by Cindi Harwood-Rose
You don’t need a magazine to tell you how to throw a party. But then again, how many non-creative barbecues, Mardi Gras celebrations, fiestas, luaus, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and millennium parties have you been to? These are fine for get-togethers, but if you want your party to be immortalized as the party, it must be creative.
It?s sometimes said ?the people make the party.? The truth is, everything makes the party ? the concept, the entertainment, the invitations, the party favors, the food, the creativity, the decorations and the guest list.
So here are five phenomenal party ideas for you to consider during the holiday season. There are so many great party ideas that it is hard to choose one, but all of these can be tailored to anyone from 8 to 80 years old.
MOULIN ROUGE PARTY
Joan Lebow at Invitations by Joan, (713) 782-4141, can arrange the whole shindig, including the decorations, photographer, invitations, party favors, valet parking and imprinted napkins. She has a classy, Nicole Kidman look-alike who comes and sings and dances scenes from the movie ?Moulin Rouge,? including the well-known tune ?Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend.? Strings of pearls and plastic diamond rings can be used for decorations, and lush, rich, burgundy and red velvet can embellish the tables and drape the room. Invitations can be ordered for a few dollars to $25 a person. Lebow does computer calligraphy or can hire a calligrapher for you. Among her entourage are caricature artists, dancers, musicians, a silhouette artist, astrologers, handwriting specialists, jugglers, acrobatic midgets, mimes and party decorators. These entertainers range in price from $95 an hour to $300 per performance. If you want to look erotic and crazy for this festivity, call Johnathan Lucas at Tovas at (713) 439-1414. He can rouge any Moulin.
Pamela Reingold, (713) 661-7997, is a fine artist, mime and an angel-reader. You can hire her at your event for a minimum of $200. Reingold brings a chair that she actually built, which wears shoes and has mannequin hands and a hand-painted, life-size photo face. It can be Elvis, Einstein or Marilyn. It is a piece of art. Reingold wears a neon wig, mimes and writes everyone?s ?angel reading? on a flour tortilla that she has hardened and shaped in a heart. She really believes that your angel talks to her angel and tells you positive and helpful messages. Children and adults both delight at the angel readings. Guests take the tortilla home as a party favor. A personalized chair of you or your honoree can be created for $800 to $2,000, which is the price they sell for in art galleries around Houston. This can include neon and recorded voices. Your guests can sign this chair, and Reingold will shellac it and deliver it to you later as a lifetime souvenir, artwork and conversation piece. Reingold also conducts ?chair parties.? These are for people who purchased a chair. They are invited to their chair?s ?unveiling? and a seated dinner. Reingold can have their recorded voices talk from chair to chair with miniature dramas going on. To attend one of these unforgettable events, you merely have to order a personalized chair.
Canine Cocktail Party
DeAnne Doane, (713) 451-9983, held a precious pet parade for her ?fuzzy,? who she said was ?bone to party.? This party animal invited all her friends to dress their pets in costumes to celebrate her dog, Inga Marie?s, birthday. Inga wore a leopard print sarong and sunglasses. Mary Kay Freeman?s barker, Angel, dressed as an angel with a halo. All the animals ?put on the dog? and came in tuxes, Chanel-style suits, beads, vests, bows and bow ties. The Three Dog Bakery in River Oaks made an edible cake for the canines, and Doane served Frosty Paws ice cream to the pets, which she says Randalls carries. Pets were served milk bones from silver trays, and the adults were given cocktails and people chow. There was not one dogfight, even though 17 dogs and 22 people attended. Blue ribbons should be given to every single pet. So successful was this that Doane now has a line of Canine Haute Couture for your pet including costumes, leashes, hats, houses and collars. It is sold throughout the country and at Tootsies in Houston or by appointment. Sharon and Mike Brier had a Bark Mitzvah for their dog and a Meow Mitzvah for their cat. After all, any excuse is a good excuse for a party. Make no bones about it.
This is a paint-your-own-pottery studio with two locations, Memorial at Voss, (713) 278-7300, and River Oaks, (713) 807-8900. Both locations accommodate parties up to 50, have ample parking and are suitable for children. The River Oaks location sells beer and wine. Food can be catered in or picked up from any of the many restaurants in the area. This is an unrivaled place to throw an easy, inventive gathering. Parties start at about $18 a person, which includes 90 minutes of painting and a choice of a simple piece of pottery such as a small vase, mug, canister or box. Large platters and teapots can cost $30 or more. There are more than 50 colors to choose from, as well as stencils, sponges, stamps, brushes and idea books to spur the right side of the brain into the imagination mode. The Mad Potter boasts the largest selection and inventory of pottery in Houston. Brides have come in and registered for all their dishes, and their guests have painted them at the bridal shower and given them as their shower gifts. These are then kiln-fired and picked up five days later. All pieces after firing are food-safe, dishwasher-safe, and microwaveable. Men really seem to enjoy this place, and the conversations are boundless. Everyone leaves feeling proud, and the hostess can give each of them their masterpieces in less than a week.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU WRITE ON TANGLEWOOD TEA PARTY
Lucky guests can be sent invitations from Tanglewood Pharmacy and Stationery, which is a posh pharmacy, stationery shop, gift store and mini-museum. There is a post office on hand, and the friendly personnel can design, address and send your invitations for a couple of dollars per person to as much as $75 for a masterpiece. They monogram and engrave an assortment of sterling silver, linens and baby gifts.
The party part is a “Tanglewood Tea” for eight privileged friends and costs $25 per person. Guests will arrive and be served sandwiches, tea and cookies on 19th and 20th century china and sterling. Owner, Marjorie Maxfield, an award-winning advertising guru, will let the guests choose color and type style for their own box of Crane?s note cards and envelopes, which they will receive imprinted with their name on it when the 2-4 p.m. afternoon festivities conclude. Next, she will pass out pad and pen so serious notes can be taken. There is a stationery etiquette quiz game, and the winner receives a silver compact mirror. Exclusive gift-wrapping demos are performed, and afterwards, Maxfield discusses invitation manners such as the appropriate stationery trousseau and whether to send a letter or card. She also discusses what to say when someone dies, graduates, gets a raise, etc. She leads a discussion on You are what you write on and The 10 deadly stationery sins. This soireé takes place in the Crane’s wedding room where there are hundreds of invitations from the formal to the Kate Spade new-fashion styles.
Throughout the store is the exhibit, “You are what you write on.” It is a collection of memorabilia signed by 80 famous Houstonians. Denton Cooley signed a surgical mask, George Foreman signed boxing gloves, ZZ Top signed an album cover, Mary Lou Retton signed her shoes, Mama Ninfa signed her first menu, Drayton McLane a baseball, and Marvin Zindler signed the door of an ice machine that is, that?s right, slime-free. The celebrity customers read like a “who?s who” of the world: former and current presidents, movie and rock stars, senators, gold medallists, astronauts and the movers and shakers of Houston. Says Maxfield, “Invitations set the tone of the party.” They should reflect your taste, personality and insignia. To book an event, call (713) 266-1234.