They had us at "stilts." Yes, at the massive Forbidden City New Year's Eve party, sexy "stilt twins" will high-step their way through the crowd. Aerial silk dancers will weave overhead, FLY Dance Company will deliver hip-hop moves, pyrotechnic dancers will spin flames, and Las Vegas-style showgirls will sail over the party on swings. Oh, yeah, and there will be drinks and dancing, too. Yes, this is happening in Houston. Don't believe it? Then go check out the 13,000-square-foot heated tent -- complete with hardwood floors, luxury bathrooms and an adjacent patio and garden -- already erected in Upper Sam Houston Park. The folks behind Forbidden Cities -- who have thrown similar parties in Ibiza and London -- have turned the inside into a veritable tour du monde. The Ming Path leads guests into the Maya Bar, the Assyria Bar, the Macedonia Garden, the Zulu Lounge and the Sparta Lounge. Three separate music areas will feature DJs Dan-knee and Kleancutt, DJ Baby Jae and the Chad, and DJs Nando and Skinner.
VIP guests (read: those willing to pay more) get to lounge on beds in the Roman and Persian rooms while enjoying complimentary cocktails, sushi and Thai massage. Why not spend the last of 2004 in a fantasyland? At the end of the night, the fireworks will go off, and the confetti will fall. Then we'll wake up and be in Kansas again. 8 p.m. Friday, December 31. 1000 Bagby (at Lamar). For information and tickets, call 713-691-0195 or visit www.forbiddencities.com. $35 to $200. -- Julia Ramey
STIRRED AND SHAKEN
The Twelve Spot's Wild Turkey and 7
It all started when I slipped on the wet kitchen floor at work and collided with a waiter known as Skippy. We were on the floor, sprawled out on our backs among the debris from the glasses he'd been carrying. I realized his shoe was wedged in my armpit, which didn't really bother me, but the shrapnel from a martini glass lodged in my ear was beginning to hurt. The chef ran over to us and told us to stop screwing around and get back to work. Two days later, I ambled in looking like Vincent van Gogh and filled out some insurance paperwork. My co-worker, who didn't suffer a scratch, asked if he could buy me a drink. "Payback's a bitch, but it's a start," I said. "Meet me at the Twelve Spot [218 Travis, 713-222-1962] when you're through with work." Skippy showed up three hours later with a couple of tall, striking women he introduced as "health care professionals." By this time I had a river of Wild Turkey and 7s flowing through my arteries. My ear was sore as hell, but at least the alcohol gave me the giggles. We laughed about the incident until I was doubled over on my barstool. The combination of painkillers and booze had hit me all at once. Skippy stayed behind while the ladies escorted me to a taxi.
2 ounces Wild Turkey bourbon
Splash 7-Up (or Sprite)
Measure out booze into a cool old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Top off with 7-Up. Enjoy slowly. Not recommended with prescription drugs. -- J.W. Crooker Hoppin' Party
You've done the naked, frat-style house-party thing for New Year's Eve one too many times. So this year, if you want your NYE entertainment a bit more refined, throw on your hottest threads and show up at Grasshopper. The nightspot that celebrates all things Euro will feature free-flowing champagne, live showgirls and casino tables (and even free chips for you cheapskates). There'll be a raffle for prizes including a Las Vegas getaway, and at midnight, as the balloons drop, a bagpiper will play "Auld Lang Syne." Party like an international jet-setter at 8 p.m. Friday, December 31. 506 Main. For information and advance tickets, call 713-222-1442 or visit www.grasshopperhouston.com. $15 in advance. -- Steven Devadanam
You'll Love the '80s
Looking back, 1989 wasn't that bad a year for music. Yeah, you had Kaoma's "Lambada," but that was countered with the Pixies' "Monkey Gone to Heaven." It was also the year of the B-52's "Love Shack" and Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." If you're feeling the retro love, share it tonight at Union Bar with Back to the Future's "Party Like It's 1989" New Year's Eve event. DJs Baby Roo, Jeff, Salucema and the Cheesy Cracka Collective will serve up the retrofied hits that'll have you dancing faster than a coked-up DeLorean. (Look it up, kiddos.) Partiers 21 and older are invited at 9 p.m. Friday, December 31. 202 Tuam. For information, visit www.unionbarandlounge.com. $10. -- Travis Ritter