Humphrey Bogart at Liza Minelli’s sixth birthday party .

Humphrey Bogart at Liza Minelli’s sixth birthday party .


Making signature cocktails

Are there certain ingredients that are crowd-pleasers?

Oh, yes. Most popular when it comes to men are brown liquors, unique and custom bitters, and savory elements. I often will create custom bitters from a person’s flavor profile to add to their original signature drink. Women lean toward colorful drinks with exotic fruits and florals made with vodka or champagne.


Classic party songs: “Wild, Wild Party,” Charlie Feather.


Bal des Ardents

The Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men[1]) or Bal des Sauvages[2] was a masquerade ball[note 1] held on 28 January 1393 in Paris at which Charles VI of France performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles’ brother Louis, Duke of Orléans. Charles and another of the dancers survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the young king, who in the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity. The event undermined confidence in Charles’ capacity to rule; Parisians considered it proof of courtly decadence and threatened to rebel against the more powerful members of the nobility. The public’s outrage forced the king and his brother Orléans, whom a contemporary chronicler accused of attempted regicide and sorcery, into offering penance for the event.



I Did It For Science: Key Party

Long ago, in a magical time called the 1970s, people threw key parties. At these sordid, drunken soirees, male guests threw their keys into a pot, and the female guests picked a set at random, pairing up with the owner of the keys. Debauchery followed.

Today, lock-and-key parties (a British speed-dating phenomenon in which men try to match their keys to women’s locks) are all the rage. But who wants to walk around with a lock all night waiting for some dude to open it when you could be tossing back Singapore Slings and getting busy with the neighbor?

Recently, my editors asked me to resurrect the legend (some say urban legend) of the key party. Is there a chance that in this lame-ass era I can recapture the good times of the “Me Decade”? Or, like a junior-high school dance, will my key party be an uncomfortable disaster?


Party scene from “An American in Paris” (1951)


"The Marilyn Monroe Party" by Gloria Pall

"Miss Cleavage of 1952, Gloria Pall, has taken a chapter from her upcoming Story of a Showgirl and has bound it as a limited edition book. The party referred to is the party that Ray Anthony threw for Marilyn on 8/3/52. Gloria recounts her entrance to the party, and her ensuing brief conversation with Marilyn. Only thirteen pages of the book are text…the remaining pages are made up of articles about the party (several of which talk about Gloria), magazine covers that Gloria was on immediately following the party, and a few other pictures of Gloria. Though this only takes a few minutes to read, one can get a few good insights into the feel of this famous party."