Archive for May 21st, 2007

Taking That “Perfect” Party Theme One Step Too Far

Monday, May 21st, 2007

This year, February 14th fell on a Wednesday. The following Saturday night, nobody wanted to host an after-the-fact Valentine-themed event. But guess what? It was Chinese New Year! So what was the theme of a party I attended that weekend? You got it – “Welcome: The Year Of The Pig!” (I could not make this stuff up!)

Now… you may be saying, “Uh – were they Chinese?” And the answer is: of course not! They were simply a committee of local party veterans, trying to come up with a theme that hadn’t been done a zillion times before (ie. “April In Paris” or “Autumn Leaves.”)

“Finding a theme” is a job committees fret over much more than do their guests. It is also something which they – in their zeal – occasionally take too far for their particular crowd.

Actually, the Chinese New Year party worked pretty well for most of the night. The decor was colorful and the food sumptuous. The guests, a mature and well-travelled group, were decked out in saris and kimonos purchased in their world-wide treks. It looked like the planning committee had scored a triumph. All their efforts and creativity were really paying off.

But then came the “dragon ceremony,” in which a bunch of young Asian men with drums, bells, and a long undulating cloth “dragon” did the Conga through the crowd. The bells and dragon were fine. But the drums would have been loud – outside. In a medium-sized ballroom, they were deafening. For an older crowd, it was an unfortunate choice. After all, the committee wouldn’t have hired a heavy metal band. And they would never have wanted a Boeing 757 to rev its jets in the ballroom. But if they had, the effect would have been about the same on this audience: 110+ decibels of pain-inducing percussion resulting in massive early departures.

So the next time someone suggests “Chinese New Year” as a theme, survivors of this event will still have a bad taste in their mouth. And that’s a shame. After all, the won-tons were terrific. But next year, let’s skip the tom-toms.