Stepping back to the '60s benefits South Park library

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Sinatra tunes play in a swanky supper club as couples dance cheek-to-cheek amid tables littered with cocktail glasses.

Is it a scene from "Mad Men," the critically acclaimed television salute to the 1960s?

No, it's what the banquet room at Broughton Fire Hall will look like Dec. 8 for "Mad About Christmas," a benefit for South Park Township Library that will play off the popularity of the "Mad Men" TV show. The drama, which airs Sunday nights on AMC, reflects on the social mores of that time and is credited with bringing back that era's fashions, music and fads.

The library's second annual fundraiser will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. with a buffet, live music and dancing.

Library director Sharon Bruni said organizers drew inspiration from The Holiday House in Monroeville and Twin Coaches in Rostraver, two supper clubs that were popular from the late 1950s through the 1960s and featured notable Hollywood singers and comedians.

"It's an opportunity to kind of go back to that era," she said. "Supper clubs were a place where everyone could feel glamorous for a night."

Based on the model of old-time jazz clubs and speakeasies, supper clubs offer not only an evening meal but cocktails, entertainment and ambiance. Sort of a "one-stop shop" for a night out, a supper club offers cocktails before dinner, which includes several courses from appetizers to dessert, and entertainment ranging from comedy to music and dancing -- always dancing.

Entertainment at this year's fundraiser will include music by the band Modern Times with vocalists performing songs from the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

In keeping with a typical supper club decor from the 1950s and 1960s, the color scheme will be red, white and black. Tables will be covered in white tablecloths and hold candles, martini glasses and cocktail shakers.

The menu will be reminiscent of the era as well with hearty fare such as stuffed shells, potato au gratin, stuffed chicken breasts, green beans amandine and Caesar salad. Noticeably absent will be those jiggly Jell-O salads, which Ms. Bruni said always accompanied supper club meals. Instead, red velvet and dark chocolate cupcakes decorated to match the evening's color scheme will provide a sweet ending.

Ms. Bruni encourages those attending to wear cocktail attire that is either from the period or modern day. She will sport a 1959 wiggle dress that she purchased online.

Options for women include strapless, backless or off-the-shoulder evening gowns; full-skirt swing dresses; pencil skirts; and sheath or chemise dresses. In keeping with the period's style, accessories such as long gloves and high heels are encouraged.

For men, well-ironed, creased pants with a crisp, high-buttoned shirt and tie are recommended. Dinner jackets can be a blazer or suit jacket. Accessories include a leather belt and shiny, well-polished shoes.

"Most people don't really have a place to get dressed up and go out," Ms. Bruni noted. "This is local, and it's very relaxed. Anyone can come and have a good time. We're hoping for that kind of vibe throughout the night."

Those who attend are permitted to bring their own alcoholic beverage; mixers will be provided for martinis and other classic cocktails.

Cost: $35. Tickets: 412-833-5585, on sale through Dec. 1.

neigh_south

Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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