Taking on a rock ‘n’ roll concert vibe, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science hosted its much-anticipated annual Night at the Museum gala on Nov. 10. Themed “Rock the Perot,” this year’s party was packed with rock-the-senses experiences, from glitzy minerals and neon-lit prehistoric giants, to play-and-party activities and live dance music, to artistically crafted food from Wolfgang Puck Catering and even visits from a few rock legends!
Decked out in thousands of lights, the Plaza provided an illuminating entrance as a sparkly dressed acrobat moved gracefully atop a giant disco ball to live guitar riffs. Inside, hues of purple and pink lights blanketed the lobby and atrium – flanked by a sculptural archway – with blue-lit angular rock formations jutting from the floor.
The doors opened at 6 p.m. as the VIP backstage rock star pre-party, sponsored by American Airlines, kicked off on the Lower Level for top Museum notables and donors. Downstairs, impersonators embodying David Bowie and Prince reached new levels of pseudo-fame with guests clamoring to shoot selfies or pics in front of the guitar-adorned step-and-repeat. A violinist played hits by Metallica as VIPs mingled, sipped lavish libations like red rock and amethyst sour, and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres such as crostini, prime New York steak, Big Eye Tuna and Korean steak tartare. Adding to the fun were a Guitar Hero station, rock ‘n’ roll trivia, Ultimate Dinosaurs flashlight-guided “Tourasaurs” and a video vixen photo booth where guests could create their own music videos.
Orchestrating the fun were gala co-chairs Heather and Chris Gilker and Linda and Ken Wimberly and honorary chairs Fallon and Robie Vaughn. Philanthropic rock stars in attendance included Lyda Hill, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Kelly Compton, Kristy Robinson and Nicole Small. Other VIPs were Dr. Linda Silver (the Perot Museum’s Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer), Mac McFarland (Perot Museum Board Chair), Jennifer and Andy Scripps, Maura and Tim Costello, Karen and Alan Katz, Gayle Sands, Gail and Jim Spann, and many others.
By 7:00 p.m., the main party was fully underway as guests shimmied through the five levels encountering body-morphing mirrors, fire and sound, muscle dissection, color chemistry, kaleidoscope wonders and more. On Level 2 “big face boxes” that gigantified guests’ heads were hilarious hits and artists dishing out ’80s glam rock “bedazzled” makeup were in high demand. In the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall on Level 3, guests marveled at gorgeously realistic geode-encrusted cakes, received intuitive crystal readings and sparkling tattoos, used their muscles to crack open geodes, and experienced the art and anatomy of food at an edible art table.
On Level 4, party goers played a “flame tube” piano and showed off their funky moves in the new “Dancing Dino” exhibit. The Museum’s fossil preparators captivated guests as they chiseled away at 100 million-year-old specimens in the new glass-encased Paleo Lab. Also proving popular was the rainbow light table, “Roxy” the roving raptor, rocky soil vino, and vittles including black truffle chicken pot pies and rock shrimp poke bowls.
Other tasty noshes included ahi tuna sushi bowls, organic smoked chicken with granny smith apples, heirloom potato and shallow tart with whipped crème fraiche and wild blooms, and braised oxtail. Food landscapes showcased local grapefruit and lychee granite with baked meringue snow and Japanese purple sweet potato with Shropshire cheese, mission fig and black walnuts. Sweet treats included gold dusted champagne honey jellies, amethyst geode macarons, edible sugar gems, blood orange panna cotta with candied ginger and zesty Grand Marnier gelee, smoked chocolate s’mores pop, walnut caramel cheesecake bites, persimmon mousse verrine, and pumpkin spice infused crème brûlée tarts.
From 9:00 p.m. until midnight, the after party got rolling as the high-energy Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra covered an array of decade-spanning tunes. Ladies swapped their stilettos for comfy flats at the shoe check-in, and all the guests got into the party mood once groovy colorful glasses, neon fingerless fishnet gloves and fiber optic hair extensions were passed out beneath a vibrant shower of confetti perfectly timed to a montage performed by a Prince impersonator. Late-night snacks included buffalo cauliflower with buttermilk ranch, chicken tikka poutine bowl, miso katsu wagyu dog, Pop Rocks® yuzu ice cream pops, glazed mini donuts, Texas “walking tacos” served from a food truck on the Plaza, and more.
By the end of the night, more than 1,000 people attended the rockin’ affair and more than $1 million was raised to help fund STEAM educational programming, student scholarships, operations, traveling exhibitions and impactful research.
Save the date! Night at the Museum will return Nov. 9, 2019!
Photos by Turk Studio