Darkest Hour stands apart from more routine historical dramas.
Dina Martina shows you how to organize, glamorize, accessorize, extemporize and festivize for Oscar. (photo by David Belisle)
A year later, Dina Martina is back to remind you of how you can make this year's Oscar festivities the most memorable ones of the year!
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It's all about the party, people. This year, once again, I have turned to one of my eldest and dearest friends in the biz that we call show, the sparkling professional veteran entertainer Dina Martina (freshly returned from a USO Tour of P-Town), for party tips, decorating pointers, fashion commands and recipe notions. The GLAAD Media Award-nominated celebrity for Best Person in an Off-Off-Broadway Show (because she is glad, for "Dina Martina: Sedentary Lady"), Dina Martina can always be relied upon to present the finest advice in your area. Ladies and Gentlemen, the act you've known for all these years: The Oscar expertise goes to... Ms. Dina Martina!
* * * Dina Martina: Your Haute Guide to Entertaining Oscar-Style! * * *
by Dina Martina
It is now a very short time before the
2007th 2008th annual Academy Awards telecast graces billions of tiny silver screens around the world, and I'm as antsy as a kid in a china shop. I've made quite a reputation for myself over the years as a hostess who throws parties, and I'd love to share with you some of the finer points of how to throw an Academy Awards party that will leave your guests talking all the way through the Barbara Walters Special. Ready? Here goes!
1) Plastic Surgery.
All the stars are doing it (heck, Kenny Rogers is doing it and doing it and doing it), so why not you? I say, treat your face like you’d treat the fabled Red Carpet – remove the unsightly wrinkles by pulling it nice and tight before your guests arrive. Below the neck, however, I’m going against the grain this year by foregoing the requisite liposuction. All the other girls can be underfed fish in big ponds, but not me; I’m getting a tummy augmentation! The only way to stand out in sea of skin and bones is to fight lank with lard, and if it means I’ll be noticed -- and remembered -- I’ll be proud to resemble the Hindenburg, surrounded by skeletal, radio tower-looking waifs. Goodbye size 2, hello sleep apnea!
Dina Martina, America's Sedentary Lady of Technicolor, Alive! In Performance.
2) Host your own "Red Carpet" segment on the front lawn.
Surprised? Excited? Confused? Well, my friend, studies reveal that the red carpet segment is everyone's fave part of the show anyway, and since I began including this Oscar staple in my party plan, attendance has steadily increased each year by an average of .8%! It makes your guests feel truly glamorous, and your PHQ (Party Host Quotient) just goes bonkers! But before you freak out over just how to successfully pull off this crucial portion of your gala, let me first plant a few seeds in your cranny regarding what I refer to as "RCNs," or Red Carpet Necessities:
Dina Martina's double-sided picture disc single of "The President's Day Song"/"The Ballad of St. Patrick" with a bullet. It's never too late, or too early, to play for your guests at Oscar time. In fact, it's just right.
* The Red Carpet: What’s a red carpet segment without the carpet? A sidewalk segment; no glamour there, folks. Every detail of your red carpet must be absolutely perfect, and no scrimping will do, because what you're investing in is the most glamorous welcome mat in the world! This year I’m bucking the usual trend of the no-pile red carpet; I searched high and low for the longest, thickest, most luxurious red shag that money can buy (a 3- to 5-inch pile is preferable to hide candy wrappers, nutshells and cigarette butts). A lush pile will also prove to be your best friend when ladies snag a heel and “bite it”; they'll have something soft on which to land and therefore be less likely to pursue litigation. Be sure to have a hot, wet rag close-by to rub out any make-up smears in case of facial impact. Final word: RED. Don’t try to fight the establishment too much by going with another color or – GASP! – an off-white berber. What’s a Red Carpet segment without the red? A carpet segment. You might as well call it a carpet remnant. No thank you.
* Klieg lights: They're not just for Hollywood premieres anymore! Expensive, you say? Maybe so, but well worth every thousand dollars! Don't make the same mistake I made a few years ago by attempting to achieve the same effect on the cheap: While setting up my very first red carpet walkway, I parked my car up on the curb in a perpendicular fashion, with my headlights beaming toward the crimson promenade. I now insist on renting klieg lights for two reasons: First, automobile headlights just don't make the grade for adequate lighting, and secondly, the back 12 feet of my 22-foot-long Country Squire station wagon was taken off by a passing bus. Make sure to rent three klieg lights— two for the parking strip out front and one for the living room, so the glamour doesn't stop at the front door.
* Fashion Commentary: Don't bother with greeting your guests and commenting on their attire as they stride up the Great Red Way, as you'll be too busy attending to details inside! Before your first guests arrive, simply set up a spare TV and VCR on the front lawn, pop in a video loop of The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, and let the Rivers gals do the rest! I find that fashion commentary is best left to the experts, anyway. You should, of course, take an occasional peek through the blinds to catch the noteworthy juxtaposition of your glamorous guests arriving against the boldly dramatic backdrop of Joan and Melissa, emoting their way through all of Beverly's Hills. Gets the neighbors' attention, too! 3) Production Numbers.
It is now the responsibility of party hosts around the globe to take the ball that used to be in Debbie Allen's court and RUN WITH IT! Choreograph your own elaborate dance numbers inspired by this year’s nominees and perform them for your guests during commercial breaks. Imagine your guests’ surprise and delight when you break into your high-steppin' routine based on "United 93" -- HIGH OCTANE! I’m very excited about my “Notes on a Scandal” tap-dance, which culminates with the Chinese splits (unfortunately, the Chinese splits part won’t be executed by me; I’m farming that one out to my neighbor’s 9-year-old gay son).
4) Party Games.
Commercial break time is also ripe for Oscar-themed party games, and this one’s my new fave: At the start of each commercial break, my party guests will all dash around the house, madly searching for any object to free-associate with at least one of the nominees in a specific category (I will inform them of said category at the top of the break). Before the Oscars come back on, each guest must present his/her object in front of the TV. and let everyone guess which nominee that object represents. Here’s a possible assemblage of common household objects from last year's selectants, if the chosen category was, say, Sound Editing:
- Figs of Our Fathers - Fags of Our Fathers (with cigarettes, and ONLY if you’re in England) - Leathers From Iwo Jima - Letters From Aunt Jemima - Blood Diamond Smokehouse Almonds - Pilates of the Caribbean - Pirates of the Carabiner - Apocalyp-toenail clippers - Apoopalypto (I’m hoping this one doesn’t happen)
Any time, including late February, is a festive time with Dina.
5) Food & Drink.
In my days of yore, my Oscar shindigs featured take-out fried chicken, but my best friend Doreen told me that her best friend once sent out for chicken, and for about five minutes was thrilled at the huge size of the pieces until she realized that it wasn’t poultry at all she was eating, but whole Norwegian rats (coated with 11 delicious herbs & spices, of course). I tend to doubt Doreen's story, but if I wanted her to attend my soiree without screaming to everyone not to “eat the rats,” I had to let the chicken go. As a result, I've broadened my culinary horizons and become more creative with my menu planning. This year, I'm featuring a sumptuous selection of foods inspired by and named for some of my favorite celebrities, past and present:
Starter: Three-Bean Salad Mineo
Main Course: Rump Roast Victoria Principal w/crumbly cracker crust from the Keebler Hollow Tree
Dessert: Oatmeal Greta Scacchis
The Keebler crust will keep the roast moist, but you also want it to be firm and supple, so apply Principle Secret Eye Cream sparingly on the rump (roast), using light, upward sweeps. I understand that for some reason, some of you may not have the Victoria Principal Skin Care line, in which case that thing Susan Lucci uses on her face will do, but the name must then be changed to Carne con Lucci.
The Oatmeal Scacchi cookies are replacing last year's Little Debbie Allen Snack Cakes. Such a shame really, but they just didn't go over very well. Here are some other dishes named for those who have dedicated their lives to entertaining us:
Dina Martina, a jewel amongst gems, a ruby amongst the Emerald City, but not a blood diamond. (photo by Victoria Renard)
- Kevin Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwiches - Anita Ekburgers w/Red Button Mushrooms - Anna Maria Alberghetti & Meatballs - Martin Scorsesame Chicken Salad - Eddie Murfilet Mignon - Peggy Casserole - Tallulah Bank Head Cheese w/Dawn French Bread - Sandi Patti Melts - Mr. Magoulash (for the children)
- Kate Winslettuce, Tomato & Cottage Cheese Plate
- Apple Bobby Brown Betty - Irene Carameled Apples - Dutch Babyfaces w/John Cougar Melonballs - Barbara Hershey's Kisses - Cyd Charisse's Pieces
For the more discriminating palate, an example of an Oscar party menu with the same theme but in a slightly higher price bracket might be:
- Maury Povichyssoise
- Antonio Banderasparagus Spears w/Xaviera Hollandaise Sauce & Peter Boyled Eggs
- Cajun Karen Blackened Chicken
- Cherries Jubilee Strasberg
And there you have it — an Oscar lover's guide to haute entertaining! Follow these few simple guidelines, and Sunday, February 25th, will see you firmly ensconced as the premiere Academy Awards Party host/hostess of (your town), U.S.A. (Canada is slightly higher).
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