Friday, December 23, 2011

Laughter is the Drug

We're getting down to just the stay-heres.

As the city continues to empty out for the holiday, it's an easy time to meet up with friends because no place is especially crowded.

I started at Avalon to meet a friend for a drink and we were two of five people at the mostly empty bar.

As the friend who'd recently given me tights from Vienna, he was disappointed I hadn't worn them.

Next time, I promised.

He told me what was wrong with a restaurant we'd recently visited and we plotted about where our next dinner out would be while an '80s soundtrack played.

I'm telling you, neither the Smiths nor the Cure could have guessed their staying power back then.

After a couple hours' worth of chatting, I stopped by to pick up a girlfriend for company the rest of the evening.

She plied me with turtles while she finished dressing (cute! cute! cute!) and we were off (like a dirty shirt, as she likes to say) to Six Burner

Actually, it was for a bite to eat.

The place was livelier than I expected, with several large groups and lots of conversation in the air. The soundtrack was vintage (Cat Stevens, Scott McKenzie) and muted.

The bartender is also an actor.

He immediately told me that he'd seen me at the Richmond Shakespeare reading last week when he'd been part of the cast.

I'd seen him, he'd seen me. It was a match made in heaven.

I began with the South African "Left Bank," a red blend accompanied by a satisfying bowl of bucatini a la carbonara with a 63.5-degree duck egg, bacon and Parmesan-Reggiano.

The perfectly cooked al dente pasta became a decadent delight once I broke the egg over it. Bacon and eggs with pasta, what's not to love?

We joined in conversation with the group of guys who sat down next to us. They shared stories of gas siphoning, shotguns and wedding valets.

The bartender started a new tap, the Flying Dog Oyster Stout, and asked if it appealed to any of them.

"Oyster stout, it kind of creeps me out," one guy said. My friend, however, found its slightly briny finish nicely done.

That led to talk of Chetti's Cow and Clam and its infamous oyster shooters. I was surprised to find my friend knew the place even better than I had.

Walking outside into mid-sixties temperatures and rain-slicked streets, she commented on how New York the moment felt (except cleaner).

I won't lie; I'm reveling in this unseasonable weather and if I can have my windows wide open tomorrow like I did today, I'll be thrilled.

As it is, my windows will be open when I go to sleep tonight.

We finally left Six Burner behind for Balliceaux and the Mondo Italia Dance party.

My friend had never been but I'm a huge fan of Glows in the Dark playing music from Italian cinema while a '60s Italian movie plays on the wall behind them.

There are always lots of breasts, shoot-outs and car chases, not to mention porn mustaches, and it's great fun.

We got there, got a comfy couch to sit on and the music began. The only thing was, there was no visual.

So the band played and the music was awesome with the addition of Bob Miller on trumpet and Lauren Serpa on flute, but still no film.

I found our during the break that the DVD player was broken and thus we were without moving pictures tonight.


It was a little disappointing but understandable, so we instead focused on the music, especially when Eddie Pendergrass came up and joined the band to do vocals for a few songs.

My friend and I agreed that we love a) men with soulful voices, b) guys who remind us of Elvis Costello and c) men who move rhythmically and unselfconsciously.

In other words, we had a visual after all.

We used the break to people-watch (impossible to resist at Balliceaux) when we weren't giving each other advice (who is the student and who is the master?) and sharing stories about our firsts, resulting in an awful  lot of laugh attacks.

My name is Karen and I am becoming addicted to all this laughter.


  1. ...and tonight will be even more deserted


  2. Yeah I figured as much...but then that's why I'm on this end & you're on that end...merry christmas K.


  3. Merry Christmas, cw! I appreciate your loyal devotion to my ramblings and especially your regular commenting.