The Urban Entertainer: Dave and Jeremy’s Dinner Party and the Art of Urban Magic (Plus! Entertaining Tips)
Last weekend I attended a dinner party hosted by former Open House star, interior designer and vintage furniture expert Dave Hopkins and his boyfriend Jeremy, and I was just obliterated by his creativity, ingenuity and refined aesthetic. As you may recall, Dave doesn’t have a dining room and no real private outdoor space suitable for entertaining, so I was curious about where the chowing down would actually occur, but I suspected Dave and Jeremy had a trick or two up their sleeves. They both possess that “of course” attitude that lets you relax and take the logistics for granted.
When I arrived, Dave and Jeremy’s friends sat in the living room chit-chatting chirpily (the whole party was a-flutter about the Twitter) while Dave or Jeremy appeared from time-to-time with drinks and appetizers. Considering the back-room preparations underway, they both looked composed, but they also at times looked a bit like they’d just seconds ago stopped running, and I suspected that they had taken a moment to compose themselves before entering the room.
Soon Dave appeared, “rang the bell” and ushered us outside the back door and to the narrow thoroughfare between his and the neighboring building. Remember the scene in Cocoon when Tandy and the others realize they got their youthful mojo back? That’s what we felt when we saw the gorgeous table and chandelier.
I didn’t realize until halfway through my veggie burger (no, it was good) Dave and Jeremy had made the chandelier using wood 2 x 2′s wrapped in white Christmas lights hanging from 2 x 4′s propped up on window ledges. They made the table as well by balancing hollow core doors on much smaller card tables and propping up each end with wood legs.
By dessert – vanilla ice cream served in a warm rasberry puree with ginger cookies, the sun had gone down, the people were drunker and everybody was marveling about how this little alley two blocks away from Wrigley Field (during a Cubs game no less) felt so much like Italy. The light fixture hung at a height that made the space feel intimate despite the narrow area and lack of ceiling, and the long, narrow table both worked with the space and facilitated better conversation. If you’ve never eaten at one, you simply must go out and build yourself one (or have Dave and Jeremy build one for you).
In all fairness, the couple did have a bit of help. They advertised on Craig’s List saying, essentially, “I have very little money and need somebody who knows how to cook.” Great idea, and it worked out perfectly.
So here’s the deal; I have a dozen posts from New York ready-to-go, but Dave and Jeremy’s party inspired me to write something right away. Dave makes his living as a designer, and he’s the real deal. I’m more impressed every time I see his work, and I believe he’s going to be a widely respected lifestyle expert, ala Martha, so get him while you can. Email him at email@example.com.
Thanks Dave and Jeremy!