Given the garbage fire year of disasters (The pandemic! Actual raging fires! Qanon! We'll stop there!), one might argue that there's not much to celebrate about 2020. If you're looking to escape our Twilight Zone-like times and bust your pandemic boredom without leaving your yard, allow Of the Night to come to the rescue.
The cool party-in-a-basket delivery service launched this summer and is available in L.A. and San Francisco. It's the brainchild of co-founders Courtney Nichols and now Portland-based Blakeshine (née Harrison), who both know a thing or two about creating decadent soirées and theatrical experiences. Nichols is the creator of Disco Dining Club (we're big fans of its mind-blowing muli-sensory dinner parties) and the co-host of ten-part podcast series Our Los Angeles, while Harrison co-founded overnight comedy fest Big Fire Festival and is the creative producer of Dirtybird Campout (she's also one-half of the duo, Big Expression).
The at-home party experience allows you to choose your own campy adventure — complete with food and booze — starting at $120 for two people, and each month offers different themes and a Spotify playlist for each, plus add-ons ($75 to $250) like a singing telegram, photo backdrops, selfie-ready lighting, DiscoVinno's Donna Rosé, and more. October's options include Gnomes of the Night, a woodland wonderland-inspired celebration packed with Kikoko manuka honey shots, Bavarian pretzels from Rockenwagner Bakery, a gardening kit, and other green-themed goodies (wink wink).
The Erotica of the Night package is for those seeking something more sensual by way of provocative accoutrements from El Silencio, sexy games and toys from Mother Plucker Feathers and Bijoux Indiscrets, a BDSM video tutorial led by Mistress Justine Cross, and more aphrodisiacs and naughty treats. And for rodeo-loving revelers, the Rhinestone Cowboy promises a bejeweled bash with apple pie, cowboy hats, Dolly Parton-inspired stickers, People's Choice jerkey, poker game essentials, a pony (yup), and more goods to make you giddy-up.
Of the Night also teamed with L.A.'s Bob Baker Marionette Theater for the Halloween-ready Dracula Disco package ($150), a family-friendly fête-in-a-box (okay, there are a few goodies for grown-ups only) that features bat puppets, red tinsel curtains, Kryolan fake blood, a blood-red disco ball, ghost tequila samples, rosé from Vampire Vineyards, and other bites and sips for budding blood-suckers. Bonus: You can also order up a doorstep performance ($100; L.A. only) from the legendary local theater's pro puppetmasters.
The experiential company donates 10% of proceeds to nonprofit organizations, such as Protect Farm Field Workers, Gays & Lesbians Living In A Transgender Society (GLITS), Center for Reproductive Rights, The Actors Fund, and the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. (We'll raise some rosé to that.)
Delivery in L.A. is $10 to $15 depending on your zone, which includes Central L.A. areas including Beverly Grove, Beverly Hills, DTLA, Hollywood, Los Feliz, and West Hollywood; as well as Baldwin Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, the Valley, and the Westside.
We recently caught up with Nichols in between party planning to learn more about how Of the Night was born and what rager-loving recipients are saying so far. Read on below, then order your themed experience online here.
How did you two meet, and how long has this idea been brewing? If possible, how did the pandemic inspire or accelerate plans to launch?
I was first introduced to Blakeshine through an actor that I often cast as the host at my Disco Dining Club events. When we met, it was serendipity defined. Both Blakeshine and myself have the same harebrained ideas that we match with a relentless work ethic. We had begun pre-production of a large scale theatrical dinner when COVID-19 hit. While I retreated to my L.A. residence, she moved up North to Portland.
In June, we reconnected as I had just started delivering singing telegrams to doorsteps across Los Angeles. We wanted to take this idea and make it grander. It seemed that we blacked out during this process, as we went from conceptualization to our debut in approximately three weeks! Not until this month did we actually reunite in person. The entire birth of Of the Night took place over the phone — a feat I could not have imagined if it wasn't for these unique times.
Have the party packages been inspired by real events and if so, care to share any fun/wild memories of them?
Of the Night is all about bringing color, whimsy, and play into your living room. As we say on our mission statement: We are here to eradicate your boredom. Each of our package themes are inspired by our obsessions, our backgrounds, and our consummate love affair with culture. Being that both Blakeshine and myself come from a background of event producing (and partying), we love a good story, and Of the Night is all about the narrative.
Our themes have ranged from Gnomes of the Night, to Rhinestone Cowboy Of the Night, and Slumber Party Of the Night — each providing all the necessities to immerse yourself in that world from the safety of your living room. We don't want to give away too many secrets of upcoming themes, but let's just say we are playing around with a "Crazy Cat Lady" party package.
What has the feedback been like so far from partygoers who have ordered?
The response has been beyond magical. Personally, I believe the best parties begin when you receive the invitation. Following this ethos, we make sure to have direct communication with every recipient before their package arrival. Recently we had a recipient send us, "Thank you for supplying so much fun, positive energy, and creativity during a really challenging time. I haven't looked forward to something like this in so long and it really lifted my spirits purchasing it."
This is what it's all about: Gifting people moments of wonder and allowing them to just have fun. Not to mention, a majority of our recipients have opted for a theatrical delivery, which includes having the party package delivered via a costumed performer. Nothing says Friday afternoon like having a Rhinestone Cowboy-themed package delivered with a musical saw performance.
We can easily see your party packages being very cannabis-friendly — any future plans related to that front?
We are currently featuring the incredible products of women-owned and run Kikoko in both our Gnomes Of the Night and Erotica Of the Night party packages. We also have spotlighted a handful of CBD products in our past party packages. We do have a couple of party packages in pre-production that thoroughly lean into cannabis culture — more info is on the horizon. With that being said, we are advocates of Of the Night recipients indulging in their own stash while partaking in our party packages!