Alice at the Factory
The arrival of the invitation to the Mattress Factory's annual Urban Garden Party was cause for a second (if not third) glance by quite a few recipients, who were rather certain they had seen the woman portraying the Queen of Hearts at least a few times before.
“I don't think people recognized me at first,” said Barbara Luderowski, whose transformation came thanks to a multi-person effort to get the MF prexy to embrace the “Alice at the Factory” theme.
“It was everyone on staff. She had no idea how big it would turn out to be. Two hours of hair and makeup alone,” shared co-director Michael Olijnyk.
And so the story goes that more than 1,300 guests were falling down the rabbit hole and into the summer soiree that has become infamous for a history of bold swan dives into edgy, eye-popping territory. This year however, the evening embraced a surprisingly tamer atmosphere than usual, with nary a scantily clad partygoer streaking by.
VIPs were sequestered in a separate lounge upstairs for some pre-game cocktailing, while on the main level, the hoi polloi began filing in en masse about an hour later. Turning left at the hookah smoking caterpillar and a tattooed Alice, the centerpiece of the room was a long table reserved for what was hoped to be some signature entertainment but instead served as a Mad Hatter-led tea party for a dozen or so of the VIPs.
Meanwhile, outside in the tented area, the usual sardined atmosphere was alleviated by the absence of a center stage, where there was an air of anticipation for something sassy to happen that would captivate the imagination. Instead, it was the people-watching that took precedent.
Spotted among the crowd were co-chairs Sue and Scott Lammie, board chair Dr. Michael White and Rick LeBeau, Chuck and Kristen Hammel, Eric Shiner and photographer at large for Vanity Fair Todd Eberle, Nicholas Chambers, Ann Hamilton, Evan Mirapaul, Nita and Sunil Wadhwani, Anne and Anju Dhanda, Suzy and Jack Donahue, Hilary Robinson, Steve Sokol, Alan and Martina Wells, Scott Leff and Marilyn McDaniel, Ellen Mazo, and Helene and Tom Long.
As of last week, more than $160K had come in from sponsorships alone, and another $65K from ticket sales.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ’40s fashions turn heads at Pittsburgh benefit for Homeless Children’s Education Fund
- Cocktails & Celebrities raises funds for Pittsburgh VIPs’ favorite charities