Saturday, May 6, 2017

Moonshine Conspiracy

Take warning, girls, don't ever marry a drunkard.

Advice, a pink grapefruit whiskey cocktail and anti-drinking music, what more could a girl ask to start her evening? Okay, someone willing to walk to the Library of Virginia with her to avail herself of all that would be a bonus.

He wasn't that hard to find.

The occasion was "Goodbye, Booze: The Music of Prohibition (with a beer chaser)," an event to celebrate the Library's moonshine and bootlegging exhibit which I'd already seen and really enjoyed. Tonight was icing on the cake foam on the beer.

By the time we moseyed in and took seats, the show had begun. On the left was an old-timey bluegrass trio (banjo, fiddle, guitar) and on the right, a gospel/R & B trio (drums, keys, singer), with curator Greg Kimball acting as moderator sitting in between and offering context.

Wisely, they'd decided to get the anti-liquor songs out of the way first. That marriage warning came between verses of "The Drunkard is No More" and was repeated afterward to ensure all the single ladies got the message. We did.

The banjo player was full of 'shine stories, like a Will Rogers quote that Prohibition was better than no liquor at all and how the only people not making moonshine in Franklin County were the Baptist preachers and they were making barrels. Ba dum bum.

Then there was the one about the guy who died of a heart attack, with a contributing cause of having been intoxicated for 13 weeks. Just ladled it up out of a bucket on the back porch until he was dead. Ouch.

"Better Quit Drinking 'Shine" was like a sermon condensed into a 3 1/2 minute song and singer Jessi delivered "God Don't Like It" to the rafters. The raucous "You Can't Get That Stuff No More" sounded like we were in a juke joint.

What I particularly liked about "I'm Wild About Moonshine" was the lyric, "I'm a little bit spoon-y, just a little bit loony." I'd be curious how spoon-y might manifest itself.

The reception afterward afforded guests the chance to taste the Three Notch'd Prohibition beer (already tasted it last night), but after we saw the exhibit, we made a bee line for the Virginia Distillery table for a cocktail featuring their whisky along with grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitters.

As someone who keeps grapefruit juice in her refrigerator, drinks it after walks and has been known to mix it with Rose, of course I loved this combo, but so did my companion. I ran into several people I hadn't seen in years, including one who reminded me she's still envious of my self-directed life philosophy.

You never know what people are going to recall about you.

Looking at our empty cups, my companion observed, "Well, I could drink another of those, but I'd better not," so we went in search of dinner instead in service of my hired mouth.

Omnivores make the best companions for that - don't get me started on the friend who asked to join me once and then turned out to be a seafood-hater - and the meal benefited from a '90s soundtrack that included the likes of the Offspring which tickled my friend, who'd had their first album and was coveting their latest.

At Gallery 5, I admired Barry O'Keefe's "Open Inboxes," four beautifully detailed wooden boxes, each designed to reflect the neighborhood where they'll be placed this summer. I'm doubtlessly partial, but I think the Jackson Ward box - which took its cues from our magnificent cast iron porches - was by far the most handsome (others were Woodland Heights, Oregon Hill, Church Hill) of the lot.

Back at my place, I played DJ at the turntable while my friend set up my new computer (he's determined I achieve speed) and we bantered about relationships, laughed uproariously when he announced his phone would ring in 30 seconds and it did in about 5 and marveled over the brilliance of George Will's writing.

Hours later, we'd wound up discovering all kinds of things. He knew I was a Luddite, but  not that I'd have over 2500 photographs on my computer. Even I didn't know I took so many pictures.

Granted, I was sure he'd sing along to every Neil Diamond song and he didn't disappoint, but was totally impressed he knew the words to so many Thompson Twins tunes. And the Blow Monkeys, well, who doesn't appreciate a good English doo-wop song with a sax solo? The Dazz Band, Paul Carrack, I cast a wide '80s net to encapsulate what he called his formative years.

I think that means after he worked at the hardware/grocery store for a summer and before he discovered Christine and the Queens and laid her at my feet.

It's enough to make a girl get a little spoon-y.


  1. K...I know you've been there a million times but would you recommend the "new" Secco Wine bar for dinner, for food?


  2. I most certainly would...and have! I'd even recommend it to non-drinkers. You going?

  3. I 'm looking at their menu...


  4. It's not for meat and potatoes-type eaters, but the food is stellar. They also have an outstanding cheese and charcuterie selection if you like that sort of thing...

  5. I'm a southern boy K....I like all the above but I'm going with a group.....& they are not as open as I...


  6. Thanks K....& enjoy your weekend...just about sweater weather still...


  7. besides's gettin' late...