Pre-Halloween dinner in Rosendale
Saturday, October 25 2003
This morning we had a brunch at our house. In attendance were our houseguest Dean, Suzy from Gardiner, and a middle-aged white couple from West Hurley. Of course this couple was white - we don't know any black people up here in the Catskills. I've never once paid a housecall to an African American family, though I'm sure plenty of them have computers that are fucked up.
I gave the male half of the West Hurley couple a tour of the upstairs, since he seemed particularly curious about my art (long neglected though it is) and the space I use to create my art (that's supposed to be my laboratory). This guy was extremely easy to get along with, and later I learned why: he had a PhD in therapy. I wonder why therapists don't wind up as politicians more often - perhaps they're too effeminate for the American flavor of democracy.
For brunch, Gretchen had prepared a much-improved zuccini cake as well as a delicious oven-cooked pancake.
In the afternoon I had a housecall in my usual territory, that is, Woodstock. Every time I have a housecall, it's like being paratrooped into some fascinating new territory. I've visited artists, a computer geek, an estranged wife of a congressmen, and at least one crazy Republican would-be real estate tycoon. Today's housecall was at the residence of an American correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph in London.
When I got back to the house, everybody was doing the downtime thing. Suzy was still there, crashed out on the couch. Dean was down in the guestroom. Gretchen was upstairs in bed. They'd all been on a long walk in the woods and Gretchen had managed to get somewhat lost leading the contingent on the unmarked expanse along the top of Canary Hill. They all needed to rest up before the night's activities began.
Originally I had a plan of not going out with the crew for dinner tonight, but for some reason my mood changed and I wanted to go. Part of the draw was the fact that dinner would be in Rosendale, and that's a town that I freaklishly like (as opposed to, say, Woodstock - or, God forbid - Rhinebeck). So I went with everybody when they headed out to the überhip Cement Company in Rosendale. There, everybody who had attended brunch at our house reconvened, along with the guy who sold us our house, Larry (whom Gretchen unsuccessfully tried to fix up with Dean).
The Cement Factory was started by a couple gay guys, and this is obvious from the moment you walk in. It's fabulous inside, like one of the best successes depicted on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. They even have those simple, modern stainless steel ceiling fans to die for. Gretchen asked one of the owners where he'd bought them, and he shot back with a URL: ceilingfan.com. "You can't get those at Lowes," I observed. "No." the owner agreed.
My experience at this dinner was a huge improvement over the one I'd had yesterday. For one thing, there were lots more people, and they were distributed in such a way that it was difficult for people to talk about their principal interest. And even if the conversation was dull, there was always some other conversation going on - it was like having several channels of quality cable to surf between. Then, adding more craziness to the mix, a Japanese couple from Kerhonkson showed up randomly. They were Suzy's friends and it turned out that the woman half of this couple is a country-western songwriter (who writes her songs in English, though she speaks with a fairly strong Japanese accent).
I ordered the catfish and chips and the catfish part was good, but the chips were those typical partially-cooked super-greasy strips of potato that are routinely presented in place of French fries by fancy restaurants nationwide. For some reason such restaurants are unwilling to make good French fries. I have no idea what this is about, but I suspect it's yet another thing the fable of the Emperor's New Clothes was supposed to warn us about.
At some point Gretchen pointed out a celebrity leaving the restaurant. It was Steve Buscemi, who actually lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (and, along with John Turturro, was an occasional sighting there).
The others eventually went off to a "haunted cave" Halloween party in one of Rosendale's many abandoned concrete mines, but Gretchen and I called it a night and went home. We needed to recoup from a week of relentless entertaining.
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