Down Time

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By Michelle Freneaux

If you’re tired of the same old dinner parties and movie nights, here’s an idea to bring an interesting twist to your social life this weekend: Have a music party. Now a lot of us know it’s hard to entertain without food, so there are a few ways you can approach this music party: the easy way and the hard way (that’s a bit more fun).

The simple way to have your music party is to provide simple snacks and/or get some pizza from one of our great pizza places in Central, like Fox’s Pizza at the corner of Wax Rd. and Greenwell Springs, Dominoes at the corner of Sullivan Rd. and Greenwell Springs, Papa John’s on Wax Rd. across from Wal-Mart, or Papa Murphy’s, in the same shopping center. Get together with your friend who has the best stereo, and invite everyone to bring their laptops, MP3 players, CDs, and records (if you have a record player available). Be sure you tell your friends to pick one genre or artist and 1 – 3 songs that show why this is their favorite. You don’t want to listen to 8 full CDs in one evening. This is a good plan if you won’t have time to cook, don’t have friends who cook well, or just want to keep it really casual.

The more interesting way is also a bit more interactive, but requires more planning. Set a date ahead of time, and make sure you have access to a good quality stereo, ask a friend to have it at their house if they have a good stereo and you’re worried about the one you have at home. Get all of your friends to pick their favorite music and have each person or couple you’ve invited prepare a dish that reflects their choice of music. For example: a person bringing a jazz album may prepare a classic New Orleans dish, or they may be more literal and make a dish in the shape of a saxophone. If you’re bringing a blues album, accompany it with a blueberry cobbler, or try a dish that has some unexpected flavors that make it more interesting, like blue notes in one of your favorite songs. Try to reflect, either interpretively or literally, something characteristic about your music. What country singer doesn’t claim to love fried chicken or shrimp and grits? You may bring a dish that reflects the place of origin of your music, or the style of your music. If you love Bach, make a dish that is very ornate like one of his fugues. If you bring folk music, try a dish from its country of origin. Don’t forget to include your beverages in your theme! Be sure you have enough for each of the courses, and order the presentation of music to the order of courses in the meal. As each person presents his or her dish, they put their favorite album on and tell what they love about it, and how their music and dish relate to each other. Limit each person to 1 – 3 songs to avoid an all-nighter.

Finally, don’t forget to plan how each person will be able to play their music. Check to be sure you have the right cables to hook up laptops and MP3 players to the stereo system. Test your CD, tape, & record players to be sure they work properly. If you’re not sure you have the right cables or know how to hook everything up, call a friend for help. If you don’t have access to cables to hook up laptops and MP3 players, tell your guests to only bring CDs, tapes, or records. To facilitate a smooth transition between guests’ music, make sure each knows where his or her song begins on the CD, tape, or record.

The most important part of sharing music is to keep an open mind, and really listen to the music that others bring. You may not like everything you hear, but it is your friend’s favorite artist, so try to see why he or she likes it, and look for things you may enjoy in the music, too. Chances are, your friend will be able to recommend an artist to you that is similar to what they brought, but fits your tastes more.