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How Millionaires Celebrate End-of-Days
January 2, 2013 9:08 AM   Subscribe

To commemorate the Mayan Apocalypse, video game tycoon Richard Garriott de Cayeux threw a lavish soiree at his 65-acre spread along Lake Austin, complete with various scenes of imagined end-of-the-world scenarios. - Sonia Smith in Texas Monthly
posted by jim in austin (71 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Honestly, that party doesn't sound THAT elaborate, especially since he's charging $1000 a pop.
posted by empath at 9:11 AM on January 2, 2013


Across a walkway, earthly pleasures were indulged at the hedonism tent, a “celebration of the here and now.” The floors of the yurt-like structure were covered with faux fur rugs and littered with bras and panties. A naked woman painted like a zebra lounged in a glass box as actors passed out creamy alcoholic drinks and chocolate-dipped bananas to the crowd, which was transfixed by the elaborate and athletic routine two dancers were performing on the stripper pole that anchored the room.

Man alive. Is this like Burning Man? It sounds a lot like how I imagine Burning Man.
posted by jquinby at 9:12 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, during the proceedings, Richard Garriott de Cayeux casually strolled into a decorative bonfire and died.
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on January 2, 2013 [18 favorites]


Outside, a man in a tinfoil hat held court as Jordan Colton, a 25-year-old who is developing a Victorian theme park in Pleasant Grove, Utah, stepped into a metal cage, which was then shocked with a large Tesla coil. Colton, who had permed his shoulder-length brown hair to mimic the style of Frodo from Lord of the Rings, exited the enclosure with nary a hair on his hobbit head displaced by the electricity.

What a delightful paragraph.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:16 AM on January 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


Man alive. Is this like Burning Man? It sounds a lot like how I imagine Burning Man.

Pretty much, yeah. And there are a lot of regional burns throughout the year that do similar things on a smaller scale.
posted by empath at 9:19 AM on January 2, 2013


...after developing the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) “Ultima” while in his early twenties...

Someone is in her own early twenties and skimmed Wikipedia.
posted by gurple at 9:19 AM on January 2, 2013 [25 favorites]


Conspicuous geek consumption...
posted by jim in austin at 9:20 AM on January 2, 2013


I want to be irritated over ridiculous cultural appropriations but I can't stop laughing wildly at his Titanic party where he sunk the boat and made everyone swim to shore.

I SALUTE YOU GOOD SIR.

Also the article starts off with the name ELVIRA BUTZ.
posted by elizardbits at 9:25 AM on January 2, 2013 [17 favorites]


Hey, I hadn't realized he'd taken his wife's name and added it to his own. I respect that a lot.
posted by gurple at 9:26 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


jim in austin: "Conspicuous geek consumption..."

Listen, I don't know how I'd live without my giant tesla coil orchestra and tiger ranches. I mean, you can live however you like with your minimalist "no-zebra-painted-belly-dancers-in-faux-fur-lined-yurts" credo and that's fine for you.
posted by boo_radley at 9:27 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will never forgive you for Ultima VIII and IX. From the depths of hell I spit at thee!
posted by Justinian at 9:27 AM on January 2, 2013


I can't stop laughing wildly at his Titanic party where he sunk the boat and made everyone swim to shore.

The first one to shore was given a money belt full of 100s and a 5 minute head start. Everyone else got guns. Tally-ho!
posted by jquinby at 9:28 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also I really want to know more about the other dude's Victorian theme park development in Utah, but googling it just brings back hits to this article and others like it.
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 AM on January 2, 2013


I just feel like my life has been wasted because I am not a septuagenarian adventuress named Elvira Butz.
posted by elizardbits at 9:30 AM on January 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


I spent new year's eve at a gathering with about 45 friends, most of whom were all members of the same "clan" that attends numerous renaissance festivals in Texas every year. Budget for the event was probably a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of what Garriott spent, and the venue was a combination airplane hangar and house in Brookshire that belongs to two of the group. From the sounds of it, we had more fun and didn't worry about costumes or fancy tents.
posted by mrbill at 9:31 AM on January 2, 2013


If there are not jaguars plummeting from the sky (or at least dropped from about ten feet), I'm not going.
posted by adipocere at 9:31 AM on January 2, 2013


I feel really proud of myself when I manage to get to Party City and match the tablecloth with my napkins for a party.

Now I just feel depressed.
posted by xingcat at 9:32 AM on January 2, 2013


I just feel like my life has been wasted because I am not a septuagenarian adventuress named Elvira Butz.


There's still time!
posted by blurker at 9:34 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dude naked zebra chicks at parties are passé. Now it's all about dressing up as a male angler fish, that's what's hot now in hedonist circles.
posted by Mister_A at 9:35 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


"His authentic Sputnik replica dangled from the ceiling of the area, which was run by a group of alien conspiracy theorists."

There's something obscene about this sentence, but I can't quite put my authentic Sputnik replica on it.
posted by griphus at 9:35 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of all the man-made satellites, Sputnik may be the easiest to replicate. It's a ball with a hanger sticking out!
posted by Mister_A at 9:36 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm still vaguely mad about Ultima IX but I can't hate on the guy. He has made and squandered millions like half a dozen times now. I'm not down with the new name though, he will always be Lord British to me.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:39 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a ball with a hanger sticking out!

Four car antennas, thank you very much.
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I met him when I was a dorky eleven-year old, with a bunch of other Ultima IV fans. I don't remember what he looked like, though, because the shining divinity of Lord British in person blinded me.

From his end it was probably like the Party Princess experience. Except that, as I would've argued back then and still will now, he's real royalty.
posted by XMLicious at 9:43 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


A 184-lb. ball with four car antennas.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:44 AM on January 2, 2013


Richard Garriott de Cayeux’s end-of-world party featured a 30-foot replica of a pyramid.


How tall does a replica have to be in order to be called a pyramid in its own right?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:46 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Should have held it in space.
posted by kmz at 9:46 AM on January 2, 2013


For that matter, what makes something an "authentic replica"?
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on January 2, 2013


A Certificate of Authenticity, duh.
posted by kmz at 9:49 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


For that matter, what makes something an "authentic replica"?
I would say it should be made with the same materials, using the same techniques, at the same tolerances and dimensions. Double-points for being operational.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:50 AM on January 2, 2013


According to wired it is an authentic backup sputnik.

He is also the first "second generation astronaut". His father Owen Garriot spent 60 days on skylab in 1973.

There is a pretty cool documentary about Garriot that focuses on his trip to space.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:04 AM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


creamy alcoholic drinks...chocolate-dipped bananas...meringue mushrooms and brownies...vodka and lemonade...

This sounds like it was catered by a fraternity. What's the point in being rich and imaginative if you end up eating food from Trader Joe's? Bah!
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:11 AM on January 2, 2013


The invitation instructed attendees to arrive dressed as their favorite adventurer, and there were plenty of Indiana Jones and Neo costumes.

Neo?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:14 AM on January 2, 2013


Neocolonial
posted by zippy at 10:21 AM on January 2, 2013


Anyone else disappointed that the Gregorian Apocalypse once again failed to bring it?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:22 AM on January 2, 2013


since when was Garriott "De Cayeux"?
did he buy a French title or something?


Anyway, here he is talking about his space dreams for The Moth. it's a very good one.
posted by Bwithh at 10:30 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


since when was Garriott "De Cayeux"?
did he buy a French title or something?


It's his wife's last name added on to his own.
posted by elizardbits at 10:34 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sputnik 1 may be among the easiest satellites to replicate... but the true honour probably goes to Echo. But that's not cool enough for him. Oh no.
posted by Devonian at 10:40 AM on January 2, 2013


Echo. But that's not cool enough for him. Oh no.

BUT THAT'S NOT COOL ENOUGH FOR HIM. OH NO.

But that's not cool enough for him. Oh no.

But that's not cool enough for him. Oh no.

but that's not cool enough for him. Oh no.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:47 AM on January 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


...but the true honour probably goes to Echo...

My dad worked for AT&T and brought me a piece of the Mylar skin before it ever flew. And it was so damned big and reflective you could easily track it with the naked eye, sometimes even during the day...
posted by jim in austin at 10:53 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


elizardbits: Also I really want to know more about the other dude's Victorian theme park development in Utah, but googling it just brings back hits to this article and others like it.

It must be looking for funding. I can't imagine that a theme park full of street urchins and cholera would be wanting for seed money.
posted by dr_dank at 10:56 AM on January 2, 2013


I have this reflexive and truthfully unfair disdain of anyone with too much money, but Richard Garriott de Cayeux is such a fascinatingly lovable lunatic. I've never played any of his games and probably never will, but his existence makes me happy.
posted by byanyothername at 11:06 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]



The invitation instructed attendees to arrive dressed as their favorite adventurer, and there were plenty of Indiana Jones and Neo costumes.

Neo?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:14 AM on January 2 [+] [!]


Those people always dress like that. Understandable mistake though.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:13 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


So anyway I think I am going to write a fan letter to Ms Elvira Butz, because she sounds really awesome.
posted by elizardbits at 11:32 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


A few weeks ago, a friend (who is a fixture in Austin's computer-game industry) asked me to make him a couple of torches "for a party at Richard Garriott's."

I charged him $15 to cover materials. Then I read this account in the NYT. I should have asked for a couple of comp tickets.

And yes, burns are sort of like this, except you bring the party. My wife has gone for a ride inside the Faraday cage in the Tesla discharge field at Austin's regional burn.
posted by adamrice at 11:33 AM on January 2, 2013


Oh man if I ever got into enough money to never have to care about anything ever again, staging these kind of events would be the only thing I ever did.
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone else disappointed that the Gregorian Apocalypse once again failed to bring it?

It happened, but it was largely powdered wig based so no one noticed.
posted by The Whelk at 11:48 AM on January 2, 2013


Relevant file photo of The Whelk.
posted by griphus at 11:48 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


griphus: "Relevant file photo of The Whelk."

There's a great moment in Futurama where Hedonismbot is being carried on a litter, which really upset my wife, who said "he's already on a chaise, why does he need the palanquin?". This amused me no end.
posted by boo_radley at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Garriott tweeted his party plans last year (hat tip).

“It’s fun to spend some time in Richard’s imagination,” he said. “He certainly has a big imagination.”

As someone who spent a good part of his youth playing inside the various worlds of Richard's imagination, I salute him and his continuing fantasy life.

See also When a Robot Becomes the Life of the Party:
Ms. Garriott Uses Keyboard to Shake Her Robootie at Remote Wedding
. (A Wall Street Journal headline, no less.)
posted by Nelson at 11:56 AM on January 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nelson: "When a Robot Becomes the Life of the Party:"

"Mr. Navarrete sent the robot out for tacos ordered by the co-worker, who remained in the office. The store manager gave Einstein the tacos on the house."

Oh my god. People will give tacos -- free of charge -- to a robot.
posted by boo_radley at 12:18 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please put down the tacos. You have 20 seconds to comply.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:22 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I went to a Subway sandwich shop, and I said, 'Let me have a bun,' but she wouldn't sell me just a bun. She said it had to have something on it. She told me it's against regulations for Subway to sell just a bun; I guess the two halves ain't supposed to touch. So, I said, 'Alright, put some lettuce on it,' which they did. They said, 'That'll be $1.75.' I said, 'It's for a duck.' They said, 'Alright, well then it's free.' See, I did not know that -- ducks eat for free at Subway. Had I known that, I would've ordered a much larger sandwich. 'Lemme have the steak fajita sandwich, but don't bother ringing it up, it's for a duck! There are six ducks out there, and they all want SunChips!'
- Mitch Hedberg
posted by griphus at 12:23 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ms. Garriott Uses Keyboard to Shake Her Robootie at Remote Wedding

Oh my god, I want to hate these people and their lifestyles of wild excess so badly and I just CANNOT DO IT. I CAN'T OKAY oh god
posted by elizardbits at 12:44 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really we should focus on our own lives of wild excess and how to fulfill them.
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


> So anyway I think I am going to write a fan letter to Ms Elvira Butz, because she sounds really awesome.

Best case scenario: she'll take you under her wing as her spunky protege and you can gallivant around the globe going to fancy parties and solving mysteries.

Worst case scenario: Same as above, but turns out to be an elaborate ruse to steal your organs and live forever.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:06 PM on January 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


If we still wanted to fulfill them, they wouldn't be exes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:07 PM on January 2, 2013


I really wanted this article to be all about Elvira Butz. With video, please.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2013


Elvira Buttz and her sidekick Amanda Huggenkiss travel to the Orient to procure the extraordinary cream of Sum Yun Gai from the emperor Hu Flung Pu. Will they get there in time before her arch rival Hugh Jass takes it all for himself?

Tune in next week to Crank Call Theatre! Same time, same network.

Now a word from Lux Soap.
posted by dr_dank at 1:48 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sadly, Mimi Imnext becomes a tragic figure.
posted by The Whelk at 1:48 PM on January 2, 2013


If there are not jaguars plummeting from the sky (or at least dropped from about ten feet), I'm not going.

I can do you a half-scale simulation by flinging my cat at you from 5 feet away.
posted by arcticseal at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2013


I want to hate on this but I can't. It's Lord Fucking British, ffs.
posted by egypturnash at 2:25 PM on January 2, 2013


Oh my god, I want to hate these people and their lifestyles of wild excess so badly and I just CANNOT DO IT. I CAN'T OKAY oh god

Yeah, LB is kind of hopelessly ok. He really shouldn't be - he should be a raging libertarian twit with a Napoleon complex, or something - but he's really just a kind of sweet dorky dude with far too much money.

I kind of feel bad for his daughter, though. How do you cope with life after growing up in that household?
posted by restless_nomad at 2:45 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You become a superhero duh.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or possibly a supervillain.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:03 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Either way really awesome flying suits are involved.
posted by The Whelk at 3:04 PM on January 2, 2013


Maybe a supervaudevillain.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:05 PM on January 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was at this and I sneaked into his house and went through all his drawers and every single drawer had an identically-folded white shirt in it but underneath one of those white shirts there was a thick book with only a paragraph of writing in it and underneath another white shirt in a different room on the other side of the map house there was a leather pouch and inside that leather pouch there was a single copper coin and a half-loaf of bread that had been there for ages.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:39 PM on January 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


You become a superhero duh.
posted by The Whelk 40 minutes ago [+]

Or possibly a supervillain.
posted by restless_nomad 37 minutes ago [+]


I regret using up my LB-died-in-UO joke.
posted by griphus at 3:43 PM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Should have held it in space.

That only happens during the endgame. /Ultima II
posted by ersatz at 5:24 PM on January 2, 2013


Ms. Garriott Uses Keyboard to Shake Her Robootie at Remote Wedding

Elvira Butz II: Electric Boogaloo
posted by benzenedream at 10:19 PM on January 2, 2013


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