So, every March, Cal Shakes throws an elegant, elaborate fundraising fete, our annual Gala. There’s dinner and dancing and two kinds of auctions and actors acting and dancers dancing … all under the umbrella of one grand theme. Last year’s theme was “Sin City,” and we had showgirls and a swing band. This year’s theme is … I can’t say. Not quite yet. But if you’re reading this because you heard about the blog in our monthly newsletter, just hang tight and we’ll announce it in December’s edition. (And if you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter yet, I’d strongly recommend it.) For Cal Shakes employees, the Gala means a whole lot of work.
A few weeks ago, though, I would have tacked onto that last sentence “or so I hear,” because I started here in March, at the start of the week leading up to the gala. And though the office was a hive of a mess of a maelstrom of activity that week, mostly what I noticed was that I didn’t have a desk for the first three days and no one knew what to do with me. So I camped out in the box office, learned Powerpoint, and put together a live auction presentation for the party. I actually kind of love Powerpoint now, although I quickly learned that spinning star wipe transitions aren’t necessarily Cal Shakes’ style.
When I finally did get a desk, it didn’t have a computer on it. So I hung some stuff on the walls and returned to the box office to finish up my Powerpoint. The actual day of the gala, my new coworkers showed up at the beautiful Rotunda building in downtown Oakland some time in the morning to start setting up. Not me, though–it being my first week, I got a pass. I showed up at noon, checked in with Dana the Queen of All Gala Planning, and spent my Saturday afternoon driving around the Berkeley and Orinda hills to deliver bouquets to gala committee members! Then I spent the evening at a friend’s birthday party, while all the other Bullpenners and Upstairsers and such got done up in tuxes and heels and spent the night checking in guests and coats and auction bids.
This year I won’t be so lucky.
Dana the Queen of All Gala Planning, aka the Cal Shakes MVP, aka the Lady Who Did My Job Before Me, is leaving us after seven years in various positions. So last week and this one have been all about spreadsheets and print samples and handing off. In a little while, we’ll have a meeting with the new Gala chairwoman and the committee member who’s heading up the party’s many publications–there are more than twenty, each with its own specifications and scheduling. And so we’re planning them. In November. For an event in March.
That I’ve never been to. And (as indicated by this post’s title) I don’t even know how to pronounce.
But I’m, still and all, already kinda goofy for the gala. No matter how the heck you’re supposed to say it.