Lights Out || Dinner is served.
Opacity is a dinner event that has diners gathered in a dark room with blind folds on so you can’t even try to peek, well maybe a little, it’s a sensory experiment of sorts, and had my curiosity piqued.
I was not sure what to except to be honest, it just sounded like a fun adventure. It was discovered on Gilt Groupe’s – Gilt City [table shot & menu photo credit] and I thought what the heck I will rope my husband into it [thinking at the same time please don’t let this be a swinger club and I didn’t read the fine print]. The instructions say: dress for dinner, but don’t carry valuables; there is no coat check; be prepared for spills; silverware will not be present you will eat with your hands; and it is BYOB.
We arrived at the address, to find out that this is at someone’s personal home [referred to as Opacity Estate], as there was no coat check we had to wait in the cool fall air waiting for our turn to be checked in. Once inside the doors, we signed a waiver and then we were escorted, blindfolded, to our table, taking about 10 minutes a group. We also found out that the event is raising money for ‘Foundation for Retinal Research’ we are not sure why they don’t advertise this more, it isn’t stated anywhere that I could find in the materials online [knowing this I would have paid more].
Once we got settled and we started to adjust to the blind folds dinner got started. It really was a bizarre experience losing a sense for a few hours. Some people over compensated for the loss of one sense by speaking louder, others like myself got quieter, as my sense of hearing became very sensitive along with my sense of smell. At points during the evening I felt dizzy with all the noises surrounding me and not being able to figure out where and what direction they were coming from. Over perfumed women, that under normal circumstances drive me crazy, was even worse in this situation [I wish they told people not to be highly fragranced up in the instructions]. The violinist was a nice sense of calm that I spent most of the evening concentrating on, although it was hard as the people sitting next to us where too concerned with name dropping and one-upping each other – that conversation was making me sick [might explain the dizziness]. We hardly heard anyone talking about the experience, or how they were feeling it was more business as usual like any Friday night dinner with friends.
There are staggering numbers of people in the US that suffer from loss of sight in various forms, if anything this experience gives you a better understanding of their world and how we can be more accommodating of their needs. We walked away from the evening wanting to recommend the ‘experiment’ to others and here is our advice: wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand outside for 30 minutes; bring extra wine you can always take it home [we ran out]; don’t come for the food come for the experience [as frankly the food was average and some dishes inedible – I spat out the dessert pops, and what was described in the dark as a ginger cracker was more like a tooth cracker]; go with at least two other people so you can share the experience and hopefully not have to listen too much of others obnoxiously loud conversations.
NOTE: We were told that our dinner on Sept 16th was the inaugural dinner, it was well-organized and I am sure will get better as they iron out a few kinks for the remaining events that run every Friday night until December 23rd. Observation, if this was the inaugural event – how come there is a yelp review that post date Sept 16th – hmm makes you wonder??