I’m spending the late afternoon in front of my itty-bitty Christmas tree, recovering with Guys and Dolls. Recovering from what, exactly, I’m not sure, unless it’s one too many Sweet Josie Browns, and one too few waters, last night at the Berkeley. The day started out fine, and then I got wobbly, and halfway through the Boylan Artwalk I was swimmy-headed and answering questions with “Mmm mmm mmm” and “Blurbity blurbity blurb.” Nothing that being horizontal on my couch, with a young Marlon Brando singing “Your Eyes Are the Eyes of A Woman in Love” to me can’t fix, I’m sure. I would SO get on a plane with him and get drunk on dulce de leches in Havana and end up starting a bar fight and singing in a fountain.
What. You haven’t seen it? Go ahead, do it now. I’ll meet you back here to discuss. Spoiler alert, Adelaide steals the show.
Anyway. Recovering. Last night I talked some people, aged two to older-than-I-will-admit, into starting the evening at Winterfest. It was mayhem on the Fayetteville Street plaza, but in a good way. Our group, actually, was most of the mayhem. My godson Wilson, who is five and could be President of the United States right this minute and do a responsible job, sat still and waited patiently for Mayor Meeker to light the Christmas tree and drank his hot chocolate. My goddaughter Sarah, who is two and resembles nobody so much as Animal from the Muppets, struggled to escape her stroller, and once freed, ran in larger and larger concentric circles through the crowd at knee-level, spinning herself into a whirling dervish trance until she collapsed in a heap on her parents. I love them both to bits.
Tree lighting accomplished and small burst of fireworks enjoyed, our crowd splintered. The parents went to bed. The girls went to Mecca. We sat down and immediately asked for an audience with the Mecca Ham. We were told this time that it’s “buried deep in the freezer,” but that it would probably come out again sometime in May, and if we came on a slow day we might get a peek. This contradicts an earlier rumor that the Mecca Ham is secured somewhere offsite. And an even earlier rumor that the Mecca Ham does not exist. I love the idea of the Mecca Ham. The Mecca Ham has now officially made it onto the Life List. I settled again last night for a ham sandwich. Which was still pretty great.
And then it was on to the Berkeley, which I think is my favorite place in Raleigh to see a show. It’s just the right size, and it’s homey in there, and the crowd is always chill, and last night there was a pink Christmas tree by the stage. Also, if Marianne Taylor tells me on her e-mail list that I will like a show, I trust her entirely. She has not yet steered me wrong. Last night was no exception; it was The Debonzo Brothers, and then Scott Miller. I loved them all. Tracy and Gregg, whose musical opinions I also trust, were there too. Tracy and I generally have shouted conversations during loud shows, so I think I’m getting the next part right, but Tracy told me that she and Gregg celebrated their tenth anniversary at a Scott Miller show, and that it started a whole live-music era for the two of them, which is still going strong. And she gave me a playlist to download, which I’ll do as soon as I finish listening to the Scott Miller Christmas album I bought. There’s a song called “Christmas in Prison,” which I figure just has to be honky tonk, and one written by “R. Miller,” which I am 100% sure means I will love it instantly.
Back to Guys and Dolls. They’re about to have a bar fight in Havana. I’m wrapped in a scarf under piles of blankets and hoping this Bojangle’s sweet tea will get me upright again. Until then, I’m trusting old musicals and Christmas lights.