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Mattress Factory's Urban Garden Party raises eyebrows

| Sunday, June 20, 2010

So, apparently, the word is out on the social street that the Mattress Factory's Urban Garden Party is the type of gig that, if missed, will result in an eyebrow raised ever so slightly in an oh-so-you-weren't-there• sympathetic sort of condolence.

For 1,200 of the hip and unaffected (its first ever sellout), the countdown to Friday's Summer in the City-themed fete began weeks ago when we first tore open our invites. Indeed, the majority of the movers and shakers had confessed to practically chewing on their Choo's in anticipation of what chair Christine Astorino & Co. had in store for us this year.

It took a little while for things to warm up as VIPs sauntered in, grabbed a spiked cocktail from the lemonade stand and took their posts. Penguins prez David Morehouse was deep in conversation as he remained cornered against the wall for a time (fans lamenting the loss of Lord Stanley?), while rock 'n' roll fantasy's Rich and Cindy Engler (last year's co-chairs) air-kissed their way through the who's who.

"I should have brought my Rollerblades!" she mused as she made her way outside to the half pike, which occupied a large portion of the tent and served as center stage for a handful of skateboarders. Although, the real show started once they rolled their way onto the patio, forced us to form a human wall as we huddled for protection, and nearly took out one brave photog who stepped in a little too close for comfort.

Back inside, stilt walker Erin Carey expertly navigated through the garden of good and evil, enticing co-founders Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, Dr. Michael White and Rick LeBeau, David and Nancy Malone, Tom Sokolowski, Scott Bergstein and Jessica Coup, and Nathan Martin and Heather Estes with "leaves" of Toffee Taboo from a tree of temptation planted by Bob Sendall as waves of fresh-faced new kids on the block began to arrive.

A few laps and we spotted some more familiar faces from our urban family; Richard Rauh, Richard Parsakian, Harris and Janet Ferris, Ed Harrell and Chas Pelusi, Nachum Golan and Steve Hough, Christopher Hahn and Ron Booth, Kurt Shaw and Megan King, Jill Albrecht, Sean Gray, Jared Sadowski, Matt Arch, and one curious party crasher(?)who spent a good portion of the evening scaling the walls outside in the garden.

In the blink of an eye it was elbow room only (and barely even that) and near pandemonium once Dozen Bake Shop unveiled a table filled with 1,000 mini cupcakes. But it was Jessica Henderson wearing her candy bikini at the Pittsburgh Candy Buffet who had us wondering how many times she had been mistaken for dessert.

"Not yet, but that may change once people start drinking," she laughed.

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