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Party as Performance

Party as Performance

Whether you are planning an all-out mega-bash for your kid’s birthday or prefer a more intimate home get-together with close friends, planning a party is like putting on a show. “Parties are so in-the-moment,” says professional party planner Marla Mase, owner of PARTYpoopers, a New York-based event planning company that specializes in kids’ parties. “You can plan and plan and plan, but there’s always the variable of live performance.”  
It’s not a coincidence that Mase doubles as a singer-songwriter, Broadway producer, and record-label owner. The element of production is the same no matter what she’s working on--“a million different details have to fall into place at go-time,” she says 
Thanks to Mase’s theater-world connections, PARTYpoopers employs an arsenal of the city’s best performers: world-class musicians, magicians, character actors, face-painters, balloon-artists, acrobats, DJs, and dancers. Good kid entertainers have a specific and rare talent, Mase says: They have to be fun while maintaining control of the room. “I really pride myself on my people,” she says. 
Mase began her party planning company in 1991. In its original incarnation, PARTYpoopers was housed in a two-story loft venue in Tribeca, and over the years it has evolved into a full-service party planning business. The biggest change during the past two decades is that today’s parents have a ton of options when it comes to throwing parties. Parents can now do their own research on the Internet, and pull the pieces together on their own. But by enlisting the help of a professional party planner, they are getting a specialized service and the expertise, resources, taste, and time that that brings. PARTYpoopers can help with any or all aspects of planning a party, from securing talent, to booking caterers, finding a venue, pulling together decorations, even orchestrating everything the day of the event. 
However, the basic premise of a party is timeless, according to Mase: that it is a celebration and is fun. “That’s where I keep the focus. The basic thing is that the love is there.” And the key to a fun party is that the guests are engaged. Mase suggests keeping kid’s parties imaginative, and hosts should get guests to participate by offering activities such as treasure hunts and art projects that have an element of storytelling. 
Themes are the best way to infuse your party with fun. Pirates have always been popular and lend themselves well to many games, but the newest theme rising in popularity is art parties. At a recent PARTYpoopers art party, the kids were led by Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo characters in a Pollock-esqe paint-splattering project. All the kids left with their own masterpiece canvases. 
Depending on the scope of the party, Mase can pull together a mega-bash in as little time as two weeks. She suggests more time for more formal events, like bar/bat mitzvahs or Sweet 16s, when securing the ideal venue is essential and popular places book up months in advance. Parents in New York City have the added advantage of all the city has to offer. 
With all these options, “people can lose perspective” Mase says. In her 25 years of party planning, she has seen “people go crazy worrying about all the little details.” With the help of a professional party-planner like Mase, parents can eliminate the stress of navigating through the endless options. “New York kids are so sophisticated, they are exposed to so many tastes and chic style, and they want to be a part of that world,” Mase says. PARTYpoopers specializes in creating that world for kids. 
A party does not have to be extravagant to be special, Mase stresses. “Stripped down to the core, a party is a celebration of someone you love. Make it fun!” The key is to plan ahead, no matter how big or small, so you can sit back and enjoy the show. 

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