Diner en Blanc Philadelphia

My video essay, set to French Pop and Jazz Music, 
to set the mood and tell the story of Diner En Blanc: Philadelphia.

On Thursday, August 23, 2012, 1300 people, all dressed in white, met at various locations throughout Center City Philadelphia, between 6 pm and 6:30 for the first ever, Diner en Blanc.  We came armed with our own tables, chairs, picnic baskets full of sumptuous foods, wine/champagne, dishes, silverware, candles, and all the makings for a spectacular evening dining al fresco. We were heading somewhere, in Philadelphia.  At precisely 6:30, many of the 1300 people were told the final destination although many of us, myself included, were told to board the El Train and that we were to go one stop down to 15th and Market Street - aka City Hall and the famous Claes Oldenburg "Clothes Pin" sculpture.  The mystery of where our dining event in white deepening, fun chaos ensuing...

After a white clad throng of hundreds packed an El Train to Center City, we trudged and bungled our way up many flights of crowded stairs, hauling hand trucks and granny carts loaded with our evenings picnic needs.  We walked up Market Street to 18th, then headed towards Philadelphia's grand and Parisian-inspired Parkway, to Logan Square.  The spectacle that hundreds of people, all grandly dressed in white, made while walking in line towards the parkway had onlookers gasping and gawking, many of whom couldn't understand what our procession meant.  Were were going to a wedding? How did we know to do this? Why? Why not we answered!

Many of us were tired and very over-heated from all the walking and hauling, but we were giddy with excitement.  I didn't figure out that our final destination was Logan Square until we reached 18th and Arch Street, when it dawned on me that we were so close to this most ubiquitous and beautiful spot in Philadelphia.

As we approached Logan Square and found our "spoke" in the park to set up our tables and chairs, many Diner en Blanc participants were waving their white napkins, signaling the official start of the evening and diner.  We arrived, late, the last group to set up.  Many in my group felt that we were seated at the back of the event, but as the evening gracefully moved on, we realized we had a prime location, with space behind us to spread out our belongings, near enough to the action but far away enough to have some quiet serenity.  Parisian Jazz floated over the fountain landing lightly at our table, enlivening the evening but never over-taking the conversations.

Diner, drinking champagne, conversing with friends and strangers who became new friends.  Sparklers were lit at 8:45, then the dancing commenced, with party goers making their way around the Square to check out everyones' tables and set ups.  Photos, compliments, laughter were shared freely all night long.  Then people began wading and dancing in the famous Swan Fountain, making the evening have a gentle debauched feel, like a scene from a 1940's Gene Kelly movie, innocent and merry.

The party was to end at 11 pm, diners taking their belongings and leaving Logan Square as we found it.  We left by 10:30, like two Cinderellas leaving the ball before midnight; before our white ensembles turned back into our everyday clothes and the beauty and magic of the evening ended.  It was a fairy tale evening, not quite perfect but marvelous and magical in every way.

If for some reason, you cannot view the video embedded in this post, I have it on my YouTube Channel, along with several other videos I've created.  You can always search under my name: deninegorniak   Here's the link:



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