I went down to the Library of Congress this morning to photocopy some articles for bobzillaau.
Now, anyone who either has heard me tirade about the Library of Congress before or has been to this esteemed repository knows very well where this little blog entry is going.
They only had 1 of the 2 articles that Bobzillau needed (naturally), but I ordered that one and went to a computer to do a little research on my own topics. It occurred to me that while I was there, I should do a little light reading in the New York Dramatic Mirror. As the events that I am currently researching occurred in 1892, I requested that particular volume. I handed in my ticket and prepared myself for the inevitable reply from the tech, “it’ll be up in about 45 minutes.” Well, within 20 minutes, my ticket was returned with the little box next to “Not on Shelf” ticked. I walked up to the other tech and said in my most polite tone, “does this mean that someone in the reading room is currently using this book.” In the short, aggravated tone of the non-aspiring GS-4, she looked at me and said, “it means it’s off the shelf. It could be anywhere. We don’t keep track.”
So, I gave up. I have fought this battle too many times. It is inexcusable that there is no tracking system for these books. Once removed from the shelf for any reason, they are lost to the keepers of the books. I suppose that the gnomes who work in the bowels of the Library of Congress only hope and pray that the books are returned when readers are finished with them. I went to speak with a librarian for 2 reasons: 1) to tell them that I think it is absurd there is no tracking system and that they have no clue what becomes of the very things that they are chartered to protect, and 2) to find out what other theatre magazines, periodicals, and journals the Library of Congress owns that were published in 1892.
One of the odd things about the Library of Congress is that they seem to have 2 kinds of people working there: annoyingly helpful people and annoyingly disinterested people. The librarian who I spoke with was among the former. He wanted to know all about who I was researching, and I tried several times to tell him politely that I have already done extensive research on Sampson, and I have already looked in many places for his name. Undeterred, he still decided to pull several reference books off the shelf and suggested that I look Sampson up in there. Finally, after about 30 minutes of looking through books that I had already looked through, and listening to the librarian rattle off unimportant and unrelated things, I finally decided to head over to the performing arts reading room. I was sure that they should have a list of theatre trade magazines.
I signed into the Music Reading Room (for that is where the performing arts collection is housed) at 11:20 am and left at about 2:30 pm. Why was I there so long? Well I met a fascinating gentleman. He is the performing arts librarian, and he was one of the most interesting people I have met in a very long time. He had a shock of thick, white hair on his head that was in need of combing, but shaped in the classic “comb-over” style of balding men. He was unshaven, with stubble as white as the hair on his head. He had bushy salt-and-pepper Groucho Marx type eyebrows protruding from beneath his glasses, and not a little bit of hair growing in plain site from areas that one really shouldn’t have hair growing. He was dressed in a shirt that had more stains than the tablecloth at the local diner, and it looked like he had slept the past several days in it (as well as in the pants). He screamed academic eccentric from the word go.
As I mentioned, he was the most interesting person I have met in a very long time, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent talking with him about all sorts of things. He scored points in the very fact that he knew who Sandow was without prompting! He was a very smart, very informed theatre historian, and he was a good listener—asking poignant questions about my main topic and other topics we touched upon during our hours long conversation. He knew one of my professors at the University of Maryland and we talked about him for a moment. The LOC Librarian is interested in theatre spaces (that is, the actual venue and physical structures like the New Amsterdam in New York). This is where he and the University of Maryland prof come together. So, he told me a little about his dissertation, which looked at the rise of 42nd Street in New York City as a major theatre strip. He was interested in how certain areas become important theatre districts. I thought that this was fascinating, and I will be ILLing his dissertation to see what he says. I told him about my early idea of looking at the intersection of theatre technology and maritime technology, and he thought that that was a good idea, but agreed that it would be difficult without knowledge of Latin, and Italian. I mentioned the Drottningholm Theatre as one of the theatres that I would love to look at for this topic, and he understood and agreed. As I said, he is quite an informed person. I did have to argue with him, though, when we finally got back on track and started talking about strongmen. He seemed to feel certain that Sandow is only remembered because he was a good looking guy with a good body. I think that that is true, but it also oversimplifies the situation. True, because he was attractive (as opposed to the strongmen before him who looked tough and mean and rough), people were shocked to discover that he was also a strongman, but until Sandow, no one would have thought that he had a good body.
In the end, I found out, much to my surprise, that the Library of Congress actually has a full run of the New York Dramatic Mirror on microfilm. But, I never did get that list of theatre trade periodicals.
I was so cold. I could see goose bumps all over my arms and legs. My teeth were chattering, and I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes. I was surprised I couldn’t see my breath. That I was sitting naked on my couch probably didn’t help. Finally, a commercial came on (I was watching Space Balls on The WB), and I got up to turn on the heat. As I walked toward the thermostat, arms wrapped round my frigid body, I realized that the sun was blazing behind my closed blinds. As the mechanism that controls the furnace neared, I had a flashback to several hours earlier. I was lying in my warm bed, snuggled under the covers, trying to pry sleep from my weary eyes. I had the radio tuned to WTOP to ascertain the coming day’s weather. As the memory played across my mind’s eye like a community theatre presentation doesn’t, I recalled that it was supposed to be in the 70s.
I couldn’t believe that I would waste the last of the Indian Summer days shivering in the altogether indoors. I bypassed the thermostat and headed straight into the bedroom, where I had already laid out my outfit for the day: blue jeans, an old crew tee shirt from my days at sea, a flannel button-down lumberjack style over-shirt, socks, and underwear. My combat boots were laying at the foot of my bed where I had left them days earlier. I quickly dressed, brushed my teeth, and walked out into the beautiful, warm sunshine that is so uncharacteristic of early November in DC.
After I started the car, I sat for a moment baking in the heat of the closed-up car. I closed my eyes, and for a moment, I felt like Ella and Tigger; I understood their obsession with basking in the sunlight, feeling the heat ooze into every pore, nook, and cranny of my being. Before I could ease myself free of this reverie, I was jolted back to reality with a dull clang of metal hitting asphalt. I got out of the car and discovered some odd metal contraption on the ground beneath my car, vomited out like a metallic hairball.
I figured that with this piece fully removed from the car (now I understood what had been making that odd noise for the past several weeks), it would begin to feel better. Nevertheless, I wanted to have that vet of cars—the mechanic—tell me that everything was OK, so I got into the car and drove all the way to Boteler Automotive in Beltsville. Half way to the mechanic’s, it occurred to me that I had no way of getting home. Too late, I was committed. Besides, the brakes have felt sluggish, and it needed an oil change. The only thing to do was to walk back to the Metro.
Today, instead of going to work, I went to the Holiday Inn for an all day retreat. I honestly thought that I was going to luck out and be left behind to man the phones. As such, I did not pay as much attention as I perhaps should have to the agenda. Needless to say, I did not have to stay in the office to answer the phones, and I attended my very first retreat. I found it an incredible waste of time.
We got to the meeting room around 8:15 in the morning. The room was arranged for maximum communication. Food along the back wall—coffee, tea, juice, bagels, and Danish. Chairs arranged in a large circle in the center of the room. Tables scattered around the room prepared for us to use as group space and for lunch. Tables on the right wall set up for the lunch buffet. Along the left wall the facilitators, standing by a table that held nametags, pens, stickers, and Post-it® notes. I created a nice nametag with an orange smiley face on it. Upon the Post-it® notes we were supposed to write one goal we had for the day. As I mentioned, I really had no idea what the retreat was about, so I wasn’t sure what to write for a goal. I asked the facilitator if “Get up tomorrow morning” was a worthy goal, and she said sure. I chose to cheat and look at what others had written (we had to post them on the wall, so they were available for all to read). I settled on the trite “to become a stronger member of the team.”
Next, we sat in the aforementioned circle of death—I mean “theatre in the round” as the Ring Lady called it. Because 2 of the 35 of us were new, we had to go around the circle and say who we were, where we worked, and what our goal for the day was. Of course to go clockwise or counterclockwise would have been entirely too easy, so Facilitator 1 procured a nerf ball that looked like a small, spongy Mars. The ball was tossed around the circle and whoever had the misfortune to catch the ball had to commence with the monologue. There is little humor in my office, and only one person made a real joke at this point. The Dude (named for the frequency with which he uses the word) caught the ball, looks very serious, and says, “Hello, my name is Dude, and I have a communication problem.” It was priceless, and I gave a hearty guffaw as people slowly began to get that it was just a joke.
We broke up into groups of two and interviewed each other about times either in our NASA career or elsewhere where we were a part of a team and how it was a wonderful experience. I wanted to pair off with someone I didn’t know all that well who might be interested in trying to get something out of the task. Alas, Dude was too far away as was the SEAL Leader, or any of the others I would like to have worked with. DogLover cornered me and there really wasn’t any way out. She “enlightened” me that at all costs I should only have positive things to say at these retreats because that is all they (management) want to hear, and I should always bear in mind that no one at the office is my friend. They aren’t my enemies, but they will all (her emphasis) turn on you in a heartbeat; I should not trust any of them. (I felt that I was talking to another person from my past, who will remain nameless.) She was just telling me what her mother told her when she first started working.
I talked about my experience as a stage manager in college and how it was a wonderful team experience. I mentioned that theatre is a great example of proper teamwork since the most important thing is that the stage is set properly when the curtain goes up. In the heat of the moment, it’s more important to get that couch off stage than to worry whose job it was…find out what went wrong after the show. Do whatever it takes so the audience sees only a wonderful show. DogLover talked about her dog shows and how she and the dog make a team, which is built on a relationship, not respect, not trust, not friendship, only relationship. I helped her tease this out into an intelligent thought.
Next, 3 2-person groups merged and we introduced our partner to the rest of the group. From the 6 introductions, we needed to find common themes, discuss them, discover what sorts of things we all needed to have a good, strong team. From there we came up with ideas that would help create such an environment.
This led to the only original thing the facilitators did. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing so far that the facilitators didn’t get straight out of a book. I can’t figure out how these people make so much damn money. Anyway, we had to take all of our ideas and pretend that it was 5 years in the future and write a headline praising our office and the first 3 sentences of the newspaper article.
Finally we returned to the circle where the nerf reemerged. This time, instead of saying who we were and what our goal was, we had to say what we would take away from the retreat and mention one specific suggestion that we would commit to working on. Again, everyone was overly serious. When the nerf ball came to me, I said that I would definitely commit to drinking at the Happy Hour idea. Then I decided to end my experience in a serious, sincere, and positive manner and praised the group for their creativity and their hard work trying to make a great office even better.
Hmm, I just noticed that every time I have one of these long, crazy weekends, it seems that Shining Starr9 is involved somehow.
Anyway, today started out OK; I got a late start but who cares. I went over to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland to use the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. I was looking for an article that Bobzilla suggested I look at. Wouldn’t you know, there was a football game going on. Now, as all of you know, in an ironic twist, I am not a sports fan, least of all college sports since they always come before academics, and I think that this country just doesn’t have its priorities right when it comes to education. So, I had to park a freaking mile away and walk and walk. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, so it wasn’t all that bad in the end.
I finally made it to the Library, got the journal I was looking for with no hassle, and read the whole article without falling asleep, which was no easy feat. This last bit is actually unfortunate; it was really an interesting article demonstrating how British music halls moved from sometime performers running the theatres and circuits to professional businessmen running the corporate business. He, the author, argued that this shift was simultaneously occurring in British big business and that the parallels are indicative of trends in late nineteenth and early twentieth century business practices. Sadly, he writes like an academic and it was just very boring to read.
As I was leaving the Library, SugarDaddy called me and said that he was interested in going out later in the evening. I told him my plans and he said that he would definitely be interested.
I met him at the Freer Gallery of Art, a Smithsonian Institution museum, to see an independent film called The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. He was a Chinese magician, juggler, acrobat, who played in vaudeville houses around the world. It was really good and quite interesting. I think that a lot could be done on him if he really is as important as the filmmaker (his great grand-daughter) says. I think I need to look more into him!
The film was preceded by two shorts, the first of which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. There is some guy preparing a dead woman for her viewing (I’m assuming) and a young boy is watching (I presume that he is the son). The mortician finishes clipping the corpse’s nails and washing the body. Then the boy asks to be alone, and when the mortician leaves, the boy picks up all the nail clippings. The scene cuts: it’s dark, so I assume it’s later, perhaps that night and the funeral is completed. We see in the darkness that we are in a kitchen and the boy comes in and opens the refrigerator. He is clad in sweats and tee shirt; I guess I’m meant to believe that he is ready for bed. He digs through the fridge, finds something wrapped in foil. He fixates for a moment on the aluminum-covered package, and just as he begins to open it, he scratches his head. (I wonder if this was planned or if he really had to scratch his head and the filmmaker just liked it.) He finally gets the foil off and it turns out to be a huge turkey leg. He begins to eat it slowly, then a little quicker. After another scratch on his noggin, he starts attacking the turkey leg, biting off pieces quicker and quicker. He never swallows or chews any of it. When his mouth is completely full he stops, leans his head back on the open refrigerator door, breathing heavily and wheezing. The credits roll.
The second short is actually by the same woman who wrote The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (she is in the audience this evening incidentally). Before the films began, the filmmaker gave us a little background on this particular piece. She said that it was written and filmed shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. Because she was still working on The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, this piece is heavily informed by that research, and it is a sister piece, so she is grateful that they are being shown together. The short is called Blue Skies, after the Irving Berlin song of the same title (from the play Betsy in 1926). This piece begins with a close of up of someone’s eye as tears pour out. The sound track is nothing more than this person sniffling, whimpering, and, making all those other irritating noises. Then the view cuts to a close-up on the person’s mouth. Then, to break the monotony, there is a knock at the door, and a white woman enters, goes to the crying person who we discover is Asian. The white woman pours water into a basin, and soaks some cloth. She wraps the crying person’s hair up, and begins to pull out clothing from drawers. She then helps dress the crying person, who is no longer crying, and finally pours a drink, the Asian person doesn’t drink until the white woman first sips it. There are scenes of the Asian person donning make-up: eyeliner, lip-gloss, and paint for eyebrows. The screen goes black, and with the sound of an old-time spotlight turning on, we see bright blue skies. Our Asian person, who turns out to be what I can only assume is an onnagata, appears and begins singing (well, lip-synching actually) Blue Skies as the credits roll.
After the movie, SugarDaddy and I decided to head out to Cleveland Park and have dinner at Ireland’s Four Provinces, or the 4-P’s as us yokels call it. I’m really not a big fan of the 4-P’s, but I haven’t been there in ages, so that’s where we go. Well, as is usually the case with Irish bars, there was a live band playing (The Sean Fleming Band to be exact). They were mediocre, but we stayed very late, and I consumed lots of beer. All in all it was a fun time.
Anyway, it’s almost 4 am and I need to go to sleep…peace out y’all.
Wow, what an interesting experience I had this evening. I went to a club called Wet in DC’s Ghe-Toe. It is down in Anacostia. But it’s actually about two blocks from the Navy Yard station, which I believe is not too far from Eastern Market, so I’m thinking that it may not be as bad as it once was…not that I would be frequenting such an establishment.
Well, to bring the less informed up to speed, Wet is a gay nudie bar…boys dancing on the bar with nothing but their tube socks (to collect tips—sort of the gay male stripper’s garter). Actually, some had more than that on: a flak jacket, a policeman’s utility belt (complete with cuffs and billy club), the top half of a marine’s uniform. At the far end of the bar is a large shower stall with several jets of water spewing in every direction—all the better to ensure that every inch of the body will become, well, Wet. Meanwhile, as the live show is going on upon the three-quarter thrust stage that is the bar, and drama is occurring behind the proscenium of the shower stall, there is another stage along the length-wise wall, which supports at one point in the evening the Cowboy (sans chaps), the Marine, some random dancer and the Child (we shall come back to the Child anon). Across the room, by the door is a lone solo stage, with its own spotlight and stripper pole. To complete the mise-en-scène, arranged in banks of 4 in opposite corners of the joint are televisions showing hardcore gay porn.
I did not go alone. Shining Starr9, Lady Godiva, and the Lady’s gay roommate all went. The girls had never been to a gay nudie bar, and the roomie, I guess, just wanted to see some naked boys.
So, while we were sitting at the table, watching the myriad entertainment, I spy the Child lounging on the solo stage without his shirt on. (Actually, we met him when we first walked in; he almost knocked over the guy who was checking our IDs with a big bear hug. Then he attacked Shining Starr9’s jacket that he thought was so wonderful and amazing (it was a nice jacket, I mean no disrespect on the apparel, but it was a GIRL’s jacket). Anyway, so we watch him run (literally) around the club chatting with the patrons (us included). There is no doubt in any of our minds that he is on something and higher than a kite. So, he’s lounging on the stage and then he gets up and starts, um, well, I wouldn’t call it dancing, it was more a fevered, coked-up frenzy. I turn away and when I look again, he is naked and dancing his little, overworked, 19-year-old heart out. He looks like he should be hanging 10 on a surfboard in Hawaii, not stripping in a dive in DC. The very first thing that strikes me about this boy is that he is hired not for his dancing abilities, but for his pre-pubescent look (and sure enough, it is the older, lonelier men who pay him the most attention--and money). He still has baby fat around his tummy and no hair on his body, save pubes. Unlike his older co-workers, I don’t think he is shaving yet…chin or chest. Few are paying attention to him, but he doesn’t seem to care: he’s a maniac, maniac on the floor and he's dancing like he's never danced before. He has three moves: 1) gyrate his hips to get his penis and testicles (and he had some long, dangling, pendulous balls) flopping up to hit his stomach over and over ad nauseam; 2) wiggle himself around, then shimmy his way to a squat, grab the back of his head with his left hand and shimmy on up again; and 3) really a variation of 1, he would put both hands behind his head and gyrate his hips to get his penis and testicles (and he had some long, dangling, pendulous balls) flopping up to hit his stomach over and over ad nauseam. God bless him for being so damn impassioned with what he was doing.
So, it was “Wet Underwear Night” this evening, and before your sick little minds go too far, I shall reassure you that Jo Cose remained dry and his tighty-whities stayed well hidden. The roomie, on the other hand, did enter the contest. At the risk of offending Lady Godiva, I will leave the description of the roomie at this: he was not the most attractive man in the joint. Ne’ertheless, he had some big balls (figuratively, I mean). He and 4 other strapping lads stripped to their unmentionables and pranced and danced around the bar for about 10 minutes (9 too long if you ask me). Then the second part of the contest was individual shower scenes, each lasting 5 minutes (again, 4 too long). In the end, all 5 contestants got naked in the showers. I found it interesting that I was more disturbed to see the roomie naked than the rest of the boys; not because he was less attractive or anything like that, but I guess because I had only met him several hours earlier and I didn’t know the rest of the amateurs at all, I didn’t have to share a ride home with them. Anyway, so 15 minutes of humiliation for the chance to win $250. I don’t think it was really worth it. Sadly, the roommate did not win. But I give him big kudos for entering.
Anyway, it’s almost 4 am and I need to go to sleep…peace out y’all.
On to Saturday night. I am not sure what time I awoke on Saturday, nor does it really matter. I did get up eventually. I ate, and cleaned and vacuumed my bedroom. And that was a major accomplishment!
Around 7 pm, I took a shower and got dressed and was out the door for the evening’s festivities. I met Shining Starr9 and Evl Redhead in College Park. We went to the Prince Cafe of College Park and had a pomegranate-flavored shisha. It was pretty neat, albeit unhealthy. The service sucked big time, but that seems to be part of the hookah bar experience. Also, as Shining Starr9 demanded that we sit in the only remaining booth, we had to sit right next to the speaker of the television, and listening to Arabic pop music ten decibels louder than it should be isn’t all that pleasant of an experience. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and there were lots of attractive people to ogle, which can only heighten an experience, not detract from it (although I will prove this to be wrong shortly).
As the nargila cooled and the joint became increasingly packed with undergraduates, I could feel that twang of sadness that comes to me when I’m surrounded by such people as the denizens of this establishment. So, in an effort to nip it in the bud, I suggested that we move on. Evl Redhead suggested that we retire to her dorm as her roommates were gone for the weekend, but I figured that if I wasn’t keen on hanging out in a bar full of undergrads, I don’t think being in the dorm would be any better. Instead, we hung out in the parking lot for a while and chatted about nothing. Who knew that the most interesting and happening spot on a Saturday night in College Park would be at the parking lot of the strip mall?
Where to begin? Well, I could describe the young gentleman who amazed and impressed me with his potency and virility by peeling out of his parking space in his beat-up, crappy minivan. If that isn’t interesting, there was the scary Goth chick (I apologize to LtL who thinks that I’m a wimp because I think that the whole Goth thing is a little creapy) who had a hairdo reminiscent of Kid n’ Play. But she had it held up with a bandana wrapped around her ample locks. Throughout our time in the parking lot, there was a constant flow of frat boys entering the liquor store only to exit with a keg. There must have been one hell of a party on Frat Row.
But, I think that the award for best skit to be played out on the asphalt stage we were watching has to go to the incompetent little coed behind the wheel of a big ole SUV who couldn’t park the damn thing. She had to be guided into the space by two random guys who I think were only helping for fear of their car getting hit. Then she couldn’t get out of the space (bear in mind she never got out of the SUV). She would put the thing in reverse, look all around: behind her, in her mirrors, out her windows. Next she would turn the wheel to the stop and gun the engine only to slam the brakes on, throw it into drive and move an inch forward, returning roughly to her starting position. We had no idea what her problem was or what she was trying to accomplish. Finally, the car next to her pulled out and she moved ahead and in reverse several more times and finally was able to pull straight out between the two cars in front of her, and she finally drove away to a standing ovation from her adoring audience.
After that performance, I decided that there was nothing at all that could top it, and as I needed to be up early the next day, I decided to call it a night and went home to bed.
While we were enjoying our Jamaican Curried Lamb (see nice kids) last night, I broke my two big pieces of news to the ’rents. I was surprised how well they took both bits.
My mother asked me what was going on with the potential job offer at NASA. I told her that I still have not heard anything new, but that it’s supposed to start in 24 days if all goes according to plan. Now, I’ve been here at NASA for almost 2 years, and every office I’ve worked in has told me that they are going to get me a job, so I’m not going to really believe this office until I see the paperwork. I explained this to my mother, and she gave me that knowing nod. Then I followed this up with telling her that if I don’t get this job, then I’m going to quit working at NASA. I really thought that she was going to have a problem and say something like “well, you should probably stay there. At least you have a job there.” But she surprised me and just nodded again, and said that she completely understood and did I have any ideas of what I might do? I responded with
I’ve been looking at grad school again. My mom’s first response was “how are going to pay for it? I just don’t want you being almost 40 and so far in debt that you can’t ever see your way out. I mean, you’re going to want to get married and have kids, and I would hate to see you have so much debt.” Well, when I explained to her that being in debt really didn’t bother me and that I had no desire to have kids, she looked a little panicky. “What do you mean you don’t want kids? Who’s going to take care of you when you are old?” Fortunately, my father chimed in at this point. He only asked “Where are you looking?” So I told them about the schools I’ve been looking into and my mom asked about my topic and I explained that and she seemed to think it was a good topic and that it made sense, but would it help me get a job? When I said that one program was in the theater department and the other was in history, she said I should go with the history one as it would improve my chances of getting a job.
I mentioned my concern about Manchester being so far from London and what MO and the London Gent had to say about Manchester. My dad said that it’s only 3 years, and it’s not a big deal. And we both agreed that if the University of Manchester gave me more money (or any money at all), then they were the best place to go.
So, all in all, I think it went over better than I expected. I thought my mother would need a little more convincing, but I think once she got over the initial shock of me not wanting kids, she was OK.
For their anniversary, my sisters and I bought my parents tickets to see the “Music From Japan's 30th Anniversary Season Festival—Reigaku and Gagaku: A Living Tradition”* at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It was probably the cheapest gift we have given them in ages. The important thing is that they really enjoyed it, so that was nice.
My father was in Japan during the Korean War, and he is pretty fascinated by all things Japanese. I think that Japanese music is just noise, but I know that he definitely enjoyed it. He said my mom liked it as well, but it’s impossible to tell. I’m sure that she loved the experience, but they would never tell us if the show wasn’t good (since we paid for it and all).
I met the folks at the Kennedy Center for dinner before the show. Of course we went up the wrong elevator and ended up on the wrong side of the building, so we decided to walk along the roof to the other side. Well, we couldn’t find the entrance (actually, we found the entrance, but the curtains were drawn, so we assumed that the doors were closed). We ended up walking completely around the roof and back to where we started. Fortunately, my dad was smart and asked a guard. He walked down to the other door and walked right through…it was pretty embarrassing.
Anyway, we finally made it to the KC Café, and had a lovely dinner. Normally, my dad gets rare brisket, I have often gotten the pork chop, and my mom usually gets the salmon. Alas, none of our usual food was there last night. So, I got the bowl of rice with Jamaican Curried Lamb. It smelled so good that both of my parents got the same thing. I was craving something green, so I got some broccoli, which was good, but loaded with butter. The food was excellent. The lamb was tender enough to cut with a fork; the spices were strong yet not overpowering. There was a mystery seasoning (which I think may have been Five Spice Powder) that completely complimented the curry and the lamb. The portions were also surprisingly large (which is unusual in venues such as this that want to get your money). I, of course, had no problem finishing mine, but I was impressed to see my svelte parents finish theirs as well. Normally I would have gotten dessert (they had crème brûlée), but I decided that I was full, and I really didn’t need anything else.
After dinner, we sat and talked for a little while and then made our way back around to the other side of the building (where we had started, but fortunately this time we knew where we were going). Around 10 after 7 they opened the house and my folks went in to get their seats, and I got on the bus to head back to the Metro at Foggy Bottom—GWU station to go home.
*The New York–based organization brings Japan’s Reigakusha orchestra for a concert of classical gagaku (a rare glimpse into Japanese Imperial Court music) and contemporary reigaku works. The orchestra performs on authentic replicas of musical instruments from the Shoso-in repository, an eighth-century monastery-temple storehouse in Nara, Japan.