Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Rider at Capital Ale House

Get your motor running? Head out on the highway?

How is it I had never seen this classic movie before?

Beats me, but if Cap Ale was going to show it on a big screen, I was going to grab a friend and eat dinner there to see it.

Lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way.

Not being a beer drinker, I tend to frequent Capital Ale House only when they give me some sort of reason to be there.

A film, for instance, Richmond Jazz Society on occasion, some of my favorite local bands (Ilad, Marionette), even waltzing lessons once.

But not beer.

I'd had a bit of convincing to do to get my friend to eat there, though.

Seems he'd had a couple of so-so meals there and wasn't sure he wanted to risk another.

I assured him I'd steer him right and he genially agreed.

Besides, he'd never seen Easy Rider on the big screen and his interest was piqued, too.

I had the Crab BLT, an enormous sandwich on ciabatta bread with ailoi standing in for the standard mayo.

The crab salad was thick on the bread and the bacon was applewood smoked and thickly cut.

Think of it as a BLT on steroids.

My friend was leaning toward a burger for safety's sake when I told him that several friends have raved about the lamb burger (seasoned ground lamb topped with feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, relish and mint jelly), something you don't see on many menus in Richmond.

It was a thing of beauty on arrival, so much so that he was reluctant to put the top bun on it and ruin the artistry of the toppings.

He loved it.

I'd broken his string of mediocrity at Cap Ale; mission accomplished.

The movie portion of the evening fittingly began with a cartoon and a Looney Tune at that. A Star is Bored told the story of Bugs making a movie with Daffy as his stunt double.

Predictably, bad things kept happening to Daffy; he lost his feathers, his bill, was blown up, shot at, crashed in a plane, you name it.

Remind me, why don't we show cartoons before movies anymore?

Despite knowing some of the cultural references to Easy Rider, I knew very little about the film's story or specifics.

And actually that made it so much greater the pleasure to experience it for the first time.

The sheer youth of the actors, the breathtaking scenery of the West, and even a New Orleans that looked unchanged from the Depression.

The snapshot of another era: communes, anti-hippie sentiment, laissez-faire attitudes, sixties jargon.

And classic music as a powerful backdrop to it all.

Groovy and dig it aside, the philosophy expounded by the two main characters was simple and timeless and I found it natural to relate to it.

Talking to Billy about life and what he may have aspired to be, Captain America says, "I never wanted to be anyone else."

I know exactly what he meant.

Me, either.

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