Remember that day in 2010 when I went to see "Blue Velvet" at Capital Ale House and they'd canceled it in favor of National Beer Day?
Yea, neither do I, but it happened. My blog says so and it never lies.
So with Movie Club Richmond's screening of David Lynch's masterpiece in my sights again as the kickoff to the Great Southern (Richmond's second annual Twin Peaks Festival), I made a date that would eventually include the movie that inspired the oddball TV series.
So let's call it a teachable moment, shall we?
Contemplating dinner choices first, I suggested the new Peter Chang's in Scott's Addition (the space a huge improvement over that strip mall monstrosity in the West End) and to my date's surprise, it was not only open but barely occupied when we slid into bar stools at the empty bar and said hello to a familiar face behind it.
Score one for me.
Of course everything was stellar and most was Szechuan-hot - the deep-fried pork belly, the salmon-stuffed cucumber "boats," the duck rolls with barbecue sauce - with the exception being the shrimp dumplings, which my date appropriately described as "bland and delicious" and I categorized as the ideal palate cleanser between courses for our increasingly fiery mouths.
By the time we finished all that and our Vinho Verde, the place had filled up nicely and we could fully appreciate what an opportune moment it had been that we arrived before the rush.
Stop #2 was a farewell of sorts because Secco closes in two weeks and since I'd made the drapes (and love the variety of by-the-glass wine options), I have a decided affinity for the place. In a lovely example of stranger kindness, five people at the bar immediately slid down a stool so that we could have two seats together to enjoy a glass of Austrian Rose and a cheese plate.
Seeing "Blue Velvet" at Strange Matter (who didn't let me down, unlike Capital Ale House had) couldn't have been any stranger than the film itself, none of which I remembered from having seen it 30 years ago. I mean none of it.
But it wasn't just me because my date had seen it multiple times and he didn't recall much more, so I didn't feel too bad.
What I did notice was how leisurely the film's pacing was (whether or not that was entirely intentional or a function of it being 1988, I'm not entirely certain), which had to be grueling for some of the younger members of the audience with their reduced attention spans, but also how completely strange it must have seemed for the time (not that everything about the Reagan years wasn't weird as all get out).
Post-film research yielded the fact that the movie's setting, Lumberton, USA (where it's always a sunny, woodsy day), is a real place in North Carolina.
Movie Club had even arranged for a show after the screening, so while the bands got set up, we headed up the block to Ipanema for snackage, scoring the timeless grilled Gouda sandwich and a slice of Mexican chocolate pie to fill in the cracks left by eating Chinese food earlier.
Or at least, that was my date's rationale. I just wanted dessert.
Ipanema, too, was getting set up for live music but we relocated to Strange Matter before it began, unable to be in two places at one time. The problem was, we'd dithered so long at Ipanema, we'd missed the first band, Christi, a shame because I really enjoy their sound.
We did catch Lady God's set - admiring bassist Chrissie's gorgeous instrument - delivered to a particularly small crowd, which was hardly a surprise given that it's been a deader than usual weekend. Is everyone on vacation or at the river or does it just seem that way?
One of the few familiar faces was a fellow music-lover and his date Karen, just back from a weekend away and looking for some last minute Sunday entertainment. Chatting revealed that, unlike us, they'd caught Christi but had missed the 1986 film.
"Wow, that must have been something to see after all these years," my friend mused. "Was it still really weird?"
Well, sure, but that was the whole appeal. More importantly, it didn't get pre-empted for beer, and after six years of waiting that's enough right there.
Strange? "That's a human ear, all right." Yes, yes it was.