Sunday, September 12, 2010

Anthony Bourdain Woke Me Up Early

I woke up thinking about writing and also that I had to meet someone at the gym and then meet with one of my writing groups and after that meet someone else, briefly, plus grade a poopton of papers AND get them entered electronically (deadline: Monday) and translate them into the new district-mandated, supposedly-objective but as it's turning out WILDLY subjective and bizarre grading "system". . . then I tried to go back to sleep. Five hours is not enough sleep for what I have to do.

Then I thought about writing again. Thought about how I'd gotten up at four every morning for over two years, reading and writing harder than I ever had, scaling back on the "busi-ness", saying no to a lot of things I say yes to now. And how good it felt. So I got up.

I thought I could start with yesterday, and am putting aside the nagging manuscript revision that I'm halfway through. I was halfway through it five weeks ago, too, but there's been a lot of happy hullabaloo to be busy with and so. For now, I'll write about yesterday.

The day started with a bookmaking workshop for educators at the Kaneko (cool place! Very cool place!) with Gary Frost and his partner Joyce Miller. I made a book! Actually, three little ones, one of them hardbound. No words yet.

Then I went to an Eid feast with my sister's new family. Actually, they are my new family, too, cause that's how they roll, and I'm good with it. There is a wonderful healing feeling spending September 11 in the home of kind Muslims. When I get caught up, I'll tell you about the wedding. (That's the sisters, old and new, down there.)

Finally, I slipped out early with my niece Fran and we raced down to the Holland Center to see the deliciously irreverent and hot-from-afar Anthony Bourdain. These tickets were purchase by her mother/my sister many months ago because Fran and I both love him; Kathleen also (most generously) obtained some of the coveted meet-and-greet after party tickets, but even without that, the seats were amazing.

If you've never been to the Holland Center, it's a gorgeous venue, an acoustic dream of pale wood and subtle lighting, more suited to Yo Yo Ma than a punk iconoclast food writer. All these months waiting, I kept thinking, "Bourdain at the Holland? What the hell?" I guess since cutting back on the cable channels I'd managed to forget he was a TV star. But when he walked out and the crowd went wild. . . well, he's a rock star, and for the next couple of hours, he never let us down. Started out sharing stories about embarrassing run-ins with people he'd publicly slammed (i.e. Rachel Ray and suchlike.) Moved on to snarky Food Network gossip (I know almost none of the food stars he was talking about, but it was still funny) and then to personal tales. Ranting, wicked, he was ON.

But here's the meat of it: As punky and ranty as he can be, he's deep down a very old-fashioned guy. Food and people matter; treated with respect, they enrich our lives. (Oh yeah! See "Eid feast" above.)

Anthony Bourdain has grown in his travels, matured with fatherhood, thrown away the earring and the Ramones t-shirts. He still drinks too much and still seems to think that's the only way to do his job (and that's where the not-as-hot-up-close factor really goes geometric) but he still occupies a dark little table in my heart, holding forth over a grappa or a pint of Guiness. So yesterday was a good day. And I'm late for the gym.

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Ex-in-the-City said...

OOh. You've made me hungry. ;)

Anonymous said...

September 12th? You must be as crazy busy as I am. :-)