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Gaming Guru

Melissa Arseniuk

Palms parties in Playboy fashion

20 August 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Though the Palms is about 283 miles from the Playboy Mansion, Las Vegas' N9NE Group brought Hugh Hefner's infamous Midsummer Night's Dream party to the Palms on Saturday night.

While Hef himself wasn't in attendance -- he threw his party at his Holmby Hills, Calif., home a few weeks ago -- one of his favorite bunnies and live-in girlfriends, Bridget Marquardt, was.

Other noted guests included Efren Ramirez, of "Napolean Dynamite" fame, and "Beverly Hills 90210" alumnus Ian Ziering. Palms owner George Maloof also stopped by, as did members of Crazy Town, who partied in Playboy fashion and lip-synched to their dated-but-still-fun hit from 2001, "Butterfly."

Unlike the original annual summertime fantasy at the Playboy Mansion, the second-annual Midsummer Night's Dream party at the Palms pool was open to the public.

The event was billed as the N9NE Group's "most exclusive costume gala," meaning regular Joes and Hef wannabes had to fork over more than a common man's pittance to get in. Tickets sold for $150 apiece -- though, in classic Vegas fashion, some ladies got in free if they RSVP'd in advance. (As a "quality control" measure, RSVPs required accompanying photos.)

Regardless of how partiers got in, a relevant costume or mask was mandatory. Themed "A Masquerade in the King's Court," the night was set in 16th and 17th century England.

For some men, this meant "knight;" for others it meant "jester." But apparently most women wore very little during this time period. With high heels, no less.

The costume aspect of the evening was a problem for more than a few. One bachelor party confused the 17th century with the 1970s and came dressed like retro-fabulous pimps, complete with crushed purple velvet leisure suits, oversized sunglasses and zebra-print accessories. Most of the bunnies steered clear of the troupe, but the smirks did little to slow the group's collective mojo.

Less creative costumes included hotel room-issued terrycloth robes (yawn), while some passed on costumes altogether and donned masks paired with street clothes.

Some girls pounced on the opportunity to strut their stuff in racy get-ups.

Many of the outfits were so salacious that when cocktail servers from the Playboy Club showed up, the waitresses almost seemed over-dressed in their bunny ears, leotards and signature cuffs.


At the same time, some revelers had their Playboy parties confused and instead of period costumes, came dressed in pajamas.

At 6-foot-7, Brandon Lopez is used to standing out in a crowd. But dressed in a custom-made cow print onesie, there was no missing the pajama-clad Dallas, Texas, resident on Saturday.

Lopez had the plush outfit specially made for the event. He donned a similar one for last year's inaugural Midsummer Night's Dream party at the Palms, but that one, which also was custom-made, was blue with yellow rubber duckies.

Lopez, 33, said he'll be back next year -- though he's not sure what he'll wear. But if Saturday night proved anything, it was that it really doesn't matter what you wear to the yearly bash. Indeed, the night oozes so much sex appeal and melts inhibitions to the point that even a cow print onesie can be hot.

"It'll involve a onesie, but the pattern, I don't know," he said.

Flanked by three ladies in waiting, "Queen Bridget of Playboy" wore a yellow Medieval-inspired dress with blue ribbons and frilly white lace accents. The relatively classy dress was custom-made for the Playmate by Trashy Lingerie.

Spray-tanned and shimmering with body bronzer, the 34-year-old "Girls Next Door" star took her nobility seriously. Her first act as queen was to declare, "Let's party!" and she spent most of the evening smiling as she danced with her girlfriends on stage.

Her king for the night played his part well, wearing a white and gold, Elvis-meets-Hef-inspired robe, silk slacks and a sash around his waist. A gold medallion rested on his chest, while a crown with big, fake diamonds sat high upon his head.

There was more to the event than costumes, of course. The Palms pool area was converted into a medieval adult's playground for the five hot and steamy hours of midsummer night merrymaking. Lighting and props helped transform the scene into a castle-like setting, while costumed security and staff furthered the mood.

As music played and booze flowed freely, contortionists, mimes and jugglers entertained the court. Meanwhile, partiers did their best to seduce both each other and the many cameras that flashed and filmed throughout the evening.

Staying true to Playboy's lack of modesty, scores of well-hydrated bunny-wannabes romped and rolled around VIP cabanas, gyrating on couches and doing whatever they could to capture, then maintain the attention of amped-up onlookers. As the mayhem escalated, it became increasingly clear that while the king ruled the court and Marquardt was its queen, the night was clearly under exhibitionists' rule.