BAD JUJU BE GONE Burn it clean. Paul Constant

Fri Sept 23



About 100 people packed into a multi-tiered backyard are exorcising the bad juju that they've accrued over the past year. Guests bring items that have inspired sadness or bad luck and throw them into a fiery barrel while chanting, "Juju past/Juju burn/Nothing lasts/The Earth still turns." Objects devoured by flame include a 120-page thesis, a replica of someone's slipped disc, some floorboards from a leaky condo, and sheaves of legal papers.

The house is plastered with Polaroids of guests. Partygoers, now cleansed of the bad, are supposed to generate good juju by writing positive things on others' pictures. Some are a bit of a stretch: Under Mark's picture, someone wrote "What a nice name!" Other inscriptions such as "Nice rack," and "He's got red pubes!" indicate where the party beverages—Juju Juice and Liberation Lemonade, both tasty and heavy on the liquor—are taking the crowd.

A palm reader is on hand (haw-haw) and Party Crasher, ever fearful of the Dark Arts, forces our Plus One to get a reading. Outside, a drunken guest tells us that we look like "Elliott from fuckin' E.T." and then shares how he burned all the effects from a five-year relationship. He now feels... he can only explain by blowing a Liberation Raspberry: "Pbbbtthhhhh!" In the meantime, the juju already seems to be building up: One partygoer, being introduced to another, mutters, "And that's my girlfriend making out with that other guy over there." But soon all's forgiven and we laugh until late, celebrating the thing that most parties definitely do not offer: a fresh start.

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