While there’s plenty of fun to be had in home-dining, quarantine can impose a monotony on even the most joyous and comfortable eating arrangements. The last three months have done a good job of reaffirming the need for ambiance — the simple desire to shift the script, however subtly, being magnified to a fever pitch. For Brian Corrigan — a former design teacher at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C., and an instrumental player in some of Denver’s more innovative art installations 10 years running — the need was felt, and the script was shifted not so faintly towards space.
The Farm to Spaceship dinner — a collaborative take-home meal, cosmic journey, dance party and utterly-charming mind-fuck — held its first iteration last Friday, with two more identical sessions landing this Friday, June 5 and the following, June 12. While the comparison errs on the side of oversimplification, the experience could be likened to a Meow Wolf dinner party, all done from the comfort of home.
Corrigan, who specializes in integrating arts and culture into community development, has spent plenty of time fusing different mediums in the interest of creating otherworldly experiences. From working with Ginger White-Brunetti on three consecutive years of Create Denver Week — which acted as a platform and incubator for local talent and featured the well-celebrated projection-mapping of the Ellie Caulkin’s Opera House — to developing the hard-to-quantify OhHeckYeah, Corrigan has had plenty of experience providing conceptual direction for projects that intentionally eschew definition and shamelessly promote joy.
Inspiration for what would eventually become the Farm to Spaceship event came to Corrigan last fall while he was working for Downtown Colorado in the San Luis Valley — an area known both for its plentiful farms and alien sightings. Originally imagined as an in-person event, speculatively set to occur in the valley, it was transferred to its current format during a month-long development with a range of involved parties Corrigan both knew and cold-called. Enthusiastic responses across the board yielded an event featuring food from Somebody People, drink from Boulder Spirits, dinner visuals from Brooke Einbender, a comedic interlude from Linda Klein and Matthew Taylor, a disco-drenched set from famed British Club Kid Prince JayJay, a succulent ring from Rowdy Poppy and brand design from Berger Föhr.
While there were indeed many cooks in the kitchen, Corrigan says the project developed organically — the final experience mirroring the ease of its creation. The meal centers around an interactive storyline involving water from mars arriving via a transportation company and landing as the central ingredient in both the opening cocktail and the imaginative underpinnings of the subsequent two hours. The multicourse dinner requires just enough assembly to involve an instructional video — full of references to Martian beetles, stratosphere jumps and crater mud — but never so much that the cooking feels central. Einbender’s imagined journey nicely synchronizes with the duration of the meal and smoothly transitions into JayJay’s hour-plus after-party.
“Fun has been something of a dirty word,” said Corrigan, regarding the very real apprehension and ambivalence the pandemic has sparked around how and why people should be having a good time. “It’s also the glue the holds us together,” he continued optimistically. “We tried to make things a little more sparkly,” he laughed.
Farm to Spaceship will host two more sessions on Friday, June 5 and Friday, June 12, with kits being available for pickup between 5 – 8 p.m. at Somebody People at 1165 South Broadway #104, Denver. Tickets are available here.