Friday, March 19, 2010

One Fine Day: Dishing, Fishing and Hotel X

I sold out again, only this time for a different reason (does that make it any better?).

A good friend wanted to meet for drinks at Can Can, but I'd just had lunch there yesterday.

Before I could even protest, though, she enticed me by saying she wanted me to meet a friend of hers whom she described as a "foodie" and who also happens to be a dining critic.

Okay, maybe I can repeat a location just this one last time.

It was a beautiful Friday, all the doors and windows were open and people just kept arriving.

Meanwhile we ordered carafes of Corbieres and a cheese plate (a triple creme, a mild bleu and a goat) and started telling each other what we knew.

It worked out well because we knew a lot of the same restaurant people and each of us had different details about them.

She told me a delicious story about a place she had intended to review but the experience was so off-putting that she told her editor, "You don't want me to do this review."

We discussed which restaurants consistently do things right and which have a habit of inconsistency.

The importance of quality front-of-the house management drew anecdotes from us both.

Only other commitments prevented us from doing this kind of talking all night.

Naturally, wine god Bob Talcott came over to say hello (and told me how great my magenta tights were; he mentioned something about blushing if he said more) and discuss the weather.

"This is going to turn out to be the finest day of the year," he proclaimed. It certainly ought to be in the running we agreed.

Afterwards, I went to Plant Zero to be part of the 17th Annual James River Film Fest and experience "Georges Melies Meets Hotel X."

It was a lot like the Silent Music Revival events, with a band accompanying a silent film.

I've seen some of Melies' films before (he made over 500) and he's known as the father of special effects.

Originally a magician, he was one of the first to use time-lapse, dissolves and multiple exposures, thereby translating his magic tricks onto the screen.

We saw three shorts tonight and one longer feature, The Impossible Voyage.

Besides its length, it stood out for the hand tinting, which must have been a laborious process back at the turn of the 20th century...cell by cell by cell.

Hotel X did a superior job at intently watching the film and reacting to it musically. I've seen a lot of these silent film/live music shows and this were easily one of the very best I've seen.

It helped that the band had multiple percussionists given all the clamorous goings-on in the films. Later, when asked why the band had chosen these in particular, they said it was because three were short and only one was long; I don't doubt that live musical improv to a film would be challenging.

After the screening, James River Film Fest t-shirts were distributed to the band as a thank-you for their superlative performance.

One of the drummers and a personal favorite of mine, Lance Koehler (also of No BS Brass Band) draped his over his snare drum and played it that way for the two songs the band did after the films.

Eventually Hotel X's groove became too much for some members of the audience, who began to dance in the areas around the movie screen, totally into it.

Driving back into the city across the Mayo Bridge, I think I got confirmation about Bob's assessment of the weather today.

There were a couple of guys, one leaning over the bridge and one comfortably seated in a folding chair, fishing off the bridge.

They had their bait buckets, they had their coolers, they had their back-up rods and at 10:30 on a March evening, they were still out there enjoying this weather.

The wine god may have been right about this fine day, but these gentlemen seemed to be putting in their vote for it as a fine night, too.

I'm willing to bet that the sliver of a moon in the clear sky wasn't hurting the mood any either.


  1. Richmond, 1981

    You might find this interesting.

    We refer to it as "Analog Music from a Lost World" -- previously unreleased post-punk experimental rock from 1981, unlike anything else recorded before or after.

    "It's amazing!" -- Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock

    “Here’s something lovely and odd from the Free Music Archive: the Karen Cooper Complex.” -- No Rock and Roll

    "...some hefty grooves, and plenty of 'holy shit" moments'. It's a spacious but highly rewarding listen, and I wouldn't be surprised if some label makes an effort to press this on vinyl in the near future." --

    Jason Sigal, Managing Director at WFMU said:
    "This is amazing stuff and we would be honored to feature it in wfmu's curated portal on the free music archive. I'm very sorry for our slow response, we have a lot of stuff to wade through to find gems like these."