Fueled by fantasy, surrealism is all about tapping into your dreams and baser instincts. Think mythical narratives that center around sex, jealousy, hunger, and love. Guests shuck their rational selves for a single evening, wear over-the-top costumes, and mingle among the similarly absurd. If that doesn't scream a good time, I really can't help you.
French socialite Marie-Helene de Rothschild hosted a Surrealist Ball in 1972 (photo above). Invitations requested that gentlemen wear black tie and ladies wear long dresses and masks.
As you might guess, this is not Entertaining 101. It's more like the seminar of event planning; it requires a lot of work and creativity. But the end result is sure to be jaw-dropping. Here are a few more photos to get your imaginative juices flowing:
Artist Charles Kaisin created this forest tablescape, complete with real(!) birds flying among the branches. (via Detail Online)
Marina Abramovic added performance art to an evening meal at MOCA, with human heads (thankfully still attached) and skeleton-draped naked bodies as table centerpieces. (via Art Info)
For decorations, think unlikely marriages of objects and strange proportions. In other words, you can just go nuts. Above, the huge, oversized ruby red flower lips at this year's Met Ball and an installation by artist Yayoi Kusama in Australia. (Billy Farrell Agency via BizBash and Queensland Art Gallery)
Salvador Dali (who else?) designed and hosted "A Night in a Surrealist Forest" back in 1941. The fish dinner was served in satin shoes, and was followed by a silver tray of live frogs. (via Light Color Sound)
The Mad Hatter's tea party is a classic example to draw from. And speaking of Alice in Wonderland, think of the photobooth possibilities! (via Staging Connections and fluxfotography)
(Images: lead photo from Alexis: Memoirs of Baron de Rede, via Dateline Zero; others as linked above)