Underground fete sizzles in Norwalk

Norwalk’s Isaac Street Plaza 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, featured burlesque and pole dancers, musicians and DJs, artists and filmmakers for a rapid fire series of live performances at the Factory Underground, a 7,000-square-foot studio and event space in Downtown Norwalk.

Attendees 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. Beer, wine, margaritas and moonshine (Onyx Moonshine makes a mean cocktail!) flowed 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 yearning for more arts and culture.

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

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

Holly Danger, a projection artist and one half of the Stamford duo, The Moon, praised Beautiful Spectacle as a “huge step forward” for the region’s arts and culture movement.

“Things like this didn’t exist in the past,” Danger, a lifelong Stamford resident, said. “It’s the first of its kind for a new generation.”

The Moon, which also features guitarist Jeff Schram, kicked off an evening of non-stop performances, including live music from the Norwalk alt/rock band Edisun, which uses the Factory Underground as a rehearsal space; pole and burlesque dancing by Michelle Abbruzzese and Work It Dance and Fitness in Norwalk; and belly dancing by Tava Naiyin, who balanced a plate of lit candles on her head during the performance.

This is the second installment of A Beautiful Spectacle, which “had some real mojo last year,” Logan said. Judging by the enthusiastic response again this year, Logan has every reason to believe that the event will become an annual tradition.

“People want a spectacle,” Logan said. “Let’s bring back the dancing and dreaming.”

Scott Gargan