Friday, September 8, 2017

Not a Hot Mess

It only took 7 years of friendship to get Beckham to my apartment.

Of course, if you asked him, he'd say it was 7 years before I invited him to my apartment. Semantics, really.

In any case, he and his betrothed, the Beauty, picked me up promptly at 5 for a trip to the Visual Arts Center for the opening of "After Dark," a new show by Carli Holcomb. We had enough time before the artist's talk to walk through the exhibition and acquaint ourselves with the variety of materials and styles assembled in the 3 galleries.

I looked up at one point to see a photographer capturing the moment, certain I'd just had my photo taken, though her camera was down by then.

The place began to fill up and eventually we were bound to see people we knew like the art instructor who once had a sandwich snatched out of her hands by a bird, the photography curator, the geologist-turned-lawyer who'd been M.I.A. and for the Beauty, her first pottery teacher.

When the talk began, Holcomb took us through the exhibit explaining her intent and sometimes her process. She talked of the title "After Dark" as referring to that period where nature looks different, an apt comparison given how she uses real and synthetic materials to explore light and shadow.

Some pieces were sculpture, others more like installations (hanging from the ceiling's rafters) while still others were two-dimensional pieces. You sensed that this young artist (and former artist-in-residence at Visual Arts/Quirk Gallery) was very much spreading her wings and trying new methods and materials.

She called out her Mom and Dad during her talk, acknowledging all that they'd exposed her to, including their long-time successful relationship. It was very sweet.

When we left there, it was to drop the car at my house and sashay over to Yaki for dinner. To get there, we had to run the parking lot gauntlet on Henry Street, where one guy mumbled about needing money and another who looked me right in the eye and insisted all he needed was a date tonight.

I already have a date, sir and it's this couple right here.

Yaki was just getting going when we took up seats at the bar but classic hip hop was playing and the vibe was Friday-welcoming.

Trying to decide where to sit, the Beauty suggested me between the two of them. "Let's make a Karen sandwich," she cracked.

I was fine with that.

Because they'd never been to Yaki and because I'd only been once, we dove headlong into the menu.

The Beauty had a bad experience with wine at a wine dinner, so we made cocktails - the rye and pineapple-infused rum Be Humble, the whisky-based Toki highball, a 'Round the Rings because it used macadamia orgeat and a rose-colored, off-the-menu cocktail we used as a palate cleanser - our focus.

We did just as much experimenting with the food.

Skewers of chicken thighs sang with sake and scallion, only Beckham and I devoured chicken hearts with olive oil and sea salt, meatballs with tare dipping sauce adorned by an egg yolk (to mix in for richness), broccolini skewers with sesame and 5-spice, fried chicken don (a sweet and spicy rice bowl), curry poutine (with curry gravy to die for) and one of tonight's specials, chicken oysters (easily the best two bites on a chicken).

The funny part was that the Beauty, who's not a seafood fan at all, misheard and thought we'd gotten real oysters.

They have a rule in their marriage that if he eats seafood, she doesn't kiss him, so she was ready to write off any lip locks for the rest of the evening until we assured her it didn't just taste like (incredibly rich and unctuous) chicken, it was chicken.

Still no interest on her part, but at least kissing could resume.

With our check arrived dark chocolate covered cookie sticks, the ideal way to reset our palates after so much savory food.

Though stuffed, we still had plenty to discuss, so we set off for a stroll. If nothing else, the two block walk gave us a chance to discuss the design and finish on the still-incomplete Institute for Contemporary Art as we rounded the corner.

Only when we got back to my block and their car did I I invite them up to my place. "You know what?" Beckham asked as if just now seeing the light. "I would like to see your apartment...finally!"

You never know who wants to see how you live. I was happy to invite them upstairs for wine and vinyl because if I'm going to put on Prince and open a bottle of Gary Farrell Pinot Noir, this is the friend I'd want to do it for.

He was the one who'd given me my first absinthe spoon and now I could show him the Eiffel Tower-shaped one Pru brought me from Paris. The Beauty commented on a tiny origami bird in an Underberg bottle and I reminded him that I'd gotten it the night he and I'd gone to the tiki pop-up at Saison, drank far too much rum and laughed like fools.

Beckham loved the wainscoting in my bedroom and hall and she wanted to know the story behind several pieces of my art (because, of course, most of them have back stories). For extra credit, I showed off my balcony, resplendent with moonlight and moonflowers a-bloom.

We sipped that gorgeous Pinot Noir right through "Purple Rain" and a discussion of the militarization of our police forces, then moved on to the latest XX album, "I See You" before the early risers began to lose steam, although some fault may go to chasing cocktails with wine.

As they got up to leave, I asked Beckham if my abode had been what he'd expected. He claimed no preconceived notions, but, yea, all the art on the walls didn't surprise him. "And it only took you 8 years to invite me!" he teased.

Seven, but who's counting?

Besides, I've become the entertaining queen this summer, offering up wine and records in my living room, wine and CDs on my balcony and abundant conversation anywhere there's art.

And as you might expect, that's everywhere.

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