The family dinner: one where everyone knows your name, stories are swapped and true joy is experienced. As a feature of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, the team at A Is For Atlas provided 15 lucky strangers with a very special intimate evening of candour with the indomitable David Chong.
David’s life story, an Australian-born person of Chinese heritage to a mother and father who were Acrobats, moved him to Brazil when he was two and decided to start an Arabic snack bar! As the night unfolds David explores his unique life experiences, loss, discovery, rebellion and gives his dinner guests something to talk about.
The experience at Acrobat is nothing short of sensational. From the moment you walk through the door you are greeted by name and throughout all members of the team do their utmost to make you feel welcome in their home (in this case the Bennet’s Lane Jazz Club). The evening is interactive, conversation flows freely and everyone leaves with a sense of nourishment. Whether it’s from the meaningful conversations with your fellow dinner guests, the fulfilment from connecting with David or from the copious amounts of feijoada and red wine!
David a psychologist by training, unfolds his life’s mosaic with the expertise of a seasoned story teller. There are pregnant pauses, moments of light-hearted-ness and beautiful jazz tunes set to his Portuguese voice. His life to date has certainly been unique and I’m grateful I had the chance to hear it.
A Is For Atlas performs ‘Acrobat’ to bring back the conversation. The events aren’t flashy and loud but rather authentic and raw. Performers lay bare their vulnerabilities and share stories that aren’t oft shared. The creation of Acrobat was a two year process of the Atlas team wooing David into sharing his beautiful life story. The performance for me combined several key ingredients of an amazing event: interaction, depth, value and of course lots of wine!