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'Mad Men' party at Sonoma County Museum

Tom Payne, left, Betsy Donnelly and Lindsay Austin attend the Mad Men-themed gala at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., on May 11, 2013.

ALVIN JORNADA/Press Democrat
Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:40 p.m.

History rewound a quick 50 years at the Sonoma County Museum on Saturday night — you'd have thought you'd wandered onto the set of “Mad Men.”

Everything about the downtown Santa Rosa museum's “Mad Style Cocktail Affair” evoked the post-James Dean '50s and pre-Beatles '60s.

Guests dolled up like Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in “Charade” posed for photographs with Julie Nation models dressed by Hot Couture Vintage Fashion, Banana Republic and Portobello Hats.

A DJ played mom's and dad's love songs as more than 200 guests arrived at the museum, grandly housed in the city's 1910 post office, and chose an era-appropriate cocktail.

From there, the party worthy of Sinatra spilled into a tent in the sculpture garden, then to the classically decorated dinner tent that occupied the parking lot.

The meal by Elaine Bell Catering was an inventive remake of comfort fare eaten while the black-and-white TV was allowed to cool: deviled eggs among the starters, then Crown Royal braised chuck shortribs, buttermilk mashed potatoes and crisp fried shallots.

At dinner, Dana Gioia, the Sonoma County poet and writer who served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2008, spoke about something timeless: the importance of the museum.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the museum's exhibition and education programs.

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