Recently, the mysterious Elk-Owl Society has invited guests to partake in a blindfolded feast for the senses entitled Lights Out. Without the use of sight, guests must interact in unexpected ways with fellow Owls, enjoy contrasting morsels, and gain a new appreciation for life and the bodies they live in. Immersed was granted a rare interview with Elk-Owl’s Grand Maester, Blind Owl.
1. In your own words, what is Lights Out?
Lights Out is just one more of our signature encounters. In this case, (usually) 14 blindfolded guests that haven’t seen each other before coming in, that experience a 4 hour sensorial experience designed for the rest of the senses, with incredible food that they are fed, a lavish and sensual environment, games and social interactions.
We’ve been doing them since we re-opened the society and every single time people gets delighted and surprised about the level of detail, fun and general indulgence of the event.
2. Can you give us more information on the history of the Elk-Owl Society? When were you founded? What are your goals? How many strong are you?
That’s a fun and fascinating story. The Elk-Owl Society is a very old institution. It was founded in 1902 in Poland by my great great grandfather. He was a boring moneylender surrounded by boring friends. One day he read an article in the newspaper about the Free Masons and got all excited and inspired. So he founded his own secret society and started hosting underground soirees for members of the high society of his time. Extravagant dress code was strictly enforced and food and ritual were central to the experience.
The society ran for many years until its activity needed to be interrupted by World War II.
A distant cousin revived it in 1957 and hosted gatherings only at European castles. The infamous surrealist party organized by Dali and the Rothschilds was backed in the shadow by the Elk-Owls (in the pictures you can observe several people dressed with antlers and there were a lot of real owls in there).
Unfortunately, the activity faded one more time. When I found out about the story in old documents after my mother passed away, we decided to bring it back to life with the simple goal of enjoying as much as we can, the cosmic jiggle of existence, indulge our senses and encourage people’s creativity and self expression.
3. Who are you in relation to the Elk-Owl Society?
My name is Blind Owl and I have the humble privilege of being the Grand Meister of the society in its new iteration, honoring and carrying the legacy of all the previous Meisters (23 to date, I’m number 24).
4. Are there any internal struggles between Elks and Owls?
Oh no, not at all. The last riff raff of an elk and an owl was in 1969, and only because somebody decided to bring an actual elk to one of our parties and the owls weren’t really happy about it. They wohoooooed him for a long while and after the elk consistently ignored them for an hour they ended up becoming friends. The picture of three owls on the elk’s antlers and butt was a fun one to have.
5. Will other Society members be joining you at Lights Out, or will it mainly be guests? Can the members touch guests? Can guests interact with members?
All these dinners are initiations. Some blood is spilled and they all go through a rite of passage. That’s why they are so much fun.
After this, the new members can attend other formats and parties. By the end of this month, for example, we are doing something big to celebrate my birthday and we will be doubling the number of people and making something more immersive where new and old members will be mixed.
As we always say, our events are a feast for the senses and we don’t shy away from life, so we encourage our guests to come prepared to be challenged out of their comfort zone sometimes. Strict rules are outlined to keep everybody safe and comfortable but yeah, touching is definitely part of the experience if that’s what you want.
6. Removing a sense (in this case, our sight) is said to heighten other senses; will senses other than taste be employed? Will this dinner be solely delicious, or play on a variety of tastes?
The whole experience alternates between food and games. The games are all about the rest of the senses. The food is designed not only to be delicious but also to be a surprise. Contrasts…. strange flavors… different temperatures… we use all the tools in our hands to make your mouth melt and melt over and over again and ask for more.
“Yes please, more please” is one of the most heard lines throughout the night.
7. This also requires audiences to trust their hosts. Can we trust you? Should we trust you?
If you won’t, don’t come. What’s the point?
We know it’s a lot, but we are also very certain of how amazing our experiences are and what people say about them after attending.
That’s also why we have a full soul refund policy. If you don’t like it, we give you your soul back, guaranteed.
8. What does the future hold following Lights Out? I have heard rustlings of a silent dinner?
We are still gearing everything up, but expect our Lights Out dinners to continue (and iterate and change, like the one we are holding end of the month), and new soirees to pop up. Silent dinners have been in the works for some time now and are definitely happening this year (imagine a dinner where there is a feast in front of you, no utensils and two rules are enforced: you cannot talk… and you cannot feed yourself). We are going to have fun…
9. What do you want people to feel or learn after a Society event?
We understand the brevity of life and we are committed to squeezing its juice to the fullest extent of our ability. We believe in ritual, in history, in alchemy, in words and in sensuality.
We believe in food, not only as the necessary source of energy that keeps our magnificent bodies functioning, but also as the fundamental clay that cements our bonds, friendships and connections at the deepest levels. We believe in ingredients as a gate to emotion. We believe in stories as a way to understand who we are. We pursue beauty, honesty and wisdom.
If we can instill even one of these things into a new member, we would have done our job.
10. Does the Elk-Owl Society have a website people can go to or mailing list people can sign up for to get more information? How are guests invited?
Our website is http://theelkowlsociety.com/
You can subscribe to our newsletter there to be aware of our events. For now, we keep an open policy, but that might change at any moment.