Football-Free Super Bowl Parties

While millions of people will be attending Super Bowl gatherings, some people will be getting together on Sunday night not to watch football.

Even though 90 million people are expected to watch the Super Bowl, that still leaves plenty of Americans who will be doing something else. Many people around the country have made a tradition out of ignoring the big game in favor of parties -- often called "Anti-Super Bowl Parties" ranging from campy to intellectual to raunchy.

Something Else on the Tube

"We are considered quite off because we are in Texas and football is everything," said Dawn Quiett, a publicist in Dallas who is having people over tomorrow tonight to watch movies, eat junk food and drink beer and cocktails. She describes the guests -- eight women and two men -- as "artistic media types."

Quiett's "Anti-Super Bowl Party" tradition began in 1992, when she and her sister both attended Southwest Texas State University.

"My sister and I started it," Quiett said, "because it sucked that just because we didn't want to watch football, we couldn't eat the food and have all the fun."

The first year it was just the two sisters, and they watched the movie "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which Quiett describes as "very campy, with the world's longest death scene." Since that was the inaugural movie, "it became the rule that you couldn't watch anything too serious."

This year, "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Mean Girls" are on the schedule. On the menu is take out Texas-style -- barbecued ribs, choppy sandwiches and queso -- to supplement the Cheetos, Twinkies and cookie dough.

People who attend a party at the home of Matthew Friday, an assistant professor in the art department at State University of New York at Oswego, will be watching very different types of movies. He plans on showing films by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

"His intelligent and beautiful film making," Friday said, "which is so filled with sexual subversion, serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the Super Bowl, which actively and passively excludes and denigrates women, presenting only hyper-sexualized cheerleaders as role models."

Instead of beer, they'll drink "expensive French wine" and "make toasts to what we hope will be the eventual defeat of an American administration," said Friday, who has thrown or attended around 10 anti-Super Bowl parties throughout the years.

As the night draws on, Friday says the topic will turn to "more serious matters," such as the meaning of life and construction of subjectivity.

Friday is hoping to recruit some football fans to his gathering, which has an even male-female ratio. It began as a group of men who hated football, he said.

"My next-door neighbors are having a Super Bowl party and they have an open invitation to join our little oppositional party," Friday said. We hope to seduce a few and have them defect to our side.

Aside from watching movies and drinking, Friday's and Quiett's parties share another similarity: No one is allowed to check the score or even discuss football.

Moms' Night Out

Lori Barrette of Rochester, N.Y., doesn't hate the Super Bowl or football, so for her going out with her friends for dinner and a movie on Super Bowl Sunday was more about convenience.

"It's not that we don't like football, but unless we care about the teams playing, watching it is no big draw," she said.

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