Dispatch from the Harry Potter Block Party
The atmosphere at Left Bank Books' Harry Potter midnight release party on Friday was like the opening weekend of a Star Wars film, the finale of The Sopranos, an anime convention and the last Beatles performance rolled into one.
According to a Left Bank employee, attendance was about 3,000. The festivities shut down several blocks in the Central West End, and included everything short of a full-scale quidditch match, including sponsor tents with Potter-themed gimmicks like Butter Beer from Fitz's, Ben and Jerry's Honeydukes, Wizard's Chess and (my personal favorite) the oft-photographed Harry Potter Port-a-Potties, a sign that mysteriously disappeared sometime before midnight.
The highlight, however, was the costume party, which drew children and adults with way too much time on their hands. Finalists included a Sirius Black who might very well have stepped off the set of Pirates of the Caribbean, a Bellatrix Lestrange who could have doubled as an Ozzy Osbourne groupie, and the winner, a kid who bore such an uncanny resemblance to real-life Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe that I shudder to think what it's like at recess for him the other 364 days of the year. Also spotted were a fully outfitted Crookshanks the cat, a Dumbledore who probably recycled his costume from last weekend's Pagan Festival at Tower Grove Park and enough teenagers in plaid schoolgirl miniskirts to produce a Britney Spears music video anthology.