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My wife, our common-law sister-in-law, my Heine Brothers travel mug with Maker's Mark on the rocks and I headed down the block to watch guests arrive at the Barnstable Brown Gala--my first chance to check out the wonder that is Derby's most famous party. And wonder is right--it was a white trash wonderland. Celebrity guests I didn't recognize pulled up onto the red carpet for interviews before having to walk through a craptacular gauntlet toward the house. Their first obstacle: hugs from a guy in a panda suit, no doubt a classical reference to South Park's Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda. Next they got to experience the life of a croquet ball, walking through wickets made of fake Greek columns. A few feet further up the walk, oooh, look to the right--football cheerleaders! And, on the left. Is it? Is it really? Yes it is an up-lit model Hollywood sign! (Much as Muslims always pray toward Mecca, stars must only party where the Hollywood sign is present.) At first it seemed the party planner's research into how C-listers, has-beens and never-weres like to throw down consisted solely of watching Billy Madison's second grade graduation party. It might have been too hot for penguins, but apparently the temperature was perfect for pandas. After 10 minutes of watching this atrocity, the party scene in another movie came to mind: the USO concert in Apocalypse Now. No Army helicopters were coming to rescue me and my playmates though. So my Heine Brothers travel mug and I retreated to my house for another splash of Maker's Mark and Hunter S. Thompson. Decadent and depraved indeed. (Photo: Flickr/Xurble)

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About Zach Everson

Senior editor at MapQuest. Previously, freelance writer: WSJ, enRoute, Eater, USA Today, CNT, BlackBook, Gridskipper. Boston born. Kentucky Colonel. Also, I was director of content and editorial strategy for Louisville.com.

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