When (Dr.) “No” means “Yes”

DAI’s final Prime Time Rental Series event celebrates 50 years of Bond, James Bond

by Emma Jarman

Imagine playing legendary international man of mystery James Bond in any one of the 22 epic films that have premiered through the last 50 years. Do you become part of a brotherhood, like Playboy bunnies or cancer survivors? Do you get to rub elbows with Sean, Roger and Timothy at Bond reunion parties? If Chad Johnson can legally change his name to the number on the back of his football jersey – in Spanish – it must be possible to permanently adhere “007” to the end of your legal title.

James Bond is a cultural icon and, as the actors who bore his likeness on the silver screen have been, the time has come for us to celebrate Bond’s 50 years of timeless dedication to the British Secret Service. The Dayton Art Institute has chosen to accept this mission. Friday, Oct. 26, from 7-11 p.m., the James Bond Martini Bash will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Bond film, “Dr. No,” and the upcoming release of the 23rd installment starring tall, blonde and handsome Daniel Craig, “Skyfall.”

It’s a dance party; it’s a costume party; it’s an art exhibit; it’s an opportunity to experience the Bond legacy through the perspective of culture and history. “We’re kind of making it up as we go along,” said Jane A. Black, associate director of the Dayton Art Institute. “We’re encouraging people to do what’s fun for them. If you want to dress up, dress up. It’s very much a make-of-it-what-you-want-it-to-be party.” The cash bar will offer an array of specialty martinis – shaken, not stirred. The ‘60s cocktail-themed menu will feature choices including canapés and stuffed mushrooms – the ‘60s sure loved their mini-foods. A DJ will spin era-appropriate music including many, if not all, of the classic theme songs from the films.

The James Bond Martini Bash is the final installment of the Prime Time Party Rental Series at the DAI. This series, a collection of pop-culture-inspired parties that have included Olympics- and superhero-themed soirees, has thus far been a successful exploration in connecting art with pop-culture. It is a theme party, yes, “[but] we always tie it to art in some way,” said Black. “We (DAI) have this amazing collection and we want people to discover it.”

As if any Bond film isn’t a work of art in itself, the Bond Bash will feature museum tours featuring carefully curated pieces of postwar abstract and contemporary art, all with strong ties to the “Dr. No” and James Bond era. All of the pieces are based in the DAI’s permanent collection.

“Bond movies are very stylish,” said Black. “They’re really about visual language. They tell stories through the way people are dressed, the way rooms are set [and] the cars people drive.” “The thing about art,” she continued, “is that it helps you understand visual language.” It seems the Martini Bash is the perfect place to tell your story. Wear a penguin suit, slip on a flapper dress, hell, rustle out your old belted, orange, Halle Berry-as-Giacinta Johnson-in-“Die Another Day”-bikini if the notion strikes you (not recommended, per the weather report). Drink a martini that brings out your personality. Arguably, they all do, but you get the idea. Create your own visual language.

If your story involves children, DAI has that covered, too. All of the Prime Time Rental Series parties have had adjoining Prime Time Kids Time parties, and the Martini Bash is no exception. The kids party, from 7-9:30 p.m., will be a spy-themed event for children more than 4 years old. It’s something to do for kids that’s guaranteed better entertainment than an evening in front of the television.

“We have an award-winning education department and getting kids to the museum is always on the top of our list,” said Black.

Additionally, the party will offer a number of opportunities to win prizes, enter raffles and experience a few “top-secret” surprises the museum is being mysteriously tight-lipped about, but promises you won’t want to miss.

While entertainment hogs the foreground, there is a meandering theme of awareness hovering in the background of this party series. “It’s not about raising money,” said Black. “Our goal is really for people to have a fantastic experience and want to come back; maybe get a membership. That’s how the museum stays vibrant and alive.”

As far as her hopes for the experience we’ll get at the Martini Bash? Black said, “I want them to feel as if they were at the coolest, most stylish, most eclectic, interesting experience they’ve had in a while.” She finished, “I want them to feel like they were in a James Bond movie.”

The Dayton Art Institute James Bond Martini Bash takes place Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.. Advance tickets can be purchased online, over the phone or in person at the museum during regular visiting hours and are $20 and $25 for museum members and nonmembers, respectively. Tickets purchased at the door are $25 and $30 for members and nonmembers, respectively. Kids Time party tickets are $15 for the first child and $10 for each additional child. For reservations call 937-223-5277. For more information about the James Bond Martini Bash, as well as vintage Bond film trailers go to www.daytonartinstitute.org/bondbash.

Reach DCP freelance writer Emma Jarman at EmmaJarman@daytoncitypaper.com

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