#reverb10 – Day 9 – Party On!

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

I went to LOTS of  parties in 2010.  My partner and I are invited to many events, fundraisers for charities, and social media gatherings, and we enjoy going to as many as we can. Houston is a work hard/ play hard town, and you can always find an occasion to go out and meet people in a festive atmosphere.  Most memorable:

1.  The Primer Grey Block Party is definitely a party to remember.  It’s the place to see and be seen on the Houston social media scene.  Several hundred people, arriving in shifts/waves throughout the evening; inclusive, fluid, quirky, an open and friendly place to connect with friends and meet new people.  Cool funky loft offices on the near East side of downtown, ultra modern in a rehabbed warehouse space, with kegs of St. Arnold’s beer outside on the patio, and Pink Robot punch inside. Wii.  Sylvia’s Taco Truck pulled up in front.  Conversations, connections, creative energy.  Left before things got too crazy.  Made me wish, just for a moment, that I were 30 years younger.

2.  @DivergenceDiva Misha Penton’s summer solstice party in her beautiful and spacious home in the Houston Heights.   Fabulous  pick-up nibbles of all kinds, wonderful wine, fascinating people and conversation.  Music, music, music: fabulous classically trained singers performing a short and informal recital in the living room — piano, poetry, contemporary works by Dominic DiOrio, a who’s who of Houston cultural movers and shakers; hand-picked, intimate, fun and cozy atmosphere to balance the brilliant artistry, creativity, and sheer brain-power.  Stayed until the wee hours sipping wine in the garden on a perfect summer’s eve.  Magical.

3.  The Houston AIDS Walk.  Totally going to participate again next year.  You arrive around 8 a.m. downtown.  People gather, there’s music and crazy costumes and flamboyance and the Bayou Bunnies out in force.  Then, you walk right down the middle of freakin’ Allen Parkway, closed to traffic for the morning.  Belly dancers, a brass band, people out on a beautiful spring day to have a good time, support loved ones living and dead, and having the best time they can while walking.  Thousands of people participating in this huge fundraiser for a noble cause, and a spectacular party atmosphere.

4.  Party of the year:  planned a dinner party for my sweetie for his most recent birthday, which was “A Big One.”  He said he’d like to go out for sushi, as we do on most of our special occasions and celebrations.  I surprised him on the morning of his birthday by informing him that he was to pack a bag, because we were going to Chicago!  We were on the plane and wheels up just before noon

This was particularly satisfying for several reasons.  Firstly, we don’t just bomb away on a trip every weekend.  Secondly, it was a total surprise!  He had absolutely no clue.  I am amazed at my own potential for stealth, and at all of my clients and friends who knew, yet protected the secret without one leak.  My friends are not only fun, they are “trusty.”  This is a great gift to receive.

He had never spent any time in Chicago (my favorite city) except to change planes.  We dined that evening at a fabulous sushi restaurant with several of my dear friends from Chicago, and one Houston friend who just happened to be in the city that week on business.  So I delivered on the birthday dinner –  I just didn’t specify WHERE we’d be having dinner, or with whom.  The sushi was fresh and beautifully presented, the service was marvelous, and the surprise value was priceless.  What made the party?  I can’t believe I’m going to say this:  love, friendship, spontaneity, and the element of surprise.  He was completely, totally, utterly, dumbfoundedly, genuinely surprised. So so simple, very intimate, and BEST PARTY EVER.

When you get to be as ancient as we are, you don’t just celebrate one day.  You prolong the festivities for as long as possible.  So. . .

We stayed for 5 days in Chicago, as the party continued.  We stayed with friends in their fabulous condo in Lincoln Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  We did many tourist-y things, courtesy of CityPasses that I had procured in advance. We visited the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, and went to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower.  We hit some unique restaurants and savored every bite, and each other’s company.  We spent a few hours at the magnificent Art Institute, had our picture taken with the iconic lions, “worshipped” in the impressionist gallery, and had the extraordinary luck to be there on the first day that the luminous Chagall windows were re-installed in the new Modern wing.  We walked and walked and walked — The Magnificent Mile, South Michigan Avenue, up and down countless stairs for the El and the subway, and felt the cold wind off the lake foreshadow the winter to come.  It was just a long weekend, but an unforgettable one.

In 1999, I survived a life-threatening medical emergency.  Subsequently, I adopted the philosophy, “Any day above ground is a good day.”  Consequently, my standards for what makes a rockin’ scene are probably embarrassingly low.  Friends you love, time together, some good food and drink, enjoyed to the last drop — THAT, for me, is a great party.

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