I did it! I made it to 40! I feel so feted. As many of you probably know, I love a good theme party. In Austin I used to host a Weenie Roast (get your mind out of the gutter, we just grilled hot dogs and sausages), and in DC my most memorable Christmas party was “Deck the Balls,” a pot luck in which everyone had to bring ball-shaped foods. For my milestone birthday I thought, we have to do a costume party, because I believe every party should be a costume party, but how about one that’s reminiscent of the glory days …. the first formative parties of my youth — MIDDLE SCHOOL MIXERS.
This past weekend, to mark the 4-0, two dozen friends flew in from seven different cities to join my LA homies for totally rad bash, HU40: The Sixth Grade Mixer. (That is, my sixth grade year, so 1994-1995). The period-specific details that friends worked into their costumes absolutely bowled me over: Puka shell bracelets, yin yang chokers, backwards hats, beanies, leather backpack purses, bucket hats, brown lipstick, heavy eyeliner, scrunchies, Doc Martens, a “They Might Be Giants” t-shirt, a Nirvana t-shirt, a Rage Against the Machine t-shirt, a DARE hat, a sunflower dress, the list goes on. I wore a cropped argyle sweater vest with a plaid skirt, knee high socks and Mary Janes, but the real piece de resistance was the wide headband that I used to make that hair bump in the front.
We. Had. So. Much. Fun.
The DJ played all the hits. Wilson Phillips. UB40’s Red Red Wine. A lot of Ace of Base. Rump Shaker. And then my unstoppable, ridiculously talented friend and work spouse for life, Matt Thompson, worked it out with the DJ to break out a serenade-turned-group-sing of “Hold My Hand,” by Hootie and the Blowfish. Yes, yes, it happened. He put his whole heart into it.
How long it had been since all of us have been together, and then to be able to sing together, too? It felt like a dream. Then, just as the party was wrapping up, the lights went out in the bar and on the entire block of Abbott Kinney (Venice’s storied and most famous street). Partygoers paid their final tabs by handwriting credit card numbers on Sharpie-drawn forms. What luck though, that the lights went out just as the party was ending instead of the other way around.
Later in the weekend the out of towners joined in for K-town KBBQ (divine), we did “squad fitness” with a hike in Brentwood followed by a trip to the Goop store (an unconventional stop on an LA tour). We have been eating and imbibing and catching up nonstop. No fights broke out, no one got injured, no one got stopped and questioned at the airport (which happened in Costa Rica after my 30th). A success all around.
I am full of gratitude and love and the deepest affection. My squad is the best squad. I’ve added a few photos from photographer Callie Biggerstaff but will update when more are edited and ready.