Culture Party Mystere:

Where men are men and women can audition for the money shot

See the smiling, 20-something blonde in the black dress, with the wine glass and straining décolletage? She’s a Sunday-school teacher. And those two tight-lipped fellows across the room, huddled together, tensely sipping their drinks? Porn directors.

Welcome, friend, to Party Mystere.

Billed simply as “the party everyone’s talking about,” the March 18 event was held at the painfully exclusive Dominion Country Club, following a promotional campaign that traded heavily on intrigue and sensual appeal. Tickets, sold on-line for $29.99, were fuchsia and featured the suggestive, catlike gaze of a comely young woman, her face partially obscured by a gold party mask. “You are invited because you are your own man, in control of your destiny,” beckons the official website, “Beauty surrounds you in this heavenly place Prepare yourself for a world you have never known.”

At this point, anyone who remembers the plinking piano of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut has full license to start feeling a little uneasy. But what is the thing? A patrician play-date? A haute-monde harem? A sybaritic sex party?

“This is just a big networking event,” said host Joseph Lopez, who co-created the affair with California-based partner Greg Nakagawa. “We want to incorporate, bring in beautiful people from Austin and San Antonio, networking talent, talent agents, and scouts We’re trying to generate awareness for people in the modeling and film industry.”

Ah. So it’s a casting couch?

“We work as independent scouts putting `people` in a marketplace where they can network,” Lopez said. “We don’t do anything more than that. We create the environment.”

The website features an on-line application for prospective female guests interested in just such an environment. Along with contact information, applicants are asked to submit a headshot and full body shot, general physical statistics, and a list of special talents or hobbies. The application page states, “Only an exclusive group of females are selected to participate in this upscale, fashionable, party-style environment, where these groups of interested parties can individually network and meet potential prospects for future opportunities in the film and modeling industries.” For those seeking further incentive, the perks continue: “Party Mystere does not charge its female guests for attending this premier event.”

“I didn’t think I was going to make it, because, like, this is the type of thing that absolutely gorgeous people are at,” said Jennifer Fielding, an aspiring Austin actress who works part-time as a film production assistant. “But here I am I’m the funny one. Apparently, ‘cute’ and ‘little’ were taken when I got here. So I figured I’d be big and funny.”

Other guests seemed somewhat less mystified at having been invited.

“I’m sure it’s because I have big breasts,” said Jane (not her real name), a distractingly buxom (and purposefully so) 48-year-old government employee who (1) does not look 48, and (2) had drunk enough to be surprised at being able to spell her last name. “`Party Mystere` has been a lot of fun, and I want it to happen again they’ve treated us royally, and I didn’t have to fuck anyone.”

“We aren’t labeling people.

It is up to any individual

that goes to the event,

if they have an interest,

to go beyond that.”

– Joseph Lopez

Jane’s delight at this last pronouncement would presumably strike her from the short list of prospects for Roberto Ortiz and Basil Warren, who after some gentle prying revealed that they were scouting talent for a Miami-based adult-film company that they declined to name but characterized as “pretty large on the internet.” Asked if they’ve had any luck so far, Ortiz said they hadn’t yet started approaching people.

“Gotta get the alcohol in ’em,” Ortiz said, smiling. “That’s when the good deals come.”

Lopez said he was unaware of Ortiz and Warren’s presence at Party Mystere.

“We did not extend any invitations to anyone in the adult industry,” he said. “We aren’t condoning that, or catering to that market.”

As on-line ticket purchase was open to the public, Lopez said, essentially anyone could attend the party. Ortiz and Warren said they were told about the event by a female friend, and flew over from Miami to check it out.

“We aren’t labeling people,” Lopez said. “It is up to any individual that goes to the event, if they have an interest, to go beyond that.”

(Later in the evening, incidentally, a young woman with a cartoonishly ample bosom was observed talking excitedly with Ortiz and Warren, then running off as if to check something. A star, perhaps, is born.)

Oddly, among the small sea of strap-heels and slinky cocktail dresses at Party Mystere, only a handful of girls seemed to have come with the single-minded intent of kick-starting a career in entertainment. Of the invited, most said they came mainly for fun; a few even said they hadn’t heard a thing about networking, but had simply been handed a flier in a bar or club. A small portion had been hired as dancers, to spur along the party and enhance the “atmosphere.”

Fielding, however, was on a mission.

“My goal is to meet a producer who will put me in a movie,” she said plainly. Even the porn thing didn’t seem to deter her.

“I’ll P. A. `for porn films`,” she joked. “I can yell at some bitches. That’s fine: ‘I said roll over! Roll over!’”

Saturday’s fête was in development for about nine months, according to Lopez, who said he spared little expense in spreading the word.

“We pumped a lot of money `into advertising`,” said Lopez. “We were in New York, and we invited a lot of people there, and some agencies here `For` people that could not make it here camera and video footage from this event is going to be shot out there to let ’em know what Party Mystere is about.”

The footage will also be posted to the website, Lopez said. “I was in the editing room looking at the footage, and it looks good,” he said. “Looks very, very hot.”

It may take more than “hot” to do the trick, though, if one industry professional can be trusted.

“I don’t see `San Antonio` as like a big hotbed for entertainment at all,” said John Vano, who came to the party as a representative of New York producer Cedric Jeanson, former executive vice president of Miramax films. “Is San Antonio at that level yet? You know, to host Hollywood, New York-style parties yet? I think it’s good, I mean, it’s a foot in the door, and I think it’s sort of that initial bubbling up of San Antonio kind of elevating itself a little bit, and this is kind of the beginning of all that, but it’ll take a little bit of effort.”

Vano appears to be the spoilsport voice of reason; while the evening is certainly colorful, the gathering doesn’t swell to much more than 100 people at any point, and more than one attendee complains of boredom. But for now, the saucy quixotic dream that is Party Mystere marches stubbornly onward.

“We are making no money on this project,” said Lopez. “We spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to throw this event, and we’ll probably end up in the red `But we’re` trying to believe that we can build something here.”

A little help: Lopez said 100 people have already asked to be added to the e-mail list for a proposed Party Mystere II, to be held in Austin or San Antonio in the less-than-distant future.

By Brian Villalobos

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