Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It was all about love. Love of each other, love and respect of human rights, love of diversity and the deep love between Chef Art Smith and his long time partner, artist Jesus Salgueiro. The wedding weekend took place in Washington, D.C. August 21-22 and there was something historic and exciting planned for every minute. Among the 400 guests were friends from Sweden, Malaysia, Costa Rica and from almost every state in the U.S. Saturday began with a walk/run/stroll to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a hot day but that didn’t stop anyone from taking part in the Blessing Ceremony on the steps of the issue and invoked the names of Lincoln and Washington and the fact that the Constitution provided equal rights for all and not just for some. Art’s dear mother, Addie Mae Smith, looked on adoringly as did Jesus’ large family. Art also thanked the lady who arranged to have the blessing ceremony performed on this historic spot as well as his trainer, Az Ferguson, who saved his life with his incredible wellness program. (Art has lost 95 pounds to date.)

The wedding ceremony and reception began at 12:30 in Art’s famous Art & Soul restaurant, is located in the Affinia Liason Capitol Hill Hotel. Security was very tight and everyone had to be checked by security guards manning clipboards. The ceremony was also presided over by Ms. Williamson and was incredibly touching. (See their vows below). They both wore identical dark suits and white tennis shoes decorated with the wedding date and hearts. After the ceremony, guests were treated to entertainment from the popular a cappella group, Straight, No Chaser.

Then the mingling and eating began with BBQ brisket, ribs, pulled pork, peach BBQ baked beans, lamb burgers, mac and cheese, homemade guacamole, heirloom tomato salad, buttermilk fried chicken, homemade potato chips, coleslaw and so much more. The food was sensational. But the most noticeable aspect of this entire day was the amazing love and respect that everyone showed to each other—a direct result of the type of people Art and Jesus are and the of way they treat and feel about each other.

Next was the 6 p.m. pool party on the hotel’s roof. Beautiful floral arrangements and bars were everywhere. DJ EricJones was already playing the hottest mixes. And, as you would expect, the food here was spectacular as well. They had even brought pizza ovens to the pool deck and chefs were busy making three types of pizzas from scratch right before your eyes. Art and Jesus had on beautiful white Indian tunics over their little bathing suits. When Art shed his tunic and did an Olympic dive into the pool, the photographers went wild! After a while, Jesus appeared, danced for a while before his new mate and then dived into the pool. A bit later, they announced that world-famous DJ Moby was in the house. A roar went up from the happy guests as everyone crowded around the two newlyweds and the dancing began in earnest! Moby really blew the doors off with his danceable, pounding mixes. It was mucho caliente on the roof my friends! After the pool party, guests wound up in Art & Soul’s bar on the main floor.

Art and Jesus are honeymooning in Cabo San Lucas. Below are the vows they read at the ceremony:

Jesus Art, as here now the world is my witness, I say to you: Your love sustains me and makes me strong. You inspire me. I am an artist, but you are the Art—my Art. And it is with utmost pride that I say that you are my Art. Without you, the canvas of my life would be empty and bare. There would be no colors, no brush strokes, no desire to paint. So, Art, Art of my Heart, I ask you to be my inspiration, from now into forever, to be the colors, the brush strokes, the paintings that I make. And may God allow me to replicate, in no small measures, the gleam in your eye and the tenderness in your heart, and may the entire Universe recognize in me and in my work the life force that you are that so fuels my passion. I love you, Art, with an Infinite Love. (After Jesus said these vows so lovingly to Art, Marianne Williamson said to him, “Gosh Jesus, I wish you were straight!” which broke the crowd up!)

Art - Jesus, as here now the world is my witness, I say to you: Your love for me has been transforming. Because of the gift that you are, because of the vision that you hold, it is as if I have been given new eyes. You have made my life a kaleidoscope of colors. While I may set the table, be it known that you are the banquet and the feast, the incomparable spice in my life, the salt of the earth. So, Jesus, heart of my heart and soul of my soul, I ask you to share with me my life, in every respect, to the very end of time. While indeed I may set the table before you, be there no doubt that it is I who eat from the palm of your loving hand. Yes, you are an artist, but you are also a great teacher, and above all I have learned humility from you. Jesus, I love you. I love you with these new eyes, with this new heart, with a never ending longing in my soul.

(Art and Jesus requested no gifts but rather a donation to their charity, Common Threads.)

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