Monday, October 31, 2016

Walking This Way All Day

Indulge me for a moment while I dream about this nearly perfect weather.

If there's a place that regularly has 80-degree days like today's as the norm for late October, can you please tell me where that magical place is? Days like this make me almost (but not quite) sorry that I slept until 11:00 because so little sunny time remains once I'm finally up.

After breakfast (okay, so it was 12:30), I walked to Carytown under an umbrella (once again fighting the stigma of parasol shame) to meet Pru, Beau and Burger for some classic Mel Brooks. I'd invited not one but two others, both of whom turned me down, only to learn at dinner last night that the trio had their own plans to attend.

Along the way, I pass a man on his front porch fluffing pillows. Asking why more people don't do the same, he answers, "I have no idea. They must not know how good a pillow smells after it's spent an afternoon outside."

This is a stranger who knows wise things. My pillows are immediately slated for a time-out on my balcony tomorrow.

My posse is waiting for me at the Byrd, Pru with assorted sizes of Tootsie Rolls in hand like the good friend that she is, to see "Young Frankenstein" and her first question once the lights go down and the title comes up is, "When's the last time you saw this movie?"

Answer: some time during the last millennium in a galaxy far, far away.

And though the film was made in 1974, period details make it seem older: a man's socks with garters, references to Tinker Toys and Ovaltine. College students actively engaged in class and not looking at their screens.

I'm nothing short of amazed at how many lines from this movie are not just part of standard pop culture references today, but are also family standards. When Igor tells Dr. Frankenstein, "Walk this way," I'm reminded of my Mom who uses this phrase before walking awkwardly nearly every time I visit.

For that matter, I have a sister who dredges up, "Two nasty-looking switches there but I'm not going to be the first," every time she sees a coupe of light switches next to each other. We all overuse, "Put ze candle back!" in my family to signify a bad choice and it's been 40 years.

"Taffeta, darling" was code for I'm all decked out, so don't mess with me (just ask any of the husbands in the family).

Favorite line: "Seven or eight quickies and then you're out with the boys to boast and brag. You better keep your mouth shut! Oh, I think I love him!"

Bottom line: "Young Frankenstein," despite just as much corny and '70s male humor as I recalled, holds up with some truly stellar performances, gorgeous black and white photography and the comedic script-writing chops of Brooks and Wilder.

That the screening was also a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society adds a layer of philanthropy to laughing with friends for two hours.

On the way home, I walk around a pizza delivery guy wearing a t-shirt, flannel pants and fuzzy slippers. I'm pretty sure he was delivering pies in his pjs in this glorious weather.

From an afternoon in Transylvania (where, I noted, all the townspeople had distinct British accents), it was on to an evening in Courtempierre, France (where vampires roam), two fitting nods to the season of slutty tacos (yes, a friend actually saw that costume).

Take it from someone who knows, the difference between the Silent Music Revival of 10 years ago and tonight's comes down to one thing: ear filler.

Where once a roll of toilet paper was torn, wadded and shared for earplugs, on the 10th anniversary, we had actual orange earplugs distributed to the capacity crowd.

Given my 9-year devotion to the SMR, I felt no shame in showing up way early and putting "reserved" cards on two chairs to hold places for tonight's 10th anniversary part one celebration.

Called out on it when we arrived, organizer Jameson laughed about it, confirming that he had no issue with me pulling rank to save seats (and not even comfortable seats, but those awful folding chairs at Gallery 5).

Long-time friendship has its privileges.

"Vampyr" from 1932 got a soundtrack courtesy of reunited noise-rock duo Navi, who managed to take an incredibly dark film and improvise to it magnificently, in part because Jameson had sped up the film by 21%, the better to marry it with the band's frenetic musical energy.

Sitting there for nearly an hour watching this classic horror film and its fabulous soundtrack, it was tough not to flash back to those early Silent Music Revivals with a fraction of the number of people and toilet paper in our ears to staunch the bleeding.

Like our grandparents having to walk uphill in a snowstorm five miles to get to school, some of us sat on hard store floors for nine years to make 2016's cushy-in-comparison SMR possible for those just now learning the pleasures of silent film set to local bands.

Feel free to thank me in person at part two of the 10th anniversary celebration come December.

Strolling from Gallery 5 afterward to Lucy's for a sandwich pop-up, we ran into two guy friends of mine just leaving and pumped them for recommendations. Inside, the place was nearly full-up with earnest-looking bearded types, a few more familiar faces and a smattering of Halloween costumes.

That's the beauty and/or problem with a Monday Halloween: the celebration starts Friday and rolls through for four consecutive nights, leaving broken glass on sidewalks and streets (at least here in J-Ward), shards of jack-o-lanterns everywhere and bits of costume (although I'm not entirely sure why I've also spotted two pairs of underwear) shed in the heat of the moment.

At some point, a person's bound to get tired of wearing a fake crown and toss it on the sidewalk, or so it would seem.

Tonight's sloppy sandwich pop-up provided the perfect late-night noshes - a manly Philly cheese steak and a more delicate but overloaded sensational seafood salad (and by that, I mean fake crab) sandwich dusted with flying fish roe inside a split hot dog roll - to accompany glasses of Rose and a dissection of the holes in the plot of "Vampyr."

After a stint at the bar watching the tail end of the World Series, we packed it in and headed out into the still-warm night, although the occasional rogue raindrop told us that a change of weather fronts was in the works. Sadly.

Mother Nature, put ze candle back!

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