Friday, July 24, 2015

As the Evening Sun Goes Down

It's a little after 8 and I can hear the band sound-checking as I approach the bakery.

Inside Sub Rosa, I score a stool from the dwindling number still unoccupied and say hello to the southern-drawling Bijou champion, who lets me in on two fabulous upcoming movie events, one classic, one unreleased.

After sharing my enthusiasm for both events, I leave him when I spot pastries on the nearby counter. It's been a fabulous but long day and I haven't yet had dinner.

From a selection of delectable looking breads, knots and croissants, I choose a fat salami and Gruyere croissant, placed artfully on a stoneware plate by owner Evrim. I can tell by its buttery sheen that multiple napkins are in order.

Standing there as he prepares my plate, I overhear a woman talking about her trip to St. Martin's and its nude beach. When I think I hear her talking about a man on the beach with not just braided pubic hair, but beads braided into his pubic hair, I can't help but insert myself into the conversation.

The visual is unsettling. "It's so disturbing, I hesitated to say it aloud," she apologizes. "How much do you have to pay someone to spend that much time doing that to your, um, pubes?"

As much as they'll pay, I would imagine.

Sticking a needle in my mind's eye and returning to my stool, my fingers got shiny and my belly progressively happier as I ate the savory roll. I got a look of surprise and delight from the singer of Turkish songs when she walked in and an inquiry from the recently arrived film professor of, "What's in that?" as he pointed to my croissant. Apparently, the pleasure I was taking in my dinner wasn't lost on him.

I love being an inspiration to other eaters.

Sub Rosa isn't a big place and it continued to fill up, even after the Paul Watson Quintet - Paul on cornet trumpet, Steve on guitar, Tadd on double bass and Pippin ("The man I call Mr. Essential," Paul said) on drums - began knocking the crowd's socks off with their talent.

From inside, I saw my favorite jeweler/Viet Nam vet (tonight wearing a cowboy hat) at the front door, and he was waved around, entering through the back door. He wasn't the only one.

As talented as Paul is on horn, he's also got a terrific baritone voice and used it often tonight as he showcased material off his latest album.

After all these years
and 10,000 beers
Tell me, what do you see?

It was while the band was rocking out to "These Words" that I realized that the bakery was a gorgeous place for this show, with the sun setting behind us and the soft yellow glow of lights along the wall illuminating a crowd sitting on chairs, stools, the floor and standing. One guy even perched on the counter.

Just as I was noticing all this, Paul must have been, too, saying, "This is a timely song," and began singing, "When that evening sun goes down, that's the time I love the best," a slow and sweet song.

Massive applause followed an instrumental piece featuring Paul on cornet, and he took the moment to announce, "I want to remind you about our little merch display. It only represents 40 years, that's all. They say the best things in life are free, but they're really $19.95."

Paul's longevity in the business is well-known. Just last weekend, I'd seen a film from the early '80s that he'd voiced, his distinctive baritone a pleasure to listen to.

Behind me were two guys visiting from D.C. and it took me no time to find out they lived in Dupont Circle (R and Connecticut), my old neighborhood (21 and N). Turns out they'd come down for scuba diving lessons in Petersburg (I didn't ask) and to see this show. They already have plans to come back in August.

That's how far some people come for a Paul Watson show. No surprise there.

The band's finale was a Mark Linkous song, "All Night Home," a nod to his recordings with Sparklehorse. The crowd listened reverently before he ended the evening by introducing the band.

But the full house was having none of it, demanding "One more!" until the band obliged with a song that included the evocative lyric, "How the youthful harlots curse..." Don't they, though?

With the show now officially over, bakery owner Evrim took the mic, saying what a magical evening it had been. As he'd told us, they only do occasional shows for very special performers, which is why I try not to miss them.

"Feel free to relax for a while," Evrim said. "A while, like three minutes. Then the bakers have to go to bed."

And while I'm not a baker, I had bed in my sights, too. It's exhausting having as much fresh air and fun as I've had the past two days.

When's the last time I said that?


  1. you need to recharge that Eveready now & then!


  2. I worry one day you're juz goin' to peter-out.


  3. Let's hope not, cw! Didn't figure you for the worrying type...

  4. Ha! Ha! --- why...would say that Karen?


  5. All these years you've been reading me and never sounded worried about my overdoing it!

  6. At times the gap between the writer & reader can be un-measurable.