October 18th, 2008

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Birthday Date Night

So, yesterday was hntrpyanfar's birthday, and we had a pretty packed evening to celebrate... All secret, too: I said nothing until we were on our way to the next locale.

First off, we had reservations at local, upscale Mexican restaurant Mezcal (thus we had the pleasure of walking in and being seated almost immediately). The "flights" of tequilas offered up a trio of the many options. All very different flavored, and all communicating to me how little I really know about tequila. One thing that was nice: a bite to the tongue, but no particular burn in the throat. Very fun. The food at Mezcal is also quite wonderful: my Dos Enchiladas were tasty, but T's quesadillas were nothing short of incredible. Pricey, maybe, but a fine start to our evening.

Next stop, Central Street and the Foothills Theatre, where we attended a production of Moonlight and Magnolias, a comedy about David O. Selznick's manic attempt to cajole writer Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming into writing a serviceable script from "that turkey of a book", Gone With the Wind. The rub? They have five days, and Hecht (the king of rewrites) has never actually read the book. What ensues is a locked room scenario that degenerates into purest chaos (literal and figurative) as three very opinionated men (and one beleagured secretary) try to hash out some kind of memorable script from a book that only the producer values. Infamous scenes are acted out, insults are traded about the source material, bananas and peanuts are eaten, and plenty of thoughtful, humorous, and ironic exchanges are offered. It's easy to bash Hollywood for its many failures, sins and inadequacies (how many variants on Michael Tolkin's The Player have been made?), but this play is not content for such simplicity of purpose. Instead, it plays up some of the Hollywood idealism in juxtaposition against many real world horrors of the late 1930s period (including rampant antisemitism, the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, censorship, &cetera), and it manages to keep things rather balanced. I adore well done theatre, and this production was top notch, although for my money, one of the best parts was not the play itself, but the lone set dresser liberally tossing banana peels and peanut shells across the stage through the intermission, preparing the scene for the final half. hntrpyanfar and I laughed, we cheered, and today we are tossing some of the funnier lines back and forth...

After the play, we ventured to Allgos, a local dessert bar for vodka infusions, a shared slice of carrot cake (made even better with the addition of cheesecake!), and the soothing sounds of the Drunken Uncles, a cover band that played everything from ZZ Top to Springsteen to Oasis. The bartender proved to be hypercompetent (amazed me, really, just watching him go was a revelation about efficiency).

After that, homeward bound for presents. Quite a few surprises, quite a few laughs.

This morning we woke up at about quarter after six, and drove out to the Wachusett reservoir to watch the sun rise. Together, we observed frost on the wild carrots and grasses, the ghosts of summer (mists sweeping across the water like some great armada passing from one world to the next), a cawing crow atop the cornice of the Old Stone Church, hunting birds skimming across the waters, clouds that looked groomed, and the steadily increasing glow of warm sunlight revealed new aspects with every passing minute... Beautiful.

Said it a plethora of time yesterday, but I'll say it again: Happy birthday, dear.
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