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May   2

How Much Is That Doggie At The Showhouse?

PupWhat is it with 4 Stonebridge Road in the estate section of Montclair and dogs?  When we first reported the Junior League of Montclair-Newark had chosen this gorgeous home for its May fundraiser, we ran into the owners’ dog. And at Saturday night’s gala opening, a 12 week old Bichon-Poo  -- described as hypo-allergenic (hair, not fur), gentle, smart, with a promise not to grow bigger than 10 pounds – stole the show at the evening’s live auction. The opening bid of $500 had auctioneer John Terrio refereeing a bidding war that reached $2,000 within seconds. But the Bichon-bidders were just getting started. When the bid reached a whopping $6,000 for the cuddly canine --  upping the prior bid of $5,300 --   the astonished auctioneer paused.  In a brilliant fundraising coup, Terrio looked at the last bidder, saying “you’re going to regret this in the morning”, then asked (we think he knew the answer), “can we get another puppy?” The deal was sealed: two pups for $5,300 each to the final two competing bidders.  The princely pups came with crate, pads, food, and one obedience training class. Total raised at the auction that night: $45,000. Watching the action: Priceless.

Meanwhile, we still have house and garden envy  after our sneak peak tour of the mansion makeover.  After 18 months of planning by the JLMN,  and four months of decorators, builders, painters, plumbers, electricians, and landscapers blitzed the two acre property like guerilla armies, the result is jaw dropping beautiful. Opening today,there are 28 reinvented spaces - each decorator’s resume is a room. You’ll gasp, drool, and smile at spaces which are soooo fun. Our favorite funspace: the Tina Turner themed tub room on three. Predictably, a couple weren’t our style, but what fun is it if you can’t be a little critical?

Leave time for the 16 sumptuously landscaped gardens. Slate patios surrounded by lush flowered beds, a stone fireplace by the pool, water and rockscapes, sculpture, fountains, stone paths to Zen meditation spots. Fortunately most of us have gardens one-hundreth the size, so our dilemma is figuring out what will work for us. We had a bunch of nice pictures to post here, but the JLMN told us no photography allowed.  Here’s my advice: sit outside, dream, and take your camera sketchpads! It's hard to imagine that it all goes away at the end of May. The home tour - and special events – are expected to raise $400,000 for the League’s various charities. For information, 973-746-8500 or click here.

May 2, 2006 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (32)

daily dish

January  29

Safe Landing

Must say, after last night, flying looks a lot better than driving. Andy Foster, owner of Gallery 51 on Church Street, threw a party to mark the end of his exhibit of "Window Seat Photography," photographs all taken by Foster from the window seats of Continental planes. The extraordinary large-format photographs of clouds (some in color, some in black and white), wheat fields (which look just like quilts) and airplane engines (seen from inside) will soon come down off the walls. But if you missed it, we bet Foster will be happy to show the pictures on his own wheat-field size computer monitor, or you might be able to buy one of the 20 catalogues he ordered that didn't come in on time, but which will probably arrive Monday. Gallery 51 is located at 51 Church St., Montclair.

Meanwhile, does anybody know a macher at Continental or the Port Authority who might be able to to take a look at these amazing photos? That's where this display really belongs.

January 29, 2006 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (1)

daily dish

December  25

Ours, Too

Time for complete truthiness: the Barista turns 50 today. She received this sonnet from Mista Barista, which she shares with the assembled. Happy Birthday Jesus and me too. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Kwanzaa the night away.

Sonnet for a Half Century

Fifty's the new thirty
Thirty's the new ten
Prozac's the new 420
Feng shui is the new zen

Rattled's the new Potter
Grand Forks the new Duluth
Gluetrap's the new flyswatter
Fiction's the new truth

Podcast's the new radio
Baghdad's the new Saigon
Wireless the new 'Wired'
Brunette is the new blon

Carpe Diem, seize the day
Nothing old can stay.

No presents please. However, if you can't help yourself, what we really want is for you to pre-order RATTLED so we can see our Amazon ranking creep up from 326,251.

December 25, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (19)

daily dish

July   3

Recipe for a Smash Hit

Younger Pam Satran, the doyenne of the Montclair literati, launched a new book into the world this week. The ultimate middle-aged fairy tale, "Younger" is the story of a 44-year-old suburban divorcee who suddenly finds herself living the life of a 20-something Manhattanite. It's a lot of fun, and so was the way Satran celebrated: inviting 100 or so of her closest friends to a book party and serving a drink of her own invention: called, of course, the Younger.

The recipe is equal parts Raspberry Vodka and Limeade (frozen, reconstituted), with a splash of Chambord, shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass with a pink sugared rim. Middle-aged people who wish to continue acting and feeling middle-aged can do one part vodka to two parts limeade.

Satran also served pink-iced cupcakes and hand-passed hors d'oeuvres, which included diagonally-cut peanut butter-and-jelly quandrants. She signed books in pink ink. This is her third novel in three years and she has another coming next spring.

Despite the rumor that Satran went upstairs and penned two more novels during the party, while all the other writers in Montclair enjoyed the temporary illusion of youth and beauty, we don't really think that's true. We wouldn't put it past her, though, to have written an article for a women's magazine and organized an editors-writers softball game while we were in the bathroom.

July 3, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (0)

daily dish

June  26

The Amazing Bob Has a Bar Mitzvah

Ceremonial_challah_tug_of_war_1 Glen Ridge 13-year-old Ben Gates, known in yo-yo circles as The Amazing Bob, had his Bar Mitzvah yesterday, and the whole affair was so unusual, and so outclassed the usual catering hall extravaganza, that we felt the need to report.

Of course, Ben/Bob did all the usual stuff, chanting Torah and the like, but remarkably he managed to seamlessly slip a yo-yo story into his Dvar Torah -- a perfect illustration for the parsha* he was teaching. And the Torah wasn't just passed down three generations --from a grandparent to parent to the Bar Mitzvah boy -- but four, starting with Ben/Bob's great grandmother.

The reception was an all-you-can-eat sushi fest at Sushi Hana in Montclair, and the entertainment was a yo-yo professional named John Higby, a Jim Carrey look-alike who, with his wife Rebecca, dazzled the crowd with high-energy feats of yo-yo derring do.Yoyo_guy_1

Shown above, the ceremonial challah tug-of-war between siblings, pitting The Amazing Bob against his little brother Evan. The contest is supposed to determine which child will be the most dominant in life. The rabbi pronounced Evan the winner (though it looked like a draw to us). If what the challah says is true, we can't even imagine what that Bar Mitzvah will be like.

*a portion of the Torah, or Jewish Bible, associated with a particular week in the calendar.

June 26, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (1)

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June  25

Baby Boomers Rock Again

Mary_and_meryl The Barista hopes she won't be accused of being an anti-Semite if she confesses that the charms of Bob Dylan are utterly lost on her. Save "Just Like a Woman," which we recognized, all the other songs sounded identical to us, and we fled to the parking lot early to avoid the traffic jam. But we still had fun!

It was, without question, the biggest see-and-be-seen event Baristaville has seen in some time. When we ran into Mary Hickey and Meryl Kramer (above) outside the ladies room, one of them squealed, "Everybody's here!" We heard that a lot, as well as the remark that it was just like college. Unlike concerts at big venues, this intimate little stadium experience guaranteed that you were sure to run into tons of people you knew and in fact it was a lot like one of those Venn diagrams with the overlapping circles.Venn_diagram Local boldface names we saw included Montclair writer-turned-capitalist Don Katz, MEWS captain Pam Satran, Montclair Dylan imitator Bob Mellman and liberal honcho Lucy O'Brien.

To us, the most fun part of the whole deal was enjoying the middle-aged rock concert fashion parade -- and seeing what passes for cool in the 40- and 50-something set.

An endearing little bit of concert behavior happened in the ladies room, when people started passing toilet paper through the line, each person tearing off a suitably-long piece, just "in case" there wasn't any in the stalls. (You hardly ever see this happen at the opera.) And we haven't seen so many tattoos since... well, never. But we suspect those were mainly out of towners.

ConcertAnd, oh, funniest of all. When the opening band, "Green Card," shouted "Hello Little Falls!" -- because Yogi Berra Stadium is, technically, in Little Falls -- there was absolutely no reaction. Little Falls? Where the hell is that? This was a Montclair crowd, and somebody might have tipped off the musicians.

Some great pix of Willie Nelson on this site.

June 25, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (20)

Meanwhile, Back in Glen Ridge ...

Paul Zalewsky snags a picture of Project Graduation in Glen Ridge -- a Pirates of the Caribbean-esque all-night extravaganza financed by endless fundraisers throughout the year. Tonight was graduation.

In addition to graduation and Willie/Bob, the Metropolitan Opera played in Brookdale Park and over at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, they bid farewell to Cantor Jessica Epstein, who resigns her post to become a full-time mommy was snagged by Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston to work part-time. (Lucky them!)

June 25, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (5)

daily dish

June  24

We Were There ... With a Camera

Reader Bruce Goodman summed it up with one Blackberry message: "Writing from the concert. Willy just finished Crazy.....beautiful night. The stadium has confiscated all contraband....no water, food, cameras. Beer is 7 dollars."

Actually, water, food and cameras were confiscated from those who came through the front door. But the nice folks at Floyd Hall Enterprises let the Barista in through a side door and told us we could take all the crowd pix we wanted. Reason for the camera ban: Dylan didn't want his picture taken.

Feet Bandana Christina Fans_with_willie Tattoos Mellman On_the_hill Blurry_dylan_on_the_screen 

June 24, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (5)

daily dish

May  13

The Party Circuit II

Bdsgonewild_2 Baristanet and the Montclair Watercooler hold parties in the same week. Of course, there are the inevitable comparisons:

Egans served great fries at the bar in paper cones and a nice buffet ($20 a person and cash bar; Baristanet party --free food and booze to spare). I was not on the approved, sold-out guest list (Baristanet party -- open to all), but managed to sneak into this private shindig by paying at the door (talk a good game and even riff raff gets in). People were nice, and no one got rowdy (the BDs made sure of it).

CoolerchicksDoor prizes took a while to give out (didn't win any!), but we think goody bags are preferable (no break in the conversation either). Perplexing point of the evening: a speech by the BDs touting the Watercooler as the only forum that exists in town where people can engage in lively debates (we beg to differ). Party head count -- about 100 -- banded together to celebrate five years of the Watercooler (close to 200 at Baristanet party, for an almost one-year celebration, but who's counting). High point of the evening -- chocolate bread pudding from Linda Ippolito (we want the recipe) and an array of treats from Nickey Mesiah (cupcakes!). Cupcakes Colorful characters present? Well they didn't have Dick Grabowsky, but Raymmondo held court and we got some good scoop about liquor licenses from the town clerk Linda Wanat. Also enjoyed hanging with some party girls. Ran a tab at the bar, but forgot to cash out or pick up my credit card. Came back the next day and the nice folks at Egan's didn't charge me. I'll be back to tip the bartender...

And because we like those Watercooler folks (even though we know we get under their skin) we've even posted pictures. Happy Birthday Watercooler, and by all means, keep up those lively discussions!!!

May 13, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (13)

daily dish

May  12

The Party Circuit

Tulips_1 Snuck into two parties last night. The first, at Montclair's Art Museum, was the opening of "Art In Bloom." Besides art donated to the museum which will be bid on at a live auction Saturday night (can someone buy me Bud McNichol's stunning tulips, pretty please!), the star of this event is an exhibition featuring floral interpretations of famous signature pieces, including those by Edward Hopper and George Inness. Head over to the museum this weekend to view a variety of inspired works, including the aptly-named "Breast"...


May 12, 2005 in Parties We Crashed | Permalink | Comments (2)

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