Perhaps the biggest brain-suck, outside of a concerted binge of Korean language study, was the preparation for our Funky President Potluck, a joint party with our upstairs neighbors, which went over like an assassinated Garfield last Saturday night.
The theme of the party was naughty depictions of presidents, and we took this to an extreme of nerdy craftiness. Jenny got the idea of cutting out the heads of presidents and pasting them on dirty pictures, and this grew into an extended effort of finding appropriate matches and cutting and pasting, then putting each naughty pic behind a legit portrait of said president. Some were fairly obscene — Clinton got a bukkake, Reagan got turned into a Mapplethorpe self-portrait (warning: very graphic!) — but for the most part they were a lesser order of naughty, like Pierce as a member of KISS or Nixon as Mao or Bush Sr. as the soldier pulling Saddam out of the hole in the ground. But there were 43 of these bastards (Cleveland counted as two different presidents because of his non-contiguous terms), and it took a while.
We also put up red-white-and-blue bunting and showed video of Nixon looking sweaty and grim, with the sound off, and played lots of James Brown and lots of president-themed songs I found on the Internet. And then there was the preparation of president-themed foods, which included beef (McKinley), chili (Bush Jr.), ketchup and cottage cheese (Nixon), peanut soup (Carter) and Kenyan beef casserole (the McKleinfelds' optimistic homage to Barack Obama). There was also 잡채 (japchae), a Korean concoction of bean-thread noodles, vegetables and ample sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. (A caricature of Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was quickly printed and affixed.) Lem showed up with a bottle of Pernod, which is not related to any president, and Paul the Muppeteer arrived without any food or drink at all, but having just spent the last week memorizing the names and dates of all the presidents, just for the heck of it. (He works for Sesame Street and has actually been to Mr. Hooper's store, which I find just astonishingly cool.) Tom from the Steve Harrison campaign came by and told me a story I hadn't heard, which was that when Bill Clinton recorded my phone script, he was doing so from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas at two in the morning.
The party was a great success, with the upstairs apartment (designated Camp David) serving as a quiet space for people to retreat to when they wanted more intimate conversation, while our own apartment provided the main space where the food and drinks were served. It was nice to have a party big enough to fragment into sections, because that way you can drift in and out of conversations and groups over the course of the night. Our apartment isn't well set up for that, with its long living/dining room, but our two apartments work nicely.
This will not be the last joint party at the Court Street Castle. If nothing else, we're thinking of a reprise of this weekend's party with a dictator party next year.