I can begin an evening as artistically as I please, but chances are I'll end up lost and looking.
And that will be a very good thing.
A short walk to Ghostprint Gallery put me in the thick of a group of writers working on a false memory project.
I found my muse in a telegram, a letter and two old photographs.
Now I must create the poetry, the thought or the story to tell the world. Thank you, Chuck Scalin, for the inspiration.
Leaving the group behind, I found a willing partner and made for dinner.
I love Sundays at Secco because the staff is all female, so you get to talk about things like musicians and photographs.
And some people call you "my dear."
I began with a rose described as like drinking a red, all dark pink and calling for food.
The Mazzolino Brut Rose is a favorite from last year and held up in this unseasonable March.
My companion went with the Saeti Lambrusco Seco which I'd had the other night.
Little did he realize he was getting the last glass of the secret stash.
In a further repeat of the other night, I insisted on the gnocchi in sea urchin butter, just to prove my point about what it conjured up.
He concurred and provided the rationale.
When comparing food to sexual activity, it's best to find a like-minded soul.
We went on to the pork rilletes followed by the Savoy cabbage wrapped Alsatian-style sausage with Granny Smith apples and Appezeller.
Who could resist a tiny mason jar of pork with fat on top? Not to mention the tomato chutney that accompanies it.
I chatted up the guy next to me who turned out to be the new chef at Blowtoad's, on a break to eat.
Newly arrived from South Carolina, he explained that he was eating his way up and down Cary Street to "see."
We finished with La Peral, a smooth Spanish bleu cheese that served as our dessert.
From that fabulous meal, we moved on to Balliceaux for music.
Walking up to the bar, the bartender went to leave, mumbling something.
"Going to get some Cazadores for you," Sean explained.
Tonight was all about Brooklyn, beginning with the Bee and Flower, who managed to sound heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time.
With a female lead singer, their dark yet upbeat sound with violin and occasional horn was catchy in that way that sneaks up on you.
At one point. Dana, the lead singer, asked the audience to sing along, saying their part wasn't difficult.
"Just sing 'hey now, hey now," she instructed. "Come on, you never know when we'll be back in Richmond."
The Parisian-born singer Blasco joined them for "Send Me Low," lending a vocal along with trumpeter Paul Watson's blowing and singing.
It was a beautiful thing.
When ...And the Wiremen took the stage, it was with three members of the Bee and the Flower and yet the sound was different.
Leader Lynn Wright has a voice that would do Bryan Ferry proud and there's a slightly more urgent note to their sound.
I'm especially fond of Paul Watson's trumpet, adding in a melancholy or triumphant note as needed.
I loved the lyric, "Shut the fuck up while I'm trying to sing."
Not that I was, but it was duly noted.
Actually, the crowd tonight (including more than a few industry types) were clearly musically-oriented and not there to use music as a backdrop.
It's great when the pretty people don't show up.
For their last song, they covered Sam Cooke's "Lost and Lookin," taking on a nearly fifty-year old song and doing an exquisite job with it.
I'm lost and a-calling for my baby
Baby, won't you please come home?
If the lights had been just a tad lower, I feel sure half the room would have been making out by the time the song ended.
As it was, we were half-swoony ourselves, what with pink wine and Sam Cooke.
Nothing like a little Brooklyn soul with horn on a Sunday night.
Baby, I was home.