Spontaneity may be nice for picnics and pick-up lines, but holiday hoo-ha--especially New Year's Eve--is usually best enjoyed with the canned-and-planned agenda. If you want surprises, just say yes to that seventh shot of Goldschlager. Otherwise, consider the five following blowouts for five distinctly different budgets. I've even added fashion suggestions for each shindig so you won't have any excuses come midnight. Now, go ahead and make that reservation--or you're going to be stuck with Dick Clark for one more year!
The Charge: $$$$
The Shop: Mario's (833 SW Broadway, 241-8111)
The Shindig: Benson Hotel (309 SW Broadway, 228-2000). Penguin suits and Laura Bush-meets-Barbara Bush evening gowns are the norm at this tony New Year's Eve hoedown. To fit in, bait your creditors at the glamorous new Mario's store--at $670, a '30s-ish sea-green lace Collette Dinnigan dress is almost affordable.
The Charge: $$$
The Shop: Harput's (139 NW 2nd Ave., 228-2260)
The Shindig: Vivid (1338 NW Hoyt St., 222-0742). The maximum-monochrome look of this bar may make you want to hum Jan Hammer, but you'll be fast, furious and futuristic in shoes from Harput's. New to P-town and voted "The Best Place in the United States to Get the Goods" in the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal magazine, Harput's stocks limited-edition sneakers--particularly Adidas. After dinner, head to Level (13 NW 6th Ave., 228-8888), Vivid owner Andrew Sugar's velveteen discoteria. The in crowd may scowl if you crash their barn dance in trainers, so leave the price tag dangling from the heel.
The Charge: $$
The Shop: Tumbleweed (1804 NE Alberta St., 335-3100)
The Shindig: Fez (216 SW 11th Ave., 226-4171). With a hemp backpack-full of jam bands like the Zen Tricksters rockin' you from without and the veggie buffet rockin' you from within ($15 extra, midnight champagne included), you'll need clothes that breathe, expand and swirl around you when you do that fluttery-hands spinny dance thing. Alice & Trixie's brown velvet and lace skirt from Tumbleweed ($152) is earthy and looks great with a pint of Hefeweizen.
The Charge: $
The Shop: Teen Challenge Thrift Store (3121 NE Sandy Blvd.,
The Shindig: Sandy Hut (1430 NE Sandy Blvd., 235-7972). A mug-lifter's melting pot, the Handy Slut is home for the holidays to the city's loveliest lowbrow revelers. For an optimum ensemble, trot up the street to the Teen Challenge Thrift Store. You'll find festive frocks for pocket change, and your purchase will support Teen Challenge work programs, which help at-risk adolescents obtain skills and wages in a real-world work environment.
The Charge: Zilch
The Shop: Banana Republic (805 SW Broadway, 274-7963, and other locations)
The Shindig: Pioneer Courthouse Square (701 SW 6th Ave., 223-1613). If ball caps, bruisers and vomit-streaked bricks are your idea of auld lang syne, then this free-for-all in Portland's Parlor is for you. You'll need something warm, sensible and stain-resistant that says "I'm still partying like it's 1999." Pick up a cowl-necked party sheath from trusty BR ($168). Black is the color, wool is the fabric, sponge bath is the answer to the question "How do I erase the evidence of hot wings and Jell-O shots from this dress?" Have a good time, be safe, and keep your receipt.
Contemporary artists including Louise Bourgeois and Dinh Q. Le respond to textiles and textile techniques in a new fine- art exhibition.