Brad and I have wildly differing tastes. He’s all sci fi, fantasy, first person video games, goblins and zombies, mythology of all sorts, heavy metal, and runes and tarot and the goddess.
I’m all literary fiction, folkish music with smart lyrics, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Northern Exposure, crafting, knitting, bohemian, feminist criticism, agnostic.
Our aesthetic overlaps to a minor extent in that we both think that the way Victorian England & Early America look are neat, and we both like some music that’s been called dark cabaret, or darkwave. We both dig the hell out of Halloween. For him it’s spiritual, for me it’s whimsical.
We agree on some art–generally unusual, stylized work that puts unlikely things together, or that involves intricate depictions of the innards of machines and people.
So we went to Target yesterday and took a gander at the Halloween aisles (which are already polluted with GD Christmas stuff), and Brad found this black death mask that he got for his !!!Halloween Costume!!! because !!We are having a Halloween party!!
This is significant for a number of reasons. Despite that I’ve wanted to go dressed up for Halloween the whole time Brad and I have been together, we never have. We spent our first two, I think, Halloweens handing out Halloween candy with his pagan friends. Last year we planned, but didn’t have, a party with our then-neighbors, the smashing Breons. We had the idea for an awesome event on the same weekend as Colbert & Stewart, so our guest list was appropriated.
Then this morning we were talking about the soundtrack for our Halloween party, and about how we both think that Jill Tracy is pretty boss. And how we should make our playlist all kind of like that naughty, gravelly, neo-cabaret music. So we started using all three of our mobile devices (He has a Droid 2, I have a Droid X and a Galaxy Tab) to go back and forth between Spotify, Last.fm, and YouTube to pick songs.
The songs, apparently, were the easy part–though there’s not quite as much neo-cabaret that sounds spooky as we’d like, we have an adequate list whose seeking gave us both new artists to love. Our music will hopefully be news to some of our guests, but listenable for everybody.
Somehow along the way, we decided we’d like to have a French cabaret themed Halloween party, welcoming costumes from any cultural event or fiction from 1850 to prohibition. We’ll accept costumes from Elizabethan/Renaissance England, too, since Brad’s going to be Black Death.
Then we discussed booze. What should we serve. I went straight to the classic cocktails, whiskey sours, G&T, etc etc. Brad was like, “I don’t think they did cocktails.” I was like, “Wha?!” But then I thought about it, and he’s right. It was probably all wine and straight liquor and maybe mulled wine or hard cider and beer and absinthe.
After about fifty puns about Cabernet (“We should have Cabernet at our Cabaret,” and “We should call our Halloween party Caberet Sauvingnon,”) from Brad, I dove face-first into research about this question, and it’s difficult to find anything out about French cabaret food. Tons and tons of stuff about the art, the performances at cabarets (which was initially just place that served liquor), Montmartre, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Moulin Rouge, etc etc. I learned about the true Bohemians, about the anti-absinthe propaganda, more about the art of the period, and I have a pretty swell idea that Montmartre is a swell place to be now, as it was then (if you were Bohemian or just legitimately middle class or poor).
So now I’m looking into French cuisine/culinary history, and I think take a trip to the actual library, and then I’ll make guesses about what sort of things cabarets fed their patrons. My present feeling is that it was probably pretty unremarkable if several hours perusing the deep and wide annals of the great interwebs yielded so little. Certainly there will be cheese and wine. The rest, however, is yet to be imagined.
So I’m going to make a category for this post, and you can follow the plans and development and decorating. I’m on a pretty tight budget, and would like to devote the best of it to reasonably good food and booze, so I’ll have to be imaginative, and this is the sort of project that makes for good blogging.