Amelia Conference 2017 – Prohibition-style Speakeasy

This year ARCA has decided to throw our very own 1920’s Prohibition-style speakeasy as our ice-breaker kick-off event to the 2017 Amelia Conference and we want to invite you to come along.

What is a Speakeasy?

The 1920s was a prosperous era in America known by a few names, such as the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age, the Age of Wonderful Nonsense, and the Age of Intolerance, the latter because it was the period in history known as “Prohibition.”

The National Prohibition Act, known informally as the Volstead Act, was ratified on January 16, 1919 and came into effect on January 16,1920. It made the manufacture, import, transport, export and sale of beer, wine and hard liquor illegal and was enacted to reduce drunkenness, petty crime, wife abuse, and corrupt saloon-politics, but the opposite happened.

As alcohol was formally outlawed across America, people naturally began to covet it all the more. Crime increased as people rebelled and numerous illegal bars, called speakeasy’s, were created in secret locations which provided venues for alcoholic beverages & revelry.

During this alcohol ban, organised crime flourished. Mafia groups who once limited their activities to prostitution, card games, and theft began bootlegging in 1920 as a response to consumer demand for banned alcohol.  Consequently, the Volstead Act gave mobsters a profitable, often violent, black market to ply their trade in illicit booze...

So much for good intentions..

How long did Prohibition last?

Prohibition remained in effect until 1933. As ARCA doesn’t condone the illicit sale of art (or booze for that matter) our conference icebreaker party, is only a fictitious reenactment of what that time period could have been like...

Rules of the Event:

1. The first rule of a Prohibition party is….

Shhhhh! Keep this secret party quiet! We don’t want the narcs working for Eliot Ness all over us, and as you know, ARCA conferences often have police officers around! Alright sure, it’s 2017 and alcohol is a perfectly legal (and totally delicious) affectation, and a mere party is unlikely to lead to a SWAT team raid on our party unless we are playing our jazz music too loud.

2. Easy directions? Forget ‘em. “Take the third star to the right, and go straight on ’til Friday evening”.

Nothing good comes easy, and during prohibition that was particularly true. As ARCA prepares this night of fancy-free frivolity for our conference attendees the cocktail location will be a closely guarded secret right until the very last minute. Held within the city walls of Amelia, the speakeasy’s location will be whispered in our guests ears on Friday, June 23rd making the event an adventure just to get there.

3. Using the front door? Absolutely not.

Do you think you can simply waltz up to the front door and ring the bell of a speakeasy? No! Entry was hidden, often in plain site, but unless you knew where to look, you would never find the place. Speakeasies were concealed down back alleyways or through otherwise regular establishments.

To arrive at our special event, we will send you on a 10 minute picturesque walk, picking up clues along the way, The last clue, being you secret password to gain entry.

4. Dress the part. (but only if you want, it’s supposed to be fun, not mandatory).

Yes, we might be funnelling people down a little used alleyway to get you to the party, but as your hosts, the onus is on us to create the festive ambiance of a real speakeasy.

After we have made all the preparations, invited all our attendees and the day has finally arrived, each of the attendees and hosts are free to take part in that glorious juxtaposition between dank and opulence, by choosing to arrive in their Great Gatsby jazz-era finery, gangster workmen, work clothes, or working girl flapper.

Whether you go bright and vibrant or dark and dangerous, period clothing are a prohibition party staple. The litmus test for any prospective outfits for the evening: if you can easily bust a Charleston in it, you’re good to go.

7. Where do you get your ticket? 

First, you need to register for the ARCA conference.   Then, like all ARCA conference optional events, the €20 payment for the speakeasy cocktail can be made directly at the venue. You can also RSVP by writing us at italy.conference@artcrimeresearch.org on/before June 10th. Then stop by the Amelia Library on Friday June 23, 2017 before 4 pm to pay for your secret entry and to get directions to the secret club.