Thursday, May 30, 2013

Liberace Party: Food, Booze & Shenanigans

My last post went into exhaustive detail about the elaborate decor for Liberace Party. But a good retro party needs more than just looks. On-theme food, drinks, and entertainment are what makes a night memorable.

part two : booze

Cristina was in charge of drinks for the evening, which was great because despite having a dive bar's worth of alcohol I am lousy at mixing drinks. Champagne cocktails with a crazy assortment of mixers made for a wild time. She stocked the bar with Aperol, Hpnotiq, St. Germain, Peach Schnapps, Creme de Cassis, and a some sort of Cotton Candy flavored abomination, as well as juices and blackberries for floating. The magic touch was the hot pink rimming sugar adorning our glasses, striking the perfect balance of aesthetics and fodder for cheap innuendo.

Cristina's classy selections
Compare to my bar, where quantity /= quality.
Bravely sampling some nasty candy-filled concoction I apparently whipped up. 

part three: food

I found out too late that there is a kitschy Liberace cookbook. How I wish there had been time to acquire this gem and prepare some of the recipes from the man himself. But even without this touch of authenticity, the party eats were a retro-tastic delight.

Meatballs and deviled eggs were easy choices, but Cristina and I concluded that late 70s party foods seemed to consist mainly of store-bought snacks served elegantly, or as we put it, "Fritos in pimp cups."  After clearing out my mother's china hutch of all its gilded serveware, I offered up not only Fritos but Circus Animal cookies, chips and onion dip, ladyfingers, gold-wrapped chocolates and rice krispie treats topped with rainbow and silver sprinkles. (Oh, how I wish I could have added Twinkies to that list!) The crown jewel was Cristina's fantastic jello mold, resplendent on a bed of mini-marshmallows.

part four: entertainment

This being a movie party, the entertainment was pretty much built-in. Since my crummy television is as deep as it is wide, I borrowed a projector for a more dramatic cinema experience. This was a smaller party than my usual affairs, mainly because most people I know aren't that into Liberace, so we were all able to fit in my teeny fake home theater.

Before the frequently-interrupted viewing began, I kept the cocktail party lively with a Spotify playlist of Liberace's ivory-tickling melodies. And of course a photo booth is a must for any hipster theme party. In this case it wasn't so much a booth as a camera on a tripod, but the results were spectacular. My guests really went all-out with costumes. (My female guests, that is. Not a single dude was moved to masquerade.) Sequined and poofed-up, neon and shimmery, fur-clad and jewel-laden, elegant and outlandish, all were excellent.

In true showmanship fashion, I opted for a wardrobe change midway through the night, from pink sequins to gold glamour.

Special shout-out to Jayme who created an excellent red, white and blue fringed ensemble inspired by Liberace's iconic Drum major costume.

Alas, by the time we all settled down to watch the movie, my night was approaching an end. A few too many champagne creations made it difficult to stay awake, so I left my sober husband to watch over the guests and  snuck off to bed. Not quite an exit worthy of Liberace, perhaps, but a wild, wild time.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Liberace Party: A Night of Fabulousness

It all started with my friend Cristina. As a museum-visiting, record-owning, candle-collecting fan of Liberace, she was bummed that she couldn't host a viewing party for HBO's biopic Behind the Candelabra. I'm only a casual fan of Mr. Showmanship, but I am mad about theme parties so I teamed her enthusiasm with my insanity and created a cocktail party worthy of The Glitter Man.

part one : decor 

Gathering inspiration from the sitting rooms in Liberace's Hollywood Hills home and his Hollywood Penthouse, I set out to recreate his gold and zebra-print fantasy worlds.


The secret to any great theme party is room transformation. From my many Halloween parties I know that wall covering is key to making things seem otherworldly. This plastic wall covering did an awesome job of replicating 70s wallpaper - not bad for $15. 

The entire decorating process was greatly aided by the fact that my mother once decorated in the same old-world European style and never bothered to update. I basically left her home bare after carting away all her decor. The little shelf was a thrift store purchase, but the rest came from my mom, including the impressive marble-topped gold table. 

Printing a few choice photos of Liberace gave things that egocentric touch. 

This vintage gem came from my great-aunt. The top of the frame has a little light that still works.

This painting by Francesco Beda is another staple of my childhood home. 

I love decorating with old record albums. This one capped the buffet nicely.

The bar featured vintage barware from my parent's house, which they own a lot of despite not very drinking much. 

Printables are my go-to for authentic yet inexpensive decor -- conversation piece and ornamentation all in one. I really loved the way my DIY wine charms turned out. I even found a stash of pink twist ties in the kitchen to complete the effect.

I wasn't crazy enough to purchase a grand piano just for a theme party, so I transformed our black wood stove into a mini fake piano and added the essential gold candelabra. 

More decorating with records.

The chandelier decal was nice thrift shop find that added just the right touch. And a final Liberace portrait, printed and displayed in an old golden frame.

That covers the decor. When I have recovered I will post about the food, cocktails, photo booth, fab outfits and the viewing shenanigans.

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