Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Four-Block Evening

After having had to put on my J-Ward Girl tiara yesterday, it was only fitting that I spend the evening in the neighborhood, availing myself of all it had had to offer on a Tuesday night. Besides, I'm a big fan of getting out my big umbrella and walking in the rain and snow, both of which were coming down at various times last night.

My friend and I started at the Belvidere because he'd never been there and I wanted to see this month's art show by Tyler Thomas. It was interesting stuff; he works mainly in ballpoint pen, sometimes colored in, sometimes not; he recently did an album cover for Mouthbreather on Rorschach Records. My favorite work was a collage composed of restaurant menu tickets, each with a different drawing on it, all of which were then collaged on to the canvas. I loved the irony of an artist's drawing paper of choice being a restaurant staple; how many artists haven't supported themselves in the service industry? The show is definitely worth checking out.

For dinner, I got the roasted stuffed mushrooms (spinach, tomato, herbed cream cheese, parmigiana reggiano in a tomato cream sauce) and the organic white bean hummus plate and my friend had the soup of the day and the grilled ahi tuna sandwich with spicy Sriracha Aioli on a crusty baguette. The hummus may be the best I've had around here and that's saying something and the sandwich was perfect with its toothsome roll and perfectly cooked rare tuna.

With art and eating behind us, we strolled over to Gallery 5 for music. They had just hours before finished the renovations on the downstairs gallery, so the smell of paint was fresh in the air. The space looked really nice and it will definitely increase their art display capabilities.

First up were locals Last Century, followed by Pretty & Nice from Boston. Clearly drawing on early XTC, this quartet was high energy and highly entertaining, with tightly written pop/rock/punk sounding songs and an engaging sound. There was a lot to like about them and talking to the drummer later, he told me how impressed he was with the venue and the attendance.I told him that they looked like they were having a good time and he assured me that they were. "Why do this if you're not having fun?" he asked me rhetorically; of course, he was preaching to the choir with me.

Headliners Title Tracks are from DC and they had more of a melodic indie sound, probably influenced by all kinds of power pop. After the punch of Pretty & Nice, they were low-key in comparison, but their upbeat sound and pretty guitars made for most enjoyable listening. All that pleasurable poppiness even got part of the crowd dancing, or at least moving, which seemed to please the band.

By the time we left, the snow had more or less stopped and what better way to enjoy the beauty of J-Ward than through the haze of a misty night? And while we did see people out and about (it was only 11:15 after all), fortunately I didn't have to interrupt our walk to defend the 'hood to any non-believers. Everyone, including us, wanted to be exactly where we were.

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