there was an aquamarine event, a coral one and many others, but 2013 called for green, as in ivy (for Ivywild, wink wink) and foliage.

Shrub Terri Harrison greeted guests in the former-church-turned-entertainers-haven at 1626 S. Tejon St., adjacent to The Ivywild School project.

Ghosts John and Anne Huddleston found comfortable seats in the church - make that theater - basement where they sampled a buffet and desserts as they reminded the curious that even ghosts have to eat. Yes, they were ghosts, they assured everyone, not "Walking Dead" zombies.

Scott Levy, Artistic Producer at the Fine Arts Center, apparently understood the "wear ivy or foliage" invitation a little differently. Insteading of wearing green, he turned green for the evening.

With their usual sense of whimsy, hosts and MAT! founders Jim Jackson and Birgitta De Pree were adorned with pieces of foliage and occasionally donned feather masks.

De Pree, aka Babette, offered water-closet tours of the restrooms she had decorated with hand-laid tile designs.

As he ushered supporters on tours of the building, Jackson said that for the first time the MAT! has "a true performing arts space" with ceilings high enough for Samantha McKinney's cirque-style "Silk Dance."

Also entertaining that evening were Super Dave Hale and Elizabeth Flahrety in an "Acrobalance" routine and Super Dave performing solo in a "Stilt Dance."

Amy Sue Hardy and Sara Barad shared "Songs They Love" and, in keeping with the evening's theme, how much they love plants.

Michael Stanwood, a wild and crazy dentist for the night, showed powerful lung stamina as the master of the didgeridoo.

Expect anything at MAT!, the hosts said with glee. Wear a red nose, be a clown, join the Christmas Rat and Christmas Cat in "Edwina's Christmas Carol," sing an aria or come to the theater for ice cream with 109 of your closest friends, they invited. The entertainers also teach classes for schoolchildren.

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