Friday, March 18, 2011

Ready for a Glee-ful Weekend

The big weekend is here, the one that we've been anticipating since last fall's school auction: we're co-hosting the annual neighborhood Cocktail Crawl. Since straightforward would be way too easy for an event as manic as our public school auction, there's another layer of complexity on top: each of the four stops on the tour has a TV show theme, and victims - I mean, auction bid winners - will face a challenge peculiar, and I do mean peculiar, to that show.

Since  some of our twenty-two high rollers are Normalarkey readers, I don't want to give too much away. But things will kick off at Survivor Island, hosted by our friends Jenn and Tom who, conveniently, have an extremely long, extremely steep driveway. (Whenever I drive our kids up it to pick up or drop off a child, my daughter shields her eyes with a forearm until I set the parking brake.) Have fun getting through whatever obstacles the faux Probst and his Aussie medic sidekick set up for you along the slope, winners.

After refreshments that carry on the Survivor theme (someone always feasts, and someone is always famished on that show, right?) the Crawlers will be off to the Mad Men house, hosted by Andrea and Neil. This year's party planning was a challenge for them, what with Don and Betty splitting up on the last season of the show. However, appearances are appearances and Betty will once again be greeting her visitors at the front door with a freshly ironed hostess apron and crispy beehive, while Don mixes martinis and grimaces in the background. The challenge revolves around advertising copy. Can you finish this jingle?  "Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a bit of that…" And no, it isn't "football cream."

Third stop on the route is Top Chef, where minivan-driving Dawn and her husband Patrick will be fulfilling hair follicle fantasies in a long black wig (for Padma) and bald cap (for Tom) respectively. The sous chef relay challenge will undoubtedly be made more interesting by the fact that the cheftestants will be at least two cocktails in at that point, hence the "no knives" rule.

Finally, the weary crawlers clomp on over to our house, which will be transformed for the evening into William McKinley High School, home of Glee. I'm not saying much about what we plan to put the revelers through, because my alter-ego Coach Sylvester will do it for me tomorrow night. With a bullhorn. And venomous wit. And sticks. Andrew will be appearing in a sweater vest for the second time in his life (last year's Crawl being the first.)

Why do I bore you with all these party details? Because this week, pink slips went out to one fifth of Oakland public school teachers - including two teachers out of 11 at our elementary school - in order to prepare for an anticipated loss of $30 million from state coffers, a loss of $900 in state funding per student. Given that California already ranked 43rd in the nation on per-pupil spending, we seem to be locked in a race to the bottom. Eat our dust, Arizona!

While there's a chance that teachers could be rescinded if a more favorable budget agreement is reached by May 15, there's no guarantee. And even if teachers are spared (and let's do all we can to make it so,) funding for other programs like art, PE, and computers are sure to be cut. Once again, parents are going to have to fill the gaps to fund quality public education in our city.

So take this Cocktail Crawl idea, run with it, improve upon it, make it your own (we've considered choosing shows from the '70s for next year's party. I am SO going to be Maude.) Turn it into a moneymaker for a local school - not a bad outcome on a night that is so absurdly fun.

And in gratitude to our Crawlers for opening their wallets so generously to bid last fall, I am leaving you a musical hint. This is the one Journey song that is guaranteed NOT to figure into your Glee challenge. Enjoy it, and the fact that while air guitar lives on, the mullet/sideburn combo worn by Steve Perry has mostly fallen out of favor. Except maybe in Arizona.


  1. Dude. I will give 1/16th of my 401K to any Crawler that shows up in white pumps and nylons.

    Well said, my friend. Looking forward to hosting another successful event so that next year we can potentially fund running water for our school.

  2. It would be awesome if we could also cover heat for all rooms, including the portables. Don't stop believin'!

  3. Okay, I'm still laughing. Nothing says eighties like a leather skirt paired with cheap white pumps. Gotta love it! How is it that a band as big as Journey had no budget for a decent video?

    Good luck this weekend. I love your crawl idea and hope to steal it for our auction next year. Your school is lucky to have all of you! Louisa

  4. Color just painted on all my nails? "Vodka and Caviar". If only life were like nail polish...maybe after several rounds of vodka cockytails the crawlers will feel flush enough to bid even higher for it next year.

  5. Have fun. Sounds like a blast. This year ousd, next year mandatory home schooling! Won't that be fun.

  6. At your house, JT? Awesome, thanks for offering!

    BTW, does anyone know why the woman in the white pumps is so PISSED? Maybe it's the shoes. Or the inverted pyramid hairstyle.


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