Tonight I was the poster girl for eating out, apparently. My plans were for later, so I intended to have a leisurely dinner at Tarrant's, knowing I'd have to wait until after the pre-Wicked/Symphony crowd cleared out. I could tell by the harried looks on the staff's faces when I arrived that it had been a crazy day. Between Saturday Stroll, drunken post-Irish festival attendees and then the theater crowd, they'd already been through the wringer.
Need proof? By 7:30, Tarrant's was out of their renowned garlic knots, those yeasty rolls they make and douse in oil and garlic. I know people who go there just for those rolls. I sat at the end of the bar and made it simple by just getting a Cobb salad and while I say "just," I think their Cobb is the best in the city. The bands of bacon, red onion, avocado, tomato and bleu cheese are generous and rest on top of a varied array of mixed greens.
Moments after my salad came, a foursome entered and one of the girls immediately stepped over to me and said, "That looks amazing. What is it?" I told her and she ogled it for a while until her date grabbed her arm and pulled her away. Not even five minutes later, a group of six came in and a girl looked at me, looked at my Cobb and said, "Omigod, that looks so good. It's like you're an advertisement for this restaurant looking so content with that salad in front of you! What is it?" So if you haven't had it, it's a big, beautiful-looking salad that's perfectly delicious.
As I was winding down, local artist and noted character Nate Motely came in for coffee and pliers (don't ask) and insisted on giving me one of his drawings. We see each other a lot around town (821 especially) and he loves to talk art with me; I'm guessing that's why he gifted me with this piece out of the blue. I'll admit, it made my night.
Then it was on to Plant Zero for another night of the James River Film Fest and to see Patti Smith: Dream of Life. Shot over a decade, the film was as interesting visually as it was for its content. It began with Smith saying, "Life is an adventure of our own design, intersecting fate in a series of lucky and unlucky accidents," and went on from there to show her in concert, on the road, visiting grave sites and at readings and protests. Directed by Steven Sebring and for the most part black and white, it was a compelling look at a fascinating woman.
In an elevator scene, she comments on someone asking her what it feels like to be a rock icon. "When they say that, it makes me feel like Mount Rushmore," she wryly notes. With her androgynous face and strong bones, she'd actually be a magnificent addition to that monument.
Her 1931 Gibson guitar was a gift from Sam Shepard and she named it Beau. Naturally, it had a lot of allure to musicians and she told of how when they came over, inevitably they'd compliment the guitar. She'd ask them if they wanted to play it, of course they'd accept and begin by tuning it. "And I'd get my guitar tuned!" she said gleefully. Even the mighty Bob Dylan tuned Smith's guitar this way.
Sebring had originally been scheduled to talk after the film, but scheduling conflicts prevented it. I would have liked to have heard the discourse afterwards because it appeared that the audience members were long-time devotees of Smith and undoubtedly would have had questions and information to share with the man who filmed her for ten years.
The documentary was fascinating for me because I didn't know enough about this seminal female figure in music history. Her one-upmanship stories of her skill at peeing in unusual places endeared her to me; I've been there myself, all urge and no place to go.
I came away feeling like Smith could be an advertisement for women carving out their own path in life. I wouldn't mind being thought of in that way myself.