On Saturday night, Vivian and I transcended the Plane of Everyday Reality to attend a masquerade ball with around seventy other literary characters, all part of another one of Kaleb Michaud’s legendary murder mystery parties. The event was held at the Starlight Chateau, the former Poor Clares Monastery at 29th and Hamilton in North Omaha, which gave the event its own unique sense of history and spookiness (complete with a crypt downstairs). Vivian and I were a part of the “OZ” table as Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion, AKA “King” of the Forest, respectively. Other tables represented fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Olympian Mythology, Alice in Wonderland, stories from the Steampunk Era, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood and Camelot, and a few others.
There was food and dancing throughout the night (with Vivian losing much of her straw), but much of the evening was spent trying to determine all the other guests’ identifies. There were also some dramatic moments when characters not in the public domain, such as Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan, dropped by in disguise and were ushered out to be “burned.” At the end of the night our teams were graded on how well we did, and I think our table may have won, but I’m still not sure even several days later. In any case, it was a very fun night, and I hope Kaleb has a few more of these down the road even as he enters the new adventure of fatherhood with his wife Tzeyu Lin.
Of course, we’ve been busy parking it up with the kids as usual, enjoying lovely spring weather at Stinson Park and having a nice little picnic lunch at Memorial Park, taking in all the fragrant blossoms around the city (at least until the fires down in Kansas started stinking it up on Thursday).
We’re well on our way into spring now. Or is it summer? It’s hard to tell with the way the weather keeps messing with our minds. In any case, it’s been a delightful season full of lunch outdoors and trips to the park with Hannah.
Speaking of getting out, Vivian and I dropped by Twin Valley Church on Friday to deliver a surprise birthday party to our good friend Don Stubbs, who happened to turn 60. I doodled a caricature on Don on the whiteboard to greet in when he walked in, and a couple dozen guests huddled in the dark multipurpose basement to wait for Don and Deena to arrive. I think the surprise came off successfully. We watched a slideshow I put together and stuck around for an hour or two eating cake and vittles as Don opened a variety of over-the-hill gag gifts. I was in my element, of course, snapping photos and video throughout the entire night.
Afterward, we dropped by Mark’s house for a late night full of goofy movie karaoke via Yoostar on his Xbox. Hannah nearly slept through the whole thing, but then I made the mistake of playing Leonidas in 300 yelling “This is Sparta!” loud to enough to bring Hannah well out of whatever baby dreamland she was in.
On Saturday night, Vivian and I had fun “storming the castle” for Kaleb’s annual murder mystery extravaganza. This year, the theme was based loosely around The Princess Bride. The event was held in a charming little reception hall called Lucile’s which felt like it came out of another time. This was primarily because its eccentric previous owner decorated the interior with a hodgepodge of architecture stolen from other historic buildings: ceilings and walls covered in doors from various hotels, leaded windows from the old Brandies Home, an antique fireplace from the old Wilcox House in Council Bluffs, and crown moldings from the old Cornhusker hotel in Lincoln.
I became Fighter Nangar of Persia, and Vivian got to be a nursemaid (so we could bring Hannah along for night). We bumped into several familiar kings, archers, rangers, privates, and miracle-makers throughout the night. I didn’t get to untangle more than one tiny thread or two in a very tangled plot (as Kaleb painstakingly explained at the end of the night), but it was loads of fun.
Last Saturday Night, Vivian and I had the chance to participate in a Murder Mystery party hosted by our mutual friend Kaleb. He hosts an elaborate murder mystery party every year in October, so we were quite happy to be invited. The theme of this year’s party was based on the movie Bladerunner, with nods to several other science-fictions films including Terminator, Aliens, and even Total Recall (among others). The event was hosted in the Old Market Lofts in downtown Omaha, so Vivian and I got to enjoy some Japanese cuisine with a spectacular view of the city from the rooftop.
Vivian and I were “security officers” for the event along with Ben Cass, and we got to piece together a fairly detailed story that was in essence one big piece of interactive fan fiction. Other players included Onionboy as CEO of Cyberdine, Merinda as a nosy reporter, and Lisa as a wealthy German socialite. Part of my role was to manhandle one of the guests who had a big mouth and had to be made an example of in front of everyone on the ride up to the rooftop. Then I had to attend to our host, Kaleb / Tyrell CEO Vincent, as he gets shot and then almost figures out that he’s a replicant. As the story slowly unraveled, I was able to figure out most of the key plot points just in time to blab them to a few other people, potentially losing my chance to win any of the prizes Kaleb handed out at the end of the night. I was able to complete my “goal” of proving my loyalty to former Tyrell CEO Eldon Tyrell, who I was able to determine was now a female clone played by Kaleb’s mom.
It was essentially a night of grown-ups playing “make believe” and honestly couldn’t have been more enjoyable. My only regret is that I decided to shave off my goatee in order to achieve the “serious cop” look I felt was necessary for the event. Now when I look in the mirror, I feel like an extra from Super Troopers. Oh well — at least it’ll still work out for the Halloween costume I plan on donning Saturday night.
More on that later.