Sundays are a marathon, not a sprint.
It took asking five people to join my hired mouth for brunch before I was successful, the effort pretty much encompassing the shank of the afternoon but also leaving us utterly stuffed. I don't think there's any question that Richmond's first Black Restaurant Week has been a resounding success.
By that point, I had half an hour before Mac was showing up to walk with me to Movieland to see "Get Out," a feat we'd attempted Tuesday at 7 only to be told they were sold out until 10.
Today's 4:30 show was about 95% full and that's with a screening almost every hour. You make me proud, Richmond.
People who know me well had warned me about how difficult a movie like this would be for someone like me (that means someone who avoids suspense, thrillers and horror films), but everything I'd read made it crystal clear that this was a movie white people needed to see, if only to be completely unsettled.
You don't even know.
The best part was that the audience reacted as one, united in their reactions to not only the skulduggery of the bad guys, but the blatant racism of supposedly "nice" characters. That we had to watch the inevitable bad choices of people in horror movies - why does anyone go outside alone in the middle of the night? - only allowed us to cheer loudly together when evil got its comeuppance.
And yet, near the end when carnage is everywhere and a siren is heard, there was collective breath-holding by the entire audience for fear that whatever law enforcement showed up would misconstrue the situation and our young black, male hero would pay the price.
Happily, art did not imitate life.
Kudos to first time director Jordan Peele for instead going comedic. But that he so seamlessly blends genres and still manages to make some biting social critiques all but guarantees he's a director worth knowing and one we'll see much more from.
Walking out of the theater a little after 7 to blue skies and sunshine felt like a March gift, yet I heard a woman complaining to her companions, "I don't care about later light. I hate losing an hour of sleep! Give me my hour back."
Perhaps that lost hour of sleep is what made her crabby. I know I hate to miss any of my nightly 9 hours.
We had dinner - entrees of homey wonton soup and chicken and broccoli in brown sauce, with limeades - at My Noodle & Bar, comfortably ensconced in the very last tree-house booth, the electric fireplace flickering away nearby. Sure, real is preferable but warmth is warmth, even if it's fake fire when it's 30 degrees outside.
In the booth next to us, a young woman referred to the man she was talking to repeatedly as Benjamin. When they got up to leave, she apologized, saying she'd forgotten his name was really Brandon. He smiled politely, but you know he noticed every time.
Mac dropped me home with just enough time to change clothes and walk over to Strange Matter for a show where $1 of every ticket was going to Planned Parenthood, meaning I could listen to live music and support the cause. Win/win.
Opener Grass Panther was set up and just starting to play on the floor in front of the stage when I got there. Since crowds tend to be smaller for the opening band, I always enjoy it when a band is playing at eye level like that.
Most of their songs have a fierce energy to them, but for one, singer Michael suggested we slow dance with someone "or make a new friend," but I contented myself with swaying in place. Even that seemed unusual for Grass Panther.
I'd expected to see more familiar faces than I did, but a few represented: the prof, the ad man, the roadie, the guitarist, with someone attributing the small numbers in general to Spring Break just winding down. All I know is that walking over tonight, I'd seen scads more people than I've been seeing lately on campus.
Louisville's Twin Limb was a psychedelic dream pop trio: singer/accordion player, drummer/singer (both female) and a guy on guitar with a decidedly post-punk bent, which probably sounds far less compelling than they actually were.
Most obvious about their sound was a languid Beach House-like quality, but the accordionist had a voice that echoed that of Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blond, all wail and beauty and when she and the drummer harmonized or traded vocals back and forth, it was nothing short of exquisite.
It occurred to me that this was the kind of talented, quirky band that would have played Balliceaux before it closed and everyone there would've known they were seeing something extraordinary. Tonight's mostly male crowd certainly seemed entranced.
After their set, a guy came up to me and asked if the band that had just played was Strand of Oaks. Nope, I told him and he went away looking perplexed.
A friend came over to chat about headliner Strand of Oaks and it turned out we'd both seen the band on their 2015 tour, me at S'Matter and he in Italy at a free festival. On a beach. With the XX. Doesn't seem fair to me.
Since we'd both last seen the band, leader Timothy had gotten his marriage together and stopped being so miserable about life, resulting in a new sound on his latest album, which probably explains why he led with "Radio Kids" from it.
After he finished singing it, he exhorted the crowd to come closer. "What's all this about?" he said, circling his hand over empty space near the stage. "Come on up here. I got no one to sing to." So we all moved so he could sing "Shut-in." Telling the drummer he had a good beat, he launched into the driving rhythm of "Heal" and it was like the '70s all over again.
Between songs he expressed appreciation for Green Panther, corrected himself to Grass Panther and said they didn't seem like the kind of precious band who'd get upset over a mistake.
"And Twin Limb, man! They should be playing opera halls or the halls of Valhalla! That's a cheap ticket getting to see them. We're still a $10 ticket, but you got all that, too. Richmond, you're lucky!" You know it, man.
By the time they played the anthemic "Goshen '97," it was midnight and the marathon was over. My only regret was that it hadn't been on a beach in Italy.
Bet I could have made a new friend there.