Valentine’s Day came a few weeks early to Portland with Arcane Revelry’s ACLU benefit, The Exclusive
A violinist on stage presses foot pedals to enhance the sound of music, the rich tones drifting dreamily into the air. Three body-painted dancers glide behind him illuminated by a rhythmic light show. Trays of h’or d’oeuvres slide at eye level through the crowd of smartly-dressed party goers, while a chocolate fountain beckons with bowls full of fresh fruit and marshmallows.
The Exclusive by Arcane Revelry
Arcane Revelry’s The Exclusive is a benefit for the ACLU, but it’s also a cannabis-friendly event. In the entryway, Organa Brands greets guests with their O.penVAPE vaporizer pens and Bakked concentrates dab station and bids farewell to the departing with one last hit. The cocktails at this party come with THC or CBD syrup from Muru but not alcohol. That Gron chocolate fountain is infused, as are the deliciously decadent cannoli. And those fresh, hand-rolled cigars are wrapped with cannabis leaves and stuffed with cannabis flower.
Upstairs, a vibrant and lively room balances the sumptuous, sultry ambiance of the downstairs space. Everyone is smiling, chatting, sharing joints, and passing vape pens. Visitors from Los Angeles remark that they came to Portland for this experience. Inches away, the High Hopes Organic ice bong, the centerpiece of the room, looks to be the perfect way to connect with consumers. Between floors, in an almost hidden room, Empower Bodycare offers massages featuring their famous topical oil.
A mission to normalize
It’s part fundraiser, part art opening: a safe space for celebrating cannabis culture with a sophisticated vibe and a sensually immersive experience with an explicit focus on making change. Arcane Revelry is on a mission, and it goes beyond throwing a great party. Founder Crystal Feldman conceived of this project as a way to normalize cannabis. “The biggest effect of the war on drugs is shame,” she says. “There were more than 500,000 people arrested or incarcerated for marijuana in 2016. All of those arrests have a ripple effect of shame for that person and their entire family.”
With her own story rooted in the tragedy of the drug war, Feldman understands the power of community to uplift and reverse that stigma. This propelled her to partner with Diana Eberlein of Stiletto Management to bring Arcane Revelry and its message to the masses. What started as a Portland pop-up dinner series has expanded to include brunch events, CBD-infused meals, and upcoming adventures in California and beyond.
Moving cannabis culture forward
Always there’s a focus on beautiful food, meaningful conversation, and high arts. Arcane Revelry emphasizes the more cultured elements of cannabis – the potential of art to bring us together and to heal us – while still honoring the history and struggle of this unique community.
Proceeds from The Exclusive went directly to the ACLU, in support of that organization’s work to end the war on drugs and to serve populations who have been negatively affected by its consequences. Arcane Revelry intentionally featured minority- and women-owned brands to highlight their stories and give valuable exposure to companies who may be underrepresented in other venues.
Arcane Revelry puts on the kind of events that are pushing cannabis culture forward. They envision a future where we’re all freer, have more fun, and connect more deeply. And they enact that vision, even if just for one night at a time. The Exclusive struck the perfect note – it felt like a gala but paid homage to the roots of our community. And it didn’t shy away from the fight that remains.
“The war on drugs is never going to stop,” Feldman reminds us. “But I want us to take a good look at how we treat this. Instead of punishing people and using mass incarceration for profit, let’s stop ripping families apart. Let’s start healing. That’s what Arcane Revelry is about.”