This past week-end, Paolo Soleri celebrated his 90th birthday and about 300 alumni and guests came for the occasion. The official schedule started on June 19. and this first day was entirely devoted to alumni. There were ongoing events, Kundalini Yoga, a morning bell-carving workshop in the Ceramics Apse, an ongoing Silent Auction in the Gallery. This past week-end, Paolo Soleri celebrated his 90th birthday and about 300 alumni and guests came for the occasion. The official schedule started on June 19. and this first day was entirely devoted to alumni. There were ongoing events, Kundalini Yoga, a morning bell-carving workshop in the Ceramics Apse, an ongoing Silent Auction in the Gallery.
The Red Room hosted an exhibition with the newest renderings of CRITICAL MASS, future plans for Arcosanti. These same images were presented by the Arcosanti Planning Department on Friday morning.
The presentation lead to lots of questions and discussion, which continued in a fundraising meeting in the afternoon in the Colly Soleri Amphitheater.
There was a tour of the Soleri Archives and the beginning of an Oral History project in the archives.
Meanwhile the kids were entertained in the recreation room and the café was teeming with preparation for a huge dinner in the minds garden.
And all over the site people were visiting with each other, running into familiar faces from years ago and everywhere giggles and laughter and delighted exclamation.
Late afternoon everyone met for a mixer at the Avalanche Bar, located under the pool. Hors D’ oeuvres were served and introductions made of TRISTAN’S GARDEN, the shoring project of the pool, that Paolo Soleri and Dave Tollas are involved in.
After dinner there were visual presentations in the amphitheater, by alum of their time here or of projects that they are involved in now. The Vaults hosted a steamy techno party with lots of dancing, while the stage in the Ceramics Apse had spontaneous performances by a variety of talents.
The birthday celebration for Paolo started on Saturday with a gargantuan FRUGAL SOUP in the Vaults, gargantuan in the amount of people that attended.
[photos are of Frugal Soup and Dinner in the Vaults on Saturday, June 20. 2009]
The afternoon was devoted to alumni networking, also with a meeting with Paolo and his editor Lissa McCullough about a new book, not yet published, ESSENTIAL PAOLO SOLERI – Architecture in Quest of Coherence.
In the late afternoon everyone came together in the amphitheater for a social mixer.
A delicious dinner was served in the Vaults, with pre-dinner entertainment of a dancing duo, and a mid-dinner surprise of alum Russ Adams donation of the Paula Wittner painting, that was lost for 20 years and was discovered just recently, given to Paolo as a birthday present.
And there was a beautiful chocolate cake, very nicely decorated and served with raspberry sauce, very yummy.
[group photo taken by James Horecka, AIA, Architect on Saturday evening, June 20. 2009].
After dinner alum Jeff Stein hosted a tribute to Paolo Soleri in the amphitheater. Special Guests delivered very poignant and touching words for the occasion. We hope to have some of the text or footage in the near future.
Documentary film maker Geoffrey Madeja presented a short version of a video about Paolo and Tomiaki Tamura followed with a visual presentation Paolo’s life and work, and a pictograph especially choreographed for Paolo.
And then …. Flam Chen, oh my. Report continues on 6/26/09.
[photo of Pictograph “Quaderno 90” performance]