Police said they couldn't do anything about the parties, but zoning Inspector Frank De Lange handed the host, Paul Pickthorne, a written warning that he could be fined for operating a commercial establishment, because Pickthorne accepted donations from his guests. The county can't really dictate what types of party games one plays in one's own home, but accepting cash at the door is a no-no in a residential neighborhood.
It's like busting Al Capone for not paying his taxes.
Now, a house party can tax the patience of any neighborhood, especially when dozens of people show up, like at these Bethesda soirees. Guests monopolize parking. They can be noisy. It's a disruption. But these very special parties must cause a whole 'nother level of neighborhood distraction. If Pickthorne were my neighbor you can bet I'd be glued to the window, wondering if I recognize any of his guests. (No doubt neighborhood kids are full of questions.) What would I say to old Paul if we hauled our recycling bins to the curb at the same time? "So, who do you like in the Super Bowl, Paul?"
I laugh as the mind wanders, but I'm grateful this is not happening in my neighborhood. At least, if it is, it hasn't been disruptive enough to catch my attention. Maybe that's the message for Mr. Entertainment in Bethesda: If your party is big enough to disturb the neighbors, you need to invite them. Otherwise, maybe you oughta stick to the old-fashioned definition of an intimate party.