Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lectures, Lyrics and Duck Pate

Prabir, one of the patron saints of Richmond's music scene and a self-proclaimed nerd, created the quintessential music event tonight as part of the new Gallery 5 After 5 series. It wasn't just music and it wasn't just a lecture. It was music, followed by a lecture about music, followed by more music. Be still my heart.

Leading the musical procession were Climbers with Adah and I was sorry I missed even part of their set. This electro-indie group had a beat-driven chill-out vibe that I loved. I thought it was the ideal sound to kick off the evening as people arrived and started mingling.

DJ Sara and her main squeeze Greg greeted me ("You're always making the scene," they complimented me and then my dress. "Like I've got something better to do? No TV, no boyfriend, why not be out and about?").

Band photographer extraordinaire PJ Sykes told me about the Hopscotch Fest he's shooting this weekend and Marionette vocalist Kerri and I talked about the Tortoise show at the Canal Club.

Violinist Treesa Gold of Prabir & the Goldrush (and the Symphony) and I discussed the proper ratio of couple time versus alone time in a relationship (her bass-playing husband was absent tonight). It's a delicate balance, we agreed, although inapplicable to me now.

WRIR's Paul Ginder, the DJ I see absolutely everywhere, discussed with me why men's t-shirts should be offered in bright colors. "The WRIR mens' t-shirts are always brown or dark green or gray. Why not something colorful? I'd wear a t-shirt the color of your dress." My dress was a bright blue. He raised a good point, though; girls get color, guys get drab. Color sexism?

Tonight's lecture was by 23-year music industry veteran Tracy Wilson, talking about the generation who isn't willing to pay for music, the growth of vinyl sales, the importance and trials of touring and so much more. Based on some questions she asked the audience, I have no doubt that I was the sole person in the room who has never illegally downloaded a song. Seriously.

I loved that she said she was a music fan before all else. She also made the point that music is central to being human. When she asked the audience who had gone five days without music, four people raised their hands; I don't think I've even gone one day without it.

Afterwards, DJ Sara spun vintage 60s music while the crowd ate, drank and mingled some more. Chris from the Richmond Scene, another person I see everywhere, charmed me by telling me that my omnipresence at shows is what he likes about me (I consider this quite the compliment).

We discussed our mutual enthusiasm for live music and he referred to types like us as FOMOs (his friend's term, I believe): 'Fraid of Missing Out. I laughed at being reduced to an acronym, albeit a descriptive one.

The G5 After 5 series looks to be a regular entry on my calendar. Lecture topics will change (next month: Sculptor Paul diPasquale), but music and mingling will be a constant. You can bet I'll be walking over there on the second Wednesdays since there's no telling who I might hear or what I might learn.

Afterwards I went to Bouchon since they've finally reopened after their month-long holiday abroad. Bartender Olivier came from behind the bar to give me a full-body hug to greet me, saying he'd been in Bistro 27 a couple of times looking for me to no avail.

He was pleased to hear that Carlos now has my phone number so I can be summoned on any such future occasions (as long as they call before I leave to start my night, that is).

It was a most enjoyable evening. Olivier introduced me to the two regulars at the bar, one who splits his time between here and DC (Logan Circle, in fact, so he was tickled to hear about my years in Dupont Circle) and another who lives at the Crowne Plaza and travels weekly. Both were interesting and interested in me, so I'd lucked onto great company.

Looking at the menu, Olivier told me the pork rillettes were history, replaced by duck pate, which he highly recommended. That was good enough for me and I also got the portabello mushroom with spinach and Gruyere to add something plant-based to my duck feast.

And it was a feast, a huge portion of the pate with pickled onions, toasted baguettes and cornichons on the side. I composed each bite to include the decadent pate and tangy onions on the bread, always followed by a cornichon.

When I couldn't finish it all, Olivier insisted on boxing it up. "It'll make a great snack some night soon when you get home late and need a bite to tide you over 'til morning," he assured me.

In the middle of a discussion of DC restaurants with one of my new acquaintances, in walked a couple of the Tarrant's staff ("Karen, what are you doing all the way down here?" Was I given geographical limitations I didn't know about? Besides, it's not even a mile from home.) and they enthusiastically sat down beside me.

I recommended the duck pate to them and they were as wowed as I'd been and since one of the two was a guy, they manged to finish all of theirs. Later when two guys came in and sat down next to them, they recommended it to them. It was like a daisy chain of duck pate lovers at the bar.

The music was Pandora, set to the band Nouvelle Vogue, a fact I know because the National's "About Today" came on and I had to know if that obscure song was on someone's iPod (I would have had to have known whose) or computer-generated. Sadly, it was the latter.

Had it been the former, I'd have started a conversation that could have lasted for hours. Having just discovered the new "You Were a Kindness" today, I could have found much to share with a fellow lover of The National tonight.

I'll do what I can to be a confident wreck
Can't feel this way forever I mean

It doesn't work that way.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't The National I wanted to talk about.

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