One of the great tragedies of growing older is that reasonable excuses to throw on a costume (and then venture out in public) grow fewer and further between. Having learned this sad truth, I would sooner die than pass on the costume portion of a “costumes encouraged” affair. Ergo, Saturday afternoon saw me applying blue eye shadow with abandon, donning a ruffled wrap number I swiped from my mom’s closet of hippie/disco/shoulder-padded castoffs many years ago, and cursing the fact that nowhere, not even in the depths of the bathroom drawer where my old makeup goes to die, could I find a tube of white lipstick. Sigh.
The costumes-encouraged affair in question was “The Magic of Motown: CASA Rocks the Coral,” a benefit for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Barbara County, an organization that does some truly critical work, advocating for abused and neglected children. Right there on the invite, it read, ” ’60s and ’70s attire encouraged” (conveniently, I received the invitation with plenty of time to get over the fact that I still hadn’t had the broken heel on my platform go-go boots repaired), and, after gaining entree to the Coral Casino’s sun-soaked patio and scanning the scene, it became abundantly clear that I am not the only one with a fetish for playing dress-up. Oh wait.
I stepped into a sea of Pucci print and platforms, go-go boots and leisure suits. Santa Barbara Breakers coach Curt Pickering was decked out as Fletch and looked to measure approximately 6’9″ with the Afro (that this is more ’80s than ’70s is wholly forgiven), and some guy even came dressed as The Palm. He was a dead ringer, too. Cocktail hour lingered, which was just fine, as to waste even a minute of that perfect evening sunshine would have been a sin. Eventually, alfresco mingling gave way to dinner and a live auction, and then, the evening’s highlight, “Children Helping Children”: a performance from Duke Ellington’s School of the Art’s high school students, whose electric presence was a treat to behold. And then, it was time to hit the dance floor-and a race to the finish.
Who would prevail: the party, or the eye shadow?