Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dr. Foemmel's House of Cheer

Right here, in the heart of Vegas, there is a world where time and space are tangled together back to the past, when Sinatra, Elvis, and Dean Martin, all reigned in Vegas. People dress up like they are going to a party, but I found out, talking to them, that this is their life style. Dressing up is part of their daily life. Eric Foemmel, a multi-talented person has named his residence, Dr. Foemmel's House of Cheer—where the good times roll!
At maximum capacity, his parties are attended by 50 to 70 people. Of his many parties, one recurrent event is the Church of Frank Sinatra; Las Vegas Chapter. This chapter and party is organized by Donald Jacobs, who is referred to as the Bishop of Booze. Originally started in San Francisco, there are chapters in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, and Portland. These parties have sprung up around the country. The first one in Las Vegas was at Dr. Foemmel's House of Cheer and the March meeting as well.
You have to be lucky to be able to attend these parties. They are by invitation only. People bring their bottles and there is no fee. The atmosphere is set with people all dressed up, sipping cocktails, Sinatra music plays in the background, with everyone having a good time. There is a sense of sophistication in the air; this is their preferred way to enjoy their lives and as they say, no drama. According to Eric "it's a break from everyday life." What a break!
Every party with at least seven guests gets counted, which is carved into the kitchen door frame to keep count. Eric's House of Cheer has held 68 parties in two years. Today was party number 68, carved together with the name: "come2vegas!" There I had the honor to meet amazing people, such as Sarah Von Hardy, Noland Magnuson, Vivian Martin, Ruth and Paul Bones, and, of course, Eric Foemmel.
There are lots of visitors from all over the world. Sometimes they come for an hour or two and end up  staying for a month or two! At one of the parties, during the winter, a couple from Sweden who were staying for a month, decided to swim in the pool. Eric told them the water was cold, but they replied "there is no ice on it so we can swim"

There are all kind of parties, such as Chapel of Dino (Dean Martin), which is an intimate kind of party; Atomic Aloha, Night of Magic, Mystery, and Mind Reading with Paul Vigil (Merlin Award winner), there is a "Dive-In Theater," night, where people watch movies as they swim in the pool. There are also the First Annual Atomic Aloha Pre-Thanksgiving Party and the "Elvis Leaving the Party" Challenge.

At one of the parties, The Las Vegas Cocktail and Book Club, Mr. Don Hill was the special guest. He was discussing his book, celebrating his 93rd birthday and discussed his book, House Party Tonight. Mr. Hill is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame for his fifty years playing saxophone with The Treniers. He filmed several movies, including The Girl Can't Help It! Here is a clip of Don:
Every party raises funds for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Tickets sell for $5 and there is a raffle. The winner gets half of the money and the other half goes to the St. Jude Hospital. There is an Elvis clock traveling around the country, also raising money for the St. Jude as well. Where the clock arrives, there is a party. This clock now is in San Diego.
Eric's former roommate, Kyle Kettner, used to organize a swing dance night at the House of Blues on the Strip. One of these gigs featured The California Feetwarmers. Right when the band was getting hot and finding their groove, the general manager at the House of Blues decided to close early, called last call, and told the band they had one more song. Eric told Kyle, "tell the band that they can continue at my house."  So, Kyle got on the microphone and said, "We're taking the party to the House of Cheer." An hour later, the band was playing in Eric's living room, the bar patrons came to the House of Cheer and started dancing, and they kept the fun going. The  California Feetwarmers were nominated for a Grammy. Eric said "it was an honor to have them play in the house!"

I asked Eric how the neighbors feel about his parties, and he told me one of the neighbors said, "I would never call the cops on you, but I pray for you everyday!"
Eric is in process of finalizing all of the parties at House of Cheer for 2015. The goal is to reach the 99th party by August 31st, 2015. In February, there will be the Anti-Valentine's Day Party, Tacky 80's, and St. Valentine's Day Massacre, remembering the 1920 Chicago Massacre. The front living rooms will host the Cheezy 1980s Valentine's Day, with blue decks of cards for men and red decks for women to randomly match single guests, and the back living room will host a Cupid Pinata with several photo opportunities.
There are also other parties taking shape, like B@D @RT P@RTY, Pre Viva Las Vegas Church of Frank Sinatra; Las Vegas Chapter, and the DJ Lucky's Birthday by the Bayou, and of course, Dive-In Theater by the pool with a series of ten films. In April, there will be a party in Paris.
While we were talking, people were arriving with food. Others were preparing food to take to another party. It was time to leave and let them go to the party and maybe another party after that party. Who knows? Like Eric says "Throw a Dean Martin record on the stereo, make a martini, and enjoy Vegas living. There is no place like Vegas, and there is no place like the House of Cheer!"

Eric Foemmel on google+
Eric's Instagram: @HouseofCheer

House of Cheer on Kitchen Crashers

Location: Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV, USA