Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taste du SLO Leil!

It's amazing to think that exactly one week ago, I was at the Taste du SLO Leil in San Luis Obispo. Ah, the memories....I wish I could go to the event all over again. Well, in some sort of way I am, by doing this blog tonight for my "Taste du SLO Leil One Week Anniversary!" (Knowing me, I'll use this anniversary as an excuse to do something special every Wed. night. for the rest of the year and beyond. I wonder of Boyfriend is up for that.....)

I must start at the beginning: The Taste of San Luis is an event held every year to benefit the beautification & promotions of downtown San Luis Obispo. My friend, Stephen Patrick of Stephen Patrick Design, sits on the Boards of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association. His position on the board is Design Chair, and this event is mostly his to create - & what a fabulous job he does!

Each year there is a different theme for the event. In 2009 it was Wedensday Night Fever (named appropriately as the event is always mid-week.) Here's a photo of Stephen and his husband, Todd dancing the night away:

Then last year, the event theme was Rock the Casbah - oooo - I wish I had been able to go to that! They had a hookah bar, belly dancing and FABULOUS costumes! Here's Stephen with his gorgeous assistant, Sam:

Now a few weeks ago, I realized this year's event was coming up so I got online to check it out, only to find out that this year's event was in the theme of "Cirque du Soleil." As soon as I found that out, I realized HAD to go! I ran into Stephen and he told me that what they were planning was just insane, and he was hoping to top all other years. OK. I'm in. Game on.

I had to work on Wednesday but was twitterpated all day, waiting to be able to go to the event. I got all dressed up at work, and Boyfriend picked me up to then do the drive down to SLO.

When we arrived, this is the scene that greeted us at the entrance:

Yeah. Pretty cool, right?

I was super excited. I mean to get in, we had to duck under the suspended girl pictured above. She had to lift up her legs so us tall folks could get through - pretty fun.

The dancers/actors are from both CORE Dance Company as well as Suspended Motion. Everyone was so excellent at what they were doing - God...I felt so old & out of shape.........

As we were were taking photos of the amazing entryway, we saw that our buddy, Mr. Stephen Patrick himself, was also taking photos. He was all glitzed out in a gold ringmaster costume - we LOVED it! Here's us taking a photo of Stephen taking a photo:

After grabbing our glass of Laetticia bubbles at the entrance, Boyfriend and I walked around to check out the scene. The actors & actresses were scattered everywhere, setting the circus vibe in every corner. Here's a photo to two sexy nymphs:

And one of the coolest costumes of the night:

We wandered closer to the mission, and saw that even the famous bears in the fountain had a circus touch:

And we got to see a sneak peek of the fabulous Mark Wilder while he was practicing his juggling act:

We then wandered back up front to get another glass of bubbles, and I start chatting with a fabulous lady named, Laura. "Where are you from?" I queried. She answered, "Templeton." I said, "Me too, but I be rocking it Eastside" (gang signs raised of course - though I may embellishing on this a bit....) She said, "I'm Eastside too. What winery are you by?" I answered, "Pomar Junction." She said, "Me too!" It ends up, we live a few blocks from each other. What on earth are the odds? Laura's boyfriend said there may be a bit of kismet in the air and we should all get together again soon! Here's a photo of me with the lovely lady (and apparently my neighbor) Laura:

We then realized we were starving and went to where all the food and wine were being served. All the restaurants did tapas style food to then pair with a local winery. It was extra fun for us since both Boyfriend and I are industry, we knew a lot of the folks pouring there. I felt like it was like a high school reunion of sorts :)

As we were grabbing all of the food and vino that we could, we kept running into this fabulous couple - Donna & Tad. We were frequenting the same booths and having to stand in the same lines! (we both have fabulous taste...) Tad works for the San Luis Tribune and the paper had a table at the event.

I loved chatting with Donna - she was quite funny and so sweet. Here's a photo of myself and dear Donna at dusk eating our fabulous goodies. I adore the lighting of this photo:

Suddenly dancers rushed by us. I grabbed one and asked, "What's going on?" "The show is about to begin!" Show? What show? I had no idea! Boyfriend and I ran upfront and sat on the pavement - front row and almost center!

To begin with, Todd Lemay and CORE Dance company started out with a dance act, dancing to one of my favorites songs, Crazy. Here's a photo of the action:

Then here are a few photos of other acts:

But my FAVORITE part of the night was watching the HILARIOUS Mark Wilder - Mr. Juggler man. I simply LOVED his style. Totally light & self-deprecating - he was simply a master at preforming his act.
Here's the first photo of Mark juggling with Harry the juggler (& Spencer the drummer doing the comical drumming behind their act):

I was actually included in Mark's act at one point: he wanted to juggle a flaming torch, a sharp cleaver and a bowling ball all at once. He passed the bowling ball to me to judge its' weight, and wanted me to throw it back to him. I just quickly rolled it back before I had to get in on the action of throwing a 16 lb bowling ball his way. Yeah, I would have probably caused a major accident.....

Here's Mark juggling all three dangerous items - good god, man!

As if that wasn't enough, the highlight of Mark's act was that he was going to juggle flames while riding a unicyle. I have my own experience riding unicycles so I was quite excited to see what was up. Here I am doing my thing:

OK. So I admit, I really wasn't riding the unicycle - but I sure look cute, don't I? :) (This photo - why? Yes, well, it's a long story.....)

So Mark, of course, played out every inch of the unicycle bit that he could. First off, he couldn't get on:

Then he had to stretch (yea, that's hot):

Priceless. I got the money shot........ :)

And then, he was about to mount the monster:

And here he is - he made it to the top!!!

And Ta Dah! Here's the master, riding the unicycle, while juggling flaming torches - WOW!

I HEART Mark Wilder! You can contact him at: if you want to schedule him for a show.

This blog keeps on going! It's the longest blog I've ever done - woo hoo! Here comes more:

Now that Mark had his grande finale on the unicycle, the dance party begins. Here's a couple photos of the action:

 And Todd, the Ringmaster, dancing the night away:

Speaking of Disco, here's Boyfriend all dressed up & jazzed up for the night:

And here's a great shot of me and Mr. Stephen Patrick himself:

And to wrap up this fabulous night, I have to highlight the photo of Mission Plaza all lit up. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Boyfriend and I helped out with all the clean up - taking down all the decorations that Stephen brought to the event. I took a photo of the beautiful flowers going away in the truck - why oh why does this magical night have to end???

We captured the image of Stephen & Todd totally exhausted by the event. So much so, they can hardly stand up!

But then I jump in on the action, looking all bright eyed and bushy tailed! Why is the party done already? Is the 2012 party here yet? (I definitely wanted to keep this night going....)

Hooray for the most fabulous Taste du SLO Leil party! I have to say we LOVED this year - but can't wait to see what Mr. Stephen will come up with next year!!

P.S. As you can see in the photos, after the main event was over, Todd took off his make up, but still had glitter on his face. As we were all saying goodbye, Boyfriend hugged Todd goodbye, and got glitter on himself, which we didn't see. We were obviously tired the next morning and Boyfriend didn't shower before work. A big WHOOPS! because Boyfriend had glitter all over him. His new nickname at work is "Sparkles." It just works. If you see him, be sure to call him Sparkles - hee hee! :)

A toast to San Luis Obispo! The happiest city in the USA!!!!!

P.S.S. I just found this video of the event. Enjoy!

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