Sundance 25 and the Black & White Ball
Two things are on my mind as I sit down to write: Sundance 2012 and the Black and White Beach Ball. Both are CAMP Rehoboth events, and both are presently occupying the part of my brain that deals with design and organization—two subjects that, by the way, go hand-in-hand by my way of thinking.
This summer we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sundance. Amazing! Though the thought does come to mind—who throws a party for 25 years? Way back in the beginning, come the week of Sundance, I’d promise myself I’d never do it again.
See how that turned out!
Joking aside, for the last quarter century Sundance has been an integral part of my life. For Steve [Elkins] and me, it has become as much a part of the year as Christmas. Over the years, I’d guess that we’ve explored every aspect of it in the pages of this magazine, but this year is special. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I just kept thinking about making it to 25. Well here it is—Sundance 25: The Legend of the Silver Rainbow.
Sundance has long been the way we end the summer, but this year we will start off the season by reinventing the Black and White Beach Ball. First started as a CAMP Rehoboth Founders’ Circle event, we stopped producing it as the Founders’ Circle capital campaign came to an end several years ago.
The Legend of the Silver Rainbow
“In the beginning there was nothing but the dance, and of time there was as yet no knowledge, for the night and the day remained shrouded in mystery and imagination. Even so, adrift in the grey mist of the dreamtime, there arose a music that filled the dance with a prophesy of morning, and all eyes began to seek the distant horizon for the first sign of the new age still to come.”
Thus begins The Legend of the Silver Rainbow.
After 25 years, the annual Sundance benefit is ready to celebrate its silver anniversary—and its long history in our Rehoboth beach community.
The first Sundance was born out of a great need to do something in response to the terrible devastation that the AIDS epidemic was causing in the gay community. It was in those days a matter of life and death—not that it’s not today, but back then it was swift and painful and deadly, and it galvanized us in a way that nothing else ever had.
“Yet lost in the timeless void, the vision was soon reduced until all that remained for the faithful remnant was a story whispered softly in the music and the dance: “When the east comes to light,’ they sang, “look west for the bow.”
For me the story of Sundance is obviously an extremely personal one, but over the last 25 years it has become a personal story for our community as well. Something happens when we all gather on the dance floor to say farewell to another summer. It’s a time of change, of season’s end; it’s a time of harvest, a time when we reap the fruits of friendship, love, connection, and community.
The celebration of Sundance is a celebration of community, and it is our hope that everyone who has ever been a part of the Sundance family—as host, or sponsor, or volunteer, or even just as a ticket holder—will find a way back home to share once again in the spirit of Sundance.
“And though their song was swept up in a mighty storm that altered even the face of the earth and seemed to have no end, in its darkness the vision did not die, and the guardians never forgot the sun dance or to seek the light that it would bring.”
In the many years since the first Sundance, the event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, first for AIDS and later for the wellness of our entire community. In the beginning it gave us hope, even as we watched our dear friends and family members lose their lives to AIDS, and disappear one by one from the dance floor. Now it gives us hope because in its history we see battles won; we see that, indeed, we can rise from the ashes of despair and build a home that welcomes everyone—an inclusive home with “room for all.”
“So long they waited; their hope grew thin as air. But then, at last, there was a faint lessening of the darkness, and all eyes turned to face the silver light that spread first in a line on the horizon, then leapt upon the departing rain clouds. Moving as one, all the tribe turned from east to west and there beheld a great silver bow that grew in magnificence until its radiant light was filled with living color.”
Over the last 25 years, the gay community grew up—we had too. AIDS changed us; gave us longer vision and taught us to grow and change, to evolve, to love and care for one another in new and better ways. We have not, however, lost the need to gather as a family, to share in the collective experience that is “the dance.”
Even if you haven’t danced the Sundance in many years, come out and join us.” None of us know how long something will last—we might as well enjoy it while we can.
“And so it came to pass that time was born, and the people grew up and turned their eyes once again upon a distant horizon, and there was music and dance and the promise of the next new day still to come.”
The HeArt of the Community in Black & White
Thanks to our presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management, the Black and White Beach Ball will return on June 3, this time at the Clear Space Theatre on Baltimore Avenue.
As in year’s past, the Black and White Beach Ball is home to the HeART of the Community Art Auction, which has also been reinvented for this year’s event. Incorporating four curators, the 2012 HeARTists were all invited to participate, and aided in the art selection process, by a curator. The goal is to assemble an exceptional collection of art that will benefit both CAMP Rehoboth and the participating artists.
Though the May 18 issue of Letters will feature the art and artists participating in this year’s HeART auction, I’m happy to reveal them here. This year’s list of curators and artists are: Murray Archibald (curator), Rodney Cook, Ward Ellinger, Gary Fisher, Laura Hickman, Victor Letonoff, and Andres Tremols; Sondra N. Arkin (curator), Joan Belmar, Scott G. Brooks, Anna U. Davis, Pat Goslee, Barbara Gruber, Renee Stout, and Novie Trump; Jay Pastore (curator), Rick Bach, Susan Finsen, Lee Wayne Mills, Brian Petro, Duane Rieder, and Ellen Sinel; Andres Tremols (curator), Lenny Campello, Max Hirshfield, Laurel Lukaszewski, Christopher Speron, Betsy Stewart, and Ellyn Weiss.
A sneak peek art preview party will talk place on Memorial Day weekend at CAMP Rehoboth. Proxy bidding will be available for buyers who are interested in purchasing but unable to attend the June 3 event.
Dress is black and white casual. Tickets: $75. Tickets are limited. Purchase tickets on the CAMP Rehoboth website at camprehoboth.com, or call 302-227-5620.
Murray Archibald, CAMP co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.