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Exclusive Illuminati Ball
As I stepped onto a limousine bus on the Upper East Side full of 25 or so strangers dressed in formal attire, I had almost no idea what the night ahead had in store, except that I had been promised a personal-size champagne for the ride. (Not only was champagne provided, but we also got popcorn and a magic show! Hope you’re taking notes, Greyhound.) The swanky bus was shuttling us to a secluded waterfront estate where we would all be taking part in the Illuminati Ball, a very entertaining new immersive theatrical experience from multi-talented writer and director Cynthia Von Buhler.

Before enjoying the previously mentioned highway magic show, I was asked to complete an application for the evening that asked me things like what I most desired in the world and what I would be able to offer the “Illuminati.” Apparently, a winning personality was enough, because my application was accepted. We were also asked to choose our preference between five animal affinities—pig, monkey, cow, chicken or mouse—that we'd be grouped with on various adventures throughout the night. After finding out that I was monkey, I was told that new members of the Illuminati would be chosen through various rituals taking place during an extravagant five-course meal. Whether or not I would be immediately signed by Jay Z upon acceptance into the secret society was not addressed.

The production, which runs until October 29, was inspired by the infamous Surrealist Party hosted by Baron and Baroness de Rothschild in 1972 in France. Leaked photos from the events show guests wearing animal heads and horns, and that aesthetic was definitely present as soon as we arrived at our destination, had our phones confiscated and de-boarded the bus. Our hosts, Von Buhler and her husband, Russell Farhang, greeted us before we walked onto the lawn to watch the first ritual of the evening. Three naked performers with animal masks were dancing in a circle surrounded by fire dancers. And that was all before the first course.

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