Volume 76, Number 10 | July 26 - August 1, 2006

An idea of what the Spiegeltent, bound for the South Street Seaport, will look like once it opens August 3.

A bit of ‘Moulin Rouge,’ Downtown

Imagine the feel of the film “Moulin Rouge” inside a tent filled with mirrors, where cabaret acts, musicians, and comedians change by the hour, and you’ll come close to envisioning Spiegeltent. The 7,700 square foot performance space will take up digs Downtown, at the former site of the Fulton Fish Market, from Thursday, August 3 through October 1.

Only a handful of these so-called “mirror tents” — Spiegel is German for mirror — are left in the world. They first appeared in the 1920s and 30s as temporary dance halls in Belgium, and many today serve as dinner theater venues in cities like San Francisco. (One is currently in the Catskills.) As of Monday, the 35,000 pieces that comprise the Spiegeltent bound for New York were still being inspected by U.S. customs at Elizabeth, NJ. Once erected, it will house a wooden parquet floor, brass bar, stained glass windows, velvet booths and somewhere between 400 and 800 mirrors.

“It’s like a Moulin Rouge environment,” said Ross Mollison, one of three producers of the temporary venue. “[Once inside], you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.” Over 80 performers are scheduled to appear, from the Brazilian Girls to Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop-Shopping. But the showcase event is Absinthe, a cabaret-vaudeville “variety show on acid” that premiered at a Speigeltent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Heartland Brewery will provide food and drink in an outdoor beer garden, complete with cabanas and daybeds, adjacent to the tent. For more information, visit www.spiegelworld.com.

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