Thursday, December 8, 2011

Throw Down: Flashdance Electric Boogaloo

Linda Lea and Kristen as
Jem and evil Jericho
All right kids, it's it's time to take a trip to the golden age of dance movies: the 1980's. This party is inspired by Flashdance - everyone's favorite story about a girl who can handle a welding torch AND dance like a maniac - and Electric Boogaloo - everyone's favorite breakdance movie.  This party is an homage to neon fabric, teased-out hair, mesh half-shirts and pop rocks. For everyone my age, this is a chance to embrace the fashions we spent elementary school lusting after. For everyone younger, you already shop at American Apparel, so your costume is probably lying in a pile of clothes on the floor of your room.

From decking your hall on the cheap to feeding your guests and keeping them popping and locking all night, we have got you covered. Click here for an instant 80's dance party playlist, and click here for a photo gallery of costume ideas.

Now, there's nothing wrong with throwing an 80's party in the comfort of your own home. You will not be the first to do so! Nor the last! But for this very special party, I rented a very special venue - as I did for my Summer of Sam party. It's not as crazy as it seems! I asked for a $5 donation at the door, which covered the cost of the hall, and then I provided all the food and drink. If this still sounds way too spendy, consider having a combined birthday party with a few friends where you split the cost of food and drink. It's like, so totally worth it.

Working the Door
In my article here I talk about how to give your guests a stellar first impression and make them feel instantly welcome - including the instant camera I recommend you use. For this party, I asked friends in groups of three to work the door for me for one half hour spell during the night. One person greeted and hung coats, one person collected the cash, and one person snapped polaroid pictures.

To - quite literally - sweeten the deal, once a guest dropped off their donation, they could grab a packet of pop rocks, a handful of reece's pieces, or a star wars party hat.

Thank you mom, for storing all of my childhood belongings!

I do all my calendar shopping a week after January 1. This
Michael Jackson calendar was such a find! I dare you to find
a cheaper way to decorate.
The Party Room

The party took place in a big square room. The dance floor was in the center, loosely marked off by the four main support columns in the building, which were strung up with colored fairy lights. Guests entered the hall from the bottom center of the square.

To the right of the entrance, we set up two long tables and chairs with white fairy lights above for better illumination.

To the left of the entrance, we built a movie pod. Luckily, I know someone who let me borrow her projector - those things are crazy expensive! We projected movies silently onto a white sheet, which was strung up about four feet from the back wall. The cool thing about the projection is that you can see it on either side of the sheet - you can dance along with Flashdance, Rocky Horror style, or you can sit behind the screen on one of the couches and make up your own dialogue. Inside the pod, we set up living room furniture, favorite 80's games like Mousetrap, and I borrowed a tv and a set of retro Atari games.

Ironically, the camera flash is making it impossible to see
Flashdance . . . but I can assure you, it's behind me.

Throughout the night we screened movies like Flashdance, Electric Boogaloo, Labyrinth and Ghostbusters. To protect the projector, which was out by itself on a little pillar to the left of the dance floor, I flanked it with the food tables, set up in a big El.

In the back left corner of the room, we set up the bar, and a table with wine and premade cocktails was on the wall opposite the entrance - just to keep traffic jams at the bar to a minimum.

Joey surprised me/made my night by throwing on a pair of
roller skates and popping Xanadu into the stereo. This is our
spontaneous performance piece, which Joey called,
"Xanadon't" after he fell flat on the floor.
 Sample Menu
This menu was inspired by childhood comfort food and popular 80's fads. We served up mac & cheese, pigs in blankets, and peanut butter popcorn. Best of all, my awesome cousin Lauren made me a birthday cake out of Hostess cupcakes.

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