“The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their own.”
First off, let me say that if I'd ever stopped to think that there were eight phases to a dinner party, I'd certainly never attend or throw one. It sounds like a lot of work.
1) The Dinner Party Theme
You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?
I think I'd dress up as me, only a much more refined version of myself. Since expense isn't a factor but my ego is, I'd head for Harry Rosen or Walter Beauchamp Tailors and get myself into some made to measure clothes. Throw in some new cuff links and shoes and a watch from A. Lange & Sohne and I'd be good to go. I suppose that since it's a special occasion, I could put on clean socks and underwear too, you know, just to be sociable.
2) The Invitations
This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?
On most occasions, it's easier to contact the living than the dead but for one night only, I think that resurrecting Anne Bancroft would be worth the extra effort. She'd be funny, charming, have great anecdotes and be flirty. I'd originally thought of Helen Keller but I hate repeating myself over and over and there's always the chance that if she's having an off night, it's food flying everywhere and that's just no fun for anyone.
Who else? I wonder if Jesus would come? No, forget him, once he starts with the party tricks, it's impossible to shut him down. Oh I know! Kathy Griffin! She's said things at least as outrageous as Jesus and would have everyone laughing and talking long after the party had wound down. I don't know anybody who can say Suck it! and mean it quite like Kathy.
Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos would be fun to have along as well for his hair alone. I'm pretty sure his alter ego, Tony Sirico would provide that fish out of water squirmy goodness that can be fun at a party. It'd give me a chance also to find out just how the hell he came to work on the upcoming Elmo's Christmas Countdown and to give me some inside dirt on his old HBO gig.
Aaron Eckhart would nicely balance out Kathy and Tony and I think it'd be fun to hear some of his Hollywood stories too. We could talk about his film choices and also whether Julia Roberts bugs him as much as she does me. I'm not sure why but he looks like the kind of guy who knows how to mix a mean drink too. Yep, he's in.
To add a little more estrogen to the mix, I think singer songwriter Jenny Lewis would round things out wonderfully. If we were lucky, she might get up and do a number or two and fill us in on why she didn't just go ahead and make a second great solo album instead of doubling back and helping Rilo Kiley put out half a decent one. It's also fun to have people of various heights in the same room.
3) The Starter
You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?
First off, as I'm not very skilled in the culinary arts, I'm hoping that having the whole affair catered falls under the 'preparing the menu' heading. Most of my friends know how to cook well but I didn't even have the courtesy to invite them so I guess I can't rely on them. I think the way to go might be with trays of tasty appetizers, some hot and cold, some on crostini, others in and out of puff pastry and maybe some little soup shooters. I'd also have smoking hot staff to serve them so if the food was lame, there'd at least be eye candy to munch on.
4) The Main Course
Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?
I think I'd opt for a nice and simple but tantalizing prime rib with carrots, potatoes and whatever other vegetables my guests might enjoy. I'd have to rely on whoever the wine expert in the crowd was to suggest something, because once again, I'm hopeless. Is there a wine that has a delicate yet playful undercurrent of gravy? Now that I think of it, I probably should have invited prominent conversationalists and mixologists Bubs and Coaster Punchman to ensure a top notch evening.
5) The Sweet
Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?
I had Blueberry Lime Cheesecake the last time I was in New York that was quite heavenly so I think I'd have Gordon Ramsay whip some of that up for everyone. It was delicious and just the right amount (still room for more drinks after).
6) The Entertainment
The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their ‘party piece’ (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?
I'd like to do the treadmill dance perfected by Ok Go but I generally try to avoid personal injury and embarassment when in mixed company. Instead I might do a reading from my high school variety show that was a hit at the time. It was the story of Little Red Riding Hood but a sort of bass ackwards version. It was funnier than it sounds and was done at the behest of my Geography teacher who was directing the show. He later became the principal and was promptly arrested for shoplifting a dog collar at a local store (an honest mistake he claimed).
7) The End Of The Evening:
The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search through your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?
I don't think the term hi-fi has been in broad use since the 70s has it? I also stopped buying CDs a while ago so instead as I lingered in front of the iPod sound dock, I might cue something up from a nice mix that Mellowlee made for me a while back. It might be After Midnight by JJ Cale but it could just as easily be any track from that mix. It has all sorts of love on it from Feist to Nina Simone to John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens and some tunes I'd never heard before but still enjoy.
The Dinner Party Nightmares
Okay, so the “virtual” dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?
While I've never had anything on a par with Mary Tyler Moore's Veal Prince Orloff incident, there was that one time...
My lovely friends Laurie and Tanya who had met only once before ended up seated across the table from each other at a small gathering. Laurie was providing instructions on the best way to eat some particular dish we were having. Without provacation, Tanya shouted at her 'Stop bossing everyone around and telling them what to do, we know how to eat'. This led to a deliciously awkward silence that was eventually recovered from but not before everyone's blood ran cold a moment. To avoid repeat performances, they are no longer contractually obligated to appear at the same functions.
I tag everyone to play along but first, be honest, do I look fat in this gravy boat?