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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Inky Pinky

Eightish libation

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Montpelier Champagnia's "Out and About"

Welcome again, my darlings, to my wonderful column. This week I have such a special treat for you, something that caught me completely by surprise. This week I was visiting only the dreariest little suburb and could not get along any further without stopping for some nourishment somewhere. But all I could find was an old greasy spoon diner on the downside of the theatre district -- oh you know I am never far from the great stage, my lovelies. Anyway, there I was at some place called Martinelli's Diner for a late bruncheon.

But I finally realized that the whole place was a spoof, a masterpiece of alternative dinner theatre. What first tipped me off was the brilliant over the top performances by what was putatively the waitstaff and management and the surrealness of the decorum. Every wall was dulling blue-gray paint job, like a Mexican hospital room, only splattered with brownish blotches. The counters had these terribly gauche clear plastic "crystal" vases, each with a paper rose that needed to replaced. Even though it was opened for breakfast, the aroma smelled perpetually of old fish. What a wonderful send up of lower bourgeois society!

Immediately, as entered the cafe, my ducks, my eardrums were trammalled by a blistering bickering two waitresses were lambasting each other with. The dialogue captured a torturous story of the fickleness and brutality of live lover/parasites who where bravely expelled from one woman's apartment, leaving her tragically with starving and intemperate children -- a story with tones of Tennessee Williams. Imagine; a story within the story of the cafe. I was totally caught off guard by the use of such an epic convention in what was apparently meant to be taken as a daily social setting.

Nor was I at all expecting the exotica smuggled into the menu as if standard fare. I finally settled on a dish (no doubt eastern European in origin but with an obvious modernist technique applied in the execution) called "biscuits & Gravy". Imagine, two huge wads of flour baked until brown, then torn open and centered in a huge plate, and then finally covered with a mixture of white sauce and broken up sausage links and patties doused with pig grease. Only a beatnik pill crazed Bohemian mind could have thought that would count as an adequate dining experience. It is just this deliberate refusal to inhibit the completion of an aesthetic concept which speaks to the existential ennui of modern society. No one could fail to be impressed with such culinary minimalism!

But the greatest highlight of all was the noirish centerpiece of the show! Just when things were getting slow in the plot and I was about to think this experience was going to fail my heightened expectations, some of the customers began to appear to get in an argument who were dressed in a regressive but titillating style of leather jackets and oilstained jeans. The timing of the drama was just perfect as the suspense crescendoed when one of them produced a revolver and began furiously pointing it at everybody and nobody. The other actors who were hired to play nondescript costumers nonetheless did a magnificent job creating a realistic ambiance of peril with outstanding realism -- no doubt they hire them from the fresh brilliant students at the Downtown University Theater Group. If this is there first staged appearance we can count on a new wave of great natural talent in the ensembles of the future.

They even penetrated the stage audience barrier. One of the talented toughs pointed the gun at me and growled "What the [deleted for prudes] are you smiling for, Liberace?" I tell you, sweetings, when you are looking down the barrel of such an prop so professional utilized, you feel the butterflies rippling up and down your inner thighs. I heard the hard metallic click of inevitable death when another character grabbed the arm of this own and pulled it up toward the ceiling. Kudos to the pyrotechnicians who pulled off such a magnificent job planting the charges in the ceiling to make the effect look so real.

I would love to tell you more, but as I had not expected that I would be in such an entertaining drama, I had to leave for as you know nature calls for all of us. During a particularly well choreographed action sequence involving most of the main characters and several extras arriving as policemen. I had to sneak away through the back as (of course!) the commodes were out of order. Still, it is a great reason to come back and see the show again.

Unfortunately, that will not be for awhile as driving by I noticed that Martineli's is closed indefinitely, no doubt refreshing the stage do get things ready for the spring theatre pilgrimage next year. But I so look forward to its opening show and I am sure I have enticed you darlings to see it with me. Until then, see you on Broadway.

"Inkity Pinkity"

Eye-glass history.