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The downtown dandies converged upon the Old City Jail Thursday night for what was dubbed The Red Party, a scintillating color block soiree hosted by the American College of the Building Arts. The invitation called for a masked affair, a self-consciously artsy edict that sent patrons to both the craft store and the costume shop—or so I thought. Alas, only a quarter of the guests participated in the parade of paper faces.

Where as visages were concealed, bodies were revealed. One voluptuous form was poured into a black latex gown, another cinched in with a lace corset—it was an all around embrace of “anything goes.” Tis the season, n’est pas?

A gaggle of artsy girls wore cocktail frocks. Jackets-and-jeans suited the sensible set. One six-foot queen commanded a regal berth on account of her oversized aura and shuttlecock plumage. And then there was a faction of folks who would have fainted at the mere idea of toe cleavage. Somehow the melange ensemble worked.

The behavioral pendulum swung from buttoned up to “look at me” as the crowd consumed copious amounts of kettle korn, Ketel One, and Kayne—a dangerous recipe for a party required to end at 10 p.m. (noise ordinance).

From the cupcakes and table linens to the lighting and apparel, the décor was rooted in all-things-red. Perhaps no more so than the dance floor, which was hot-hot-hot (minus the awkward gyrations of the human Lego, which, to his credit, was painted red).

A caped gentleman infused in the affair with an unsettling Stanley Kubrick-meets-Bohemian Grove vibe, but a wandering Pope wearing claret-colored loafers offered dispensation to anyone brave enough to sip from his Masonic-chalice-come-pimp-cup. Even those iconic figures of disillusionment—Santa and the Queen of Hearts—came out to play.

If prizes had been awarded to the most cleverly festooned guests, surely the dance floor dynamo wearing red Hanes briefs—on his head—would have given the fez a run for its Dirham.

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