The continued existence of themed parties is proof that the universe is sometimes kind and wants us to be happy. I have the good fortune of being surrounded by friends who love an unconventional theme, from Diane Keaton costume extravaganzas to goth nights, I've learned from the greats on how to throw a fantastic one. Last night's Leonardo Dicaprio Golden Birthday Spectacular for Phoebe Anderson is a case in point. Below are my tips and tricks on how to throw a bomb-ass party that you're way too old for. 1. BE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST
If your party is themed and you host in some janky-ass, half thought-out costume, your guests are likely to revolt and change into their civilian clothes immediately upon arrival, defeating the purpose of your party and ruining the birthday girl's life. That's why I cast myself as Romeo from 1996's William Shakespeares's Romeo and Juliet and really went for it. Because Leo is nothing if not androgynous in that movie, it was acceptable for me to keep it girly in the hair/face region. Looking bomb is the first order of business when hosting a themed party that you should have outgrown the need for 15 years ago.
2. DECORATE AS IF IT WERE YOUR OWN WEDDING
The photo above does no justice to the masterpiece that was (still is, I'm not taking it down, not for nobody!) the Wall of Leo. If your party has a theme, your guests should be reminded of it with constant references to that theme. And what better way to do that than checkering your nine foot wall, floor to ceiling, with dozens pictures of Leonardo Dicaprio in various roles and embarrassing photo shoots? It makes a great backdrop for portraits and reminds us of what really matters: his illustrious career as a screen actor.
3. MAKE SURE A BABE IS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
Though Dicaprio was obviously the hot topic of conversation throughout the night, Phoebe was the true belle of this ball. Making sure that she looked ultra babely in her Juliet costume (duh) was essential to making the party legitimate. Phoebe's commitment to authenticity even gave us an option to witness her impersonation of "Crumpleface" Claire Danes for which we have nothing but gratitude.
4. WHERE POSSIBLE, USE PUNS
There are two kinds of people who say they don't like puns: liars and assholes. Both should be avoided as puns are hilarious, relateable, and often relevant at themed parties. Having punny food and beverage names will give your themed party the humor boost it needs (particularly if part of the party includes watching What's Eating Gilbert Grape, a super downer).
Menu Items Included: Whats Eating Gilbert Grape Leaves, The Basketball Dairies (cheese plate), The Great Gatsmeats (meat plate), The Tartanic (a delightful, savory spring vegetable tart I can imagine first class eating aboard the Titanic), and the signature cocktail, Tangs of New York (actually just a greyhound but whatever it was tangy.) Fun puns take a decent party to the next level. Brainstorm accordingly.
5. INVITE AN INAPPROPRIATE FRIEND
Daniela and Phoebe once got to page 60 of a Google search in their hunt for nude photos of Gerard Depardieu, so there are no doubts about her commitment to inappropriate behavior or costumes. She and John came as the big screen's greatest buddy duo, Arnie and Gilbert Grape. It brought an edginess to the party that we wouldn't have had otherwise and I think if Leo could see it, he would have smiled.
6. INVITE ALL YOUR AWESOME FRIENDS
Ultimately, it is people that make a party. And even though some people didn't realize it was a costume party (OR WERE WILLFULLY IGNORANT OF THIS FACT), having funny, awesome people at your party that realize the silliness and joy of a Leonardo Dicaprio-themed party even though we're all pushing 30 (minus Dan, but most of us) is what makes it worth while.
Now if you'll excuse me, there's a Ben Affleck Memorial Day Celebration calling my name.