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No one throws a party like Van Conway

It’s difficult to describe Conway Mackenzie principal Van Conway’s holiday party at Bacco Ristorante on Monday night, but it is probably best summed up as sweet, over-the-top holiday decadence. Where to begin? The modest-sized, award-winning Italian restaurant was greatly enhanced in size with the addition of several large luxury tents. The front driveway, complete with a team of valets, was completely covered in plush red carpet. A life-size ice sculpture with Santa and his reindeer took its spot on the dazzling red carpet entrance. Some 35 stunning fashion models dressed in sexy dresses and Santa hats greeted the 600 guests, 90 percent of whom were men (a stag party of sorts). A massive waitstaff graciously assisted each guest with food and elaborate cocktail presentations at every turn. There were racks of lamb, succulent salmon and crab claws as big as a heavyweight boxer’s fists with Alaskan King crab legs to match. All this punctuated with lobster tails covering a huge ice sculpture that seemed to stretch to the ceiling. The finest of spirits were poured like water, including Cristal Rose, Louis XIII and a rare vintage Chateau d’Yquem. And if there weren’t enough hoopla at the party itself, each guest, as a parting gift, left with one of six styles of fine leather goods from Tumi, each personally monogrammed. The rumor of the night was that this was the last of Conway’s now famously notorious bashes for a while. We couldn’t get him to speak on that, but he simply said, “We just want to make sure that tonight all our guests have a night they won’t soon forget.” Mission accomplished.

Holiday moon dust

Julie and Bobby Taubman hosted MOCAD’s Holiday Cheer party at the Maple Theater on Tuesday night with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a screening of “Moon Dust,” a quirky, artsy film by Detroit-area painter Scott Reeder, who follows the employees of a fallen-from-grace resort on the moon. About 100 guests attended the party; some laughed out loud hysterically through the whole film (which we hear pleased Reeder), others watched in amazement, while a handful of others quickly retreated to the bar area, shaking their collective heads while whispering, “I don’t get it.” “It’s a brilliant piece of work that amazes me every time I see it,” Julie Taubman said. “I hope everyone enjoyed the evening.”

A Detroit legend

There has been a lot of reminiscing about legendary WXYZ-TV anchor Bill Bonds for the past few days; friends, media watchers and fans have been sharing it all — the wild stories and the poignant ones. Although it’s part of the narrative that Bonds honed his reputation with his reporting and anchoring for WXYZ during the 1967 Detroit riots, one major step forward in his career happened when he was still a radio newsman at pop station WKNR-AM (Keener 13) in November 1963. It was Nov. 22 when reports that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

Without any management in the building to make the call, Bonds and Keener jock Jim Beasley made the decision to stop playing music and go all-talk as the reports from Dallas came in, with Bonds talking for hours, off just scraps of wire copy. “Bill scooped every radio or TV station in Detroit with his ability to think and talk without a script,” Beasley wrote in to The Detroit News from Tennessee.

swhitall@detroitnews.com

chuckbennett@hotmail.com

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