A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back in My Own Little Corner

Now I know how Cinderella must have felt the day after the ball, when, with memories of her glittering gown and her handsome prince and her night out among the VIPs still fresh in her mind, she found herself back at the hearth, scrubbing her fingers to the bone.

Not that my pretty wonderful life feels like hearth-scrubbing, but I am suffering from a sort of withdrawal from the heady, glamorous, rather unreal-seeming activities of last night.  On most Sunday evenings, I find myself lying on the couch in my sweats, reading a mystery novel while my chihuahuas groom themselves underneath the tatty old afghan they share with me.

So how on earth did I find myself yesterday evening, well past my usual bedtime, dancing to classic disco hits alongside Broadway stars and drinking glass after glass of champagne with a gorgeous dame on my arm?  And was that enormous pink sparkly high-heeled Manolo pump merely a figment of a temporarily delusional state?

Michael decidedly outside his element.  (But looking pretty happy about it....)
As most of my readers have already read about on Peter's blog, we suddenly and unexpectedly received tickets to the opening of Broadway's newest musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, based on the movie.  (Lest you think I have forgotten how to punctuate an appositive phrase, the comma in the title was daringly (and erroneously) discarded for the stage version.)  These were no ordinary tickets, folks.  Since Peter's blog and videos had captured the attention of none other than the scenic designer of this production (whose credits include Tony-Award-winning plays as well as The Rocky Horror Picture Show), we were granted front row center seats in the balcony and passes to the after-party.  It pays to have a talented partner.  (Especially one who can also sew, accessorize, and model a stunning vintage frock.)

So, from 6:30 to 9 or so, we found ourselves clapping along to disco classics belted out by an ensemble of hunky if over-waxed men in drag.  I am embarrassed to name-drop, but when the hell else am I going to be able to mention passing Bette Midler, Heidi Klum, or Kathleen Turner on the stairs at a theater?  (I am sure they would have been much more conversational if they hadn't been struck with so much seat-envy after seeing where we were sitting.  I guess as producer of this show, Ms Midler could have expected that she would have earned the right to sit front row center of the balcony.)

After the show, we returned home to give the dogs a chance to "stretch their legs" (the canine equivalent of powdering one's nose).  Once home, I was overcome by the inertia of habit.  I got comfy on the couch — that afghan must have narcoleptic properties like a field of Oz-ian poppies — and had to be cajoled into dragging myself out to the party "for just 45 minutes."  I sighed — loudly — to indicate my irritation as I pulled my tuxedo jacket back on and we grabbed a cab over to the riverside nightclub where the party was being held.  I couldn't wait to get back home and change into my bedtime boxers.

Well, once we got to the party, I was sucked into a vortex of fabulosity by the comely girls...

...and the glamorous stars....

...and the crowds of beautiful people on the dancefloor...

...and the food, dear readers, the food.  Of which I forgot to take a single picture.  D'oh!  I have a FOOD blog, I'll have to remember in the future.

In the Aussie spirit of the show, the caterers had put out huge platters of shrimps (presumably fresh off the barbie) and other down-under delicacies.  We nibbled at the offerings, but were a little too overcome by the unaccustomed excitement of the event to have much of an appetite.  Mostly, I quaffed champagne and plundered the myriad dessert trays being carted around by staff, loaded up with meringue truffles and walnut brownie bites and mango/raspberry tartlets and mini espresso cheesecakes and peanut butter bars and......well, you get the idea.

To tell you the truth, I was in an obsession-fueled search after a cupcake.  I'd had these — my favorite desserts — on the brain ever since the scene in Act 2 in which half-naked men whose other halves were festooned with enormous green-frosted cupcake costumes were dancing around the stage to "I Will Survive."  Or was it "It's Raining Men"?  Or "I Like to Boogie"?  In retrospect, the whole mind-blowingly colorful and riotous show has jumbled together in my head.  Anyway, I was firmly in the mood to consume a cupcake — if not a cupcake-adorned hunk.  Finally, I spied a multi-tiered platter situated atop an internally illuminated mini-grand piano model which was — YES! — piled high with tiny green cupcakes.

Sadly, these cupcakes must have been made out of the same materials as the cupcake costumes.  They tasted just awful, which surprised me, since everything else had been so delicious.  They probably would have been more palatable eaten off a chorus boy.

By the way, have you seen a chorus boy recently?  When did they start looking like olympic gymnasts?  It used to be that "all" you had to do to be in a Broadway show was sing, dance, and act.  Now, along with all that, you have to look like Mitch Gaylord.  Only more muscular.  And handsomer.  Even among opera singers, this seems to be the trend.  But you won't hear me complaining about Don Giovannis looking like this:

Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Aussie bari-hunk) as Mozart's lecherous Don.  Probably well worth descending into hell for.  But now I'm way off topic.  
After a couple of hours at the party, Peter managed to drag me (no pun intended) towards the exit, as I desperately continued to snap pictures of fancily coiffed and dressed revelers and people I mistook for celebrities.  But I just know that was Cameron Diaz in the multi-colored mini-dress.  Or maybe Reese Witherspoon. Or Kristin Chenoweth.  Or maybe I was just disoriented by the unaccustomed drama of my evening.

Just as we departed — wondering if we'd ever have another chance to attend the royal ball — the security guard planted at the door to keep people like us from crashing the party took this, um, parting shot:

With a little bit of time having intervened, I'm able to look on our magical evening with a bit of objectivity.  It's amusing to see how jaded me, who considers himself a bit too evolved for the surface-y world of show biz, got so completely electrified in the midst of the celebrities, the music, the lights, the glamorous clothing, the fancy food, the open bar, the sequins, and the undeniable energy of a roomful of people dedicated to the prospect of having a glorious time.

I'm realizing that my truth may not be as simple as I thought.  I do prefer — most evenings — to read or study or write while rubbing a canine belly.  But certainly there is room in my life for a little more of the hyperbolic, and I am hungry for my next course, as it were.  This recent opportunity fell into our laps, or at least into mine, but I may have to figure out how to inveigle my way into my next A-list party.  Or similarly outrageous experience.

I might start by allowing myself to dress a little more outrageously, like those stunning boys and girls (of all genders) at the party, or the gorgeous peacock of a young man who works as a greeter at my gym dressed in one-of-a-kind outfits and dyeing his blond locks electric colors to match.  I realize that I am a bit older than most of these peacocks, but something woke up in me at that party — I want to have more celebration in my life, and this could include how I dress.  Why shouldn't every one of us have the opportunity to go over-the-top, at least once in a while?

It's all part of my new, not-saving-the-saffron approach to life.  Stay tuned....


  1. Michael, I loved hearing your rendition of the evening. You looked smashing in your tuxedo and you and Cathy surely were the handsomest couple at the ball.

    I am making 300 cupcakes for my son's wedding this summer. I tested out a recipe yesterday made with Guinness, Irish Whiskey and Baily's. Pretty darn delish...wish you lived closer.

    When I turned 50, I had this amazing revelation that I was happy just being me. Just the revelation gave me more freedom and happiness than I ever thought it could.

    It may be nice for you to give some color to your life, if it make you happy...as for me, to quote Mr. Rogers.."I like you just the way you are".

    Now I need to go find my saffron and make a lovely dinner with it.

  2. Part of life's happiness (the lion's share, I like to think), is not denying yourself what makes you happy. This often flies smack in the face of things we THINK are supposed to make us happy (or aren't). Loved!!! this entry and look forward to your report from the party of "How To Succeed..." or perhaps the White Party, or the new ballet composed by Sir Paul McCartney or wherever your new saffron infused hysteria takes you.

  3. having fun? now you're evolving.

  4. Wonderful post-party posting! Sounds like this is a turning point for the 'I'm-going-to-loaf-on-the-couch-with-my-dogs' in you!

    Oh no! Will Cathy now have to share the spotlight with you?! Can her precious ego handle that? Will her the claws come out? The suspense! The anticipation! The excitement of what is yet to come!

    Can't wait to read what happens next!

  5. I love it, Michael!! Oh the food!! (Shame about the cupcakes - blech!)

    You look very handsome and dashing in your tuxedo and the ideal escort for Cathy.

  6. @Sassy: When you turned HOW old? From your avatar pic, I'd always assumed you were in your late 20s. In any case, I am thinking that my next hyperbolic experience should be to visit you the next time you whip up a batch of 300 cupcakes. Bailey's....mmmmmmmm. I enjoyed your blog today, and found it astounding to consider that Peter and I are being discussed around at least one dinner table in the world.

    @Jeff: Perhaps the saffron-yellow brick road will lead me to wondrous experiences right in my own neighborhood.....

  7. Teddy Tahu Rhodes is a Kiwi, born and bred in Aotearoa. :)

  8. "but something woke up in me at that party — I want to have more celebration in my life, and this could include how I dress. Why shouldn't every one of us have the opportunity to go over-the-top, at least once in a while?"

    I'm new to your blog but this statement touches something for me.



  9. @Christopher: oops. how embarrassing. I suppose it's very American to confuse Australia with New Zealand. Thank you for setting me straight. (as it were)

    @Carla: Thank YOU for writing in. I hope you find a lot to relate to in my blog.

  10. By the way, I have remembered the song the cupcake boys danced to in the show: MacArthur Park. You remember — "Someone left the CAKE out in the rain...."

  11. It's so fun to read both your and Cathy's accounts of such an amazing, fantastic, incredible, gorgeous night! I would have made a GIGANTIC ass of myself in front of Bette Midler AND Kathleen Turner. I'm just that sort of hussified fangirl. Glad you held it together better than I. (insert Kathleen's amazing eyebrows here.)

    I'm glad you avoided the pull of the couch to go have fun. Live it up, DAH-ling!

  12. Ah - you're rendition of the evening is lovely - you guys look so great together! I totally laughed over your unwillingness to leave the house again after the show. I would know to not let MY dan into the house for fear we'd never leave again... (you wait here, I'll take Lucy out and be right back...) I'm glad you were convince-able!