Lesson 1: Editors don't know everything.
On my way into the VMFA with Prudence, I spotted my editor and had the pleasure of introducing him to the Boulevard entrance of the museum.
My work informing the world about my favorite museum door is never done.
He must have been grateful because he suggested we join him and two friends for happy hour.
Watching people do yoga in the sculpture garden while we sipped chilled wine inside made for a most enjoyable prelude to the evening.
Lesson 2: Artists make good romantics.
Prudence and I followed our impromptu happy hour with a screening of the 1936 film, "Rembrandt."
Successful painter loses beloved wife and alienates patrons before falling for maid he can't marry and finishing out life living in obscurity with her until she dies.
Introducing the film, curator Mitchell Merling showed his romantically artistic side when observing, "Not that people were really laughing at "The Nightwatch" like in the movie, but it kind of made my heart break when I saw that scene."
A linguist might have had a problem with everyone in Holland having clipped, English accents, but we overlooked that for the sake of a good story about a man who loved women.
And of a sudden he knew that when one woman gives herself to you, you possess all women. Women of every age and race and kind, and more than that, And of a sudden he knew that when one woman gives herself to you, you possess all women. Women of every age and race and kind, and more than that, the moon, the stars, all miracles and legends are yours.
Do they still make men like that anymore?
Lesson 3: All gnocchi is not created equal.
Prudence and I had a post-film tryst at Bistro 27 where I tried a new dish, the gnocchi with mushroom ragout, to accompany my Vinho Verde.
And while most gnocchi I've had has been potato, this was semolina and Ricotta cheese and shaped into little cakes rather than dumplings.
It so impressed a nearby barsitter that she leaned in, inquiring what it was and remarking on its delicious aroma.
Don't I know it, honey.
Properly sated, I deposited Prudence to her doorstep and headed out into the night for music alone.
Lesson 4: Sometimes taking a break is the best thing you can do.
As part of Shannon Cleary's four-day extravaganza, "WRIR and the Commonwealth of Notions presents Volume Three," tonight's installment was at Balliceaux.
Best of all, the hook was that it featured the first show by the Diamond Center in a year.
The band that got outsiders paying attention to Richmond's music scene were back after a baby hiatus.
Expecting it to be mobbed, I arrived early and found loads of friends.
The scooter queen welcomed me with open arms and her beloved graciously bought me a Cazadores.
The historian looking fetching in a maxi-dress with a maraca in her purse.
Of course Shannon, the ringmaster, looking very happy,
And so many musicians- the ones whose hair had noticeably grown (or been shaved off) since I last saw them, the one I'd seen just the other night, the one who loves to dance, the one doing the new al fresco music series I'm so enjoying - that the local music scene would have been devastated if Balliceaux had spontaneously combusted.
But it didn't, it just provided the expectant and celebratory atmosphere for The Diamond Center to knock our socks off.
Bassist Will was back with the band adding an essential element that had been missing for far more than a year and they had a third guitarist, a guy I see at shows frequently, for the first time.
He, in fact, walked up to me before their set to say hello, noting, "I thought sure I'd see you at S'Matter last night."
And he would have had I not had a prior commitment, for which he excused me when he heard the reason.
The band sounded full-on psychedelic good, running through new songs and old stalwarts that had people dancing, swaying and head-bopping.
From where I stood, there was no indication that they'd missed a beat after twelve months of not playing out.
But then, they always were damn good.
And, let's face it, sometimes stepping back makes stepping back in all the more pleasurable.
To paraphrase the Dutchman, when everything's that good, it's like the moon, the stars, all miracles and legends are yours.