Friday, September 12, 2014

Peculiar Sorts and Lutzes

Mind first, booty second.

Tonight was the first in Henley Street/Richmond Shakespeare's new historical play reading series dedicated to works descended from Shakespeare's use of language.

Hardly surprisingly, I had a ticket to join a favorite couple for it.

They found me in the second row with enough time to tell me about their trip this weekend to Newport and their recent entry into the world of cooking before the lights went down.

"Omnium Gatherum," a 2003 play (and one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize) about a group of New Yorkers at a dinner party was fascinating, thought-provoking, groan-inducing and topical.

I drink to make other people interesting.

Although the dinner conversation between the seven - and eventually eight - guests  ("a collection of peculiar sorts") centered around September 11th and its aftereffects, there wasn't a topic covered that wasn't still relevant today, sadly, eleven years later.

Lively and contentious debate is the heart of every good dinner party.

In addition to all kinds of political discourse, the hostess described in minute detail every dish she was serving her guests, no doubt an early nod to the burgeoning foodie movement.

When a guest asks for ranch dressing for the salad, the hostess, recoils in horror. "Ranch??" 

Although it was just a reading, the cast was outstanding, featuring actors I recognized - the always excellent Dean Knight (this time with a British accent) and the Artsie-nominated Katrinah Carol Lewis who sang an off-key version of "The Greatest Love" despite her having a fabulous voice- and some I didn't.

I've never been a fan of frisee. Too wild on the plate.

As was the prevailing sentiment at the time, it was mentioned that "print is dead" (fortunately, still not entirely true) and the New York Times was skewered as "a paper of record or a pacifier of bourgeoisie."

No dinner party is any good unless someone is drinking too fast.

So many "isms" were represented - feminism, capitalism, consumerism, terrorism, heroism - and all were discussed and debated to varying degrees of success.

We're evolving but the power system isn't.

Serious as some of the subject matter was, the play also had many laughs, never more so than when the hostess attempts to smooth things over with a change in topic.

A guest acknowledges it by calling it "a veritable triple lutz of a conversational leap," the line I nominate as indicative of the quality of language in the play.

Afterwards, there was a talkback with a three-person panel, a class from UR and all the attendees resulting in a lot of commentary about the pre-and post-9/11 world.

My friends and I had to laugh when one of the UR freshmen mentioned his grasp of the old world order because he'd been alive when the terrorist attacks occurred.

Of course, he'd been in kindergarten, but he wanted to be counted among those who "knew" the world before the attacks. I don't think so, youngster.

The talkback went on longer than planned because so many people had thoughts to share, questions to ask and points to make about the play.

My friends and I stood outside on the sidewalk for fifteen minutes discussing it ourselves, unable to stop our discourse on all the intriguing points raised.

My mind had been thoroughly goosed.

Then it was on to Balliceaux where I ran into a favorite trumpet player loitering outside Kuba, Kuba as I walked from my car.

Squeezing through the crowd around the front door, I headed to the back for a double bill where garage rock band Cherry Pits was hitting it hard when I walked in.

The Americana songbird spotted me at once ("We need to plan our date!"), the DJ was showing off her pretty toenail polish and the guitarist/foodie questioned my whereabouts ("Where were you this weekend at Fall Line Fest?") only to learn we had just barely missed each other Saturday at two different venues.

When I asked how proto-punk band Death had been, he shook his head and uttered what may the epitaph of the evening.

"You can't re-inflate a souffle," he explained glumly but with a masterful metaphor.

Cherry Pits' thrash-filled set ended with the best possible song: "My Baby's a Bitch," which had the crowd in a frenzy by the end.

While Hot Dolphin set up, I chatted with a friend about when the Valentine will re-open (late October if the contractors keep showing up), why a 40-year old should get carded at the door and why dresses beat pants every time.

Then it was time for main event, a show I was overdue for, not having seen the local rockers since last summer.

The band - drummer, guitarist and bassist - set up on the stage but front woman Lindsey - adorably dressed in a polka dot shirt with peplum, black mini and silver head band - had her mic stand on the floor so she'd have plenty of room to move.

"Thanks to Balliceaux for hosting a rock show!" she said to get things started on a Thursday night.

When I'd first seen Hot Dolphin, I'd been amazed at how she never stopped dancing. Ever.

She still hasn't and that's a very good thing because it ensures that the crowd understands that this is music to shake your tail feathers to.

Like sheep to the slaughter, she totally owns the crowd and they follow along l thrilled to have her leading them.

To give you an idea, her sound check was a scream, then she entreated us to come closer (the better to stick the mic in fans' faces to sing along) and surround her.

A photographer friend planted himself in the front row, the better to capture the energy happening a few feet from his lens.

Simply put, girls want to be her and men want to have her. Everyone was into her and the energetic music.

When she snarled, "Put your hands together," you'd better believe people did.

Each song was a three-minute sensory assault and not since Stevie Nicks has there been such a whirling dervish of a singer dancing, twirling and playing tambourine to a rapt audience.

After their last song, she understandably had quite the sheen and took a swig of her beer, announcing, "We're done! We're Hot Dolphin. We have t-shirts and that's it."

I'd gotten plenty of dancing of my own in, a fitting finish to an evening that had begun with my body still and my mind fully engaged.

Walking down Lombardy to my car after the show, two girls behind me chattered away about what they'd just seen.

"I wish I could be as sexy as her," one said enviously. "If I could wear my hair like that, I so would," said the other.

I considered turning around and telling them that that wasn't the point, that it was the energy, passion and obvious enjoyment she brought to the music that was worth emulating.

A quick glimpse back and I knew there was no point.

They looked like they'd probably been in kindergarten on 9/11. A triple lutz of a conversational leap would fly right over their heads.

New world order.

No comments:

Post a Comment