Let’s play a game! My ex and I used to play “guess who’s coming to dinner.” You can have ten people for a sit down dinner, dead or alive (from any period of time). It should be people you don’t know, but would like to meet. Who would you invite and why? It is actually a great exercise in learning how to plan a guest list for a memorable dinner party – just apply the same reasons for your invitees to the people you know.

Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Nick and Julie Anne Rhodes

My Dinner Guest List

Betty Davis: The woman could make people react just by lifting her brow, and she delivered my all time favorite line “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night” in All About Eve. Any memorable dinner party must have an element of drama!

Cleopatra: Any woman that could beguile both Julius Caesar, and Marc Anthony to maintain rule of Egypt might have a thing or two to teach us modern women who try to have it all.

Dinner party play imitating history – Jewels as Cleopatra while sailing down the Nile

Jamie Oliver: Because I believe he is passionate, genuine, and sincerely cares about making a difference in people’s lives. After being a part of England’s Parents for Safe Foods myself, I admire his tenacity and potential to actually pull it off! Plus he can help me cook dinner.

Ernest Hemingway: My favorite author, and from whom my wonder lust originates. I’ve figuratively and literally traveled novel by novel, from ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’ to The ‘Old Man and The Sea’ in Cuba. Hey, a great storyteller is an enormous asset to any dinner party.

At La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana where Hemingway used to drink

Oprah Winfrey: I once heard her say, “we are not the sum of our mistakes” on her show. I finally learned how to forgive myself, and my life changed profoundly. I’m one of millions she has directly and indirectly effected through her show, through her charity work, and through the powerful influence she wields that has turned authors into best sellers overnight, and even helped elect the president of the United States. Now that is power. I’m fascinated by Oprah, and would love to pick her brains! Added benefits are that she knows how to keep conversation flowing, and cooking for people who really love food turns me on.

Jim Morrison: Because my daughter has been obsessed with him since she was two years old. She couldn’t carry on a conversation yet, but she would run around the house singing, “come on baby light my fire!” The look on her face when he turns up for dinner would make all the effort worthwhile.

Coco Chanel: She broke into the man’s world of fashion, emancipated us from corsets, and changed the way women dressed forever. I admire her style. Oh, and I’ll need a frock to wear for the big event.

Leonardo da Vinci:Leonardo da Vinci was a genius in art, medicine, biology, botany, zoology, astronomy, engineering, military construction, hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and many other fields… I think he might just keep the conversation informed and interesting!

Tina FeyShe is quite possibly the funniest woman alive, and can send up everything from politics to the latest gossip. She actually inspired this rendition of “guess whose coming to dinner” when I watched her on Oprah the other day.

Andy Warhol: OK, so I’m cheating a little, I knew Andy, but he has always been one of my favorite artists. I bought his Wicked Witch from the myth series when I was just 16. I miss him. Besides – I might persuade him to do the invites, so everyone would have a piece of art to keep!

Casual dinner party anyone?

Hmmm – an Oscar-winning drama queen, an ancient queen, a passionate chef, a classic novelist, a media mogul with major influence, the legendary rock star, an iconic fashion designer, the greatest all round genius in history, a razor sharp comedienne, and my favorite pop artist. What does this guest list tell you about me? I’m attracted to intelligence and creative genius in men, and I like to surround myself with strong, successful and powerful women.

I’d love to see your top ten guest list too, so post who you would invite and why in the comment section below! In fact, let’s make it a competition! I’ll post my top few favorites of your guest lists on my Facebook page (don’t forget to complete the email sign-up where everyone’s a winner), and you can vote on the most interesting one to determine the winner. Deadline to enter your guest list (below) will be June 26th, 2012. Voting for the top three contenders will open June 27th, and close at 12:00PM PDT on July 2nd. The winner will get a free copy of Party Accomplished.

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  • June 19, 2012
    9:58 am

    Audrey Hepburn… for so many reasons. Style, grace, humanitarian.

    My Grandmother… she passed when I was 5 so I’d like her to see how her influence paid off.

    Jackson Pollock… I’d just listen listen listen

    Peter Max… see above.

    Billy Corgan… his music saw me through everything.

    His Holiness the Dali Lama… the man whose words saved my life.

    my sixteen year old self… so much to tell HER!

    Julie Anne… not just because it’s your blog but for the fact there are so many things you say that make me think “get out of my head!!” LOL and that your knowledge is a wealth of information.

    My PCA family… what a laugh we’d have

    My dad… because I miss him. He knew my sense of humour and so many times during a meal I’d say something and he’d choke laughing… once spitting his water back in the glass. Love that about meals… not just the food but the laughter and stories

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    11:07 am

    1. Don’t laugh but Jesus!
    But I’d love to find out what happened in history etc etc

    2. My grandpa just cos I miss him and love him…
    3-9. My family cos they miss number 2
    10. You cos I’d love to hear ur wild and crazy life ( u should write a book !!! ) lololololol

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    11:18 am

    Gosh, Julie Anne, I remember that a while ago you asked the same question and it was the first time ever that I left a comment on your blog…
    Believe it or not, I found my old list and let me see if I would keep it or change it?
    Here’s my old list:
    1. Ali Stewart, the beautiful wife of Bono, for she is a lover and a fighter
    2. Robert Redford, my fave actor ever since, I love him as an actor and even more as a director
    3. Donna Leon, my fave writer, I am seriously in love with her Brunnetti and as Venice is one of the most interesting places on earth…
    4. Anita Roddick, I used to work for The Body Shop and grew up with her opinion on how to run a business and her views on the responsibility of businesses
    5. Erich Fried, my fave lyricist, he wrote the most amazing things on life, love, war 6. You, of course… I’d love to meet the lovely woman behind this blog in person7. Edward Hopper, my fave artist, the only one who was able to finally attract me to paintings
    8. Believe it or not, Lee Lindsey, I’d love to meet her in person as well, I love her music and I am sure she has a lot of interesting stories to tell
    9. Shakespeare, for all the obvious reasons, I am sure he’d have a lot to tell
    10. Billy Joel, my all-time fave musician, he always had a song in store when I needed it…although he would be the placeholder for all the musicians I would love to inivite

    I will keep: Ali Stewart, Robert Redford, Anita Roddick, Erich Fried, Lee Lindsey and you and will add…
    7. Bobby Long because of the hilarious stories he has to tell and because he can serenade us (at the end of the day he will be a substitute for all the other musicians I’d love to invite)
    8. The Queen of England – I’m sure she has a lot to tell
    9. The Dalai Lama – just because
    10. Michelle Obama – for all the obvious reasons ;-)

    Sorry for spaming your blog…

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    11:44 am

    Great idea!!!
    That’s my list..I’d invite: David Gilmour at 27 years old, ’cause he was the most unique mélange of beauty and talent I’ve ever seen;
    Marianne Faithfull, I’m sure she’s highly entertaining;
    Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell because they are the greatest songwriters and lyricists around;
    Elsa Schiaparelli the only true genius of fashion, without her there would have been no Gautier, no Prada, no nothing;
    Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius, because you need a couple and they make an interesting pair, a stormy relationship against a culturally ebullient background;
    Many imaginary (girlfriends that I would like to have because they are classy and brainy but I only read their blogs, alas!) girlfriends with class and savoir faire, among them, you, and the bloggers who blog about thrifty and alternative lifestyle

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    11:54 am

    LOVE THIS! Ok, my list:

    My mother – I miss her dearly. Would love the chance to see her one last time and see what she thinks of the grown up me.

    Julie Anne – So she can sit down, relax, and have ME do the cooking. Raven can entertain you with a rendition of Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day (her boyfriend is Billie Joe Armstrong.)

    Marc Chagall – He’s my idol. His artwork, be it his paintings, his stained glass, anything that man ever did – nothing short of genius.

    Keith Haring – His art showed me that art could be more than just decor. It could pack powerful messages and cause people to GASP – THINK!

    David at age 8 or 9 – it would be very interesting to see how a much younger David would interact with his siblings. Not that there’s much of a maturity issue between them now, lol (Sorry, David, love you!)

    Team PCA! The mess in the kitchen would be SO MUCH FUN!

    My aunt Doree – she lives in Santa Monica, which may as well be Timbuktu. She’s more like my big sister than anything else. She was my mother’s youngest sister, just 11 years between us. She’s forever inspiring and encouraging.

    All of my pets that have gone on to play with the big ball of yarn in the sky – do animals count? I miss my cats Merlin and Mizzeh.

    I love Rachel’s idea about the 16 year old self. I needed a good talking to, so I’ll invite myself. Probably wind up throwing myself out, but I’ll definitely try talking…

    Johnny Depp – Do I NEED to explain that one?

    Reply
    • June 19, 2012
      1:05 pm

      my list:

      all the members of Duran Duran except Dom,I´d replace him with Andy simply because that is the original group.Because I´ve been a fan for 30 years.That makes fab five.
      The rest of 5 are tricky.
      Jamie Oliver-cause he´s relaxed and funny and he´d do the cooking.
      Lady Gaga and my daughter-simply because the second adores the first.
      Two left.Someone to host the evening so I choose Jim Carrey.I think he´s never lost with words like I´d be with DD members.He could help me out then.The last one-Yasmin Le Bon she´s one hell of a woman,beats even Madonna.She could give me tips on how to dress and look like a lady.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    12:08 pm

    Ok Jules here is my list:

    Nick Rhodes – because he’s so talented and artistic and he is a genius gemini like me. And is my fave duran member. And just downright cool!

    Escher – the artist, love his twisted works.Great artist.

    My oldest brother Marc C.- who is deceased now for 14 yrs, I miss him.

    Julie Anne Rhodes – for coming up with this cool idea and being an inspiration to everyone around her.

    Russel Peters – coolest comedian ever, he would add much humour to the party.

    Kerri Mercer – Makes great corsets and hair fashions and she inspires me from one artist to another. And is a great friend of mine.

    Marilyn Monroe – She was amazing in her time, and such a natural and gorgeous actress.

    John Cusack (actor)- he has been my favourite actor since I can remember watching him in movies, he’s cute too!

    Boy George (Culture Club) other than Duranx2, CC was the first band I loved to listen to. BG is an interesting individual and he was a Rum Runner patron as well.

    Stephen King – My favourite writer, loved all his creepy movies and his books are wonderfully written.

    That was fun! Thanks Jules

    Patricia

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    1:29 pm

    My ten dinner guest would be:
    1) Saint Peter- what’s it like to hold the keys to the pearly gates?
    2) Oprah Winfrey- we share the same b-day, would like to know if we share the same quirks
    3)John Travolta- a fellow Aquarius- Oprah would have someone to chat with
    4)Donna Karen- timeless fashionista
    5)Robert Downey Jr- I love his work
    6)the Dali Lama- St Peter would have someone to chat with
    7) Simon LeBon- I love him and would love to hear him debate religion with everyone
    8)My Mom- she would be floored with my choice of guests
    9)Comedian Robin Williams- he is funny
    10)Chef Gordon Ramsey- just plain sexy

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    1:59 pm

    Peter Gabriel -He is a true renaissance man with a compassionate heart.

    Dalai Lama- I just saw him today at Royal Albert Hall, he was endearing, funny, full of wisdom, hope and smiles.

    John Lennon- For all the reasons in the world

    Steven Biko- He was my first hero, I have every book he wrote and every book about him.

    Nelson Mandela- Because he has taught the world what it means to never give up and never lose faith or sight of who you are.

    Neil Kendall- My first love who died when I was 22, because just one more smile, kiss and talk would be priceless.

    Audrey Hepburn-Amazing woman who did more after she “retired” then any actress ever (and always looked beautiful doing it)!

    Harrison Ford-Had a crush since Star Wars, he has always lived life on his terms-actor, pilot,carpenter…a man’s man in my book!

    The Unknown Soldier buried in Wash DC, because I’d want to know who he was and to thank him for his ultimate sacrifice.

    Jesus Christ- I would like to hug my creator and tell him how much I love him and I bet he can cook a mean plate of fish ;)

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    2:39 pm

    Ok, this was tough, but not too tough. The tough part was widdling down the list once I got it up to about 15:

    Bernie Taupin & Elton John: I started playing the piano because of Elton John. He had always been an inspiration to me, as well as Bernie’s lyrics. I cried the day he got married, was happy when he came out as being gay, the only performer I have seen 5 times in concert and never regretted any of it! Truly two of my heroes that I would love to question about their music together.

    Cary Grant & George Clooney: To me, George Clooney is the contemporary version of Cary Grant. Debonair, classy, there have been so many comparisons to them, I would like them to sit next to each other, across from me and pick both their brains. Besides being incredible eye candy, they both had/have such substance.

    Robert DeNiro & Martin Scorcesee: Two of my favorite movie people who have worked together forever! It seems whatever they do, from Taxi Driver to Goodfella’s, it is magic.

    Tom Hanks: I used to work with Tom Hanks’ mom 30 years ago in the administration building of Care Enterprises. She was an upper level executive, so I only met her a few times, but I got to sit next to Tom’s whole family at a Laker game once and she was in the suite with him. I regret not knocking on the door to introduce myself to her again, but they would have thought I was crazy! I’d like to talk to Tom about his full immersion into the characters he portrays and how he continues to have the reputation as the nicest guy in Hollywood.

    Steven Tyler: Do I really need to explain this one?

    Julia Child: I actually got to meet Julia Child at a book signing, where she asked me all kinds of questions about myself, found out I was a chef and kept asking me questions about what I liked to cook. I had 5 cookbooks for her to sign, so I was there for a minute or two, and more nervous than I have ever been in my life. She was my idol, and still one of my inspirations for cooking.

    Denise Vivaldo: Denise wrote a book years ago called “How To Start Your Own Home-Based Catering Business”. I read this book cover to cover several times. It inspired me to become a chef. I enrolled in UCLA’s culinary program and it turned out that one of the places our pastry chef rented out was Denise’s kitchen in Culver City. I remember meeting her and being in awe. Years later, I looked up Denise, wrote her an email explaining how important she was to me and how I turned my dreams into a reality because of her. She hired me on a project-by-project basis to help with food styling, testing recipes, etc. Denise is definitely my hero, and so proud to know her.

    Thanks Julie Anne! :)

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    3:06 pm

    Great question!

    Me when I was younger. I can’t even go into all the reasons why. While I love my life, I have a lot of “what ifs”. I think my life would have been incredibly different if some things had been different.

    Jesus — I’d like to talk world religions and see what he thought he was at the time.

    Shakespeare — Brilliant, funny, irreverant, politically active

    Harper Lee — To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book of all time. She would be incredibly interesting.

    Jenny Larson — The Bloggess. She’s funny, tragic and honest. Perfect.

    A serial killer — I am completely facinated by them. I would only want them there if they could explain how/why they do what they do.

    Leonardo DaVinci — Brilliant.

    My uncle Rick. He died when I was 19. He was my “first love”. When I was 4, I told everyone I was going to marry him. I know about his life from my mom, but I’d like to talk to him in person, now that I’m an adult.

    Jim Morrison — Sorry for stealing this one. But I’m amazed at songwriter poets. If he can’t make it, Simon Le Bon.

    My husband’s brother. Not for me. I just know that he would love to have his brother back.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    3:24 pm

    OK. I need some more women! Can I add Jenny McCarthy and Michelle Obama? It would make an even 12. Jenny M. because my mom always jokingly calls my daughter that. Plus I’d like to talk to her about her son. Michelle Obama because I think she’d be great to talk to about kids, politics, etc.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    3:46 pm

    Nick Rhodes – I want to thank him for what his music and his talent has brought to my life for the past 30 or so years. He seems like he would be wonderful to talk to about music, art, and life in general.

    Julie Anne Rhodes – I would love to talk about food and fashion with you. I am sure you and Nick would have some amazing stories to share as well:)

    Princess Diana – At age 12 I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to watch her wedding. I sat and cried when I watched her sons walk behind her casket. A great humanitarian but she seemed like she enjoyed being a mother most. She defined princess in the best possible way.

    Natalie Wood – My favorite actress of all time who was gone much too soon.

    Steven Spielberg – E.T., The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Schindler’s List, etc. – need I say more?

    Clay Aiken – He is an amazing talent, has one of the best voices I have ever heard. I have adored him since American Idol.

    Robin Williams – Probably the funniest man on the planet, in my opinion,

    John Lennon & Paul McCartney – I was born too late to enjoy the Beatles fervor, but I have always admired both of them and would love to see them in the same room again discussing music, religion, philosophy.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber – I wished I lived in NYC so I could go to Broadway shows all the time. My first was Phantom of the Opera and have been obsessed with it for 25 years.

    Reply
  • June 20, 2012
    12:57 am

    Laughing about your aside that Jamie Olliver could help you cook. :D Ten people…hmmm…I am famous for throwing people together who would have nothing in common and seeing how they mix at my real life dinner parties. Let’s see…

    1. My great grandfather Campiglia. He died before i was born, but I hear he was a hoot, a hugely gifted violinist, and besides…every dinner table needs a lively Italian to keep the convo going and bring boisterous joy!

    2. Elizabeth Taylor. Fellow Piscean, lovely, elegant, witty to boot.

    3. Nile Rodgers. Amazing storyteller, hugely interesting life, well-read, musical (we need live music after the meal).

    4. Mister Rodgers. He was so amazing and kind. A true gentle spirit and one of my earliest influences. He could babysit my children if they got restless and sing them to sleep, also.

    5. Jesus. A wise man to provide food for thought. Plus, J could clear up some misconceptions about himself. ;)

    6. Nefertite. First known woman with strong political influence. Amazing Egyptian Queen.

    7. Einstein. A quirky, genius, scientist with a sense of humor to balance out the artsy is a must. He would enjoy himself because he loved the arts himself.

    8. Maya Angelou. I admire her writing and life viewpoint. (I would want a woman writer to attend, but most of my other choices were recluses and probably not attend: Helen Keller, Virginia Wolfe, Emily Dickinson…)

    9. Leonardo da Vinci. Influential in both art and science, I would love to see what he was like. I studied his life and work in school. Amazing pioneer and talent.

    10. Ben Stiller. He cracks me up and every dinner party needs that one funny person to lighten a convo when needed, and I would need someone funny to make me laugh, as I would be very nervous meeting all of these people! It seems I always have had that one hilarious person who keeps thing light at my dinner parties. :)

    Wow, limiting to ten is very challenging!!! Jewels, would you help me cook for them?! Lol!!!

    Reply
  • June 20, 2012
    9:03 am

    No cheating guys! Your table only seats ten people, so you will have to whittle those guest lists down to ten guests. Great choices though.

    Reply
    • June 20, 2012
      12:09 pm

      Ok, so I’ll take us Team PCA people and make a kiddie table for us. And then I’ll bring Ewan McGregor to the main table. That works, right?

      But then what about Harrison Ford…hmmm…

      Reply
  • June 19, 2012
    7:03 pm

    You saw His Holiness today!? I am sure if I saw him in person I would be crying hysterically with the purest joy imaginable. Such an experience!

    Reply
  • June 20, 2012
    1:03 am

    Oh Robin Williams! He would be a great comedian to have, also!!! Agree!

    Reply
  • June 20, 2012
    1:07 am

    Me, too, Rachel…how awesome!!!

    Reply

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