A Brief History of Epic Parties: Reading List

The following reading list comes courtesy Michelle Legro, editor at Lapham’s Quarterly.

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No doubt you are on your way to one right now: an epic party, a night to end all nights. But will your epic party be as legendary as those thrown attended by Truman Capote, Cher Horowitz, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Belfort, Silvio Berlusconi, or the kids from Saturday Night Fever?

1.  “The Great Fratsby” (Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, December 2013)

While Jay Gatsby may have spent lavishly, in the end he did it for love;  in Martin Scorese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort does it all for the money.

2. “Suck and Blow: The Oral History of the Clueless Party Scene” (Jen Chaney, New York magazine, December 2013)

Before we were rolling with the homies, director Amy Heckerling had to figure out if Cher Horowitz would totally gag if she had to go to a party in the Valley.

3.  “The Best Night $500,000 Can Buy” (Devin Friedman, GQ, September 2012)

The hottest club in Las Vegas has Italian princes, ten-thousand dollar tables, a champagne fairy, air of pure oxygen, and you’re not invited.

4. “Basta Bunga Bunga” (Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, June 2011)

The era of Berlusconi may be at an end, but the legend of this  Italian version of Benny Hill will never be forgotten, nakedly chasing after topless nymphettes while running the country into the ground.

5. “A Night to Remember” (Amy Fine Collins, Vanity Fair, July 1996)

Truman Capote kept telling people that he was going to invite everybody to his party at the Plaza Hotel in November of 1966. Guests were required to wear only two colors, black and white, to mirror the ascot races in My Fair Lady. Masks were to be worn by all upon entry and  removed only at midnight.

6. “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” (Nik Cohn, New York magazine, 1976)

By day, Vincent sold paint in a Bay Ridge hardware store; by night he was the best disco dancer in all of New York City. And in 1977, he would be played on screen by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Cohn, meanwhile, later admitted to making most of the story up.