Author Topic: Diner en Blanc  (Read 7972 times)

BlueHouse

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Diner en Blanc
« on: July 12, 2016, 06:58:30 AM »
The appeal of this is apparently the exclusivity.  Three years ago, you simply had to pay $50, dress all in white, buy a portable table and white chairs, white linens & tablecloth, white dishes, bring your own food and lug all this crap to a secret location (identified about 24 hours in advance) so that you can have a picnic with others.  They've had it in my neighborhood (see pics in the link below) and I admit, it was striking.  I just cannot fathom paying so much money just to say you did something.  And worse -- people who return year after year!  Someone please explain to me the appeal of it.  The only thing I can see is that those dressed in white are on the other side of the velvet rope.

http://dcist.com/2016/07/oh_la_la_diner_en_blanc_returns_aug.php#photo-49


http://washington.dinerenblanc.info/

MgoSam

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2016, 08:42:56 AM »
I wouldn't pay to do this, but it looks like a fun event. I can see myself doing something like this with my friends. Each year we generally try to have a fancy dinner out where we all dress up and meet up for dinner for no reason. It's kinda funny when a waiter asked what the occasion is, or in one case, the waiter thought we just finished up with "a gig."

slugline

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2016, 10:59:56 AM »
This actually looks fun. I'm guessing the entry fee is mainly paying for securing the venue?

gimp

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 02:08:45 PM »
From your description, I thought it was $50 but is now way higher. It seems to be $45. Doesn't seem outrageous ... it's like going to a fancy restaurant, but you bring the food, I guess. I imagine the fee covers getting the place, post-cleanup, whatever.

With that said, I don't think it's my kind of party - I prefer bringing booze in lieu of an entrance fee, you know?

In context, it's silly, self-indulgent, mildly elitist, and ... possibly fun. Just like many of the other stupid things we do in life!

BlueHouse

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 02:50:03 PM »
Yes, I also wanted to do it the first year just to be part of a piece of performance art.  Then I read the fee and the rules.  The fee covers nothing.  NOTHING. 

okay, in some places, like DC, it does cover the cost of the location.  But for 30 years of history, this was done flash-mob style (and I presume for free).  Only upon moving to the states, did a fee become required.  No, clean-up is not covered...you cart away all of your belongings. 

I think the part that bugs me is that every time this is coming up, the local news and blogs all start off by saying "better get to Target to buy your white golf umbrella" because attendance is mandatory once you sign up and the event is "rain or shine".  Everything about it is buy, buy, buy.  I admit, my friends and I do walk past the event every year to gawk because it is really cool to see.  But it just hurts my heart to know all of these people already had the accoutrements in regular colors and then bought more "en blanc". 

tim_p

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 03:41:23 PM »
If you didn't pay the fee, since this is held on public property, would they actually be able to kick you out if you just sidled up with your own table? Besides social shunning, I'm not sure how they could exclude you since they're not actually providing anything.

BlueHouse

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 06:18:25 PM »
The first year, I could have walked right in and set up a table.  Last year they had security (dressed in all black and wearing radio headsets, etc).  They tried to stop us from walking over a bridge near the setup, and we just walked right past them.  When they saw we weren't going to crash their party, they didn't try to stop us.  But the park is actually private, so I suppose they could stop us if we went too far.  I didn't know it was a private park at the time I challenged their authority. 

slugline

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2016, 07:36:43 PM »
If you didn't pay the fee, since this is held on public property, would they actually be able to kick you out if you just sidled up with your own table? Besides social shunning, I'm not sure how they could exclude you since they're not actually providing anything.

If it works like most events with which I'm familiar, they should have a section closed to the general public, just as during a parade the streets on the route are off-limits to those not in the parade. But sidling up with your own table on an adjacent spot? Yeah, that sounds like an interesting case. :)

SoccerLounge

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016, 10:15:40 PM »
This is just one of the most preposterous exercises in pretension and manufactured faux-exclusivity I have ever seen.

MgoSam

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2016, 11:58:11 AM »
This is just one of the most preposterous exercises in pretension and manufactured faux-exclusivity I have ever seen.

Not to mention that there standards are so lax that they might even invite me, were I willing to pony up the cash. As Groucho Marx once said....

RetiredAt63

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 06:35:33 PM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

MgoSam

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2016, 07:16:57 PM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

Probbly nothing, which is good. Might do something like this in the future.

BlueHouse

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2016, 09:13:14 PM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

Probbly nothing, which is good. Might do something like this in the future.

Nothing, except the sense not to go out and buy white chairs, white umbrella, white everything.  I wouldn't mind doing this with paper plates and polka dot table cloths. Oh wait, I already do that every Friday night in the summer with my friends.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2016, 05:55:02 AM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

Probbly nothing, which is good. Might do something like this in the future.

Nothing, except the sense not to go out and buy white chairs, white umbrella, white everything.  I wouldn't mind doing this with paper plates and polka dot table cloths. Oh wait, I already do that every Friday night in the summer with my friends.

Or just go for the feel of it - dress quite formally, bring tablecloths for the folding tables, cloth napkins, real cutlery, and dine in elegance at the park.

Dicey

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2016, 07:35:51 AM »
I call BS. First, it's hot as hell in DC this time of year. Dressing all in white makes you feel cooler. Picnics are a time honored summer tradition. Plenty of examples of other forms of entertainment that are far spendier (Anyone priced large venue headliner summer concert tickets, or bought a meal out or drinks at a bar lately?)
Who's to say everything is purchased new? I think I could scrounge everything I'd need from stuff on hand. If not, it's the height of garage sale season. Should an umbrella really be required, I'd use an old one and a can of white spray paint.
As to the fee, insurance is a possibility,  plus, why should the organizers work for nothing? Aren't we all about profitable side gigs?
I'd do it once and if it was fun, meh, I'd merely budget for it. If it was really fun, I might think about planning a mustachian version by scrounging white stuff all year.
I should add I'm not awash in debt. If you're reading this and you are, please ignore this comment .

CheapskateWife

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2016, 07:43:25 AM »
When I first read the description, I thought it sounded pretty darn elitist and potentially exclusionary to people of color; but after reviewing the linked article was surprised to see a rather diverse group of participants having what appeared to be a lovely time.   

"if you're lucky enough to get an invitation to the exclusive event, which can only come from someone who has attended a previous dīner."  OK, this sounds pretty elitist...or like joining an MLM.

Dicey

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2016, 08:40:45 AM »
"if you're lucky enough to get an invitation to the exclusive event, which can only come from someone who has attended a previous dīner."  OK, this sounds pretty elitist...or like joining an MLM.
Or it could be the permit or venue or insurance or all three have specific size restrictions. Damn it, I'm already planning one of these in my head! The mustachian version, of course.

StarBright

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2016, 09:15:25 AM »
The appeal of this is apparently the exclusivity.  Three years ago, you simply had to pay $50, dress all in white, buy a portable table and white chairs, white linens & tablecloth, white dishes, bring your own food and lug all this crap to a secret location (identified about 24 hours in advance) so that you can have a picnic with others.  They've had it in my neighborhood (see pics in the link below) and I admit, it was striking.  I just cannot fathom paying so much money just to say you did something.  And worse -- people who return year after year!  Someone please explain to me the appeal of it.  The only thing I can see is that those dressed in white are on the other side of the velvet rope.

http://dcist.com/2016/07/oh_la_la_diner_en_blanc_returns_aug.php#photo-49


http://washington.dinerenblanc.info/

I love Diner en Blanc! But I love events and DIY. I'm the type of person who goes all out when hosting people at my home: theme, decorations, games, prizes, etc.

Diner en Blanc is like hosting a themed party with 1000 friends!

For me it is a really cool way to share an experience with a big friendly group of strangers who are all excited about the same thing you are. I went to one in DC a few summers ago and just had the best time.

I'm also a fan of the Jazz Age Lawn Party ( http://jazzagelawnparty.com/) and went to similar, fledgling event in Detroit last summer that was really nice.

There is something nicely old fashioned about events like this and they create a really neat sense of community. Aside from the entrance fee I think these events can be pretty mustachian, you provide your own food and drink, you talk, you listen to music, you might make new friends.

MgoSam

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2016, 11:16:46 AM »
"if you're lucky enough to get an invitation to the exclusive event, which can only come from someone who has attended a previous dīner."  OK, this sounds pretty elitist...or like joining an MLM.
Or it could be the permit or venue or insurance or all three have specific size restrictions. Damn it, I'm already planning one of these in my head! The mustachian version, of course.

Me too! I don't relish the planning part of it as most of my friends that would be interested are very unreliable for RSVPing, but otherwise it sounds like fun. I just don't think I'll get it to work this summer, I'm already planning an Argentinian-themed dinner at the end of this month.

StarBright

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2016, 11:30:37 AM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

My understanding is the name and logo are trademarked but that is about it. I know a few midwestern cities have held fairly large unaffiliated versions, one city even regularly uses the name, another just uses the English version. I know the organization actually helps you organize the event if you go the official route but they want to make sure you have the know how to pull off the event.

I'm sure the original organizers would applaud a similar pop-up in the park with friends.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2016, 12:55:01 PM »
Now we are talking!  A DIY fancypants picnic!  Currently working out how to pull this off in my po-dunk town.  Our park has a beautiful tree canopy and refuses to reserve space for anyone, so it would indeed be a flashmob kind of thing.  How cool!

MgoSam

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2016, 12:58:52 PM »
I looked up the Ottawa one (so in Canada not the U.S.) and they are charging for it.

Is it copyrighted?  What is to stop a bunch of friends from getting together and doing a flash-mob white picnic in a park?  Which would be fun, sort of like a French impressionist painting.

My understanding is the name and logo are trademarked but that is about it. I know a few midwestern cities have held fairly large unaffiliated versions, one city even regularly uses the name, another just uses the English version. I know the organization actually helps you organize the event if you go the official route but they want to make sure you have the know how to pull off the event.

I'm sure the original organizers would applaud a similar pop-up in the park with friends.

I Googled this and found out that there's a Pop-Up dinner near me on August 1st. Organizers charge $35 per person and this doesn't include food. Seeing that I almost never spend $35 on a meal out anyways (much less for a place that expects you to bring your own food) I won't consider it. That said, I would love to have a en Blanc picnic with friends someday.

StarBright

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2016, 05:38:37 PM »
Now we are talking!  A DIY fancypants picnic!  Currently working out how to pull this off in my po-dunk town.  Our park has a beautiful tree canopy and refuses to reserve space for anyone, so it would indeed be a flashmob kind of thing.  How cool!

Yes! you totally should. We did dinner pop-ups a few times with groups of friends in public spaces and we never got in trouble. We also just used available picnic tables and dressed them up - didn't cart in furniture or anything.

This makes me want a mustachian entertaining thread.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2016, 07:09:29 PM »
Now we are talking!  A DIY fancypants picnic!  Currently working out how to pull this off in my po-dunk town.  Our park has a beautiful tree canopy and refuses to reserve space for anyone, so it would indeed be a flashmob kind of thing.  How cool!

Yes! you totally should. We did dinner pop-ups a few times with groups of friends in public spaces and we never got in trouble. We also just used available picnic tables and dressed them up - didn't cart in furniture or anything.

This makes me want a mustachian entertaining thread.
Sounds good - go for it.  "Throw Down the Gauntlet"?  "Other"?

Dicey

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2016, 04:30:23 AM »
Definitely doing this as a charity fund raiser. Probably won't be able to pull it off before next summer though.

I'm throwing a picnic in the park adjacent to the library this coming week. It's a Thank-You event for the library's major donors. Sixty-five people will gather in the park for grilled dogs and root beer floats before going into the library for a special presentation. We have no budget, so I'm having fun figuring out how to get things done and create a great atmosphere. I think it's going to be good practice for the Diner en Blanc.

Also, I get the Groucho Marx reference, but this isn't a club, it's a one-off social event. I think the setting has everything to do with it. Finding a lovely setting that most people don't have everyday access to is key. Make it lovely and welcoming and the result is an amazing sense of community.

pancakes

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2016, 06:19:35 AM »
They do one in my home city too. I was accepted for tickets a few years back but opted out because of all the rules and things I'd need to purchase.

There was a bunch of controversy when they refused entry to a family (that had paid for tickets) after their clothing wasn't deemed 'white enough'. The clothing was clearly white but just not as fancy or expensive as most of the other guests. It seemed very elitist, as though they didn't want "poor" looking people in their event photos.


Making Cookies

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2016, 10:24:03 AM »
There is a laundry detergent commercial in there somewhere... Brighter whites at an affordable price!

BlueHouse

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2016, 08:30:37 AM »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2016, 09:13:56 AM »
Lugging a table, chairs, and your food around doesn't strike me as a fun way to dine, especially if I'm paying for the dubious privilege. I'd just as soon have my own dinner party, invite some friends, and have fun.

PhillyWill

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2016, 09:51:41 AM »
In Philly the've begun an alternative called Diner en Sweatpants. Say no more.

pachnik

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2016, 10:05:52 AM »
I saw something in the newspaper about 'diner en noir' here in Vancouver.  IIRC, it was being held in a working-class neighbourhood park and you just wore black?! 

BlueHouse

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Re: Diner en Blanc
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2016, 11:12:20 AM »
In Philly the've begun an alternative called Diner en Sweatpants. Say no more.
I already do this every night.  :-P