There are moments in our lives that are so special, they become permanently stored in the "one of the best days of my life" vault. Well, I now have another to add to the memory vault....John Lasseter's 50.5 Surprise Birthday Bash.
I'll try to keep my gushing to a minimum, but I'm warning you, my restraint might slip every now and then. And I'm not one to name drop because it is so uncouth, but I think this calls for a free one-day pass to act star struck. So here goes...
Mike and I attended John Lasseter's lavish 50.5 birthday party at Chateau St. Jean on Saturday evening; just the 2 of us and the other 598 of Lasseter's closest friends, family and business acquaintances. First of all, John Lasseter is the genius behind the animated greats; Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Cars, etc. He is a very fun loving man who's signature style is Hawaiian print shirts.
The story behind the 50.5...
His original 50th bash had to be postponed, but then his wife had a brilliant idea that he would never expect a surprise party at the half way mark, and as a January baby, he always dreamed of a summer celebration, so in turn the Jan. cancellation turned into a bigger blessing for him.
So we arrive at the winery and we're instantly bathed in luxury; orchid leas from Hawaii, fancy cocktails in tiki cups, a professional photographer to take our photo (what a treat to be at the other end). We walk around the grounds, chat with friends, sip cocktails, chat with Billy and Janice Crystal, spot Tim Allen sitting at a table, Jon Favreau with his gorgeous wife, John Ratzenberger over in the shade, George Lucas casually walks by, Kimberly Williams is smiling and laughing, the list just goes on.
So then we're ushered into the main garden to drink and schmooze more.
I have to back up just a bit. John Lasseter had been tagging along with his good friend Robin Williams all day and John believed he was attending a benefit in which Robin was emceeing. So when John arrived at the winery and vaguely saw 600 guests enjoying themselves on the lawn, it made perfect sense. His wife Nancy even went as far as to make official banners with the fictitious event, so John was absolutely fooled. So John is ushered out with Robin and basically 600 guests sing happy birthday. It was awesome!
There's so much more to share, but I must skip to the grand finale. No party is complete without music and so John and Nancy's favorite musician and good friend was flown in to perform a private concert for the evening... Brad Paisley! It was phenomenal. Brad and his band had a full-on, full-production, stadium-style show just for us! There were about 100 of us on the dance floor having a blast! I boogied next to Tommy Smothers and Bonnie Hunt. Brad would perform a song or two and then stop and ask John, "ok, what do you want to hear next?"
The evening ended with every guest receiving a gift bag filled with a custom made Lasseter-Pixar Hawaiian shirt, private estate wine, Brad Paisley's newest CD, and so much more.
After all of this said, I'm sure you want proof, yet I'm sorry to say I only have one very poor cellphone photo to share at this time. The professional images will take awhile for me to order from the photographer, but as soon as I have them, I'll be sure to share them with you.
It was party that surpassed all other parties and we felt so blessed to be a part of the evening!