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Purim is one holiday where nightclubs and bars throughout Israel become places for fulfilling the mitzva to drink until you don't know the difference between cursing Haman and blessing Mordecai.
It's thanks to Ahasuerus - and a pious party girl named Esther - that all the bars and nightclubs go all out to show they can outdo the Persian king.
But in case you want to try emulating Ahasuerus, here are some tips for a home-made Purimfest, courtesy of www.mefik.co.il - a portal for events and party production:
Choose music wisely. Music makes all the difference for a party - it forges the mood and energy. Unless you're hiring a DJ, make sure your home sound system is up to par, and that a song list or mix is prepared in advance.
Lighting. Lighting is an important ingredient to any party, but don't put candles near an area designated for dancing or crowds. Many costumes stick out or are made of flammable materials, so try to use other means for creative, mood-inducing lighting.
Comfort. Make sure you have enough space for the number of people on the guest list, and that there is enough ventilation, as many costumes can get heavy or hot.
Booze. Purim is not the time to skimp on drinks. Try to offer a diverse range - from white and red wines to spirits, liquors, beers and sodas. If you're strapped for cash, don't be afraid to ask partiers to bring drinks, or to put out a jar out for contributions. To avoid broken glass, use cans or plastic cups instead of glasses or beer bottles.
Amenities. Don't forget to stock-up on toilet paper, trash cans and ashtrays. You might want to keep some sponges or spot remover around as well, in case there are any spills.
Friendly neighbors. Tell your neighbors you're throwing a party (or invite them to soften them up), and take heed of laws and regulations concerning noise.
IN CASE you're looking for a night out, here are some hot spots that are taking inspiration from the festivities of Shushan:
Bugsy: This Florentine bistro-bar hang-out will be hosting "De Vashti's Party" with cocktails (named after a Purim character) based on honey jaegermeister (NIS 39 each) served all day from March 13-14. Liquor-filled hamantashen will be served with breakfast. Rehov Florentine 26, Tel Aviv. (03) 681-3138.
Forum: The southern mega-club will be catering mostly to a younger generation this year with a party on Sunday, March 12 for teens and performances by super-trance DJ, DJ Skaazi, and the TACT hip-hop label family. Skaazi will be performing live again for ages 20+ on Monday, March 13, and trance DJ Astrix will spin for grades 11 and 12 on Tuesday, March 14. Kiryat Yehudit 232, Beersheba, (052) 312-2019.
Hanger 11: An extravagant Purim festival (mostly for ages 17-24) hosting some of the hottest Israel hip-hop, house, dance and trance artists, including Skaazi, 40%, Exhail, and Shi360, will be spread out in the new and improved Hanger 11, with special effects and wild decor. Sunday, March 11, 9:30 pm. NIS 89-120. Hanger 11, Tel Aviv Port, (052) 503-2998.
Haoman 17, Jerusalem: Haoman is taking Purim outside its halls to the Jerusalem Conference Center on Monday, March 13, in a joint party with the Student Union and the Campus nightclub (ages 23+). There will be a special performance by Metropolin, and DJs will be spinning something for everyone in three different halls. On Tuesday, March 14, the mega-club is holding a Purim Ball themed after the Fame TV show in the courtyard of the Jerusalem Theater, with 70s and 80s dance music. Costumes are mandatory. (052) 383-3117.
Haoman 17, Tel Aviv: Shirazi and Haoman are teaming up again for the colorful Purim "Tea Dance" on Saturday, March 11, with guest DJs Jori Hulkkonen of Finland and Gene Farris of Chicago. On Tuesday, March 14, Shiri Maimon is performing at the club's nighttime Purim Ball. Costumes are mandatory. Rehov Abarbanel 88, (03) 681-3636.
Fetish@Maxim: Fetish is celebrating Purim on Thursday, March 16 under the stars. They're holding their "Progressive Thursday" party near the "Bustan" gardens in Beit Oved, 15 minutes south of Tel Aviv. Fetish DJs Ilya, Nadav Agami and Zombi will spin house, and Lish (Com.Pact) and Ace Venture (Iboga) will spin progressive trance. Costumes are mandatory. NIS 40-60, follow the signs, (054) 456-9881.
Mish Mish: The American-style cocktail lounge is celebrating Purim with a 1930s party in the hedonistic spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The DJ will spin special 30s tunes, and champagne-based cocktails will be served in abundance. March 13-15, Rehov Lilienblum 17, Tel Aviv, (03) 516-8178.
Nana Bar: This charming bar-restaurant in Neve Tzedek is taking the occasion of Purim to offer unlimited wine with every meal. March 13-14, Rehov Ahad Ha'am 1, Tel Aviv, (03) 516-1915.
Nona Caf Bar: For those looking to settle down after a party, Nona invites Purim revelers for breakfast as well as after-hour cocktails (NIS 25) 2-6 a.m. Rehov Ibn Gebirol 24, (03) 696-6365.
Temptation: This "let-yourself go" bar on Allenb yy is celebrating the enemy of ancient Persia - Greece - with a Greek toga party on Monday, March 13. Dress in costumes as you please the next night on March 14. Cocktails, drink specials and Mexican food will be served all night. Rehov Allenby 35, Tel Aviv.(03) 629-0875.
Sample: This new, heavily invested bar for ages 25+ is celebrating Purim on March 14 with "Retro Old School" and black freestyle music by DJ Haman Harasha (kobix) & Parshan Data Sound System; on March 15 DJ Vashti HaMalka (Yael Krauss) will spin a "sexy funky smooth" set. Happy hour is from 9-10 p.m.: 1+1. Rehov Nahalat Binyamin 47, Tel Aviv. (03) 566-8008.
Shesek: Purim will get freakier than usual at this Bohemian hub, with special absinthe-based cocktails for NIS 22 a pop between March 13 and 14. Staff will be dressed as flowers and pets. Rehov Lilienblum 17, Tel Aviv, (03) 516-9520.
Temple Bar: The Irish pub at Cinema City will be honoring the holiday with Irish music performed by Kahol on Monday, March 13 and Overtone on Tuesday, March 14. Beer from its 16 draft jugs will be pouring all night. Glilot Junction, (03) 699-5536.
Purim in Givat Ye'arim: Tout Le Monde, a party production company started by a group of Jerusalemites, is hoping to break the Jerusalem nightlife routine with an alternative Purim party in the scenic Givat Ye'arim village just outside the capital. They have imported DJ Safri from Holland to spin his signature funky world music ("couscous grooves & basmati breaks") and DJ Shira Arad will be spinning freestyle oriental. Tuesday, March 14. Get to Givat Ye'arim and follow the signs, (054) 482-6295.
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