He is working three or four nights a week for the caterer, plus the odd afternoons, waiting tables, tending bar, assembling hors d’oeuvres; at bar mitzvahs, cocktails, vernissages, dinner parties, bank openings. … He prefers to work in the kitchen or pantry, where he is safe from discovery and can make the rent money in peace. Often he has looked out from the equivalent of the wings and spotted a friend or even a table of friends among the guests. Everything he does … is a distortion of his old expectations of being rich and glamorous. He is present at the experience but on the wrong side of the canapes.
definition (from the Oxford English Dictionary): A day before the exhibition of paintings on which exhibitors may retouch and varnish their pictures already hung. Now usu. denoting a private view of paintings before public exhibition.
source: The Family of Max Desire a novel by Robert Ferro
1983. E. P. Dutton, New York