Thursday, February 4, 2010

First Kiss and a Blind Date at Bin 22

Modern Love: A Romance in Four Parts about sums up my evening.

Passion! Beauty! Betrayal! Architecture!

Tonight was the first night of a four-week class at the Virginia Center for Architecture on the topic of 20th century architecture.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the other attendees; how many other people could there be like me who would be willing to commit to four Thursday nights in dreary February, albeit for just an hour, just to look at building slides and learn something?

Well, at tonight's installment, First Kiss: 1900-1930, there were easily two dozen or more, pretty evenly split between men and women of all ages.

The lecturer, Roberto Ventura, had broken down the series by the stages of a romance.

Tonight he said it was all about the early stages of love, characterized by twitterpation, that giddy state of being entirely infatuated with someone.

Bambi fans, you know what I'm talking about, but it was a new word to me.

It was an analogy for the changes in architecture brought about by the Industrial Revolution and centered largely on Chicago because of the massive rebuilding that went on there after the great fire.

That, and Mr. Otis' invention.

While he didn't invent the elevator, he did invent the safety elevator, which allowed the elevator to brake if the hoisting ropes failed, which meant buildings could be designed to be much taller.

Believe me, this was fascinating stuff to the group of us in the room.

After class, I moved on to Bin 22 for an after-school snack and ran into Austin, a friend and talented artist, who'd just had a table accepted into a prestigious show to be held at MIT this summer.

While I enjoyed my Pratsch Gruner Vetliner and a Soppressetta, Fontina and arugula Panini, we discussed the music being played (British Sea Power, the National, Talking Heads) as well as the music on his computer, which was equal parts stuff I like and then a whole lot of classic rock.

I no longer shake my head when I see this combination, but I'll never understand it.

Iron and Wine and the Rolling Stones?

Ugly Casanova and Led Zeppelin?

Postal Service and the Kinks?


Greg the owner, was telling me about the waiter race held in Carytown on Bastille day two years ago, in which he'd been a participant.

I'm familiar with a similar annual event in D.C., but didn't recall the one here.

He cracked us up with the dramatic story of victory being snatched from his hands (or more accurately, him almost running into a trashcan and overcompensating, causing the wine bottle to fall off his tray); it's apparently still fairly fresh in his mind.

He was robbed.

Interestingly, considering the romance theme of the evening, there was a couple there on a blind date and the staff was enjoying making observations about how much they were drinking and how it was going.

The couple looked a bit nervous, but also into each other, causing the staff to assume that it was going to end with (insert pounding sound and crude gesture).

I preferred to focus on their body language, which did point to romantic possibilities.

And now, for the finale to my evening, I once again have a new mix tape and specific instructions on how I am to listen to it.

It is a sequel to my all-time favorite mix, Naive Melodies/Waiting and is simply titled Still Naive.

After an evening of twitterpation at the Branch House, it already sounds to be just what I want to hear.

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