Sunday, April 5, 2015

Quelle Night!

I'm clawing my way back from illness to my real life.

After seeing "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for only the first time in 2010, I  felt compelled to revisit it today at the Bowtie. With some films, once is enough. I sensed I could do this one twice.

A crowd of mostly women (no surprise there) showed up to revel in director Blake Edwards' take on single girl life in NYC circa 1961. Clothes, hats, gloves: tres magnifique.

Overcrowded and enthusiastic party scene in Holly Golightly's tiny apartment: worth emulating in my own and now on my make-happen list, minus the police raid.

Verbal habit I intend to adopt: quelle! As in, quelle bore! I feel certain Pru will go along with me on this one.

In what surely must be the greatest possible leap from there, part of my afternoon was spent at the River City Barn Dance at Hardywood. You read that right, a square dance.

I'm part of a generation that actually square danced as part of P.E. in both elementary school and junior high, so it's not like I haven't done the Virginia Reel or the Texas Star before.

Technically, I was there to interview Grant, the caller, the guy who calls out the instructions for each dance and we did that under a sunny sky at a picnic table outside.

But once I was back inside waiting for the dance to begin, he approached me to ask if he could "borrow" me. "I can't imagine a move in my head," he explained and if he couldn't imagine it, he couldn't call it.

It was a sashay and it involved "rolling the lady." Since I couldn't recall ever being rolled, I was game. His left hand took my right and his right my left across our bodies and just like that, I was sashaying across in front of him and back, right to left and left to right.

I enjoyed everything about being rolled. Now I recalled what I'd liked about all those P.E. dance classes: boys and girls on the dance floor. Maybe I was born to sashay.

Dinner was served at Amour where the new menu offered up a mushroom casserole of mixed local mushrooms, white wine, garlic, parsley and shallots, a perfectly lovely combination of local fungi and fresh greens accompanied by the house standard-bearer, Willm Cremant d'Alsace Rose, and an amen from a nearby couple enjoying Chateaux Neuf du Pape ("Pink bubbles are the best!").

Of course, it was also from them that I overheard the comment, "You don't have any stories because you don't have any friends," a rather cruel observation.

Rumor had it that my friend Holmes had occupied the same bar stool as me the night before and I honored his presence with plenty of bubbly.

My main dish, accompanied by gypsy jazz overhead, was beef cheeks braised with onion, cumin carrots (divine!), spaetzle and red onions, the cheeks so tender and flavorful as to make a cheek convert out of the most conservative eater. Accompanied by Fleur des Templiers Malbec 2014, it was a perfectly matched course.

While enjoying Scott Bradley's "Post-Modern Jukebox" and savoring a dessert of profiteroles, housemade strawberry and mango sorbet, we discussed royalties, "Blurred Lines" and Destiny's Child versus Beyonce (not the same thing) and the upcoming show at the National.

I was having such a fabulous time at the bar chatting that I almost lost track of time and I had somewhere to be at 11.

And not just anywhere, but at Metzger for my very favorite DJ, Mr. Fine Wine. Arriving right as he began spinning 45s, I was immediately caught up in his web of vintage soul. And it's a tangled and talented web he weaves.

My date was good enough to ensure that I had Hugl Rose and a table on which to rest my stuff, but with Mr. Fine Wine, it's the music that matters.

Over the course of three hours, I danced with every available wriggling backside: the chanteuse, the chef, the record collector, the artist, the DJ's wife, and goodness only knows how many complete strangers. Hugs were offered from bartenders, restaurant owners, neighbors and ad agency owners.

I can't imagine anyone was surprised to see me. I shouldn't have been surprised at how much Hugl Rose was consumed while dancing and chatting up friends.

The thing is, Mr. Fine Wine pulls the choicest soul 45s and every single one requires dancing. No slow song grinding here. I finally felt compelled to go tell him that I was a devotee of his podcasts and got a major hug in return.

Just like last time he came to play in Richmond, we reached a point when it became necessary to fully open all the restaurant windows to allow cool air to enter the room, but also this time I was told, "Your blog is the zeitgeist of Richmond. We need to have lunch." You pay, maybe I will.

Like last time, I had an absolute blast dancing, sometimes with girlfriends, sometimes with my stationary date. A nearby guy introduced himself as new to Richmond (6 months from Nashville) and invited me outside for a smoke. Thanks, no.

I finished the night with a Cazadores and a dance with the owner for good luck. She thanked me for coming and I was grateful for an evening of absolutely stellar soul music. You couldn't have paid me to be anywhere else but downtown Soulville tonight.

Baby, put your good dress on. You better believe I did. Come back, Mr. Fine Wine. We are your devoted.

Or at least I am.


  1. I think Pru would approve. Especially partying a la "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and Chateauneuf du Pape. Quelle delight!