What's past is prologue.
In other words, the back story prepares us for and increases appreciation of the present.
That's where I am, that was a topic of discussion tonight and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Tonight's festivities began on the balcony of the apartment of yours truly where we downed a bottle of Gazela vinho verde while listening to Big Star and dicussing my musical illiteracy.
Additional company arrived and with them, a fruity and floral bottle of Laxas 2010 Albarino (or, as a wine geek friend says, "hay and honeysuckle," which I consider far more poetic) so we moved inside for more companionable chatting.
While listening to music from her youth (Mamas and Papas), they told us about their visit to the country for Memorial Day weekend (champagne glasses broken and much tequila consumed).
At long last we moved on to our true purpose: the first Friday art walk.
Wine is fine, but art makes you smart.
We began at Ghostprint Gallery for the Richmond Illustrators' Show, an annual juried event.
I'll be the first to admit that this is a favorite yearly exhibit of mine, mainly because it gives me a read on the state of the illustrative world.
Especially satisfying was seeing familiar Richmond names, despite the 400 international entries they got for this show.
Bizhan Khodabandeh (satisfyingly, I own one of his illustrations), Barry Bruner (former J-Ward resident), and Will Godwin (multi-talented in both visual art and music) all hung on the walls of the gallery.
Others I know but don't have a personal connection to were there as well: Leslie Herman (his Okkervil River/Wye Oak illustration reminded me of that awesome show at the National) and Holly Camp, whose "Welcome to Iceland" belied the fact that she'd never been.
My friends were bewitched with Wouter Tulp's music related illustrations (Charlie Parker, the Beatles and Madonna) for their authenticity and insight.
I will definitely need to go back and see this show a second time.
Next up was the new show at Candela Gallery, "Unbound," an ideal description of the off-the-wall photographs that defined this show.
Alex Artz's vaguely disturbing photo of a woman and a doe perched on a bed.
I didn't want to know what their relationship was.
The stark "Marine, Hotel near Airport, Richmond, VA" was positively painterly.
Joni Sternbach's three images of people and ocean looked like vintage Hawaiian postcards, right down to the bronzed hardbodies.
"Girl in the Backseat" showed a young thing in platform shoes, held together with duct tape, but still looking expectant about what the night held.
As was I.
I loved "In the Window," which resembled a vintage "naughty" postcard from the turn of the last century.
Joshua Hobson's "Schoolgirls at the Palace" was all young legs and hidden faces sprawling on the steps.
I was quite surprised to see a photograph by a familiar name, Alex Nyerges, called "Rome Streetscape- Villa Barberini," with taxi rooves from an upper window looking like hansom cabs of another era.
Two shows with multiple global talent gathered for us in Richmond, Virginia.
Damn, we have it good.
Dinner followed at Amour, all the more satisfying because it was my friends' first time there,
We began with Luceien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Blan de Blanc because nothing says Friday night post-birthday celebration like bubbles.
And because I can drink sparkling absolutely anytime.
Over discussion of exes, currents and gifts, we savored shitake mushrooms stuffed with chives and comte, a charcuterie plate loaded with Olli meats (the speck was my favorite), salad and crabcakes with remoulade.
My friends are soon off to Las Vegas, so we discussed with the owner where they needed to eat
Dessert was an exact repeat of my birthday dinner a week ago (and, after all, we were still celebrating me), namely the dark chocolate caramel creme brulee with sea salt and the assortment of sorbets (kiwi, grapefruit, orange, strawberry and espresso).
By this time, they were so enamored of Amour as to make a reservation for her upcoming birthday dinner on Bastille Day.
I have no idea where I'll be raising the French flag that day.
But I do hope my past will be a lesson for my future.
With or without bubbles, I know I don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past.
There will be no photograph of me and a doe in bed.