February 27, 2010 2:15 PM   Subscribe

COMMUNISTS vs CAPITALISTS Birthday Party Graduate Student on a budget throwing a theme party for his 30th birthday. I could use some ideas for fun props, decorations, costumes, games, etc...

I'm turning 30 in about a week and want to have a fun / unique party. I came up with the comm v cap theme and my friends loved it. I'm planning to build a mini berlin wall from some card board boxes and spray paint that I'll litter with historic graffiti. I also wanted to build a giant 'invisible hand of the market' but I've yet to come up with a way to do it. Other than that I'll be posting big soviet symbols and dollar signs, etc...

Do you all have any good ideas? More than happy to hear them and will take pics for you to enjoy for your contribution! Remember - I'm on a budget!
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You've got to have a specter stalking some part of your apartment.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:17 PM on February 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

We did this. The best decorations were the paintings an art student living with us did in the style of Soviet propaganda (a large Stalin poster hung in the hallway to greet guests as they walked in). If you don't have a resident artist, you could print some out from the internet. Bigger is better.

Costumes are good. Most of our guests dressed as communist revolutionaries or 1950s Americans.
posted by oinopaponton at 2:32 PM on February 27, 2010

There's an old game called "Class Struggle," (a sort of communist Monopoly), the cover of which is a (doctored) photo of Karl Marx arm-wrestling John D. Rockefeller.

Not sure where you are but copies of the game are sometimes available at Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul stores. Also on eBay.

Hammer and sickle? A dummy of a member of the bourgeoisie digging his own grave?
posted by Wisco72 at 2:32 PM on February 27, 2010

Wikipedia has the Soviet National Anthem which might come in handy.
posted by XMLicious at 2:51 PM on February 27, 2010

I also think you should somehow have Nixon and Khrushchev in your kitchen.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:55 PM on February 27, 2010

Sounds like fun. For more decorative ideas, find photos of 50s/60s era Russian kids being indoctrinated under the hammer and sickle flag. Then find similar photos of American kids of the same era reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I always found that a striking image.

That, or something to do with the doctored photos of the Stalin era removing evidence of people who subsequently fell out of favor set against with some obvious photoshoppery of the fashion/glamor magazines of present day good old western capitalist culture.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 3:41 PM on February 27, 2010

Have a Membership In The Communist Party that entitles you to free drinks from one bar but will get you attacked at the keg.
posted by mearls at 4:09 PM on February 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Make an elaborate life-size papier-mache (ok, being realistic, a posterboard/cardboard cut-out) of Charging Bull, try and find a loud bell or noisemaker people can ring like the NYSE opening bell (maybe whenever it rings all the capitalists have to drink?), refer to the capitalists' beverages as liquidation, make corny jokes about people conducting mergers & acquisitions, etc.

What's great about capitalism as a theme is you get to work with a bunch of different historical/literary/cultural references--from Standard Oil and the trustbusters to the 1929 crash to the American Psycho/Bonfire of the Vanities/Wall Street era to the subprime mortgage crisis.
posted by sallybrown at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2010

We had a "Communist Party party" back in the day. At the front door was a giant poster where all guests were asked to write self-criticisms. These took the form of "I am a bad socialist... I love my starbucks" and "I am a bad capitalist... I secretly wear red socks" etc etc.

I would also suggest putting red lights under the sofa, tables and chairs for "reds under the bed".
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:23 PM on February 27, 2010

Cold War film festival! (AKA "movies playing on the TV in the background.) Suggestions:
One, Two, Three
Dr. Strangelove
Rocky IV
Spies Like Us
The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on February 27, 2010

- Join the commies, and 10 dollars up front gets you unlimited drinks (from a limited menu)

- Go capitalist and you'll be charged per drink, but have more choices
posted by chrisamiller at 6:49 PM on February 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I seriously love chrisamiller's answer above - but would compound it with a huge long line for the Commie drink, versus instant service with a smile and a "have-a-nice-day" flair button on your pretty server with beautiful white artificial teeth.

*At the end of the long line you get one choice - some kick-ass high end vodka that will get you seriously messed up.

*At the easy-access Capitalism bar, you will have the Freedom (and I capitalize on purpose here) to choose from God (ahem) knows how many different types of 2% alleged beer - branded as Sex On The Beach (because it's fucking close to water) from 17 different suppliers. And you will have to tip for the pleasure of buying their product (and to subsidize the staff for their teeth).
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If your friends like party games, Werewolf/Mafia can be adapted easily. Nothing beats a rousing game of Workers and Comrades v. counterrevolutionary wreckers.

Happy birthday!
posted by Joad at 11:09 PM on February 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Awesome party! I have an idea for a giant invisible hand, but it requires a photocopy machine and a dedicated hour to put together. It is very possible because I did it for an art project in college. Basically, if you have a copy of Alice in Wonderland, there is a specific Tenniel illustration from the scene where she is a giant at the white rabbit's house. It looks like this.

You could print out a decent sized, high resolution image. I just photocopied the image from the book (and the original image was TINY) at 400%, then photocopied that bigger image again at 400%. You may have to magnify it one or two more times. But keep doing it until you think the whole hand is huge enough. Mine looked most excellent, it was almost 5 x 5 feet, but it took like sixteen sheets of paper. The only reason why I did it this way instead of tile-printing it was because I wanted to preserve the solid black lines. I hate pixelated edges.

Ideally, the output will be on executive-sized paper to minimize the amount of piecing together you will do. Just gather the final pieces, line them up and tape them together. It won't be perfectly grid-like, since moving the image on the glass bed after each copy takes guesswork; there will be some of overlap, but that's okay. It really helps if you have a light desk to accurately align the images on top of each other. And it helps if you are at an office or school and have access to a photocopier that won't charge you.
posted by hellomina at 6:20 AM on February 28, 2010

edit: there will be some or a lot of overlap

Addendum: If you should decide to take on this endeavor, a note of advice to you good sir. If you haven't magnified at 400% on a photocopier before, the above description makes the process sound deceptively simple. The "window" of magnification at 400% is like 4 inches by 4 inches. It's not like 400% *BAM* the machine spits out the image spread out on twenty sheets of paper. So you have to scoot the original around on the glass. You'll see what I mean when you actually do it.
posted by hellomina at 6:29 AM on February 28, 2010

Might make a nice door prize.
posted by roxie5 at 10:23 AM on February 28, 2010

Best answer: Previously.

And the execution.

If you are in Austin, I still have that Stalin poster!
posted by theRussian at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

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