New Year's Party Planner: 10 Top Choices 

click to enlarge Here Come the Mummies headline the Egyptian Room
  • Here Come the Mummies headline the Egyptian Room

This year's New Year's Eve entertainment options range from the contrarian to the urbane to the amply-endowed. We picked ten that should offer a good time, including some usual suspects and newcomers. Most events start with a reasonable baseline price, with VIP add-ons and hotel packages available when applicable. Check out even more NYE options with our online Calendar of Events.

Our Top 10 choices (in alphabetical order)

Absolut Mojo NYE 2011: Tru Nightclub

IndyMojo is billing its dance-centric shindig the "Most Affordable NYE Party in Indy!!!" — and there may be some truth in that advertising. A cover charge which starts at $10 per individual and $15 for couples will allow up to 600 people to bask in two floors worth of music. Upstairs, DJ Orion (Radio Now) and Matt Allen (of the Blend night at Tru) will spin Top 40, with a gesture towards the mashup that all the kids are smoking these days. And just down the stairs, the EDM lounge will feature a very nice lineup that includes some locals — Jackola bringing the house, Rudy Kizer of Hit the Decks fame, Mr. Orange with the trance, Kid K with the breaks, and Gizzmo and Kodama with a dubstep tag-team set — and one outsider, Cincinnati-based house DJ Vinny Bricks. Upgrade options are available: $15 gets the hungry, shirtless attendee a buffet provided by Applebee's and "Absolut Mojo" T-shirts, and limited VIP tickets are available (ring up 260-433-7934). Festivities run from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Big-Ass Burlesque Bingo Bango Show: White Rabbit Cabaret

Yes-sirree! You are darn tooting that the Big-Ass Bingo Bango show will be a throw back to a different era. Come celebrate with the finest ladies this side of the Mississippi, all dolled up in fine silksand pretty lilac ribbons and supportive undergarments for your entertainment, edification and, quite possibly, titillation. Fountain Square's cabaret of choice will feature the dinggaty, dangatty chuckletastic duo of Dorgan and Milroy as hosts for the festivities, with gussied up little womyn Poppy Stacatto, Mae "Mid" West and Dessiree De Carlo twirling and gallivanting about such as to give a tingly feeling to all red-blooded American men and women. There'll be bingo, circus nibbles, and a PBR toast at midnight to fill your taste-chamber.. Doors at 8 p.m., games at 10 p.m., $20 tickets available until they print too darn many of 'em.

Bohemian Bash: Big Car Gallery

After a year spent recovering from the economic downturn or some similar malady, Big Car's Bohemian New Year's Eve is back and more outré than ever, or at least kind of eccentric, as one might expect from the generation-defining, community-minded art space. $10 will get attendees "good beer and wine" — we quotethe press release — as well as snacks, entertainment, live and recorded music, games, access to a coloring contest for adults, a collage-making activity and other mirth and mayhem. It's an all-ages event, and all proceeds will go towards Big Car programs in 2011 (keep in mind Big Car is a 501c3; this is your opportunity to do good while getting buzzed). Two entertainment groups are on the bill thus far — gregarious and playful theater collective Know No Stranger and adventurous string trio Tonos Triad. From 9 p.m.

Ciroc the New Year: Chase Tower

No New Year's Eve event will get you further off the ground than this DJ-centric, slightly-upscale event sponsored by a brand of French vodka. The ageless Indiana Jones is joined by Gabby Love, Lockstar and E.D.I. on the turntables, with the always-energetic Joe Meltdown on supplementary percussion. Appetizers and champagne will be available, and attendees will have a bird's-eye view on fireworks launched at midnight. $100 buys it all, and $99 rooms are available from the Hilton Garden Inn.

Here Come the Mummies: Murat Egyptian Room

The Nashville-based band of undead studio rats will usher initiates into the new year with upbeat funk originals and covers. Just don't open that portal deep in the bowels of the Murat; Tutankhamen meant for it to remain closed, and who knows what spirits you'll release. $52.50 (plus applicable fees) will buy your way in to the 9 p.m. show, but only if you happen to be over 21.

Jazz, food and fun: The Jazz Kitchen

A cast of local all-stars will be-bop the night away at the Jazz Kitchen, playing two shows for a reasonable price (but with absolutely no refunds). Let's introduce the players. On vocals, the lovely and straight-ahead Brenda Williams and the just as lovely and slightly more neo-soul Cynthia Layne. On guitar, the stalwart Bill Lancton. On bass, the equally stalwart Frank Smith. On saxophone, the adventurous, groove-friendly Rob Dixon. On keyboards, Layne's longtime collaborator Reggie Bishop. And on drums, man-about-town and gospel enthusiast Kenny Phelps. They'll play two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $35 gets you into one, $30 buys both. Each attendee is required to purchase $15 worth of food and drinkees during each show, and a 20 percent gratuity will be added to the bill. And as we mentioned, there ain't no way you're getting a refund.

New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball: Union Station Grand Hall

NUVO is a long-time sponsor of one of downtown Indy's most sartorially resplendent events, the New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball. Several things remain the same this year: Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, balloons will descend from the ceiling at the bewitching hour and the most excellent people will hang out in the VIP lounge. This year, a couple party bands — KJ & the Jester Kings and Great Scott — will provide tunes, with funnyman and erstwhile TV weatherperson Paul Poteet emceeing the goings-on. Also this year, those balloons will contain over $5000 in prizes. (We once again ask that you not trample any one in the rush to find the golden ticket.) Proceeds from the Ball continue to benefit four-year-old multiple-organ transplant survivor Lauren Seiders. Baseline tickets are $49 per person, and the $99 NUVO VIP ticket earns access to the VIP lounge and a couple drink tickets. A table for ten costs $441.

ISO's New Year's Eve in Vienna: Hilbert Circle Theatre

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will once again help transform the Circle Theatre into Musikverein — a famous concert hall in Vienna — to celebrate New Year's Eve in old world style. Former ISO associate conductor Sean Newhouse will return to lead the orchestra, with featured performances by Dance Kaleidoscope and soprano Jennifer Zetlan. A champagne toast and party will follow the 9 p.m. show. Tickets run from $35 to $60.

Punk Rock New Year's: Melody Inn

Longtime showcase Punk Rock Night, which celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this year, will forego its usual Saturday showcase in order to celebrate the turn of the year on the appropriate day. The lineup is packed, and quite the value given the $5 cover. Toxic Reasons, Tufty's band after the breakup of the Zero Boys, will reunite, with additional performance by The Involuntarys, The Typos, Middle Class Trash and J.J. Pearson (a member of Toxic Reasons, taking a solo set). With interstitial DJ sets by Jewey Ramone, food on tap and PBR for toasting. It all starts at 10 p.m.

Rockin' New Year's: Radio Radio

Three bands shall help usher in the New Year at the Fountain Square club. Jukejoint band Born Again Floozies may have taken a little time off, but they're still a going concern, and those tap shoes are still in working order. Nashville, Tenn.'s Captain Midnight Band, called a "Southern version of Ween with a greater focus on '70s funk and AM rock" by the Clarion Ledger, and Five Year Mission, a Star Trek-inspired local rock group, will round out the bill. The Floozies and Midnight Band promise to play a few numbers together at the midnight hour. The $12 cover charge buys hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast.

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