On New Year's Eve, bubbly flows, music blares, and the (free) fireworks pop in the midnight sky, no matter where you are.
But you do have to be somewhere, don't you? Of course you do. And there are all sorts of lively, entertaining places to be if you're stepping out on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 31, to welcome 2014.
Louis Prima Jr. is the soul of New Year's Eve, a singing, trumpeting good time whose lineage is nothing less than the king of the party. Son of one of Las Vegas' swingin'-est icons, Junior learned at the feet of the master the value of the juke, the jive, and the mix of Nevada desert glitz and New Orleans blues that made Prima's name famous. Junior does those tricks and tracks - "Just a Gigolo," "I Ain't Got Nobody" - but with his 2012 debut album Return of the Wildest!, little Louis showed magic of his own devising.
Rather than cough up cash for loud, faceless DJs playing the shiny electro-dance usual, Atlantic City's Pier Shops at Caesars opens its third level - the floor featuring Stephen Starr's Continental and Buddakan, along with Phillips Seafood, and Souzai Sushi and Sake - for one huge dining, drinking, and dancing carnival. The party is free, and you can roam outside each eatery and purchase cocktails while waiting for the restaurant to serve you dinner.
Tribe of Fools theater troupe and its elastic artistic director Terry Brennan have been the executors of Philly Fringe's most roughly physical musical comedies in recent years, Antihero and Heavy Metal Dance Fag. So it's exciting - if exhausting - to consider Tribe's fourth annual holiday burlesque, The Rise of Nasty Frosty. It's a bash with a menacing mascot (Meghann Williams from Flashpoint and Chlamydia Dell'Arte), rude makeshift revelers Dirty Santa and Horny Rudolph, along with several of the Tribe's crowd-favorite Fringe show characters, like Antihero's tap-dancing activists Vaginal Anarchy. Look for a raffle, and a naughty Mad Libs contest.
Philadelphia's 3Nerds have crafted some of this city's wickedest parties, #Dayload at the Piazza included. Tuesday they're classing up the joint by turning Loews Hotels' 500 Club ballroom into a swellegant 1960s-esque nightclub, with DJs Nemysis and Montone. Does this mean it's like a pop art happening, Truman Capote's Black & White Ball, or an acid hippie bash? Stay tuned.
Steampunk fashionistas and monocle-wearing enthusiasts of Victorian-era everything move Dorian's Parlor to the Troc for New Year's Eve with a burlesque program, magic on stage, dancing, and DJ XTine. Feeling 21st-century? Tessa will have a time bubble open on the balcony, where DJ Mighty Mike Saga will spin more-recent tunes. Downstairs, bring the Pimm's Cup.
If fun with 3,000 people is your game - or perhaps bizarre arrays of hamburgers to go with your champagne - the Piazza's four bars, 20,000 square feet of heated tent with lasers, bands, and food from PYT, Kings Oak, Max's Brew Bar, and Gunners Run are multiple parties for one ticket. Plus, if you get claustrophobic, sneak round the corner to Emmanuelle (a best new bar winner from Food & Wine magazine) for a crafty craft cocktail from bartenders Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal.
While the gilded Philadelphia crooner answers the question "What if Liza Minnelli and Elvis Presley had a baby?", the Baltic music-blaring WPO makes merry. Expect a glorious mess with this one.
Philly's improvisational masters ComedySportz wrap up Year Twenty with a flight of created-on-the-spot sketches and interactive game-playing. (Wait for rarely performed bouts of Spit Take and Oxygen Deprivation, during which a player keeps his/her head underwater while teammates perform a scene.) While visitors to the night's first show get a countdown to midnight in Brazil, everyone will celebrate with the show's make-believe Baby New Year. This may be the only NYE party with a pizza- and-sparkling-cider toast.