New Year's Eve - Island style
With the second millennium rolling into double digits, and a blue moon lighting up the start of a new year, there are more than enough reasons to get up, dress up and live it up for New Year's Eve despite the absence of the Island's Last Night/First Day events. There are a number of places to enjoy reveling with the family, and with friends and Island neighbors. Bring on the party.
Mediterranean in Oak Bluffs has booked a terrific variety of entertainment for what co-owner Leslie Hewson describes as "an Islander's New Year's Eve." The restaurant will be hosting two seatings for a six-course dinner, with the second seating at 8 pm including live music. For those more interested in dancing than dinner, a $20 admission will allow entry to the restaurant after dinner service for the entertainment only.
To start off the show, a group of Minnesingers will perform songs from the 30s as a tribute to the era that produced the popular Rodgers and Hart tune "Blue Moon." A number of local musicians will drop to contribute to the evening's entertainment.
The headline act includes Michele Jones on guitar, Adam Lipsky on keyboards and Ms. Jones' daughter Marciana on drums. Ms. Jones notes that they'll be doing a mix of tunes leaning heavily on the nostalgia, but she promises, "We will rock." The program will run through doo-wop and early rock and roll to the Beatles era and beyond. The night will finish up with Deejay Di spinning dance tunes. Ms. Jones notes that it will be, "A real sentimental Island New Year's Eve."
A couple of veterans of Last Night/First Day celebrations are putting on a show to fill in the gap left by this year's cancellation of the traditional event. Tristan Israel and Nancy Jephcote, along with others, will be performing their original music at the Katharine Cornell Theater starting at 7:30 pm on New Year's Eve. The show will feature both musicians solo, the Flying Elbows and various combinations of Mr. Israel, Ms. Jephcote, and Paul Thurlow.
Says Mr. Israel, "When I heard there wasn't going to be a Last Night, I thought I should try to pull something together." The concert is a benefit for the Island Housing Authority's Rental Assistance Program. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for those 16 and under.
If you're looking for something the entire family can enjoy, head over to the Tisbury School for an early New Year's Eve party. The night is billed as a family dance party and will include karaoke, face painting, a crazy hat workshop and parade, and games.
From 5 to 9 pm the Tisbury School eighth grade class parents will host an evening of live music, games, raffles, food and entertainment for the whole family at the school. Student Hudson Bausman will be performing along with his dad, Rick, founder of The Drum Workshop, and a band of his peers. There will also be performances by a Brazilian dance troupe and the MV Belly Dancers.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids with a $20 family cap. Burgers, hot dogs, baked goods and beverages will be sold. Proceeds will go towards the eighth grade graduation trip to Washington, D.C.
Another popular stop at Last Night/First Day celebrations is the Fourway Carriage House to see the enormous tree and miniature train exhibit. It's on again this New Year's Eve, from 3 to 8 pm. The historic turn-of-last century carriage house has the height to accommodate a massive tree sparkling with 4,000 lights - an old-fashioned charmer that delights visitors of all ages. A toddler-height table holds dozens of working train sets - a collection that has expanded throughout the years to include antiques and more modern versions of the popular Christmas gift.
Reviving the spirit of the Hot Tin Roof's annual Crossover Ball, PJ Woodford of Che's Lounge will host a crossover party where women come costumed like men, and men come as women. (Mr. Woodford emphasizes that a tee-shirt and a tie alone do not constitute female cross-dressing.) Music will be provided by local rock bands Pierre and Kahoots and DJ Birdland. Che's will waive the $10 admission fee for men in dresses and women in menswear. The party will start at 8 pm and promises to be a glamorously different New Year's Eve.
The PA Club will again host a New Year's Eve party featuring a potluck dinner, dancing to Motown, R&B and more with deejay VC Rose, and a champagne toast at midnight. The party starts at 8 pm, with admission by donation.
At the Oyster Bar, a traditional masquerade ball will ring in the New Year. It's a dress-up occasion with masks provided. DJ Nightshade will be spinning tunes from 10 pm on, and a pizza and breakfast buffet will be offered around midnight. There is no admission charge.
In Edgartown, two bars will feature live music. At the Wharf, Money Shot will get the crowd dancing with their crowd-pleasing lineup of music from the 80s and beyond, and free champagne will be provided at midnight. Over at Atlantic, Mike Benjamin will entertain with his popular mix of blues and rock and roll in the dining room after 9 pm.
Get out the noisemakers and party hats and welcome the New Year in Vineyard style.
Gwyn McAllister is a regular contributor to The Times.