Underground fete brings ‘Beautiful Spectacle’ to Norwalk

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Pictured: (Above) burlesque dancers led by Michelle Abbruzzese of Work It Dance and Fitness in Norwalk; (right) Norwalk rock band Edisun. (Photos/Bob Albert)

The air around Isaac Street Plaza in Norwalk was cold and hushed, but it was just a short elevator ride away to a sizzling subterranean fete that brought a burst of energy to Fairfield County's arts and culture scene.

The party, A Beautiful Spectacle 2, tapped burlesque and pole dancers, musicians and deejays, artists and filmmakers for a rapid fire series of live performances at the Factory Underground, a 7,000-square-foot studio and event space that evokes the subtle grit and urban vibe of a Greenwich Village gallery.

Attendees -- a mix of young professionals and middle-aged art lovers -- noshed on oysters, ceviche, meatballs and crab cakes (all generously donated by local vendors) while watching the performances and eying artwork from painters Gordon Skinner and Frank Foster Post. The beer, wine, margaritas and moonshine (Onyx Moonshine makes a mean cocktail!) flowed copiously throughout the evening.

Tickets to A Beautiful Spectacle 2 ($20) sold out 10 days before the event, which was held on Jan. 23, a Wednesday. Wendy Logan, editor-in-chief of The Fairfield County Beat and host of the party, took that as a sign of a community fiending for more arts and culture.

"People are starving for it," said Logan, who launched The Fairfield County Beat five years ago.

Such satiation can come from New York City, of course. But to attend an event that's close to home and involves members of your own community -- it engenders a unique sense of pride and excitement that can't be replicated.

"I feel like more of this needs to happen," said Latanya Barrett, a Bridgeport resident and burlesque dancer who goes by the name "Temp La Boom" on stage. "It's good to bring out that craziness, that weirdness. Around here, that's very necessary."