Monday, June 4, 2012

Melancholy, ArrivAdduci and Latecomers

Sunday, that's my fun day, my "I don't have to run day."

Escaping Broad Appetit for the VMFA got me the D'Amore Duo (Yeon Jee Sohn on oboe and William Feasley on guitar) doing a concert called "Leaves of Grass."

It was a tie-in to the new exhibit I saw yesterday, here, "Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era."

As the educator who introduced the musicians said, "This performance will send you running to see the exhibit."

Didn't need to run since I'd already done my homework.

The music was loosely related to themes of sadness, with "And Never the Same Way Twice, Flowing" eliciting Feasley's wry comment, "Very gruesome tuning this one has."

I don't even have a clue what that means and I loved the sound of it.

There was a guitar piece called "Ashokan Farewell" that Ken Burns used in his Civil War documentary and a fantasia and tango on Mile Davis' "So What."

"The Pateroller Sonata" was a world premiere of the piece for oboe and guitar; the second movement, "Behind the Moon" was exquisitely beautiful.

It made me long for tomorrow's full moon.

Most heartbreaking piece went to "Sonata - "To the Sadness of Buenos Aries," taken from a post- World War II Argentinian poet laureate.

On New Year's Eve she wrote this poem, now song, sent it to the national newspaper and then walked into the sea.

As the nation awoke and read her piece, she was drowned.

The sounds of the sea throughout the piece were tragic reminders.

Two sonatas, two tangos, a fantasia and a fantasy, a variation on  a variation and four pieces written specifically for the D'Amore Duo.

Not bad for an afternoon's pleasure.

Food followed melancholia at Secco for the final All Sara Sunday.

No longer will there be two Saras on staff on Sundays as cheese whiz Sara Adduci prepares to head westward.

Secco was saluting her with food and wine, like the clever "ArrivAdduci" flight.

Tete a Claques was my poison, all pink and pretty, and much food was consumed along with it.

Gnocchi with sea urchin butter began things delicately and decadently.

Local green beans with speck, walnuts, hard cooked egg and mustard vinaigrette was an impeccable new flavor combination on the menu.

When a man near me saw it arrive, he raved about it, saying he and his wife had finished the same dish earlier.

I didn't realize how much earlier he meant until they went to leave and said they'd been there since 3:00.

It was 8:30 by then. That's a healthy visit to your local wine bar.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The arugula salad with chicken confit, dried cherries, Stilton and roasted shallot vinaigrette never disappoints with its rich flavors.

The nod to Sara was a Gruyere fondue ("Had to do it," said the sous chef) with asparagus spears and house made pretzel bread sticks for dipping.

With a tribute like that, chances are she won't want to leave.

Dessert was chocolate cream in puff pastry with hazelnut praline and caramel sauce.

On a trip to the bathroom, I met a guy from Nelson County who makes lotion.

He had a tub of it with him, so I sampled it, trying it on my hands and legs, impressed with the rosemary and mint scents and the emollient quality of the beeswax based mixture.

I was quizzed. Would I pay $10 for it at a farmer's market? Yes, I would.

Heard some people talking about a woman with 23 stars tattooed on her chest.

Why 23, I wondered?

Seems 23 was how much pain she could endure from the needle before crying uncle. The actual number was meaningless to her.

Oddly enough, 23 is my favorite number, so it would have been a splendid choice for me, but her, not so much.

And me, zero interest in tattoos, stars or otherwise.

So much had been going on that all of a sudden it was time for us to fly to Balliceaux for music.

We arrived a bit after 9:00 and I waited for the song being played, "Timberline," to be finished before entering the room and finding a seat for Jonathan Vassar and the Speckled Bird.

Once in my barstool, I caught singer Antonia's eyes and she mine.

"We started on time," she said part accusingly and part matter-of-factly.

Gulp. Caught coming in late and called on it. With humor, but called.

I did my best, I told her.

"Andrew was here on time," she teased, pointing at my music buddy across the room.

Yes, the same music buddy who had been introduced to JV&SB by yours truly.

The amusing part, as both Andrew and I knew, was that he's frequently late for shows only to find me already in place.

But that's okay. I can take criticism if it's merited. Mark me tardy.

The band was minus cellist Josh tonight but even without his superb bowing, it was a set of heartfelt Americana and Antonia's warbling vox saw.

When the set ended and the mingling began, I found out why it doesn't pay to be a latecomer.

Although I'd caught the first official song of the set, I'd missed the oddities that proceeded it.

They'd played a composition by their excellent trumpet player Paul Watson as well as a cover of a Sparklehorse song.

There had been been a third rarity, but I didn't even need to know what it had been.

It had been a fine Sunday. Definitely a fun day.

Even if I did have to run day.

Better tardy than absent.

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