Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing, but I am Bible ignorant.
My art history background has ensured that I'd seen depictions of the severed head of John the Baptist countless times by Caravaggio, Titian, Botticelli, Masaccio, Rembrandt and any number of lesser painters.
But did I know why he'd been beheaded? Tragically, no.
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that upstart theater company TheaterLab was producing two nights of Oscar Wilde's "Salome: A Wilde Experiment."
I gathered Pru and we were at SPARC in time to claim good seats and chatter beforehand. After a few minutes, the woman next to me got up to move so I asked if it was something I'd said. "No, but this lady offered to buy me a drink so I'm going to sit next to her," she said as she left.
The evening began with TheaterLab's directors announcing the upcoming season which will begin with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" in October, a major cause for excitement.
On top of that, they've started an Indie Go Go campaign to raise the 35K necessary to renovate their new home, which will be called the Basement (because it is) and be right in my neighborhood in the Arts District.
Asking that we contribute whatever we could afford, directors DJ and Annie said naming rights were available for everything in the theater. "If you give us enough money, you can even rename us," DJ claimed presumably speaking for Annie as well.
What Pru and I hadn't realized was that tonight's show was a bootleg production, meaning the actors were given their scripts less than a month ago and told to memorize, find their own costume and props and hope for the best.
They came together only this week and rehearsed for just eleven hours, the play's director James Ricks informed us. "Unlike with bootleg Shakespeare, the actors can't call for lines tonight. If anyone gets lost or confused, we'll just sit back and watch and enjoy."
Obviously a bible-illiterate such as myself wouldn't know the difference.
Except I'm not completely illiterate anymore since now I know the story of Herod and his step-daughter Salome. Or at least I gleaned a few facts from TheaterLab's outstanding interpretation of Wilde.
Herod, a self-centered old goat, must have had a foot fetish or he wouldn't have made Salome take her shoes off to dance.
His wife Herodias was bitter about having married Herod and tired of him ogling her hot daughter.
Salome was bat shit crazy and only wanted the one man who had no interest in her, like so many nubile, hot young women.
See, kids, bible study can be fun!
Now I can finally truly appreciate those masterworks depicting the head of John the Baptist in a way I never could before. You can't imagine how relieved I am to know the back story.
And then for something completely different, I got myself to the Roosevelt for a night of funk, soul, R &; B and garage 45s played by my favorite neighborhood record store owner, Marty.
Bartender T. greeted me with, "Karen!" and in short order, Espolon on the rocks.
Not long after, a woman asked if I was the Karen of "I Could Go on and On" and a friendship was born. It wasn't the first time a blog reader had recognized me, but it was the longest time a reader chatted with me.
She and her husband were delightful, familiar with my life and fun to talk to, too. She kept apologizing for knowing so much about my life (how are your new windows? the river sounds like it's a beautiful place) but I was flattered to talk to a regular reader.
From there, there were so many high points: a favorite drummer with whom I spent the evening discussing the role of the bass in R & B and the state of the dating world while drinking Espolon, the chef who had two great secrets to share, the server/photographer I hadn't expected to see, the mixologist who shifted me from tequila to mezcal ("why would you drink the same thing twice in a row?") once he got off work and showed up at the bar with his boss the chef, the biking pioneer who now drinks (a first!) and the musician/businessman talking about the challenges of keeping a girlfriend happy and saying it was all worth it.
The music was killer, all vintage soul that I only wish I knew but mostly didn't and too long played too softly until I went over to DJ Marty and asked that the volume of the music exceed that of the chattering masses and he accommodated me despite concerns about the Church Hill neighbors.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, last call was announced and classic Spinners came on.
There's always a chance a tiny spark will remain
and sparks turn into flames, yea
and love can burn once again
Whenever you call me, I'll be there
If it's a good time, I'll be there.