How to: have a Grey Gardens theme party

As we’ve mentioned, we’re very excited around wht headquarters for the Grey Gardens premiere airing April 18th on HBO. Billboards and bus stop signage are plastered all over LA, especially on Sunset, with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange looking every bit the part of Big and Little Edie. And to say we’re more than just a bit tickled to see what these talented ladies do with these icons would be a real understatement.

We’d like to make a suggestion, if you’re as Grey Gardens obsessed as we are, why not have a viewing party? As luck would have it, 4 of us will actually be together on the 18th to see the premiere. Tyna and I had a test run of the menu and we can assure you, it’s quite the hit!

Here’s the steps to make sure your shin dig is a smash too…

  • Suggest that people dress in character. The photo above is from Halloween 2 years ago. You’ve got Big and Little Edie, Jerry (the Marble Faun), a raccoon (going for the Wonder Bread) and my favorite, the portrait of Big Edie as a young woman that the cat likes to poop behind (you can’t see it in the pic, but we’ve got a cat peeking out from the other side of the frame) “At least someone is doing what they want!”
  • Props are everything. Some ideas; boxes filed with groceries, cats, loaves of bread and boxes of Cat Chow, newspapers spread all over the floor, books: Zolar’s It’s all in the Stars book (and a magnifying glass to read it with) and The Marble Faun (which should be hidden somewhere in the house with a door prize for who finds it), Miniature American Flags to wave, corn on the cob in a pan/on a hotplate. This list could go on and on…
  • A soundtrack for pre and post movie. If you have satellite radio, you’re in luck. There are numerous fitting channels of great old music. If not, any pre world war II area compilation CD will help set the tone.
  • Every party needs a signature cocktail. There are a number of ways you could go here. But whatever you do serve, do so in old jelly jars with forks as stirrers. I’d suggest something real old timey, like a Gin Rickey or a Tom Collins

Last and certainly not least, is your menu. We chose items eaten in the movie, along with making dishes that we renamed with famous quotes. Once we got going, it was easy to come up with a funny, and rather yummy menu! We served:

  • Jerry Likes My Corn Salad (recipe below)
  • Tea for Two Sandwiches (fingers sandwiches with egg salad)
  • Pate, Put a Bit of Lemon on It
  • Marble Faun Cake
  • I’m Simply Pulverized by this Pasta Salad
  • Grey Garden Burgers
  • I’ll take a (hot) dog any day


The Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad recipe is from Real Simple, circa 2004. It’s my go-to potluck recipe and is super easy and really tasty. It’s true, Jerry would like it!

  • 2 cups of cooked corn (cut it from the cob, it’s so worth it)
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh pepper

Whisk together the last 6 ingredients and toss with the first 4. Real Simple indeed.

Voilà! You cooked up a pretty nice little viewing party! You can only hope someone brings you a spiral notepad in a coupon box for a hostess gift…

Update: We are so happy to be introducing the world of Big and Little Edie to many of our readers! If our posts have piqued your curiosity or you’re looking for information before the Grey Gardens HBO Film premiere, we need to point you to our favorite site for the latest breaking information on everything pertaining to the Beales, Grey Gardens News. They just posted a great article How to prepare for HBO’s Grey Gardens, with oodles of links covering the Beales, the fashions and the times of the ladies of Grey Gardens. It’s perfect for those of you who have yet to see the documentary, but will (undoubtedly) soon be big fans!

stef

stef

Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world...
skin tone: NC 25/30
skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea
favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products
stef

23 thoughts on “How to: have a Grey Gardens theme party”

  1. I so wish I could be at your Grey Gardens party. You must post some pictures afterward. Sounds like so much fun. I love theme parties…especially ones that require you to have a messy house first. I’ll be watching and thinking of you girls.

  2. Cori

    I have never heard of this show before but I’m really wishing I had. I feel like I’m missing out on some good stuff. Do you know if it’s on HBO ondemand or something?

  3. stef

    Hi Cori, click on that link in the first paragraph to learn more about Grey Gardens. It’s a documentary, turned musical, turned movie. Totally fabulous.

  4. suzan

    A) Love the corn salad recipe
    B) Please tell me the can of liver pate was just a prop and none of you actually ate it.
    C) Cori you MUST go rent GG from netflix or maybe even your local library.
    D) I’m so jealous I wasn’t at either party

  5. That picture is great! You should enter it in some GG photo contest that i’m sure is out there somewhere! I can not wait! I’ll admit i’m nowhere near as big of a fan as you two but i am so looking forward to it! I can’t get over that picture it is just too funny! I’ll check out the corn salad but the pate i think i’ll skip. I’m so sure Tyna was licking the can when it was done!

  6. Cori,we got GG from netflix and when we started watching it my husband said “what the hell is this” but by the time we were half way into it we were hooked.
    Stef I think you should show us some more photos.Funny!

  7. krista

    I’ve been saying “Jerry Likes My Corn Salad” in my head to myself periodically throughout the day and I laugh out loud. My husband is starting to fear me.

  8. tyna

    Susan – the pate was still sitting on the table when we left! No one actually ate it – but its the exact brand as in the movie! Bronwen – great idea on the transistor radio! they did always have that on the table between their beds to listen to music and preachers or what have you! Krista – hee, I love “Jerry Likes my Corn Salad” too! We spend our time thinking of names for the food that quoted the movie. One more that we didn’t use “Don’t throw creme brulees at me” song in Big Edies warbling voice!

  9. Cori

    Thanks Stef for pointing out the link to the blind! :) I’m going to have to rent it. I’ll let you all know what i think….I’m sure I’ll love too

  10. Veronica Lane

    Wow, you guys really went for it, huh? You look amazing! I can only imagine how fun it would running around as a die all night.

    I’m a pottery fiend, so I have to add that I like your plates and serving bowls!

  11. tyna

    Cori and other Grey Gardens newbies; I just added an update to this article with a link to the best Grey Gardens site out there who wrote a nice article summing up all the GG info you need in preparation for the big HBO premiere. Check it out!

  12. christy

    That was the best Halloween ever! I love all the ideas! I think if you have to watch it alone, you MUST wrap your head in a little Edie towel fasten it with a broach and eat the corn salad….and read your horoscope before and after in honor of dear Little Edie!!!!

  13. We’re having a GG party at our house here in Nashville. We’re showing the original doc at 6:00 then the HBO drama comes on at 8:00. Expecting 50 people. Yikes. We’re hitting up all the thrift stores for plush kitties to stick all over the hosue and we’re coming up with new drinks. I’m thinking of lining the living room walls with headboards, too.

  14. stef

    John, wonderful ideas for the party! You should have a faint soundtrack of meows playing too. And I LOVE the headboard idea. Very nice touch.

    So wish we heart this could be there! Have a great time and do report back on what else you came up with and how it went.

  15. tyna

    So?! What did everyone think? I really liked it! Not as much as the documentary of course, but I thought both Drew and jessica did a great job. And I loved seeing some of the Beale’s history and getting some of the past filled in.

    Did anyone throw or go to a viewing party?

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