A Midsummer’s Vegas NightSeptember 2, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
When William Shakespeare penned A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it’s doubtful he considered the debauchery his play would celebrate centuries later. At Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, the play is the inspiration behind a star-studded event hosted every August. So when Hefner, N9NE Group partner Michael Morton and Palms Casino Resort owner George Maloof inked a deal to revive the Playboy Club brand with a posh casino lounge, it’s natural that his renowned Midsummer Night’s Dream party slowly migrated to Sin City as well. It hasn’t left the mansion grounds completely, but instead, it has expanded to include the original alongside a blowout, poolside Vegas version of the bash. The Midsummer Night’s Dream party started off at the Playboy Mansion on Saturday, Aug. 8, and then headed to Vegas’ Playboy Club on Saturday, Aug. 15. Themes change for each Midsummer Night’s Dream event; this year’s theme was “A Pirate’s Guilty Pleasure,” and all in attendance were required to don a costume or mask.
“We set out to create an unparalleled weekend of indulgence with this year’s pirate theme,” says N9NE Group vice president Michael Fuller. “Exclusive elements for A Pirate’s Guilty Pleasure included extensive prop design, state-of-the-art lighting, a hosted bar and an unbelievable cast of performers and artists.” With a production budget of $300,000 for this event, Fuller wasn’t playing around. His team transformed The Palms Pool into a booty-filled pirate’s cove complete with performers reminiscent childhood images of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride — just all grown up and wearing far less clothing. With performance elements spread around the pool deck, the pirate theme might have been the best incorporated of the three Vegas Midsummer events to take place so far.
Turning the event into a weekend destination, Fuller and marketing manager David Gutierrez created a series of events that featured the pirate theme, including three daytime pool events: Friday’s X Marks the Spot welcome party, Saturday’s Fair Winds Reef Retreat and Sunday’s recovery party, Shipwrecked. Not all of the activities took place during the day, as Rain Nightclub featured famed spinster DJ Jazzy Jeff on Friday and house heads Dave Aude and Randy Boyer on Saturday.
Regardless of what else going on at the property, Saturday’s main event captured party-goers imagination most, with more than 2,500 eye patch and peg-leg-sporting pirates and wenches enjoying the guilty pleasures of buccaneers past. The crowd included Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden, who hosted a group of friends in a poolside cabana, as did comedian and Playboy mansion regular Pauly Shore, skateboarder Jake Brown and actress/country singer Beverley Mitchell.