birthday weekend the second

Last night was the final evening of my annual three-day birthday weekend. I started drinking on Thursday at midnight, at Brennan’s, at the turtle races. I finished by doing a few too many shots to celebrate at my own party last night. And every damn year, I swear, I am not going to get ridiculously drunk at my own house party -slash- BBBQ. And then every year I do. Oops.

Yesterday, despite what should have been a terrible hangover from margaritas and mojitos, I was actually bouncy. And so, I bounced into the passenger seat of my guy roomate’s Scion as we set out to run party-related errands. Starting with the Santa Monica Airport Farmer’s Market, of course. “I need mint for the juleps, and okra for the gumbo,” I told him, and that’s what we got: enough mint to make juleps and mojitos, and some of the biggest, juciest okra I’ve ever seen for the gumbo. We went to Costco for rice and Tabasco, bananas, rum and vodka. We went to Trader Joe’s for snacks and bourbon, and Ralph’s for ice and charcoal. It takes a lot of material to throw a good party.

Four hours later, I had gallons of gumbo simmering on the stove, complete with real crayfish and I was well into my first hurricane. My friend Keith, one of the New Orleans crew, had brought crayfish and hurricanes to add the finishing touches to the theme. And just then, the guests started to pour in, the mojitos had to be mixed, and the shots started materializing for the birthday people: me, my friend Jeff, and another friend, Ted.

I did remember to eat this year, which was fortunate, because that’s what saved me. Last year, I totally forgot to eat at my own BBQ. This year, I made sure to eat a bowl of the gumbo. But in between the hurricanes, the mojitos, and Jeff’s signature shots (“Jefe Bombs”), I was a little too drunk by the time it was dark. But hey, it was a New Orleans themed party, and overindulgence and gluttony, of food and alcohol, are the signature of the city.

Finally, it was time to serve the bananas flambe, the dessert I almost didn’t make due to intoxication. It was baked bananas with butter and sugar and cinnamon, splashed with Bacardi and set on fire with a flaming teaspoonful of Bacardi 151 drizzled over the surface. It burns for a few seconds, looks very cool, and then is extremely tasty served with ice cream. And once I knew all the guests were happy eating dessert, I was able to go get dressed for Part Two of the evening: Field Trip to Bar Sinister.

One thing I unfortunately hadn’t realized was that most of the party attendees haven’t ever seen me in anything vaguely goth club compatible. And I had been wearing an aqua tank top with a white cotton prarie skirt. So when I reappeared in a miniskirt, exposed cleavage, fishnets and spike-heeled, pointy-toed knee high boots, with extra-dramatic eye makeup (thanks to Wendy), it was a shock. And I got one of two reactions: disdain and teasing, or lust and leering. And I wasn’t amused by either. But it took so long for the rest of the girls to get ready that I found myself prancing around in stilettos for almost an hour before we finally managed to figure out who was sober enough to drive loads of drunk people out to Hollywood.

We got to the club just before midnight, and as we walked in, I recognized the bass line and drum beat and squealed, “Depeche Mode!” in pure happiness. It was the tail end of “Personal Jesus”. We checked in at the door, as my birthday party, and walked into the open atrium at the front of the club just as the song changed, and I immediately recognized the opening percussion line of “Kiss Them For Me”.

My whole group looked up. “Jillian! They’re playing your song!” said Wendy and Zeenath, almost in unison. And I grinned. It was my song, it was my night, and I was so happy to be there. We ended up with eight people, an almost even girl-guy split in our group, and I just danced as much as I could. I remember hearing VNV Nation and Assemblage 23 and more Depeche Mode (I think it was “Barrel of a Gun”) and bouncing around to “Head Like a Hole”, and then, suddenly, it was two hours later and the lights were on and it was time to pile into a car and go home.

So all in all, it was a wonderful birthday weekend. I even managed to recover quickly from today’s hangover episode, with the help of New Orleans style cures: extra-spicy virgin Bloody Marys and cup after cup of the Cafe du Monde cafe au lait. And after an hour of cleaning to Depeche Mode 101, I couldn’t even feel the hangover at all, which is a miracle in itself, because I was absolutely blitzed last night. And with a successful party, at which I managed not to set anything on fire (despite playing with flaming rum while completely drunk), I’d have to say that my twenty-seventh birthday has gone off wonderfully.

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