Friday, September 1, 2017

Dirty Jersey

Crossing state lines took a backseat to music.

Our plans to head to the Potomac to eat crabs got moved, so we did the most unlikely thing: went to see a film about hip hop in a theater populated by old white people. I kid you not.

The movie was Patti Cake$, the venue was Movieland and the draw was that the producer - a former Richmonder who graduated Collegiate - would be in the house to take questions afterward.

But apparently Michael Gottwald's parents had put out the word to their circle and the result was a theater full of people who needed to be warned ahead of time that the previews could be unpleasant. What they didn't warn the comfortable and economically-advantaged audience concerned the movie itself.

Let's face it, you can't tell the story of a white, plus-sized female wanna-be rapper from New Jersey (so of course the movie began with a Springsteen song) without a fair amount of violence, explicit language and bathroom stall vomiting. Gasps were heard around us more than once.

Mac and I, on the other hand, saw all the appeal that the Sundance crowd had seen in the story of a young woman pursuing her unlikely dream with the unabashed support of her Nana and the eventual support of her mother, a singer who never realized her dreams.

At the Q & A, it was obvious the crowd was still trying to wrap its head around why a nice white boy from Richmond had gotten behind a film about a rapper, albeit a white rapper. Gottwald explained that his job as producer was to find people with a vision and help them realize it, but the audience was slow to grasp that.

We left the country club set behind to head to Doner Kebab for shawarmas, where a gracious table of young middle eastern men engaged in a spirited conversation insisted on moving their table over to our bench once our food arrived.

Their English was accented and their manners were impeccable, allowing us to enjoy our meal outside in the soft summer air that I fear is no longer the norm.

The final stop of the evening was Flora for Mikrowaves' CD (and tape) release show. We started at the front bar, Mac with a Bad and Boozy cocktail (come on, it's a great name) and me with the complete opposite: Espolon over one giant cube.

Making our way to the back room, we eventually found stools along the back wall and settled in for the 12-piece Brunswick, with their usual healthy dose of horns, percussion and young man energy.

Looking around the room, Mac commented that she couldn't recall the last time she'd been in a room with so many men. I guess I don't even notice that anymore after so many years of going to shows.

That said, I ran into plenty of men I knew: two sax players, a bass player intently studying lead singer Eddie playing the bass, the trumpet player I last saw at the beach, a sous chef from Pasture who recognized me before I recognized him and then pulled me into a deep conversation.

Meanwhile, over at the bar, we spotted a woman balancing her butt cheeks on two different bar stools, an interesting act of balancing.

And Mikrowaves, so they don't start playing until 11:30, well, they're nine musicians who never disappoint. Since Mac hadn't seen them, she'd asked one of the musicians what their music was like, only to be told it was an amalgamation of many things, all emanating from Eddie's active brain.

Now watching their set of old and new music unfold from atop the back most bar table, she nodded, agreeing that it wasn't any one thing. There's Eddie's soulful voice, there's that standout horn section, and don't forget the Caribbean and African influences - wait, is that blues I'm hearing? - and a terrific rhythm section.

In short order, many in the room began dancing. Mac had to leave because of an early wake-up call, so I climbed off the table and joined the dancing throngs.

Crabs will still be there next week and butt cheeks may fall, but there's only one Mikrowaves release show.

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