Thursday, July 12, 2012

That Was Then

According to one of the out-of-towners, we were "raging on a Wednesday night."

But we got things rolling with Popeye and Olive Oil.

The Anderson Gallery's happy hour this week featured classic cartoons along with the usual wine and beer.

We were no fools; we scored a spot on the banquette and settled in to watch the 1939 "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp," part of the fabulous Fleischer folio.

Because it was in Technicolor, we got to see just how green every can of spinach Popeye opened was. And don't even get me started on seeing Olive in harem pants.

Next came "Gopher Spinach" from 1954 and not nearly as interestingly animated.

It did feature a classic cartoon moment when  Popeye was chasing the spinach-eating gopher with a lawn mower.

The gopher threw a barrel of nails into the mower's path and they spit out the back of the mower, nailing Popeye to the nearby barn wall with their force.

They'd saved the best for last: "Betty Boop: A Song a Day" was about Betty's animal hospital.

It was like a catalog of animals, each with an appropriate illness tag on its sickbed.

Herring, Condition: pickled.

Giraffe: Condition: pain in the neck.

You get the idea.

As cute as Betty looked in her nurse's uniform, it wasn't enough to stop the animals' pain and she called in Professor Grampy to sing and dance so everyone felt better.

The funniest part was we were told that that was the only Betty Boop film suitable for the family audience the Anderson was expecting tonight.

Seems that most Boop shorts feature her in a skimpy dress and usually wiggling seductively.

And while it was okay to show kids vampy, scantily-clad cartoon characters in 1936, we're a bit more circumspect in 2012.

You gotta give the Anderson Gallery credit for creativity; a happy hour of vintage cartoons is a terrific way to start a Wednesday.

Once that fun ended, we went to Xtra's Cafe in Carytown to get jacked up on some cheap champagne (a la Scissor Sisters) and eat dinner.

Naturally on an evening headed into the mid-seventies, the balcony was full, so we did bar time.

The Simonet Blanc de Blanc Brut was cold (if poured in wine glasses rather than flutes), the Nantucket Nexus salad (mesclun, cranberries, Gorgonzola, Granny Smith apples, cucumbers, pecans and bacon) full of complementary flavors and the music just good enough (XX, Bon Iver and extra points for Youth Group).

All around us were other bubbles drinkers laughing and talking more loudly as the night wore on.

We went with the house-made dessert of the day, Mexican chocolate cookies with Kahlua ice cream, especially good when the ice cream was spread on the crumbly cookies.

Properly sated, we headed out to music at, of all places, Bogart's.

Playing tonight was a Jacksonville duo called Folk is People. They're in the middle of an East Coast tour promoting their EP, headed to Boston tomorrow night.

I don't envy them that drive.

But I'd done my online research and I not only liked their sound, but their claim to deliver good looks and offensive banter.

Truth be told, I often aim for the same.

We took a front table, the better to hear them (the bar crowd wasn't as attentive as they could have been at times), and admire their good looks.

Banjo in hand, Stacey cleared up a few things immediately.

"We're not brother and sister and we don't do it," she deadpanned. "We're just in a band."

I'd have to say that that was more informative than offensive.

"Here's a song we started doing yesterday," she said before the lovely "Tell Me Love."

Both Stacey and Rick had strong voices and with their handful of songs, continued to impress.

After reminding us of our midweek raging tonight, they did the Tom Petty (a fellow Floridian) cover "Yer So Bad."

But not me, baby, I've got you to save me
Oh, yer so bad, best thing I ever had
In a world gone mad, yer so bad

Rick's vocal take on Petty was spot on, giving the phrasing the Petty nod but also making it his own.

The crowd ate it up and Rick acknowledged, "It's tricky with Petty. People just keep wanting more. Alright then, this song is not as good. It's called 'Gift Horse."

Depending on your Petty fandom, it was damn fine, though.

Rick stuck to guitar while Stacey played banjo, guitar (but not Rick's, she made clear), mandolin and mouth harp.

Considering the two have only been playing together for ten months, their set was satisfying and strong.

From "Becoming Unbecoming" to "Ships and Shades," we were treated to lots of stringed instruments, harmonies and well-written songs.

One, two, three
You said you loved me
But you just wanted the company

Oh, I wanted the company alright.

But I also wanted the distinct pleasure of hearing an out-of-town band woo me with their sound tonight.

And as good-looking as they were, I'd have gotten their CD even if they'd been ugly.

In a world gone mad, I'm a sucker for well-executed folk rock raging on a Wednesday night.

Well, that and offensive banter.

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