‘Eyeclosing experience’ is unique encounter for dinner & music
by Ginger Caviness
“An ‘eyeclosing experience’ unlike anything I have encountered in the culinary world; tactile and sweet at the same time; the music spellbinding.” –Ginger Caviness, Guest
The Portland Blind Cafe, at Mt. Tabor Church/Tabor Space, was a mind-bending, heart-opening experience where the audience dined and enjoyed a concert in pitch dark! All the waiters were blind or visually impaired. There was a delicious gluten-free vegetarian / vegan meal prepared to delight the senses.
Hearts and minds were opened as folks discussed issues related to visual impairment. The sold-out crowd celebrated and explored special awareness and indulged in unencumbered music listening, without distraction of visual conditioning, cell phones, etc. Many made new friends and advocated for a better life for the blind and visually impaired community...all while waiters and fellow patronage served and dined in the dark.
An outstanding concert by Rosh & One Eye Glass Broken was performed; The Spoken Word Poetry by Rick Hammond and the Art of Portland's own Catherine Miller were enjoyable. Between Rosh’s outstanding guitar performances, he was accompanied by a marvelous string quartet, soothing and edgy when it came to defining dinner in the dark with music. The Spoken Word poetry was a blunt, yet kind depiction of what it is like to be unaccepted as blind in America and some of the hidden barriers this writer did not know. Suggestions were made for simple menus in Braille for those needing assistance. Many public places do not provide “tools“ for the blind. It made everyone in the audience feel an uncomfortable spotlight on “what it must be like,” without pity. The words were amazing.
“The shows sold out fast and I was delighted to be the guest of fellow businesswoman and friend Bonnie Carter, Editor of Positively Entertainment & Dining. As we experienced the initial walk into the dining hall, we were assigned a table with two other guests, Tamara and Kevin. Then, we walked single file and held onto each other’s shoulders to be led into the blacked-out room. I was immediately sensitive to the sounds of the room, other people walking by me and being sensitive as to not step on anyone! Once seated, we were “tutored” in Braille dining, describing where everything was placed on the table and that the main course dishes were in front of us! We were to serve ourselves family style and then pass the dishes onto the next guest. Easier said than done. Then I noticed I was wearing a white shirt. I somehow managed to get through the meal with no spills or stains on my shirt reminding me of my best table manners, in the dark. Amongst the commentary at our table was my observation that, although I knew I was in the dark, my eyes closed, as if they were part of my autonomic nervous system. Things you never experienced kept occurring. I was able to find my waterglass and successfully remove the sterile straw top and drink and not gurgle out loud. There was success and laughter, all while being serenaded by the beautiful music. Then, dessert, chocolate mousse with hand-picked blueberries, was simply divine in the dark. The guest Chef was Ivy Entrekin.”
A percentage of the proceeds from this event was donated to PAWS (Pups That Work For Sight), a local organization that raises puppies to become guide dogs for the blind.
Contact information: One Eye Glass Broken Productions; Rosh Brian Rocheleau; Rosch1826@gmail.com