Sometime’s Durango’s romantics only get to choose which restaurant will best set the scene to say, “I love you” on Valentine’s Day. This year, they had some options, and as far as I can tell, it was impossible to go wrong.
One of those options was the Durango Independent Film Festival’s “Magical Night in France,” which was held at the Durango Arts Center.
DIFF Executive Director Joannie Fraughton and Deahna Geehan made sure the surroundings were as elegant as the rest of the evening, creating table toppers with stemless martini glasses filled with pink and clear glass pebbles, set on glittery red hearts set on mirrors.
Rick and Pam Irwin, owners of PR Gourmet (formerly of Mai Thai fame), ably aided by Aimee Martin and Kathy Robinette, prepared a dinner fit for, well, a romantic evening in Paris.
The menu kicked off with Veuve de Vernay Champagne and hors d’oeuvres including a crudités tray served with tapenade and white bean and rosemary purée; warm Brie presented with pear and walnut chutney and fruit on cinnamon-sugar crostini; and goat cheese, caramelized onions and fig puff pastry triangles. Ooh là là!
The wines served with dinner were a Louis Jadot Beaujolais and a Comte de Saint Vernant Vouvray. Dinner started with a mixed greens salad with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts served with an apple-cider vinaigrette.
And then it was time for the entrée, and make an entrance it did. Boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin blanc, green beans and sweet bell peppers tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette and eggs, noodles in butter sauce were a meal fit for King Louis XIV himself.
Dinner ended on a scrumptious note with L’Opera, a layered chocolate and chocolate expresso mousse, served with strawberries, blackberries and leaves of mint and coffee.
But the sweetness didn’t end there. What would a film festival fundraiser be without a film? They chose a film perfect for lovers everywhere, “Chocolat,” the tale of a young widow and her daughter who move to a small village, open a chocolate shop and eventually shake up the lives of everyone there.
(“Opening a chocolaterie just in time for Lent. Shameless.” is one of my favorite movie lines ever.)
Helping raise some extra moolah for the festival, which starts Wednesday, organizers created eight special gift bags, and folks could buy tickets for a shot at them. The 75 or so guests helped raise about $6,000.
This was another event among several events recently where a lot of new faces attended, creating new friends for the film festival and extending its reach into the community.
A few years ago, the festival mounted a similar evening with Italian food and a screening of the film “Casanova.” The evenings had several things in common but two in particular. Guests arrived at both to the tunes of Ken Beegles on the accordion, and both films screened had the same director, Lasse Hallström.
It was a busy week for Fraughton and her board. On Wednesday, they partnered with the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College for a sponsor/supporter evening at the concert hall. The two arts organizations’ support networks cross in a number of ways. By sharing the party, neither pays the whole tab and the supporters don’t get overbooked, which we all know is a hazard in busy Durango.
Each year, the film festival recognizes a sponsor of the year, which receives a traveling statue to exhibit for the year. Last year, it was the law firm of Maynes, Bradford, Shipps and Sheftel. This year, Bryan Dear and The Payroll Department got the honor.
The guests got a sneak peek of three shorts that will be screened in the 2014 film festival, “Harriet and the Matches,” “Ravel” and “Morales.”
One of the highlights for anyone who was a teenager or young adult back in the 1980s (no snickers, please) will be the screening of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with co-star Judge Reinhold in attendance for a Q&A. Should be way fun.
The days are rapidly ticking off the calendar, so if you haven’t gotten your pass to the festival, check out www.durangofilm.org for the schedule and information on how to purchase tickets.
These birthday celebrants are hoping to beat the wind to blow out their birthday candles – Gene Bradley, Sam Stites, Paul Broderick, Fred Kroeger, Charlotte Pirnat, Mary Husemoller, Fausto Miranda, Brian Govreau, Jeff Thulson, Dolores Overton, Laura McSparren, Karen Meyer, Grady McGrath, Marilyn Metz, Liam Strietzel, Deb Campbell, Jake Washburn, Maddox Bryant, David Clark, Ted Cooper, Steve Pye, Tim Smith, Darrion Wells, Jack Benner, Brooke Ellis, Gordon Greve, Connie Mahan, Griff Pickard, DeAnne Wells, Rachel Priest, Betty Perry, Nik Stransky, Ken Seay, Jeff Munger, Lloyd Lasher Jr., Peggy White, Linda Arndt, Peter Larson and Gary Scott.
And special greetings to those folks who only kind of get to celebrate a birthday in this non-Leap Year – David Smith, Mark S. Anderson, Robby Hoffman and Ted Holteen.
Your friendly Neighbors columnist is going to take a few days off, so Neighbors will return next month, also known as March 1.
Not knowing if they should dress for winter or spring weather to celebrate their anniversaries are Sam and Kathy Burns, Angel and Rosemary Farfel (69!), David and Sharon Mantor, Reid and Sari Ross (64!), Ollie and Jan Mallett and John and Pati Sandhaus.
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