Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dressed to Kill

No parasol shame.

If that isn't already a thing, I'm calling it right here. There are so many reasons - the strength of the late afternoon summer sun, my experienced skin, hello, common sense - to carry an umbrella when I choose to walk outside and don't care to wear a hat.

The last few days, it's become a new habit to bring my own shade, like I did tonight for nearly a mile to meet Pru and Beau for dinner at Lucca Enoteca. The occasion was cashing in one of my birthday presents, namely a ticket for tonight's Eddie Izzard show across the street at CenterStage.

I'd nudged Beau about dinner reservations last week, knowing that half the show's attendees wouldn't think that far ahead. Not only did they not, some were foolish enough to walk into the packed restaurant as late as 7:00 and think they were going to be seated.


We, on the other hand, were tucked in a corner table in the front window, away from the fray and with a fine view of the growing mob of Izzard fans directly in our sight lines. Color us surprised that people began lining up to get in two hours before the performance even began.

Not us. We devoted 99% of those hours to eating and drinking, aided and abetted by the affable bartender subbing as our server because of the full house, while being honest enough to share that despite the kitchen staff being well-coordinated and running up to speed, the front of the house was green and struggling a tad.

A large tad.

It didn't affect us as I introduced them to Lucca's sublime octopus and potato salad, or as we munched through a meat and cheese tray and an exquisitely flavorful salad of beets, golden raisins and pistachios before polishing off one crostada, hazelnut, and two panna cottas under macerated fruit.

Passing through the harried-looking staff replete, we made it across the street with time to spare.

Now it's confession time. When Beau had gifted me with a ticket for this show for my birthday back in May, I had zero idea who Eddie Izzard was. It's not like I wasn't grateful for the gift, just clueless about what it was.

My benefactors were amazed at my ignorance.

"Well, did you at least look him up on YouTube to get an idea what to expect?" Pru asked logically. Of course I didn't. Would I look at a trailer before going to see an unknown film? Not on your life.

When the usher who seated us admitted that she had no idea who he was (but that the show had sold out), I confided to her that I didn't know either, that I was just there because of a birthday present.

"Ooh, happy birthday!" she squealed.

With no idea of what to expect, I was delighted by it all. The light show, the backdrop of a large target with a man's form on it (so Bond!), Eddie coming out with a bowler hat and cane before tossing them away, all of it.

"He's dead sexy," Pru had warned me, as if ten seconds of watching him wouldn't have told me so.

But that initial excitement was trumped many times over once he began sharing his thoughts, riffing on everything and letting loose a stream of simply yet brilliantly-stated opinions about gods, politics and transvestites, among which he counts himself.

Did I mention there was even Virginia humor?

He blasted the three holdouts to the metric system: Liberia, Myanmar and that other third world country, the U.S. He reminded us that Britain had a civil war first. He insisted that he gave Richmond its first German comedy sketch. "Lord of the Rings" was dissected with a chicken deciding to keep the ring.

How many comedians are able to work in Charles I, "It's  A Wonderful Life" and the Magna Carta into their act? I love my comedy with a side of European history ("What do you mean you lost France?").

Within minutes, I was worshiping at the feet of this intellectual liberal with even more opinions than me, plus a penchant for make-up that began at age four. Thank heavens I had on fabulous Berry Seductive lip stain so I could hold up my head in front of this wondrous specimen.

His was just such a wickedly smart humor.

"Humanity can go backwards," he began. "As shown by a recent referendum vote in my country. So now you know how to vote in your election." Weighted pause. "I'm not telling you what to do, but do not vote for Donald Trump."

Cheers and applause.

There was an entire bit on the use of the term "et voila" and its practical application, a recurring joke throughout the night. He discoursed on how the English language developed so oddly that four seemingly similar words - cough, bough, dough and through - could each be pronounced differently.

When non-English speakers question how we understand the differences in pronunciation given nearly identical spellings, he nailed the English/American response. "We just know."

Pru and I about lost it when he explained himself as an "action transvestite," someone who digs both action movies and make-up commercials. "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker," he purred.

Particularly hilarious were his rants about gods, which detoured into human sacrifice, god's absence at every major crisis in the world and the problems of being a transvestite in biblical times.

"What did transvestites do in those days? Say I wanna wear Mary Magdalene's outfit!" (Response: "You already are!")

The Kracken made several appearances including one where it came out and started stamping on things willy-nilly.  "Basically, right wing foreign policy," he joked to prolonged clapping.

I saw an usher tell a guy to quit filming the show and not long after, Eddie called out a guy in the third row, saying, "Is someone taking photos? Please turn that thing off so you stop bothering your neighbors and stop doing it every few seconds or it's a video!"

How refreshing to expect the audience to stay in the moment.

An extended segment on the folly of dressage - he called it "like riding into a cabinet and parking" - showed his command of physical humor while saying it made the horses look sneaky like burglars demonstrated his offbeat wit.

"There's no burglary in dressage," he deadpanned. Nor is there any shame in coming late in the game to the Eddie Izzard fan club.

How do you know if a smart man with razor sharp humor is worth walking miles for under your parasol? You just know.

1 comment: