Gretchen and John Kent Harrison at Living Room Theater
MOVIE NIGHT: On Sunday night, Living Room Theater was the site for a screening of "Christmas In Conway," a Hallmark Hall of Fame starring Andy Garcia, Mary Louise Parker, Mandy Moore and Cheri Oteri and directed by Portland's own John Kent Harrison.
It was also a chance to celebrate the nuptials of John and his bride, Gretchen Miller, who were married just a day prior to the screening. The film is a wonderful love story and it was awesome to spend the evening with this very special couple and their friends.
Santa Byron and Pearl kids, Carolers, Sara Stimac, Santa, Denny Shleifer, Linda Stimac, Santa family singing, Santa skipping
SANTA IN THE PEARL: It was quite the holiday weekend...tire slashing, turkey and tree trimming. But perhaps the most wonderful moment of the weekend was my turn as "Santa" at the Jamison Park Tree Lighting (and hot chocolate-fueled sing-a-long) on Saturday night in the Pearl District.
The Village People may've been playing up the street at the Crystal that night, but for a few moments I felt like the biggest star in town. In fact, I almost cried. Why? In all my years, I've never experienced the incredible, unfiltered joy that young ones have when they encounter the "big guy."
It was...beyond words.
Yes, I didn't have a full beard (parents assured their children my short beard made me more aerodynamic) or a full wig of white hair, but that didn't seem to matter to the wonderful children I encountered in the park that bears one of my best friend's name, William Jamison.
Truth is, I was asked to be Santa due to my work for Explore The Pearl Magazine. For the latest issue I am the "secret santa" who explores the Pearl for nifty gifts.
But on Saturday night, I WAS Santa. And, kids, it was one of the best nights of my life.
Charles Stillwell, Kim Foren, party guest, Leslie Foren, Belly dancer, and Kim dancing with Mark
IN THE PINK: The one and only Kim Foren celebrated her (shhh...50th) birthday with a belly dancer, great Lebanese food (and Lebanese margaritas) from Al-Amir and a wonderful interactive photo booth from Paparazzi Tonight.
And everything was done up in pink, including her party guests. Kim held the party at her "place," aka her wonderful and fabulous Geranium Lake floral shop and event space in, where else, but "Big Pink." For one night it was transformed into a decadent disco bathed in, what else, pink light.
An eclectic group of old and new friends wished the birthday girl the best and spent the rest of the night (and oh what a night it was) dancing.
Dustin Shanky, Reid Decker, Peter Shanky, Storm Large, Julio Santiago, Jeana Frazzini, Lisa Watson, Julio, Storm and Julio, and a fuzzy photo of the group with Storm's butt front and center
TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE: The Shanky Twins, Peter and Dustin, celebrated their birthdays with a little dancing at the Crystal Ballroom. Of course it was on Friday night, when EVERYONE in town dons their best neon spandex and terrycloth sweat bands and heads to the Crystal for "80's Video Dance Attack."
My god, it was so much fun. And yes, that's Storm Large looking like a unicorn.
Doris Rodriguez de Platt, Coque Ossio, Marissa Guiulfo, the desserts, Peter Platt greets one of his guests at Andina
ANDINA IN THE FAMILY: Andina is all about family.
The family that owns and operates the award-winning Peruvian restaurant headed by the one and only "Mama Doris," and the "family" that has been coming there to gather, eat and enjoy for the last 10 years.
Throughout the last decade this Pearl District restaurant has served as a Peruvian cultural ambassador for Portland, preparing both a table and a feast around which, as they say, "all guests can gather and find the warmth and richness of the Peruvian spirit in its truest forms."
The dishes and flavors carry stories of their own; as do the music and art. The restaurant was a trailblazer in the Peruvian food movement in the U.S., creating a fan base that stretched across the country allowing the restaurant to become one of the most successful Peruvian restaurants in the region. To honor the friends and family that have supported them along their journey from innovative to iconic and aided in their success, Andina and the Platt-Rodriguez family hosted a 10th Anniversary cocktail party in the celebrated Tupai Room on Monday ngith.
Popular Peruvian chef Coque Ossio (longtime consulting chef at Andina) and his mother Marissa Guiulfo, Peruvian catering extraordinaire (considered the "Martha Stewart" of Peru), made the trip from Peru to help celebrate the special anniversary.
The party included small bites of their iconic Peruvian dishes such as Causa Morada and Cebiches and sips of their signature Peruvian and Novo Peruvian drinks like the Pisco Sour and Melones Con Ají. One of the highlights was the dessert table. Marissa orchestrated the most incredible displays of sweets I've ever seen.
Toshi Onizuka, who has been part of Andina’s popular music program throughout the years, performed live Latin fusion music throughout the night.
And, of course, Mama Doris was there to make sure everyone was well fed and happy.