Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Partying at the Bartender's Ball

A woman and man wearing camouflage, a bar made of ice, a giant barrel that dispensed liquor and a man eating an English muffin while he was asleep, were only a few of the experiences at Sunday’s Bartender’s Ball.

The sixth annual event moved back uptown on Sunday, and partiers relished the move. (It was at Merchandise Mart last year.) In the span of five hours, we danced to “Throw Some D’s,” “Sweet Escape,” hard rock and electronica. We hustled in the breakfast buffet line for the Men’s Club only to realize they had run out of syrup for the French toast and their tasty Applewood bacon before 11 p.m. Some of my best memories occurred in the Men’s Club’s area.

I’m sitting at a table eating my French toast watching a drunk guy across the table from me nibble on an English muffin, fall asleep, then nibble some more. Then, he reaches across the table for my English muffin. I stop him, and hand over the bread. He was too drunk for me to get mad – besides, watching him eat and sleep was comical.

If you didn’t go, here are some scenes from the night.

Highlights: Meeting a 53-year-old woman who kept dropping it like it’s hot on my friend J-Dawg…. The hip-hop set before the DJ blew a fuse and the music stopped... Seeing Tempo nightclub participate. It’s the first year I can remember a black-owned establishment participating in the ball. Their theme was Bob Marley’s birthday…. Collecting more beads than my girl… BAR Charlotte’s Valentine’s Day theme. Seeing cupid run around in his underwear was too funny…. Buffalo Wild Wing’s honey barbecue wings. Yes, the Men’s Club’s roast beef and spinach dip were tasty, but Buffalo Wild Wing’s line was shorter, and sometimes you want greasy chicken wings to go with a night of drinking.

Lowlights: The women’s bathroom was a haven for lung cancer. Smoking wasn’t allowed in the main ballrooms, so many women lit up in the bathroom. It was horrible…Some folks were stupid drunk by the end of the night.

Top three bars were: Cans (Armed Services Day), Brick and Barrel (End of Prohibition) and the Irish bars (St. Patrick’s Day).

What you missed: The La Poire Grey Goose (pear-flavored) mixed with pomegranate juice at Loft’s booth…A peek at the Greek crew’s newest venture, Alley Cat… Spykes, a flavored caffeine, ginseng and guarana mix that you pour in beer.

Did you go the Bartender’s Ball? How did you like it? How did it compare to last year’s?

Shakespeare in yo' face

A large ramp extended down from the second tier to the promenade floor of the Duke Family Performance Hall inside Davidson’s Knobloch Campus Center. We sat on the side of the ramp Saturday, waiting for the start of Shakespeare’s “Pericles.”

I hadn’t planned to attend the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production, but co-worker Kathy Haight raved so much about seeing one of the productions last week that I wanted to see one for myself.

On Saturday, I understood why Kathy liked it so much. For slightly more than three hours, I felt as if I were in the play. Standing on the promenade, I never knew when a gun-toting thug, drag queen or king would come storming past me. My only complaint was the length. I don’t like sitting through two-hour movies, so a three-hour play is way too long.

“Pericles” isn’t “to be or not to be”-style Shakespeare. Although I did get lost sometimes when the griot was narrating the story, for the most part, “Pericles” was accessible to low-brow theater fans like me. It tells the story of a Pericles, the king of Tyre, who fled his country, found love and lost it, and thought his daughter was dead.

Instead of everything happening on one stage, the play unfolds throughout the promenade. Audience members standing in the promenade scooted around to see the action and to avoid getting in the actor’s way. There was fencing, a man being thrown ashore, a brothel and an angel descending from the sky. Actors pointed guns at us and at times spoke directly to us.

It was theater in a way that I've never experienced before, and can't wait to experience again. (If the play is shorter.)