Bella Stassi promises that this Saturday, Feb. 19, Baltimore's Club Hippo won't look or feel like a normal night out. ''Our plans are to truly transform the inside of the club to feel like you're in Paris,'' she says, ''from [a replica of the] Eiffel Tower to having sidewalk cafes.''
Just don't confuse the theme for New Orleans. ''It's definitely not Mardi Gras,'' says Stassi. The party's theme is ''Masquerade -- the black, the gold, the silver.''
It's the year's kickoff event for Bellezza Entertainment, the promotions company Stassi runs with her brother that last year transformed the Hippo twice for special parties. ''We took you down the rabbit hole with [the party] Wonderland,'' says Stassi, ''and then we had everyone dance nonstop under our big top, which we called Circus.''
This Saturday, you might say they'll be charming you in disguise.
''We're going to have big performances,'' stays Stassi. ''We always have our sexy go-go dancers, and performances by DJ Kuhmeleon, Miss Sue Nami and Sabrina White.'' Also on tap is a performance by the Pussycat Dolls-styled Charm City Cabaret, offering ''a little burlesque, a little cabaret, a little can-can."
There will also be specialty Parisian-themed cocktails, sponsored in part by Chambord. Corks will be popped, too: ''What would a night be in Paris without a little champagne?'' wonders Stassi.
Patrons don't have to wear a mask or dress up, and there's no official contest. Stassi expects a little bit of everything. ''We're really expecting anything goes. Come as you are or come fully decked out. Just come and have a great time.''
Bellezza Entertainment throws a monthly party elsewhere in Baltimore, in addition to other special events. Plans are in the works for Stassi's company to branch out this year with parties in Rehoboth, Philadelphia, even D.C. But, the Columbia resident is proud to call Maryland home.
''Maryland is really taking a bunch of steps forward [politically],'' she says. ''We're really close to legalizing same-sex marriage. There's a lot going on in our community that's exciting. It's a good time to celebrate and have a fun environment to come together.''
Masquerade is Saturday, Feb. 19, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Club Hippo, 1 West Eager St. Baltimore. Cover is $8 in advance; $12 at the door. Call 410-547-0069 or visit clubhippo.com.