Home Archives 2015 December

Monthly Archives: December 2015

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    Crafts & more
    December 28-31, Chennai
    Prepare for winter camp as play centre Kanchana Patti invites children (four and above) for a dose of music and dance, outdoor games, clay modelling, creative writing, quizzes and storytelling. The camp also includes a day tour of the Vailankanni Church in Besant Nagar, with lunch and snacks (from 9 am to 5 pm at Rs 950 onwards). The play centre is also hosting a New Year party on December 31, at all its centres, with a celebratory lunch buffet, magic show, dancing and talent show. From 11 am to 2 pm, at Rs 600 per head. Details: 9790910970

    Carnival cheer
    December 25, T Nagar
    Children’s play centre, Hansel & Gretel celebrates Christmas with a carnival featuring a juggling show, Christmas crafts workshop, face painting, music and dancing, along with snacks. For ages three and above, the children will learn to make miniature Christmas trees at the workshop. Rs 500 per head. 3 pm to 6 pm. Details: 43533073

    The plot thickens
    December 26- 27, Adyar
    The ilovereadin’ Library presents a writing and storytelling workshop by Amrutash Misra and Naresh R, the co-founders of the Book Lovers’ Program for Schools (BLPS). The workshop will cover topics like sequencing of a story, standard plots and exaggerations. Those wanting to gift a membership can email The ilovereadin’ Library on contact@iloveread.in. Meanwhile don’t miss the Harry Potter costume party on December 25.
    Non members are also welcome.
    10.30 am to 5 pm. Rs 1,000 per head. Details: 9940668512

    Antique affair
    All season, online
    Indian auction house Bid and Hammer has launched an online portal for art, jewelry and home décor. B&H Shop, unlike the parent company, is an e-store featuring products with fixed rates. The antique, gold-plated ceramic ceremonial tea-collection (Rs 9,000) is part of their Christmas offerings that feature items at discounted prices. Rs 7,000 onwards. Details: bnhshop.com

    Leave with a leaf
    Till December 31, Crowne Plaza
    As a flood relief initiative by the Chennai Expat Community, artist Rahool Saksena’s installation, the Tree of Hope, is on display at Crowne Plaza. The leaves of the Christmas tree are made of 500 recycled and pressed beer bottles. These leaves are also up for auction, and the proceeds will go for the cause, to the Arcot Foundation. Rs 1,500 onwards. Details: 24994101

    North Pole visit
    Till January 5, Express Avenue
    Express Avenue celebrates Christmas with a Chistmas Village, based on a North Pole mountain village this year. It includes a toy train ride, the proceeds of which go towards flood relief efforts. Open from 11 am to 9.30 pm. Train ride from Rs 15 onwards. Details: 28464646

    Tree watch
    All season, Phoenix MarketCity
    If you’re looking out for the best trees, be sure to stop at Phoenix MarketCity where a life-size reindeer, a walk through bauble and 30 foot Christmas tree are on display. Details: 30083008

    Fund raiser

    Key notes

    City-based classical pianist Anil Srinivasan will perform at Luz House with veena artiste Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh and carnatic musician Sikkil Gurucharan. As part of Anil’s contribution towards schools that have suffered damages during the floods, audiences are welcome to donate. “Keeping in mind the somberness and dignity associated with the cause, we will play meditative and reflective music,” says Srinivasan. On January 3, from 9.30 am to 11.30 am. Details: 9600159795
    Ride away

    Ciclo Cafe is hosting Cycle for Chennai in association with five cycling clubs from the city. Participants will cycle from Madhya Kailash to Ciclo Cafe with optional stretches of either 30 kilometers or 60 kilometers. The proceeds of this event go towards NGOs helping out with flood-relief efforts. Participants will receive breakfast and T-shirts sponsored by the cafe. Passes at Rs 500 per head. On December 27 from 5.30 am. Details: 8754436474

    Toast at the coast
    Surf Turf in Kovalam is hosting a coastal Christmas dinner on December 25. Enjoy continental fare with dishes like potato mozzarella fingers, vegetarian lasagna and parmesan-stuffed chicken in mushroom cream sauce. There will also be a performance by the new band Kashyap and Group, who will be playing retro music including rock and roll. A part of the profits from this dinner will be directed towards flood victims. From 7.30 pm. Rs 2,000 for non-vegtarian and Rs 1,800 for the vegetarian dinner. Details: 9884046674

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    16 party frocks to rock the wild nights ahead. Plus, a few jackets and other essentials for men

    pg10_2Vintage check
    This dramatic confection in ink-blue silk and gold tulle from master couturier JJ Valaya flatters all silhouettes. It can easily double up as a chic ethnic ensemble when worn with cigarette pants or a churidar. Known for his opulent designs, the Delhi designer has showcased the raw silk yoke of this dress with delicate zari and aari handwork in vintage gold and beige. Rs 14, 300. Details: perniaspopupshop.com

    Orchid hunt
    Working with weavers identified by the Taj group of hotels, Jay Ramrakhiani is known for his Benarasi saris. But he began with Western wear and has clients like Angelina Jolie on his list (a brocade jacket was recently shipped to the actress).  He combs through royal family archives and revives special patterns and weaves. This handwoven tulle evening gown has sequin orchids and Swarovski crystals. Available on order. Rs 25,000. Details: 09821055894 and jay.ramrakhiani@hotmail.com

    pg10_16Alternative spin
    Self-trained designer Nikasha Tawadey gives us this slinky red jumpsuit in crepe to ring in 2016. The modern silhouette is elevated by appliquéd leaves, thread-work and beaded aadha chand embroidery on the shoulder. Tawadey is a supporter of traditional embroidery and relies on artisanal participation for her designs. We suggest you keep accessories to a minimum. Rs 34,500. Details: perniaspopupshop.com

    pg10_7Alphabet soup
    Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou is known to experiment with digital print and textures. She gives purple a youthful spin with this silk blend dress with circle skirt and front inverted pleat. Don’t miss the embroidered alphabet design. The bustier dress is available at Le Mill in Mumbai and on the website. Rs 1,18,000.
    Details: 022 22041925

    pg10_9Lace theory
    Dolce & Gabbana proves that you can’t  ever go wrong with lace. The elegant silhouette, with long sleeves and high neck is just what you need to make an impact against the hordes in tiny cocktail dresses. Choose a discreet pair of shoes for this one. Approximately Rs 1,41,600 at mytheresa.com

    pg10_4Desert shine
    This fiery bodycon dress with striking detailing, from the youthful Delhi label, Carousel by Simran Arya, is a conversation starter. The bold orange—a polyester blend with faux leather and gold zipper trim—is not for the faint-hearted. Team this sleek silhouette with a black and gold Fendi baguette and gold pumps. Rs 14,500. Details: perniaspopupshop.com

    pg10_13A new plot
    We bet you wouldn’t have seen this colour on any retail shelves near you. It’s a dried herb shade, a special collection created for the festive autumn winter season, by Encrustd in Bengaluru. Aptly called ‘Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around’, this ensemble will certainly see other heads turn, in awe. Rs 15,300 at Encrustd. Details: 8039511221

    Mind the sleeves
    Let it not be said that the men were neglected in this parade. Sarah Sheikh and Sandeep Gonsalves of SS Homme, the bespoke menswear label, have dressed Bollywood’s most wanted. Here they present watch mechanism cufflinks to complete the look. Rs 8,000. Details: 09820811263

    pg10_6Blue effect
    The blue suit gets an upgrade. Take this midnight blue tuxedo with blue lapel. It’s SS Homme’s way of saying you’re the boss. Rs 44,000. Details: 09820811263

    Colour me bright
    From Fendi’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, this Peekaboo clutch references the colour chart with a disco vibe. Wear it with a charcoal ensemble or bold red. Rs 1,50,000. Details: 011 46040777

    pg10_5Flower power
    Keeping with the trend, this electric floral print dress from designer Payal Pratap’s spring-summer 2016 line, Vintage Rose, is a classic. Featuring interesting cross-stitch print, the Delhi-based designer is known to also incorporate 3D printing and natural silks such as crepe, georgette and Dupion silk in her line. The better half of couturier Rajesh Pratap Singh, Payal has the likes of Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone as clients. Rs 13,500, at Amethyst. Details: 28541917

    Drape
    conscious
    Let style be your fashionable plus-one this NYE. From the latest Label Ritu Kumar collection, this floor-grazer has artisanal embellishment techniques that the designer is famous for. With an enticing low back, it uses georgette intelligently, making accessories redundant. Take along a pair of sky-high stilettos, though. Rs 12,250, at the store. Details: 28330833

    pg10_14Moonlight romance
    If you’re in the mood for something delicate, this semi-sheer cobalt blue and red ensemble from Samatvam by Anjali Bhaskar is perfect. The net skirt and top set from the Delhi label is so beautifully crafted with resham that it looks like a dress, but can be worn with separates. Pair it with a white tee for New Year’s brunch the next day. Rs 22,000. Details: perniaspopupshop.com

    pg10_10All tied up
    Add some dots to the party with this printed butterfly bow tie from the label that stocks cufflinks, lapel pins and pocket squares. Rs 1,299 at thebrocode.in

    Spark of rebellion
    Can’t have an unforgettable party without someone making bold sartorial choices. Take this silver slim fit blazer from Paul Smith. Made from metallic linen, it has texture and calls for tailored trousers. Rs 81,100 approximately on mrporter.com

    Future watch
    Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna’s An Early Frost celebrates the colours of a cold forest, from mist and ash grey to moody charcoal. This dress, with the signature linear pattern is in keeping with the Star Wars vibe and has the high-waisted skirt and raw opulence that is typical of this collection. Plus, the designers’ eye for detail and mastery over texturing is evident . Rs 36,500 at Evoluzione. Details: 28333627

    pg10_15Metallic connect
    Short and flirty, the metallic accents in this black-and-gold dress from New York brand Proenza Schouler will add to the brilliance of a December evening. With a deep V-neck, it is uber feminine. Wear it with pearls to dinner with the family or to count down to the New Year with your friends. Rs 1,91,520 approximately. Details: shopharpersbazaar.com

    Red signal
    There is a reason why celebrities love Gauri & Nainika. The siblings have a way with structuring dresses that guarantees drama on the red carpet and, in this case, your NYE party. This sleek peplum dress in neoprene gives instant confidence, even if you are not from the washboard abs club. And let’s admit it, nothing screams festive like this shade of red. Rs 40,500. On order at the store in New Delhi.
    Details: 011 41671232

    pg10_11Modern language
    From Rahul Mishra’s spring/summer 2016 Paris collection, this beauty is in line with the Star Wars buzz. Exhibited at the French Embassy in October (the leaves fanning out from behind is part of the installation), it explores the idea of the Fourth Dimension and is certainly labour intensive. Rs 1,00,000 onwards. On order at Evoluzione.
    Details: 28333627

    pg10_3Boho vibe
    Bohemian queen Malini Ramani—famed for her tribal- inspired prints and bold aesthetic—has kept it quite subtle with this knee-length number. With elegant thread embroidery elevating the inky LBD, it is versatile and can be dressed up for a special evening. Team it with some fuchsia heels for dramatic effect or opt for all-black accessories. Rs 17,400, at Collage. Details: 28291443

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    Princess

    diaries
    Suneet Verma’s first Western couture line presented last month, has the buzz of Hollywood and Studio 54 music. High in volume and made in silk taffeta, this number celebrates pastels and the hour-glass figure. And don’t miss the high shine from Swarovski. Rs 68,000 onwards. Details: 011 46060970

     

    Shibi Kumaramangalam & Team Indulge

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      From a tea recipe e-book to the new jam trend, here’s why this beverage rocks

      LAST year, it was the bulletproof coffee, the brew inspired by the Tibetan yak butter tea and said to make you invincible. This season, magazine editors are excited about the jam in tea pot ritual. We get e-store Tea Trunk’s Snigdha Manchanda to address this tasty alternative to sugar. Plus,  festive blends from Teabox and Golden Tips Tea show up.

      A perfect gifting option is what everyone looks for this season. And with the most widely used beverage in the world, tea, you can’t go wrong. Leading tea makers in the country are here with their gift boxes featuring new blends and related gifts. “A book on tea recipes will be a welcoming gift for tea lovers,” suggests Snigdha Manchanda, founder of Tea Trunk, a supplier of curated tea blends. Year of Teas, an e-book from her, features 12 different tea recipes. “They encourage you to drink tea in harmony with seasons, with one recipe each month. For example, White Tea Sorbet for summers and Chilli Chai Truffles for cool days. We’ve chosen recipes with universal appeal. In each recipe the tea remains the hero. Tea has a delicate aroma and flavours, so we had to carefully choose our recipes and ingredients. The e-book is available on the website for free till December 31,” she adds. Referring to the latest trend in tea consumption — adding jam to the hot beverage — she says it was practised by Russian families, who mix raspberry or blackberry jam with tea as a remedy for common cold. ‘‘During World War I, jam was used as a sweetener since sugar was costly. Adding a teaspoon of jam to the tea gives it a different texture and taste. The practice has been mentioned in many pieces by Tolstoy. It is a healthy alternative,” she shares, adding that her favourite mix is orange marmalade with ginger black tea.

      Details: teatrunk.com

      Season select
      Santa’s Sleigh, a stellar
      collection of four teas by Teabox, is a nod to nostalgia this season. It consists of Castleton exotic summer muscatel black tea with tropical fruit flavours, the perfumed jasmine jade tea, Bombay cutting chai and Mim special summer oolong tea with geranium, orange, blossom and jasmine. Included along with the four blends is a ceramic mug. Priced at Rs 1,750.
      Details: teabox.com

      Classic read
      The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tea party kit from Harrods is a perfect gifting option with beautifully illustrated scenes from L Frank Baum’s classic. It comes as a storybook box and contains cookies themed according to the stories, be it Dorothy’s frosted hot air balloon, the Tin Woodman’s frosted heart, Scarecrow frosted thinking cap and Cowardly lion liquid courage bottle. And for tea lovers, it also features a Stash herbal peppermint teabag. It also has excerpts from the book for bookworms to enjoy. Priced at approximately Rs 3,455. Details: harrods.com

      Breakfast blends
      Another gift that can find a place beneath the Christmas tree is the Holiday Breakfast by Golden Tips Tea, a handcrafted collection of five different blends. Look out for black teas such as exotic Assam summer, Nilgiri breakfast black, royal breakfast and imperial breakfast along with India’s original masala chai. Also, available are collections such as Christmas Tea, Celebration Teas and Santa Tea Treasure. Approximately Rs 594 onwards. Details: goldentipstea.com

      — Rini Baby Thottil

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        Top hotels keep their spread open till the clock strikes 12, to ring in the New Year

        Enter the dragon
        Love your Chinese? Stix by Hyatt Regency is the place to be, with delights like Szechuan chicken eggplant chilli oil, potato okra black bean, steamed fish with soya, ginger and scallions, lamb adobo and plenty more. From 8 pm to 1 am. Rs 3,500 onwards. Details: 61001234

        Live action
        If you like to watch your chef in action, The Park’s live counters will be dishing out dosas, hand rolled pizzas and Thai noodles, to name a few. Their buffet at 601 also features salmon, caper and olive rillette, jalapeno chutney, panko crumbed couscous patties with sun-dried tomato farci and basil pesto cream. Dinner at Rs 3,333 with alcohol and Rs 1,999 for kids. This buffet will also be available (minus alcohol) for those who wish to start their feast post midnight, we hear. Details: 42676000

        Candle light countdown
        If you’re bringing in the New Year over a date, we suggest going for the candle lit dinner at Taj Connemara’s Hip Asia. The set menu features dishes like rose crackling basket corn, Vietnamese red curry fish and lemon grass infused strawberry parfait with champagne jelly, priced at Rs 2,500 plus tax per person (Rs 3,500 plus tax with unlimited select beverages). Taj pledges 50 per cent of the profits from all their New Year bookings towards Chennai flood relief through Tata trust. Details: 66000000

        Sunset and a grill

        If you stay close to The Westin, spending New Year’s Eve at Sunset Grill can be rewarding. Besides letting you dine under the open sky, this restaurant will present a selection of red meats, poultry and seafood marinated in 10 different marinades. There’s charmoula, herb, peppercorn, peri peri, tandoori, smoked barbeque, cajun, jerk, lemon garlic and harissa, among others. Dishes like raan-e-baluchi and charmoula rubbed lobster tails with Champagne Burre Blanc will keep you there way past midnight. Rs 2,999 without alcohol. From 7 pm till midnight. Details: 66333777

        Fruits of the sea
        Fond of seafood? We like the selection at ITC Grand Chola’s restaurants. From the tuna tartare with cherry broth and rose salad at Ottimo to the smoked salmon, oysters and lobsters at Madras Pavilion and sushi ranging from California uramaki to negi toro uramaki at Pan Asian — we like it all. Buffets from Rs 2,250 onwards. Open from 7 pm till midnight. Details: 22200000

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          Pick your set
          L’Amandier offers a set menu for New Year’s Eve. With garden spice chicken salad, spinach and mushroom croquettes, tenderloin steak, grilled cottage cheese and strawberry cheesecake to choose from, it is priced at `750 plus tax for vegetarians and `699 plus tax for non vegetarians. From 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Details: 30853590

          Thai night out
          Benjarong’s special Thai menu for the season has specials like pla kapong pahd cha (fillet of red snapper cooked with long beans and ginger in red curry sauce), poo pahd cha (crab meat tossed with red curry paste and tender peppercorns) and coconut pumpkin custard with tender coconut ice cream. Meal for two from `800 onwards. Till January 3. Details: 24322640

          Fries on tap
          If you live near Adyar, head to Crimson Chakra and dig into their popular smoked fries, fish curry and much more. The New Year buffet is priced at `700 plus tax and is available from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Details: 43586116

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            People you need to rope in to make sure your private New Year’s Eve bash is one that will be remembered

            If you pride yourself on hosting great parties, you know that a New Year’s Eve bash is the one that really matters. So with all hopes riding on you as host for the big one, we suggest taking no chances and instead, calling professionals who can keep your guests engaged from the word go. Our list includes photographers, musicians, standup comedians and more. Take your pick.

            Make A move

            Get your groove on with Salsa Madras. A group of six dancers will come home to give you a Latin dance demo (think salsa and bachata), followed by a  45-minute class to help you master the moves. Just wear a party dress and comfortable heels (or don’t!). They are available from 10-12 pm on December 31. From Rs 50,000. Details: 900307444

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            Comic Timing

            If you want a Comedy Night with Kapil Sharma right in your living room, Hyderabad-based event manager Bharath Reddy can book him for you. “From a simple meet-and-greet to a complete performance, he will do it all,” says Reddy. And though he comes with a steep price tag, we don’t need to tell you that he will make your party the hottest one in town. Rs 1.5 crore. Details: 9550054943

             

            pgC_11Spin Counter

            Straight from the beaches of Goa—where he has been entertaining thousands of fans at VH1 Supersonic with his techno beats, DJ Tuhin is ready to come straight to your backyard this December 31. “Techno has made a big resurgance this year. I call it body music because it is high energy and great for dancing,” says the DJ, who promises to keep you on your feet all night long. All you need to do is provide basic sound, lights and DJ equipment (try sound rental vendor, Picture Production, 28585858). “Top DJs charge anywhere from Rs 30,000. But on NYS, rates can go up 10 times,” he says. Details: srikant.s@submerge.in

             

            Actor Prepares

            The actor, theatre artiste and entrepreneur promises to add that much-needed drama to your celebrations this year. “A high energy one-act play will work well for a New Year’s Eve bash—interesting enough to engage the guests, but not long drawn out,” says the 30-year-old, whose last outing on stage was with the Boardwalkers in Neil Simon’s classic comedy, Biloxi Blues. Offering classics like excerpts from playwright Eugene O’Neill’s plays to Osman’s personal favourite, Peter Shaffer’s Equest, you can expect some eclectic monologues, too. Available on December 31. From Rs 20,000. Details: 9884043042

            The others

            Pooch party: Don’t confine your pets on leashes. Throw them a bash—with games and food—with the help of Petcialize. Rs 250 per pet. Details: 9840104825

            Party planner: Need a theme for your bash? Party Hunterz can help. From props to waiters dressed in costumes, they have you covered. Package from Rs 80,000. Details: 42079369

            Spa: From mani-pedis to luxurious facials, experts from Naturals can help you relax in the middle of the party. Rs 10,000 onwards (for five people). Details: 9092626262

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            Reality Check

            How about putting a magical spin on things? Illusionist SAC Vasanth, popular on television shows like India’s Magic Star (Star One) and Comedy Circus Ka Jadoo (Sony), will take you through disappearing acts, illusions and a lot more with objects varying from smart phones to playing cards. This man recently drove audiences in Dubai crazy by turning a toy car into a real one. Approximately `75,000 onwards for a show of around 45 minutes. Details: 9626663668

             

             

            pgC_9

            life’s A laugh

            He’s brought the roof down wherever he’s performed—and that’s over 1,000 shows globally. And this month, he’s open to partying with you—adjusting the ‘spice quotient’ of his jokes, from clean to naughty, depending on your choice. “It’s all about customisation. I will talk to the host and the guests to get more information and add a lot of flavour to my act,” he says, adding that he is also open to bring down his popular shows, like the recent one, Naked. Rs 6 lakh onwards for a 90-minute session. Details: papacj@papacj.com

             

             

            pgC_4Sing Aloud

            Ditch the antakshari session this New Year’s Eve. Organise a karoke party, instead. Dev’s Karaoke will provide all the essentials—from the sound system to software that includes the latest updates (like key adjusting, which automatically adjusts pitch while you sing). “We will provide songs in English, Tamil, Hindi and more. We will also send an MC and a technician to pump up the party,” says owner DL Devaraj. Rs 40,000. Details: 9444158789

             

             

            pgC_2Bard Comes Home

            We have Shakespeare in the house!  If you have a garden, a terrace or a big living room, then the Bardolators of Bangalore—who started off by staging the Bard’s plays in parks—will come home with their contemporary adaptaions. “We can blend a reading and a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which in our hands is a same sex story,” says founder Danish Sheikh. Rs 10,000 onwards. Details: danishsheikh726@gmail.com

             

             

            pgC_5Truckin’ good Time

            A chef on call is no novelty anymore. If you want to make an impression, bring home a kitchen on wheels! Field Caterers, who were busy plying their food truck to remote, flood-affected areas of the city and cooking on the spot, are willing to drive down to your beach house and cook for as long as you can party. Chef Elang Kumaran recommends plenty of grilled meats and vegetables, tandoor kebabs and light mains like a stir-fry or pasta with a pesto sauce for a New Year’s Eve menu. From Rs 900 per person (for a minimum of 25 people). Details: 9884009233

             

             


            pgC_3play It Right

            Fresh off the success of their Christmas pantomime, Prince of Persia, The Little Theatre says they can keep the fun going at home, with small productions that have great storytelling potential. “If we get the set-up right—a place to put up some lights and music—we can create a mini panto that will have some cool physicality, singing, dancing, the whole works we are known for,” says Krishnakumar Balasubramanian, the artistic director of the city-based theatre group. Rs 2 lakh onwards for a 60-minute performance. Details: thelittletheatre@gmail.com

            Band Conscious

            pgC_6

             

            Black Letters
            In the mood for some alternate music? Book the Kochi-based band, Black Letters. Inspired by dream pop, synth pop and various electronic styles, the quartet will entertain with rock and pop from their albums. All you need to provide is the sound equipment and the space for them to put up a 60-minute performance. Rs 60,000. Details: 09895593687

             

             

            Best Kept Secret

            Take your year ending bash up a few notches with the Bengaluru-based electro pop band, Best Kept Secret. On the brink of cutting their debut album, they recently signed up with Universal Music Records. On doing private parties, lead vocalist Behram Siganporia says, “I love Freddy Mercury, and I’ve grown up on retro music, so we love covering retro.” They can perform on December 30 and January 1. Rs 2 lakhs (not including travel, accomodation and sound arrangements). Details: 09743066007

            pgC_7At The Bar

            You have the booze but no one to mix a cocktail? City-based mixologist Mukesh Reddy can help. He’ll not only help you customise a bar menu, but he will also bring along bartenders, waiters, bar accessories and even the bar table. “Flavoured mojitos are trending and my pineapple and guava Cosmopolitans are a hit, too,” he says. Book before December 29. From Rs 10,000 (for a group of 20). Details: 9962609692

            Most party planners in the city swear by Nalla Samy. The head of the Chennai Institute of Bartending (in Thiruvanmiyur), he not only hires out his services, but he’ll also help you pick up the tricks of the trade with a short four-hour workshop (Rs 2,500 for a group of five). Samy supplies portable bar counters, equipped with a professional bartender, glassware and everything else you’d need. The host has to supply the liquor. “Seasonal cocktails are trending (blueberry mojhitos, anyone?) along with staples like the Manhattan and Sex on the Beach,” he says. Rs 2,500 onwards for a party of five. Details: 9841885504

            apps

            Up for Karaoke
            Set up a virtual karaoke club night in your home with iSing Karaoke. The Android app has recently added a Bollywood section to its playlist, too. Sign up with your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram details and record songs in MP3 or MV format. You can also upload your recordings or listen to others’. Add effects to your songs before sharing it on social media. Details: isingmobi.com

            Shall we dance?
            If your guests are couch-bound after a few rounds of beer or tequila shots, the Bounden app can get them grooving on the dance floor. A dancing game for two, it features a list of eight dance routines, choreographed by a ballet company. Two people need to hold the phone and follow the cursor and dots flashing on the screen. Rs 199 on iTunes. Details: bounden.gameovenstudios.com

            It’s 2016!
            For sure, download the New Year Countdown app, developed by Aqreadd Studios. Even if you are lost in your year-end celebrations, the app will keep a track of the time and change your phone’s wallpaper as the calendar turns 1.1.2016. You can customise the font and choose between the sphere, sprinkle or radial effects to depict ‘2016’. Free on Play Store. Details: aqreadd.com/apps

            Surya Praphulla Kumar

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              Christmas cheer
              December 25 | Multiple Venues
              The city offers plenty of choice if you are looking to enjoy a long Xmas brunch with roast turkey and wine. If you’re in the mood for a drive, head to Mahabalipuram where the soon-to-launch Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort is also putting up a feast (Rs 2,499 with spirits). For more options, turn to Page 8

               

              pg1_8Band mania
              December 26 | Phoenix MarketCity
              This weekend the mall is packed with performances. Catch Cassandra Rachel Premji (of Vaanavil Vaazhkai fame) and Nivin Bedford (of The Last Minute Bishops band) tomorrow. Also, look out for multi-lingual compilations by Irfan Hyder and his team at the performance of city-based Between Recess on Sunday. From 6.30 pm onwards. Details: 30083008

               

               

              pg1_7Time machine
              December 28 | Online
              The limited-edition Star Wars watch by American brand Devon is a collectors item. Made of 316L stainless steel with a true black, diamond-like coating, it features a bulletproof polycarbonate lens, four micro-step motors, temperature-compensated crystal and onboard microprocessor. Approximately Rs 18,853,44 and available on pre-order on devonworks.com

               

               

              pg1_6The big sale
              December 30 | Artworld
              Here’s a chance to stock up on some art. Sarala’s Art Centre’s sale includes ink on paper, water colour, acrylic and oil paintings by artists like Sajan Sarkar, Amitabh SenGupta, Rini Dhumal, Asma Menon, Pradip Kumar Rakshit, A P Santhanaraj and Sudip Chandra. From Rs 500 onwards at Artworld, till December 31. Details: 42185397

               

               

              pg1_5At the movies
              December 25 | SPI Cinemas
              The Star Wars saga returns with a fresh story in The Force Awakens. Directed by JJ Abrams, the film has Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in lead roles. Set nearly three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, Harrison Ford and his allies prepare to fight a new threat. Details: 42244224

               

               

              pg1_4Day & night
              December 27 | Goa
              Season nine of Sunburn kick-starts today at Vagator, Goa. The event will witness a line-up of 120 artistes including Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, Kygo, Martin Garrix and David Guetta. Watch out for the campsite with shops, bars, bonfires and jam sessions. Also taking place on the same dates in Goa, is the third edition of Vh1 Supersonic. Tickets priced from Rs 2,800 onwards (Sunburn) and Rs 2,000 onwards (Vh1 Supersonic). Till December 30. Details: in.bookmyshow.com

               

               

              pg1_3Dark matter
              December 29 | New Delhi
              The new range of chocolate bars from New Delhi-based All Things is gift worthy. Flavours include French dark chocolate, Madagascar dark chocolate with passion fruit and Belgian specials like dark chocolate with sangria, dark chocolate with sea salt and white chocolate with champagne and strawberries, among several others. Rs 320 onwards for a 100 gm bar. Details: 9971154804

               

               

              pg1_2Countdown to midnight
              December 31 | Multiple Venues
              Take your pick from spreads that are open till midnight this year. There’s some that are high on protein, some made to satisfy Oriental cravings and some that will give you a sugar rush. For all the options, turn to Page 9

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                2016 is all about fresh ingredients, says Lam Chi Mun — director of Diageo Bar Academy Asia Pacific

                Bartending is all about understanding flavours, fresh produce, spices and herbs, and it will be more so in 2016, says Lam Chi Mun, director of Diageo Bar Academy Asia Pacific. And seasonal specialties from a specific region would be the focus — think Latin flavours, British classics, Asia-inspired menus, and a real opportunity for restaurants to pair cocktails with food. Therefore, cocktails such as mad men, sex on the beach, screwdriver, classic martinis and margaritas will continue to rule, except that bottled syrups will be replaced with fresh juices and homemade syrups, and follow a much simpler recipe,” he adds.
                “The days of complicated cocktails are over. Today, international destinations such as Singapore and Taiwan prefer classic drinks that are simple, tasty, and made with fresh ingredients,” Mun adds, emphasising that to a customer the overall taste of the drink comes first. The base spirit comes second, followed by the kind of ingredients that go into it.
                Go natural
                Today’s cocktail lovers are calorie conscious and hence prefer their cocktails to be either less sweet or made with fresh fruit juices. Preservatives are an absolute no-no, and this trend will continue to remain in 2016, he predicts. “With customers turning health conscious, the focus is on using fresh produce,” he says, adding that an interesting feature in creating good cocktails is to go back to our roots. “The bartenders in southeast Asian countries love to borrow old methods and ingredients to create new flavours, such as single infusions of herbs, barks, and so on,” he says. In fact, Mun says, “The bar once maintained a distance from kitchen and worked as separate kingdoms, eyeing each other warily. But that’s changed now with bartenders raiding kitchens today for vegetables, herbs, and even meat (such as bacon-infused bourbon). The sauces for cocktails are being made in-house too.”
                A new shift
                Unlike how it has been in the last five to 10 years, where the younger generation (18-35 year olds) was more inclined towards cocktails, there is going to be an interesting shift in drinking patterns across the globe. Mun says, “The core cocktail consuming segment is set to evolve. We have noticed how people above the age of 35 are beginning to experiment with cocktails, whereas those under 35 are exploring the distinct tastes of single malts etc.”
                Among Mun’s personal favourites are classics such as the whisky sour. “The Negroni (made with gin, Vermouth and Campari is another favourite,” he ends.
                — Nandini Kumar

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                Where are you headed this New Year’s Eve? Our pick of some of the coolest parties in town 

                The Lalit
                The NYE bashes at Kalinga at The Lalit are quite
                famous in the party circuit. This year, it’s DJ Suketu’s turn to
                entertain you. With his hit mixes, and club classics, you are bound to having aching feet at the end of the night. Plus you get a massive buffet to dig into, along with your favourite drinks. And if there’s no room at Kalinga, you can check out the parallel parties at Sutra, or Oko as well, where DJ Hassan, and DJ Prithvi, respectively will be at the turntables.
                `6,500 onwards (per couple) and `3,000 onwards (for singles).
                At Golf Course Road. Details: 9741711955

                 

                blueFROG
                DJ AXO takes over the console
                at blueFrog on NYE as you find yourself in the middle of good music, and lots of food and drinks. The offer includes unlimited IMFL and starters.
                `3,000 (per couple) and `5,000 (for stag). At Church Street. Details: 69999549

                 

                City Bar
                One of our favourite bars in town is
                now open in a new avatar, and at a new location. Ring in the new year with DJ Adit Achiah, as this funky space gets ready to give you a good time. The offer includes unlimited food plus alcohol. `4,495 (per couple). At MG
                Road. Details: 41716359

                 

                The Ritz-Carlton
                DJ Christy will amp up the year-end revelry at the hotel’s award winning Chinese restaurant — The Lantern. It will also lay out an impressive five course set menu featuring both veg and non-veg selections as well as premium beverages. `10,000 ++ (per couple). At Residency Road. Details: 49148000

                 

                Shangri-La
                Celebrations at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru will be in full swing with three parties spread across all-day-dining b café, award-winning Chinese restaurant Shang Palace and on 18th floor, combining three specialty restaurants — Caprese, Yataii and Ssaffron. This season’s party is called ‘Elevate 2015’, meant to bring 2016 to elevated celebrations. From food to beverages, to entertainment, and lots of music — you are singing up for a good time here! `6,500 (per person). At Vasanth Nagar. Details: 45126250

                 

                Big Pitcher
                The ‘Big New Year
                Bash 2016’ at Big
                Pitcher is nothing but big. From fire jugglers, belly dancers, foosball, a massive buffet, and brewed craft beer – six floors are at your disposal. Plus four DJs — Arpita, Sandy, Shane and Diwu — will keep
                you entertained.
                `999 onwards.
                At Old Airport Road. Details: 3951 0577

                 

                Bierre Republic
                A carnival awaits you here,
                as five DJs take over the stage to bring you hip-hop, commercial, and Bollywood music. And apart from unlimited food and beverages, special attractions such as fire jugglers, belly dancers and dhol dhamaka will ensure that you have a good start to the new year. If that weren’t enough, a lucky couple will also get the chance to win a trip to Bangkok.
                `4,000 (per couple) and `2,000
                (for singles). At Church Street. Details: 92431 02753

                 

                Chancery Pavilion
                Celebrate life at ‘Existence – the NYE bash’ at Chancery
                Pavilion. Start at the Grand Ballroom – the main stage area, and move
                on to the VIP section by the poolside. Or spend the night partying in the comfort of table service at the VVIP area. And no party is ever complete without some Bollywood music. DJ Hussain, who will headline the red
                carpet stage at Sanctum Club, is at your service, plus 10 other artistes
                including Zaeden, Abhay, Gaurav and Hussain.
                `4,000 onwards. At Residency Road. Details: 41414141

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                  There are few taboos here, as Agents of Ishq gets you comfortable with the ‘s’ word

                  Even if you don’t read a word on it, the website in itself is pretty enough to keep staring at. In fact you might even want it as your wallpaper. But trust us, it would do you good to read every possible link you can find here. Creative director and founder, Paromita Vohra, who also happens to be a columnist and documentary filmmaker, says the idea of doing something like this has been steeping in her mind for a while. “A lot of my film-related work looks at love and sex, even when it’s not about them. Plus I’ve been writing about love, and talking to people about their intimate lives, for a while. And then I realised that we talk about sex, but don’t really ‘talk’ about it. And there’s always a negative connotation attached to the word. That’s when Agents of Ishq was conceived,” she explains.
                  Vohra is not really known for conventional filmmaking (read: Unlimited Girls, and Morality TV aur Loving Jehad: Ek Manohar Kahani), and therefore Agents of Ishq also had to be unique. “I wanted to do something in the new medium, and digital media is the natural progression to everything else.”
                  This delightfully designed website has columns, stories, podcasts, and videos (to go online in the New Year), and they all talk about love and sex. And they’ll keep adding to the sections. “The three broad subjects discussed here are: sexual information, concepts and experiences. And these three will be explored via all sorts of media,” she explains. “The plan was to create an inclusive space that’s open to anyone. You can come and talk about sex, anonymously if you like. The comments are moderated to an extent because we don’t want abusive language, but other than that, it’s a space for everyone. Plus I wanted to clear this false notion of what is ‘cool’ when it comes to sex,” she adds.
                  But it’s not all for fun on the website. While researching on what could be part of Agents of Ishq, Vohra says, “The biggest learning we’ve had while working on the project is the staggering absence of information on safe sex, consexual sex and its connotations, and on sex education. For instance the ‘sexpert’ columns — people’s questions are deep, but responses are rarely beyond a couple of lines. So I want to create a space that is information, fun, kind, and respectful,” Vohra adds.
                  Details: agentsofishq.com
                  — Priyadarshini Nandy

                   

                   

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