Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jungle Love and Liquor

Today, I was a headline: Karen Closes in on Land.

My landing got noticed first thing on my walk when a man in a suit leaving his house said, "That's a nice pair of legs you have there."

I was grateful he didn't compliment just one of them.

Further along on Hancock Street, one of a trio of guys talking on the sidewalk smiled and asked, "How you doing, long legs?"

Pretty good for a named storm, I'd say.

Back in Jackson Ward, I could already hear the music of the 2 Street Festival a few blocks down.

Traffic and parking headaches aside, it's one of my favorite weekends in the Ward with sharp-dressed men, fried fish and, inevitably, plenty of people I know.

And this year, it was finally time to right the great "Purple Rain" wrong.

I've seen Prince twice but never seen Morris Day live. Time to "Oak Tree."

On the way, I caught the second half of All 4 One's set and stopped to use a Porta-Potty, where I appropriately found an empty flask of Wild Irish Rose (still in the brown paper bag) resting in the urinal.

At the Crawley stage, i found a front position only four people back behind the rows of seated Morris fans who'd probably been there an hour already to score their front row seats.

A guy walked by in an "I love Hawaii t-shirt" and the guy next to me asked of him if he'd been there. T-shirt guy nodded and the man says, "Why are you back?"

"I gotta play it out," Mr. Hawaii said, which says it all as far as I'm concerned.

After a tedious speech by the mayor, who got his fair share of boos, the Time came onstage, dressed to the nines.

Drummer Jellybean was wearing a black and white striped suit with a gray top hat. Jerome's suit was cream and green striped. Everyone wore hats except Morris.

He wore a thigh-length dove gray suit jacket with rhinestone-encrusted cuffs, lapels and pockets, came out and combed his hair and tossed the comb to the adoring crowd to sing "Get It Up."

From there, it was all song and dance and fortunately, by the third song, the sun that had been beating down on the eager crowd slid behind a cloud and then the treeline.

Considering all the layers of clothing the band had on, I know they were as glad as we were to see the sun go.

All the synchronized dance steps the Time were known for were still there, all the more impressive for the heat. And their age.

Morris frequently pulled his pocket square out either to flourish during his smooth dance moves or to sop the sweat off his face.

Although he doesn't have the thick head of curls he did in the '80s, he still looks remarkably the same considering it's been 30 years.

They did all the hits - "777-9311," "Fishnet," "The Bird," "Oak Tree," "Chocolate."

"Do we sound good?" Morris called out to the crowd singing along to every word. Screams.

"Do we look good?" he teased and the crowd went even crazier.

Morris left the stage and the band proceeded to play some slow songs until Morris' vocal appeared from backstage.

"Sorry for singing off stage, Richmond" Morris apologized, "but I'm currently half naked getting ready for the next song."

It was worth it when he came back out with a fine-looking belted white coat draped across his shoulders and sang the classic, "Gigolos Get Lonely, Too."

Ain't it the truth?

In a nod to the heat, Morris explained that the water running off his face was not sweat and likened himself to a chilled bottle of champagne that when taken from the refrigerator, begins to bead up.

"When you are cool inside and get put outside, you condensate," he explained, delicately wiping his face. "I am condensating."

He asked for sexy women to volunteer to come onstage and Jerome went out and rounded them up for a couple of songs with the women directed to get "sexy and nasty" for "Ice Cream Castles."

An old guy near me was dancing in place, waving his cane in the air rhythmically, a testament to the power of the Time's grooves.

Of course they closed with "Jungle Love" and the crowd about lost it, knowing we were seeing the last of Morris Day and the Time for the foreseeable future.

It was the festival's 25th anniversary this year and they really couldn't have nailed a better band to celebrate a quarter of a century of music on 2 Street.

Since they were the last act of the day, food vendors were closing down, so I took my appetite across the river to Manchester to Camden's Dogtown Market for dinner.

I was the only person at the bar with my back to the tables of diners and a view of "Libeled Lady," a 1936 Myrna Loy-William Powell movie I'd never seen before.

My position on screens in restaurants is well-known, although if there's going to be one, better it shows old black and white movies (or old Julia Child cooking shows like at Blue Talon Bistro) than anything else.

My server was schooled in film so was great company for discussing movies old and new as she poured me a glass of Le Petit Rouviere Rose, a dry and aromatic pink perfect after a couple of long, hot hours dancing to the Time.

Starting with fried oysters with remoulade and micro-greens, I watched the screwball comedy unfold with the female characters wearing fabulously inappropriate gowns during the height of the Depression.

I followed with one of tonight's specials, a crab-stuffed flounder that was as artful-looking as it was delicious, over greens and rice with more Rose.

Since the sound wasn't on for the movie, it was like watching a foreign film reading subtitles, not as satisfying as hearing the rapid-fire dialogue between two pros like Loy and Powell, but good enough to make me laugh frequently.

My favorite line came when the couple went to a justice of the peace to get married and he calls his wife down as a witness.

She asks if the intended couple are sober and the Justice says, "Well, I, I think so."

Bride-to-be Loy quips, "This is love, not liquor."

And even if some liquor was involved, say some Wild Irish Rose, you gotta play it out.

It's the only sure way to find out what happens when Karen touches down.


  1. Did they sing "The Bird" twice? Have not visited your blog in a while glad to see you are still having fun in the big city that just seems to get more awesome each year.

  2. It was part of a medley so it wound around and we heard parts of it at different times. The crowd ate it up!

    Thanks for winding back around to check out the blog again!