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By the time I was stumbling around the kitchen looking for a corkscrew to open the bottle of Francis Coppola wine I swiped off the massive table o' alcohol on the covered patio, the New Year's Eve party at Sam and George Cole's house was already another one for the ages.
Since 1999, the Coles, along with four of their friends, have been acting like Kid 'n Play and throwing their own annual house party. It's been picking up steam with each passing year, partly because the Coles, twin scenester brothers who are both bartenders at Taco Milagro (2555 Kirby), have no trouble getting the word out. Th ey started printing flyers right after Thanksgiving, and Sam even got a couple of plugs in while he was helping out on KPFT's Rad Rich's Rock & Roll Revue.
Theirs is a New Year's Eve party for people who hate New Year's Eve parties -- or at least the flashy, expensive ones. While people all over the city were getting dolled up and heading to an expensive club or ballroom, a gaggle (that's right, I said gaggle) of people showed up -- some in three-piece suits straight out of the Game Show Network, some in their bummy-casual best -- at this northwest Houston home for a free bash.
"Part of its success was just that there wasn't much going on anywhere else," says Sam. "These people are young -- from the art scene, the rock and roll scene -- and nobody wanted to pay $40 to go to a club."
Guests crammed every inch of the property. Parked cars lined the streets for three solid blocks. Forgive the name-dropping, but here's a partial list of the notable folks in the crowd: Paesanos Lounge(213 Milam) band battle-winner Filthy McNasty and members of his group; Fitzgerald's (2706 White Oak) booker Lara Lowery, who, thanks to a little friend named Heineken, made sure to notify me that I better spell her name right this time; and numerous folks from the Art Car Museum and Infernal Bridegroom Productions. There were also a few faux celebs scattered about: Two dudes in blonde and brunette wigs were walking around claiming to be Hall and Oates, but their shaggy wigs made them look more like Starsky and Hutch.
People were dancing in the living room area to '80s mix CDs, with the occasional break for Khia's "My Neck, My Back." Former Japanic vocalist Margeaux Cigainero decked out the food table with salsa, buffalo wings and a bread bowl filled with this tangy spread that she simply must give me the recipe for. Some cats from Saint Arnold rolled out a couple of kegs. The red-lit den was transformed into a "freak-on room" -- occasionally the scene for private matters between guests.
Sam prides himself on the party's harmony. "With that mix, that diversity and stuff, everyone gets along," he says. "There's no fights or anything whatsoever. Everyone is there just to have a good time."
Unfortunately, all this came to an abrupt end at 2:13 a.m., when Sam killed the music and started telling guests to leave. The police had arrived and told attendees that cars would be towed if they didn't disperse. It took an hour to get what the cops estimated to be 200 people out of there, and people continued to arrive into the wee hours of the morning. There were of course a few cries of "Fascism!" and "Man, Sam and George suck!" when the party closed up shop early, but most people seemed to leave the event jazzed, stoked and optimistic. When was the last time you attended a party -- especially a New Year's party -- that did all that?
Of course, the day after was another story. Sam must have felt like Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, taking in the strewn beer cans, discarded panties and pizza revolving on the turntable, wandering around muttering "What the fuck?" to himself. Luckily, brother George and his fellow party co-conspirators were there to aid in the cleanup.
All in all, it was a truly successful evening, which explains why the Coles' New Year's extravaganza is becoming a tradition. But Sam says the show may have outgrown its home -- his home. Neighbors have finally had their fill of the throwdown, and Sam and his crew are eyeing The Proletariat (903 Richmond) for next year. (The spot will get a test run when Sam and his brother have their birthday party there on January 25.) But rest assured, the Coles will have a party on December 31 somewhere. Just watch for the flyers.
The clock has officially turned over to a new year, and you know what that means It's time to go to the Roxy (5851 West Alabama) and pick up a new "Ladies of the Roxy" calendar. Yes, the enterprising boys at southwest Houston's favorite booty-checking playpen have rustled up another gallery of finely honed honeys to guide you through the year. And for all the brothas out there, there's even a black girl this time around! Happy new year, people!
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