Graham and I went to see Anthony Bourdain at the Fox last night. It was pretty much what I expected, other than he talked more about travel than about food and the industry (which is probably my fault for expecting differently because I haven’t read Medium Raw yet). Some of the jokes were recycled from old books, but they were told in that sadistically gleeful way he has of speaking. If you’ve seen the show, you know the manner. And we got to go to the Fox, which for all of you who aren’t from St. Louis, is a grand old theatre built in 1927 with an interior best described as schizophrenic baroque. There is stuff everywhere – reliefs carved into walls, statues shoved into alcoves built into the walls and sometimes the ceilings, chandeliers that could crush your entire family, and two gigantic lions with blinking eyes that flank an enormous grand staircase.
When you go to the Fox, it’s best to dress up because it just kind of feels like you should. Those of you who know him through me would be surprised to know that Graham loves to get dressed up. It helps that he’s built for suits; you’d think he’s only comfortable in stuff he can ride a bike in, but when he puts on a jacket (Misfits button on the lapel, naturally)…hot damn. At one point last night, I turned to him and said, “You look so handsome right now.”
As gross as I know this sounds, I kind of can’t wait to walk down the aisle with him at Ian and Shannon’s wedding. There’s a bridesmaid/groomsmen imbalance (more men than women, can you believe), so I’m walking down with Graham and Ryan. Both are taller than me even in heels, which makes me feel better because once I get up to the altar, I’ll be standing between a 9-year-old and a 14-year-old. I’m kind of a giant as it is, so during the vows I’ll be thinking in my T-Rex voice, “I AM A BRIDESMAID, RAAAWWWWR.”
Anyway. The point is that Graham will look superfine in that suit, and I relish every opportunity to say “hubba hubba” in public. Especially about my boyfriend, to whom I am supposed to be attracted all the time anyway, but we’ve been together for almost 4 years so you know how that goes sometimes.
Actually, the point was seeing Anthony Bourdain at the Fox, so I should probably get back to that thread I lost:
The speaking part itself was good, the seats were excellent, and I lovelovelove the dust-swirly atmosphere of the Fox stage. It’s just…I have to complain about something, right, because this is my blog and that’s what I do. BUT it didn’t have anything to do with anything Anthony Bourdain said, because he’s a little but of a hero of mine and if I were still bartending and he came into my bar, I’d spot him a couple of the best gin and tonics I’ve ever made.
It wasn’t his speaking that was the thing, it was the audience’s reaction to what he said. Graham and I were all dressed up, but I swear we were in the midst of a bunch of shrieking, poop-throwing chimpanzees. They hooted with laughter at the unfunny things because…well, I guess because he’s a celebrity. They howled whenever he said a curse word, which, dudes, I love using and hearing profanity, but the word “fuck” by itself is not funny. “Fuck” can be used in an unfunny sentence and still not deserve a laugh.
These people were cracking the fuck up at everything, and the worst offender was a hyperactive 12-year-old in a 40-year-old man’s body sitting right behind us. He was accompanied by a woman who laughed a little more politely but had a habit of agreeing with things in a very vocal way.
“YEEEEE-HAW!” she screamed at one point when Anthony Bourdain said they were scheduled to do a show in Arkansas and Missouri.
Christ god, I thought. I have got to get out of this motherfucking hillbilly state. But then I was like, Wait a minute. I’m in the city. I live here. This rodeo clown lady is on North Fucking Grand, who does she think she is?
It was then that I realized I was outnumbered, and that once again, I was in a public place where I hated everyone. Except for Graham. And Anthony Bourdain. And the couple next to me, who sat very politely and didn’t shoot any guns into the air.
THEN the Q&A session began. Q&A sessions always make me nervous. I never have a question to ask so it’s not that, but even when I’m in the privacy of my own living room watching An Evening With Kevin Smith, it makes me cringe to watch sycophantic idiots stand there and ask boneheaded questions. Almost all of which, by the way, start with “I love you!” or “We are so honored that you chose to be here!”
Wait a minute. Pump the brake. Slow your roll. I don’t love Anthony Bourdain, okay? I like and am entertained by him, and I wouldn’t mind getting totally shitfaced with him if the cameras were off. But I don’t love him because I don’t love anybody I don’t even know (aside from Keith Richards, obviously). I am also not honored that he chose to come to St. Louis, because really? What century is this? Is he a good luck charm and now all of our economic and social problems will vanish? Quit speaking in platitudes and read something other than a romance novel, you fucking twit.
Oh god, the questions. So repetitive, so pandering, and so rehearsed. So full of ridiculous sentiment and baffling to me in only the way that assumed familiarity with celebrity is. I wouldn’t mind going out and getting hammered with the guy over some meat and cheese products, but I am not about to offer him my number. Because I don’t know him. He doesn’t know or want to know me. He is doing his job, and I am fully aware that his job – writing in books, being on TV – does not make him my close personal friend. Get over it, you weirdos.
And stop telling the man where he should eat while he’s here. He said he got in a couple of hours ago and was leaving early in the morning, and all he was likely to eat was the minibar. I swear to god, person who shouted “Imo’s!” I will hunt you down and murder the balls out of you and your family.
AND the kid who was allegedly diagnosed with leukemia and this was the leadoff to the question? Come on. What kind of parents send their kid up to ask that question? Though I will say, Bourdain’s answer was as tactful and succinct as I’d hoped: “Best of luck with that.”
And lastly, you life story prefacers can jump off a fucking balcony. These are the speedtalkers who being with “First, I have three questions” and then launch into a pointless retelling of their life thus far only because it involves a country where he’s been. It contributes nothing to the story and you could see the look on that poor man’s face glaze over like it’s a first date and he’s trapped at a nice restaurant listening to this monster go on and on about themselves until they’re blue in the face. At which point, they will take a deep breath and keep. Fucking. Talking.
All of this probably reads like I had a bad time, but I didn’t. We had a terrific dinner beforehand (there may still be some lamb fat between my teeth), it’s a beautiful theatre and the show was a good one. Then we went to Riley’s for a Guinness, and this morning I slept until 9am instead of the usual 8am, which was kind of a miracle that totally pissed off The Cat, who spent close to an hour with his face at the bottom of the door yowling at me for no reason other than he wanted to hang out.
So it was a good time, really, and I hope Anthony Bourdain enjoyed the fuck out of that minibar.
(cross-posted to the original Ephemera Etc.)