Monday, August 29, 2011

Get the Party Started

You have to love a party that begins with dessert.

This was originally a "Farewell to Summer" party which had morphed into a "Hurricane Recovery Party" two days ago.

I was one of the first to arrive, no doubt because I never lost power and there was nothing I could do about my collapsed ceiling today except sweep up the debris.

The hosts were still without power, so the cookout had been changed to a taco party and the guests began to gather on the deck.

Our soundtrack was the next door neighbor's generator, buzzing away noisily in the late afternoon sun.

No power meant no ice, so one host was out trying to find some while the other greeted party-goers.

He insisted that we begin with ice cream since it was rapidly becoming soup cream.

Hard at work until 3:30 a.m. last night, he'd added a Guinness Stout reduction to vanilla ice cream and was serving it with chocolate ganache.

I may not be a beer drinker, but this was about the chocolate and the cream, not the beer.

Once we'd gotten dessert out of the way, we moved on to his basil peach sangria, which packed quite a punch.

Sangria is usually so mild-mannered, but my host had chosen to cut the sweetness of the wine with vodka, resulting in what one guest called a peach mojito.

You know, the old "cut alcohol with alcohol" trick.

Plain and simple, it was a big old cocktail, albeit a beautifully flavored one, and although I'm allergic to peaches and not a cocktail drinker, I drank up.

By some miracle, just as we started eating dinner, the neighbors turned off the generator. It was like a gift to our eardrums.

The crowd was eclectic - an author, comedians, a DJ, several IT types, bloggers, symphony musicians and several Henrico County school employees who got the word that they were off tomorrow mid-party- so the conversations were all over the place.

Where do you send a NYC transplant who asks, "Where can I go to meet people?" someone asked about a new coworker.

Well that depends on what kind of people you want to meet, I said.

Without knowing their preference, someone suggested that you send them to a place that has available men and women so they can pick their favorite flavor.

During a discussion of cell phones (nerdy vs. trendy, sleek vs. washing machine-like), I volunteered to the group that I didn't have one.

Stunned silence.

"Wow! That makes you the biggest hipster here," a girl finally said.

"Do you have a land line?" someone else asked. I nodded.

"Even more so," she pronounced.

Win friends and influence people by being a Luddite.

At dusk, the hosts brought out scads of candles and began making Guinness floats for those with an alcoholic sweet tooth.

Soon the tiki torches were lit and a fire was roaring in a small grill in the back yard.

After the third person asked me what my next stop was, I figured it was time to go.

I stopped home to make sure that no more ceiling had fallen before going to meet friends at the one bar that never seems to close, Bamboo.

And because it's Bamboo, there were as many people outside smoking as there were inside drinking.

Amongst those doing the latter were my friends who had spent a good part of the day shooting a video for their band.

During the shoot, they'd created a house party, with everyone drinking, talking and having a good time.

In essence, the exact same thing they were now doing at Bamboo, but without the cameras rolling. Even some of the extras showed up in their party girl dresses.

But the band members were tired of all that and wanted to talk about more substantive things like "Koyaanisqatsi," Lewis Ginter's mausoleum and surviving a broken heart when your ex walks into Bamboo.

You have to love a party where nerds win out over party girls.

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