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The Grooving Edition

Courtesy of Billboard

Courtesy of Billboard

So if you watched the totally fun New Girl with the majestic wonderful unicorn that is Prince, you heard a funky groove called People Pleaser by Andy Allo. The worst thing about the awesome episode is that the lookieloos who don’t understand the quirkiness of New Girl watched the show for the first time and complained the entire time. Stupid twitter! I mean the episode gave us many Princeisms including his love of pancakes, ethnically ambiguous woman and dressing up those women in witchlike outfits. What wasn’t to love?

So two Sundays ago I went to see Andy Allo at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis. It was a $15 show and that spot is one of the few in the metro area that I haven’t been to. So I figured why not. I hate picking seats for a venue that I haven’t been to but we ended up with good seats. My main quibble with the show was that Andy was there with just her guitar and another guitarist. I hoped for a full band as I prefer full bands, lol. We only needed two more people! The thing I liked when listening to her stuff was the arrangements. I definitely missed that aspect in her live show with the limited accompaniment. In the albums, I can hear strong connection to Maceo Parker first along with others.

I really enjoyed the set. She had no opening act and proceeded to sing for 90 minutes, which was surprisingly long. She has a very sweet is the best way to describe it voice and I amazingly found the entire set very soothing. I realized that I could happily sit there forever and I wasn’t sure why. I think it was I am only shallowly familiar with her work and didn’t sit there anxiously awaiting some song or another that I just had to hear. As a Prince protégé, I easily heard his influence in her vocal approach. I could listen, chat with our concert loving tablemate and snack on my crab dip in pure bliss. It was a nice feeling. I would certainly see her again. I don’t know where she can find it in this highly segmented music landscape but I wish her success. But then of course then I can’t see her for $15. I can deal with that I guess.

The Nothing To See Here Edition

Last weekend I saw the Best Man Holiday. I was very excited. I remember the original movie came out right when I graduated from college and it was nice to see a movie about a group of Black college graduates, just like me. I of course told no one of my excitement because well…race-themed movies (thanks USA Today!) are fraught with unsolicited commentary. I’ll happily admit that I am a movie snob. I like intricately plotted, well written, superbly acted movies and silly romantic comedies (my guilty pleasure instead of the usual reality shows). My quibble is that a lot of popular movies directed at Black audiences or with Black characters as the lead rarely possess those four elements I prefer. See Tyler Perry.

But there’s another problem with telling people about my excitement about the movie. Black people hate seeing themselves on the screen. Is this harsh? Yes. Am I over exaggerating? Probably. The endless commentary surrounding movies is exhausting. No other artistic endeavor is dissected so deeply.

I remember when Brown Sugar came out. It was after a slate of films such as The Best Man, Love and Basketball, The Wood, etc. came out. A lady in my book club stated that she was tired of attractive, educated Black people in love movies. She wanted to see more movies with “regular” Black people. Here’s the issue: she was a pretty, college graduate with a white collar job living in Montgomery County. So I told her, if movie was made about her, she would be closer to Sanaa Lathan, than say Maxine in Soul Food. Her idea of regular wasn’t even who she was. This reminded me of another conversation we had in college, but I digress.

With the growth of social media, people who hate everything finally have a platform and can form partnerships with other people who hate everything. It is awesome for them and terrible for everyone else as they suck the joy out of everything. This strong vocal group of everything haters spend a lot of time disparaging movies with predominantly African American casts. So much so, you feel bad for even seeing certain movies, let alone liking them.

The vitriol aimed at The Help forced me to filter the term out of my twitter feed. The socially serious Black folks (see I used W.E.B DuBois for them) really hated the fact that Blacks were once domestics. This same group had similar reactions to The Butler. They say they disliked the movie but I knew the truth. I felt it was actually insulting to our ancestors who served as domestics. As someone with two out of three grandmothers as domestics, I really didn’t like how the arguments against The Help were framed. I actually challenged a well-known blogger on it.

The everything haters also feel that the actor is a reflection of the character, so that becomes a complaint. For example, folks really hate Terrance Howard–not for the crazed marital issues but because he commented on baby wipes–and thus his presence negates the quality of all movies that he is in. And there are a lot of actors people simply don’t like, so movies with those actors are trash. Jennifer Hudson and Terrance Howard made a movie together that I knew would never prosper. Amazingly people really like Nia Long though she is truly a meanie in real life.

People don’t like Black people being unhappy in movies, so slave movies are awful (12 Years a Slave). However, if the slave isn’t sad enough or has too much power then that makes slavery look too good (Django Unchained).

Apparently romantic comedies must be rooted in realistic situations or shouldn’t be made (Baggage Claim). These people obviously never see White romantic comedies, which don’t follow that rule at all.

Black characters cannot be too nice to White people or they are not down with the struggle because we all know in reality African-Americans are always holding meetings to discuss how to rise as a people.

Comedies may lead to cooning. Romances may cause people to think we are overly sexualized. Dramas only highlight our problems. We can’t be impoverished because there are so many middle class African-Americans. We definitely shouldn’t be lower class teenagers being helped by a dedicated non-Black teacher through the use of chess, dancing, hockey or writing. However, if the teacher is also Black then no one will go see it. We cannot make all the African-Americans affluent because that it not realistic. Historic dramas are bad because once the details are scrutinized, someone always gets something wrong.  “She had a brown pocketbook, not a black one!” Women can’t be the lead because that makes the movie boring. But if a woman is the lead, she must have a nice boyfriend or it is man bashing.  

There are basically two pretty safe movie genres. Christian movies: this is why I have counted a dozen movies in the last 5-7 years where the congregation is trying to save the church through a choir competition or a bake sale. Okay, I have only seen two of these movies and chalked the rest of them up as the same plot. And impossible Black man movies: Denzel, Will (not After Earth though, which looked terrible), occasionally Jamie (No Django!), etc. Hopefully, a pretty Black woman will play his love interest. I think this is how most Black actresses keep their mortgages paid. Salli Richardson and Kimberly Elise are the queens of this.

So in hindsight, I didn’t see anything last weekend. No commentary please.

The Dead Computer Edition

computerSo I completely forgot to write a post last week. I totally blame my magazine addiction. See I adore magazines. Always have since childhood. I love flipping through the pages and looking at the photography. With the slow death of the industry, I have been able to indulge my love with discounted subscriptions. I obtained these subscriptions for the low, low price of $5 a year. This resulted in six magazines coming into my home every month. Then something crazy occurred. I couldn’t keep up. And the magazines and junk mail overwhelmed my modest sized living room. And next something worse happened; I started receiving random magazine subscriptions that I didn’t order, including Shape, Vogue and Redbook. I didn’t need this in my life so I decided to completely clean the living and thus forgot to post.

Subsequently another awful thing transpired. My computer died. Oh stupid laptop. I hate computers because they die completely without warning and are kind of pricey to replace.  But since I hate computers, there won’t be a pilgrimage for an indestructible Apple because spending more than $1,000 on a laptop isn’t a thing.

I had such a lovely post planned on how the radio. Yes, the evil consumerist radio has been introducing me to the new musical acts. Of course I don’t mean mainstream radio. I mean NPR. Yes, NPR’s spotlights and reviews have led me to some new and interesting singers. Back in October, I went to see jazz artist Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Sixth and I Synagogue. Despite my strong desire to pull her aside and offer her my stylist consulting services, I really enjoyed the concert. Her throaty jazz vocalists are a surprise from someone who could have easily donned a onesie and started singing hooks for rappers.

I also planned to write about my experience seeing the movie, American Promise. The documentary traces the entire academic careers of two Black Brooklyn male students attending a prestigious school in Manhattan. The screening was followed by Q&A with the directors who are also the parents of one of the students. I had mixed feelings about the film. I understood the purpose—to watch how Black male students struggle in predominantly affluent, and White environments. It also unconsciously showed the adage that for a Black person being equal to your peers isn’t good enough as the boys struggled with teachers and administrators. However, I wish I left with an overall wrap-up statement.

Alas, computer died and I need to figure out how to get me a new one.  Not pleased.

Stay Cute Mondays – Get Sexy Edition

Courtesy of City Eats

Courtesy of City Eats

So the hottest thing going for the last several years—look I never said I was ahead of the curve, I just ride waves as they are about to pass—are speakeasies. It all started with PX in Alexandria and several others have arrived since then including The Gibson and The Columbia Room. Recently I visited Harold Black in Capital Hill to experience the mystery and wonder of it all. Most of the bars require a reservation and a deposit, which are hard to come by at the last minute. I decided to do this on a Thursday for a Saturday. The Columbia Room actually is a prix fixe tasting room, which seemed pricey for no reason.  So I made a reservation for Harold Black and the only reservation was for 11:30 p.m. but I am excellent at talking my way into most places, so I was undeterred. We arrived at 10p. and I convinced the door man to let us in. Hey, we had a reservation, what could be the problem? To describe the beginning…so the spot is unmarked above a restaurant. I went into the restaurant to figure out how to get there. We were told to go around the side, walk up the stairs and knock on a barn door to enter.

First let me say the place was sexy. It was dark (in a good way), secluded (yay, no aggravating drunk people!) and exclusive. A group of annoying bar hoppers tried to enter without success. The snobby yet nice (this is a weird trick that the entire staff pulls off) brushed them aside and told them that the spot wasn’t open to just anybody.  The point of these places is that you get above the top custom cocktails with housemade ingredients and premium spirits. My first drink was something off the menu. I liked it but really wanted some made especially for me. As I am important. The bartender asked me my favorite drink –whiskey sour—and flavor profile—tart and dry. Then I received it— he called it a Brooklyn Sour. I was so in love. I wanted to savor every drop. So the bar has a $35 tasting prix fixe menu with two regular bar items, two custom drinks and an appetizer. It seems extravagant at first blush but would have been cheaper than my three $12 drinks and one $7 appetizer. Despite the cost, it was a great night. The bartenders gave us samples of custom cocktails that he made for other patrons. We chatted with a nice girls night out duo. But the real deal are the cocktails…yum. And the dimly light seclusion—again, sexy. That made it fun.

The Indie Artist Edition

flyer-goapele-wayna-howard-theatreLast week I took advantage of a Goldstar deal and went to see Goapele. I actually had been tracking several concerts this month to see if they ultimately became Goldstar deals but only one came to fruition. As I vowed that 2013 will be a year (still a real struggle) of rebuilding. I have been trying to save money. This means an over reliance on outings that cost less than $20. Despite vocal complainers, I actually like the Howard Theater. It’s pretty, easy to get to and sounds good, especially on the second floor. The sucky things about the Howard – service and food – can be advantages as often you can skip the $10 minimum because the servers forget about you, lol.

I got there promptly as intended to miss the opening act. I’ve heard her before at other DC events and I am not a fan of her voice. I have a mental block against high-pitched nasally singing voices. In fact the only other singer with this style of singing I can think of is Ayo. That is how much of a block exists.

Goapele was in great voice. However, she needed backup singers. I hate when performers don’t have backup singers. As much local talent exists, she could have employed some talented locals to back her up for the night. It was really obvious when she sang my favorite song by her, My First Love. The recorded version has this swelling background scatting that was sorely missed live. I remember I saw Ne-Yo at the Essence Music Festival eons ago and he didn’t have backup singers. I was shocked. He was a major R & B artist at the time, what was he thinking? My other complaint was that Goapele ran all of her songs together. I don’t really think her songs sound a lot alike as some artists do. So the lack of a pause or suitable transition was a bit jarring. I get that she might not be one that chats with the audience or provides little talky interludes, but a simple, “And now…” would have helped.

Oddly, I’ve always thought that Alice Smith had this unique, smoky rocker chick voice that I couldn’t place. However, on this night I felt that Goapele and she sounded eerily similar on some songs. As an aside, I went to the Hyattsville Arts Festival that weekend and the acoustic stool (not really a stage) had another singer that sounded like both Goapele and Alice. I started to scream, “Change honey, you are in for a difficult road.” Some voices are extremely popular with the masses and that list is very narrow, lol. For another aside, Britney Spears’ recorded voice is nothing like her actual singing voice, which is why she lip syncs so much. I read that in an article once and it blew my mind. The shaping that occurs in the record industry is a lot.

Back to Goapele, I did enjoy the concert despite my quibbles. I still think she could benefit from some old-school Motown stage coaching, but I think this of almost all independent artists that I see. My theory is that you will make the majority of your living from stage shows so you need to make them as electrifying as possible to ensure people keep coming back for more.

Fourth of July Edition

bearI don’t know what I did incorrectly in my adult life. Okay, I have several clues, but I spent the Fourth of July not eating barbeque. In fact, it was a rather ho hum four-day weekend with minimal plans. Something weird has happened. I get bored. This isn’t me. I blame this on several factors. I am an introvert. An extreme introvert. Actually, I am downright shy, which in women mostly reads as cold and aloof. Being alone doesn’t usually bother me. However, here’s the problem. For two years, I had a long-term house guest that drove me batty. All I wanted was to moments of solitude. So living alone again was good. This was buffered by the fact that I worked with a bunch of chatty extroverts who satisfied my spurts of chattiness that occurred throughout the day. However, in my new office I am surrounded by IT folks who talk about IT stuff. Yea, no. I have no conversations about fun things like Mad Men, wine, Groupon or other randomness that pops into my head on a regular basis and now I get bored.

Television shows us that single people aren’t really single. You have your cadre of friends who regularly hang out in your apartment (Living Single or Friends), constantly schedule outings and events (Sex and the City or Martin), or see frequently at your local spot (Cheers). This is not in fact real life. Of course, we introverts don’t realize this due to an over reliance on television. We are a weird lot. We actually like going out, just not meeting new people or whatnot. We just like to have our sitcom troop of compatriots who are a steady and reliable presence in our lives. In hindsight, I never saw these characters at random cookouts, parties or other such events. It’s those darn extroverts that get these invitations.

So Fourth of July, I watched television. I had this wonderful idea to catch up on home projects and did none of them. I refrained from my favorite solitary pastime of shopping, which was a miraculous feat. Friday, I saw Despicable Me 2. It was cute but I wanted to see more of the girls. I really like the girls and it was too focused on Gru.

Saturday, I went to Baltimore to see The Wretched for big fun. Okay, I went to the African American Heritage Festival. The thing that amazes me about this event is how much it changes every year. I still remember the first time I went to see Erykah Badu, when I was stuck at the train station. The few constants I experience every year are somehow ending up on the freeway when attempting to park and people still wear inappropriate clothing for their body types. The changes:

  • This year it was free. For a couple years, they attempted to charge for entry, which didn’t go well.
  • No outside food allowed. This meant that I waited in line for 20 minutes for food that turned out to be sold out.
  • There was only one stage and one real headliner. Of course, there was some teen stage that I chose to ignore. Previously, there were several themed stages include national artists and underground R&B. This is how I discovered my hair role model, Deborah Bond, and others such as Ledisi, Conya Doss and Sy Smith.

This year I discovered that reality television really serves as an amazing platform. The crowd was pumped to see K Michelle, whose fame comes from being on the just awful in my opinion, Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. Even though, I don’t think many were familiar with her songs. People jumped up and were truly excited to hear songs from her latest EP. Granted the song content wasn’t my cup of tea, mostly about beef, strippers and hood rich activities. However, people loved her. The headliner was Fantasia. I really liked her on American Idol. I acknowledge that Fantasia, the singer, was overshadowed by Fantasia, the person. She was brave to admit she couldn’t read but that didn’t win her any favors with the public. She over the years became a punchline instead of a focus on her overall talent. Despite, her personal struggles, she puts on a great show. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will admit I would never plan to see her through any other opportunity.

The Summer is Here Edition

MP900384872 (2)June is Black Music Month and usually kicks off my summer concert season. I started the month off with my favorite event: The Capital Jazz Festival. This year the event was more aggravating than in previous years. I didn’t attend last year because the line-up was ho hum. The line-up this year was stellar and that was made obvious by the fact that the event was sold out. I meant to go up to the box office the week before to obtain my tickets; however, I felt awful. Once upon a time, I could get tickets at an outlet in the next town over or at one of Merriweather Post Pavilion’s sister venues. However, that was not allowed and the online fees were expensive. The tickets were already $65 each day and there isn’t a two-day discounted package. The fees amounted to $15 each day. I just figured I would get my tickets at the venue. Wrong. It was sold out. I was Lost and Turned Out. Viva Les Whispers! I had to wait by the gate hoping someone would sell a ticket. I had my chair, tote and cooler and really struggled to make it to people yelling that they were selling tickets. I kept losing out. However, with patience (I suck at) and perseverance (I’m great at), I got into the concert.

First, the logistics were horrible. The Soul Stage, where we usually plant, was full of tents and immediately adjacent to the vendor area. There was no place to camp. We were forced to sit in the abundance of too many folding chairs all day. This was not comfortable. MPP made a huge error in two ways: placing the vendors near Soul Stage. The crowds could barely maneuver through to get from stage to stage or stage to bathroom. MPP also allowed too many tents to set up. People were extremely disheartened to discover that the uncomfortable folding chairs are the only option. You really cannot stretch your legs or easily place your cooler anywhere. They wouldn’t allow anyone to move the folding chairs.

Despite the terrible logistics, the artists were great. I was especially surprised by Babyface. He was funny, fun and in great voice. He sang his songs and a medley of songs he wrote for other people. Man, does he have a deep bench. I wish he would have sung songs from the 2000’s though, okay maybe just Face2Face. I loved that album. I’ve always loved The Whispers and wanted to see them in concert for years. Although, they are aging and not as agile as they once were, I experienced a group I adore, so I feel great about seeing them. Chaka Khan continues to elude me. Capital Jazz Fest has scheduled her twice and she has cancelled twice. Jeffrey Osborne took her place and he was okay. He actually has a song in my Top 50: We’re Going All The Way. And with my typical luck, he sang about four songs I didn’t know before hitting familiar tunes, none of which was the one song I like. Dammit. I feel like these artists plot against me. No, It Just Gets Better with Time from The Whispers either. Otherwise, the artists were awesome though I was pretty uncomfortable for two days.

Washingtonian published the 2013 free summer concert list. I was saddened to learn that my favorite venues for summer concerts – Carter Barron and Fort Dupont – have reduced schedules due to the Congress’s inability to do their jobs also known as sequestration. Carter Barron has two free concerts and no paid concerts. I am shocked about the paid concerts, I hoped that the money collected would cover the cost of an event. Granted tickets are usually around $25 but with 1,500 seats I thought we would be safe. Unfortunately, no. And the two free concerts are the Reggae and Blues nights, plus a few movies. Neither is my cup of tea. Fort Dupont serves as a showcase for the formerly successful. I have seen countless 70’s bands and the wonderful Roy Ayers at the park, all for the low, low price of free. This time Fort Dupont concerts feature local artists including the U.S. Army Band. I will admit that I am disappointed. While I hate interacting with the outdoors with such ridiculous things as hiking and canoeing, I submit to listening to music while sitting in the summer breeze. My big events this summer will be down to two—Summer Spirit Festival and, of course, the Legends of Summer Tour with Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake. Both are within a week of each other. I hope I can pepper in some more concerts this summer. Stay tuned!

Memorial Day Editon – All Kinds of Late

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This post is late. I dislike being late. This does not mean, however, that I am never late. In fact, I am often late. In my vast experience with habitually tardy folks, people are late for one of three reasons:

 

 

  1. They move unbelievably slowly. Members of my family suffer from this affliction. I once watched a member of my family take close to an hour to make breakfast. This included from the time she announced that she was making breakfast. Then, deciding what to make. Next taking custom orders.  Finally chopping and cooking at the kind of glacial pace that makes you wonder if you are on some kind of prank show. These slow movers rarely account for their snail-like pace to properly plan for how long it will take to get ready. They wrongly think it will take 60 minutes when it takes 2 hours.
  2. They attempt to do too much. My coworkers often demonstrate this behavior. They think to themselves, “Hey, I have 8 minutes before my next meeting. Let me answer three emails and make one phone call before I am out of pocket for an hour.” This, of course, is a horrible idea. I sometimes do this myself. I will quickly take out the trash on my way to meet someone and then realize that trash bag has a hole, which causes a mess that needs to be mopped.
  3. This leads me to the final (and my most typical reason for lateness): They don’t account for mishaps. I typically give myself 20 -30 minutes to get everywhere. This is terrible! I have a coworker with the odd ability to get anywhere in the suggested time. If Google Maps says, 18 minutes. Well, she is there in 17 minutes. However, even if by some miracle I arrive at my destination in the allotted 20 minutes, then I cannot find parking.

I once made a new year’s resolution to be on time for every event and occasion. What a lonely, hungry year that was. With my new found timeliness, no one arrived on time. Once, I was the first person to arrive at a birthday at Chuck E Cheese. Now look, I don’t have kids and I was planning to make an appearance to be nice. There is no reason for me to be at Chuck E Cheese alone. Slowly, but surely, my timeliness slipped away.

Flags and Bunting at GraveOther than the lateness of this post, Memorial Day weekend was great. Drinks and random conversation with strangers on Friday. I went to a friend of a friend’s annual Memorial Day block party on Saturday. I adore cookouts. This is amazing because I hate the outdoors and view any reason for being outside (save a lovely concert) as a punishment. I do not hike, or canoe, or experience nature. Cookouts are different. Maybe it was my upbringing. Every Labor Day my grandfather would have a huge party with a ton of food, an old fashioned jukebox and lots of happy people. I was shocked when I discovered that two of my good friends do not like cookouts. I spend most of my summer looking for cookouts. Back in Michigan, this is easy. I kinda just walk around the neighborhood, hold a few chats and….barbecue in my belly. One year, I went to three cookouts on Memorial Day alone! I will admit I was invited to three cookouts on that Saturday including the strangers I met on Friday.

According to a nice Belgian gentleman I met at a cookout several years ago, this was a uniquely American experience (to him). I don’t have much experience with personal socializing outside of America, but that sounds interesting. Hamburgers and hot dogs (which are served too frequently at DC area cookouts in my opinion) really symbolize the core of American identity. So maybe cookouts are my form of patriotism.

Sunday, I was officially ill. I decided to go to prom anyway – the 80’s theme prom by Axel F. The outfits were awesome. I did not dress up. I mostly stood in a corner and watched the action unfold. This was definitely out of character, but I everyone else seemed to be having a ball. After that, the actual holiday was uneventful. I dragged myself on errands. Then back to my couch.

The Second Week of May Edition

This last week was a doozy. Nothing to do with the fabulous top ten lifestyle but the dreaded “W” word.  I can honestly say that this birth year so far hasn’t been good, especially on the professional and budgetary front. I will admit my current job appealed to me for its boring stability that would lend itself to a more interesting personal life. Lately, this has not been anywhere near true. Now I just want to work from home somehow and get me a cute little dog. By the way, I saw my dog last night—a black French bulldog with adorable little ears. I would name mine Onyx after my graduating class of course.

alice_russellAnyway but back to the second week of May…Last Thursday, I went to see Alice Russell. I discovered Alice through the magic of Amazon. She was suggested to me and her MP3’s were on a $5 special. I played her music incessantly at work, when I could, as it really lent itself to creative stimulation. I slowly realized that this was a weekday show that started at 9p. and I’m not 24. I was beat, completely exhausted. I saw there was an opening act, so I decided to make my appearance around 10. I got there at 9:45 to see the opening act was still performing,  no slight against the performer, but I just hope for a short first set and that Alice would be on no later than 10:15. That did not happen. She started at exactly 10:38 (this is when you know you are tired). I will admit two things: first, the audience was extremely eclectic. Apparently Alice was on NPR that afternoon and I could see the NPR crowd, the stereotypical U Streeters, and the hipster set. Seeing Alice Smith was diverse and rather young, but this event drew folks who are 50 plus.  Second, Alice Russell needed another venue. Seriously, her kind of show and audience required another venue. It goes unsaid that I thought it should have started earlier. Alice was lovely. Her voice is gorgeous and lush. This made the sound system issues more frustrating as it clouded the perfection of her voice. In the end, I needed to duck out earlier to get the wonderful opportunity to watch road construction.

The rest of the weekend was a blur. I went to a Zumbathon. This was three hours of straight dancing capped off with a performance by E.U featuring Sugar Bear. I managed about 2 hours and 15 minutes as I got there a little late and it ran over. My thighs still hurt. It was fun and exhilarating and exhausting. I don’t plan on making this a regular habit out of consideration for my poor thighs. Finally, I finished the weekend with a pig roast. I haven’t eaten pork since I was a freshman in college but everyone else seemed plenty excited. All the event did was made me yearn for home. Every year my family has a pig roast for Memorial Day and I won’t be there this year. Hopefully soon I will have a wonderful Michigan edition post to share…

The Wedding Edition

So, last weekend was not conducive to writing a wonderful post. However, I did spend the third weekend in PimlicoApril celebrating the occasional fabulousness of Living Social. I spend that Saturday at one of my new favorite events, Decanter at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore. Decanter allows participants to taste local Maryland wines while watching the ponies. Last year, it was cold, rainy and empty. This year it was sunny, brisk and crowded. I do wish that they had better food options. You really needed more substantial eats to soak up all the wine. I found some wines that I just loved. This included a rather new winery, The Winery at Olney, a unique retailer that imports grapes and makes the wine onsite. The fruit wines were so delicious and I am not a fan of sweeter wines, but I was happy. I also purchased a bottle from Detour Winery and wrote down a lot of wines that I will be taking to my local spirits store for when I finally run out.

I also went to the Broccoli City Festival, which I fear I was too old for. How do I know? Well, Phil Ade has about a dozen rappers on stage with him and I thought: “Who are all these people? Why are they on stage? Will all of them be rapping? When will this end?” Yes, so I stole a picture from the twitter feed to illustrate why there shouldn’t ever be that many MC’s on stage. Look, I appreciate that Wu Tang Clan has (had) 10 members, but really only four of them rapped with any regularity. Black Alley did appear, but I was ready to go and we did.

I spent the last weekend in April at the latest edition of Liner Notes. See my first post. It was as fun as always. And then I went to a wedding! I haven’t been to a wedding in about seven years. It’s not that I haven’t known anyone who has gotten married, it’s just that they either had a destination wedding or headed to the Justice of the Peace.

Here’s a truth about me. I am a bit of a humbug about weddings. I blame my first adult weddings. I always weddingwanted to go to a wedding because they look so glorious on television. I couldn’t really remember the weddings from my childhood, even the one where I was a flower girl. Though, I acknowledge that I was probably an awesome flower girl. I finally got my opportunity in college. My first adult wedding was okay. Okay, it was long. There were poetry readings, ballerinas, a choir, a soloist, someone read a psalm. It was a lot. Then we headed to the reception, which was ho hum. This is when I discovered that receptions are pretty mundane. It is hard to describe what I don’t like about them. They are like proms, but not. The food is okay. There are a lot of activities that need to happen: toasts, dances, bouquet throwing, cake cutting. The music is iffy. I have been to two weddings in my life with great DJ’s. That is not a lot.

My next wedding scarred me for life. Terrible is not the word. I was told by someone that it wasn’t a terrible wedding as it was just a terrible day. Fine, I will allow that. Most people I discover judge bad receptions by the food selections and the availability of an open bar. I’ve only been to two open bar receptions. One I was in the wedding party and the other I had a long drive, so I probably had a glass of wine at each. The terrible wedding started late because someone lost the wedding license. Very late. Not Colored People’s Time late, but is this going to happen late? This also taught me to drive everywhere. In fact, my date taught me to drive myself everywhere, because she suffers from the “I don’t know how to make a graceful exit” disease. The lateness of the wedding led to a late reception. I was ready to go, but alas I did not drive. So the caterers left. Straight up departed. They did not feel like waiting any longer. Unfortunately, when the caterer departed they forgot to leave utensils to which to serve and eat the food. So the delicious food sat there, while the guests stared longingly at it. Some in the family was forced to head to the store to find utensils but it was a holiday and everything was closed. So we sat for an hour. Then there was a medical emergency, then people started slipping out and finally the bridal party looked around and there were about 20 people there and the activities hadn’t even started. Sadly, I was part of the 20. Boy, did I want to go home. Boy could I not, because well…things fell further apart.

So in hindsight, I attended a terrible wedding that I was stuck at for hours and was forced to console the bride in the end (see above). I served as a bridesmaid in a wedding, where I didn’t eat, at all because of an oversight by the waitstaff. In fact the entire bridal party wasn’t served and a couple of us went to I believe Applebee’s afterward. I went to a perfectly boring wedding reception where no secular music could be played. A wedding that was shuttered by Hurricane Isabel. The wedding turned out beautifully–getting married by candlelight–and the reception had to be at the in-laws.

So, on my way to the wedding last weekend, I started to panic. What if I was some kind of bad wedding juju? Then I remember when I was cleaning my second bedroom, I found a wedding favor for my friends’ wedding and realized that they would be married for 10 years in 2013. That was a great reception, but I did miss the wedding because I got locked out of my apartment. Uh oh. Hey, the weddings I attended are batting about .500, which is the national standard anyway. It cannot be me! I swear.

At the wedding last weekend, I remembered the beauty of weddings: the joy of seeing the bride for the first time in her gown and the happiness of seeing the bride and groom recite their vows and place the rings. It was all too much. It was glorious.

To quote American Beauty:  Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.