Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Patti Weekend

Well, after two three-day weekends in a row, I ought to get back to work, but first: What.A.Fabulous.Weekend.

It was a gorgeous and sunny and pleasant drive to Atlanta. Very little drama. I didn't have to shriek once and try to take the wheel from Carlos, so it was all good. 

After living all those years in Miami, inches away from a major metropolitan area, and now living in Smallville, roughly a century or so from city life, I always get a slight rush when Atlanta appears out of the window. Traffic and horns honking and crazy drivers. Love.It.

And loved the hotel. We've stayed at the Artmore two times now, and it's always such a pleasant stay, Very chic and friendly and fun. An old apartment building turned into a boutique hotel. Plus, it's a short walk to symphony hall for the main event.


But first, there was some tequila and beer and ceviche, which is always a good thing. We served ceviche at Cinco de Never and a few of the guests gave me the "Is that raw?" look, and it took some convincing to tell them that the salmon, and the shrimp, are 'cooked' in citrus juices. But they all tried it and loved it. This ceviche I had was ahi and shrimp, and as anyone who knows me knows, if there's ahi on a menu, I'm having it. Dee-lish. With some lime and a wee hint of mint, it tasted so good alongside a Reposado Margarita on the rocks with a beer chaser.

Then it was back to the hotel for a little cat nap and shower, and then off to see her.

What an amazing show. Row B, Seats 5 and 6. I swear, if Patti LuPone was a girl who spit, we were sitting close enough so she could spit on me. And that would have been okay. Carlos and I settled in our seats, and then, coming through the aisle to take the seats next to me, was an obviously gay man and his "date"; a woman in her forties, I'm guessing. They began to talk, and I began to eavesdrop. He's a big show queen, comes to see all the Broadway shows and divas as they visit Atlanta. He's a subscriber so he always gets a good seat. He's never been married, and judging by the bad dye job on his head, he's in his 50s or 60s. Note to him: if the hair is black and the eyebrows are grey, it's a dead giveaway. But I digress. They continued to talk, and giggle, and then snuggle. He slipped his hand into hers and with his other hand began caressing her knee.

Portia di Rossi DeGeneres! Is he straight?

Crazy. But he held her hand all through the show, though he did squeal like a schoolgirl when Patti began to sing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina'.

Carlos, on the other hand, found himself seated next to an older woman in a purple fedora. Lucky! And she was a character. Her name was Harriet and she's a big theater buff, and a little bit daft. In a good way. She introduced herself to us a couple of times, and asked Carlos his name twice, but she was a pistol. At one point, when someone was coming through our aisle, her daughter, seated next to her, said, "Walk your back, Mom" and Harriet looked at me and Carlos and said, "Is someone shooting?" Pistol.

But the real pistol was Patti LuPone. I thought she'd be amazing. She was amazing. I thought she's be funny. She was hysterical. i thought she'd be a diva. She wasn't.

After seeing, or hearing, that tape of Patti going all Diva on the theater-goer who brought a camera into 'Gypsy,' I laughed when, while singing "Just The Way You Look Tonight" Miss LuPone pulled out a camera and began taking pictures of the audience. She worked the stage, asking people to huddle together, and she even snapped a picture of Harriet, Carlos and me. Then she snapped a picture of herself as she hit that last note.

The show was called Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, and featured songs from musicals that Patti LuPone thought she could have been in, should have been in, was in, and will be in. At one point, she said she'd always wanted to be Marry Martin, or Cathy Rigby, or Sandy Duncan, and play 'Peter Pan,' but Broadway wanted her to be Ethel Merman. Then she sang 'Neverland' beautifully and proved she coulda been in that one. As the song ended, she said, "They didn't ask me to be in that one, they asked me to be in this one..." and stood center stage and raised her arms above her head. As the orchestra played the overture from "Evita,' a little long overture, Patti got a laugh when she turned one hand and glanced at her watch. Then she belted out 'Don't Cry For Me....'. Magic.

It was such a wonderful show. So funny, the tales of her life and her experiences in show business. and that voice. Chills. Big, ballsy. brassy Broadway belter. Such a wonderful night.

The downside? A woman behind us who seemed to think she was sitting in her living room and Patti was performing just for her. She kept talking to Patti like they were old friends. "I remember that, too" "I was there that night!" "We'd vote for you!" I gave the side-eyed-gay-sneer. Did.Not.Faze.Her.

Still. If you ever get the chance.....blibbety blah blay bue......go see La LuPone.

The next day we drove down to Piedmont Park and ate breakfast at the Flying Biscuit, and then headed up to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Back in Miami, we used to visit a place called Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Very tropical, of course, and peaceful. This place was just like that, with lovely trails and different gardens and waterfalls, and flowers and statuary and orchids. We wound our way through there for hours, spending a beautiful afternoon.

Such a lovely, peaceful day, after such a Diva-fied night.

Tequila. Patti LuPone. Ceviche. Showtunes, Orchids. Carlos. My kind of weekend.

How was yours?


twunty mcslore said...

Sounds amazing. Glad you had such a good time.

Is it okay if I admit to being a teensy bit jealous? I still remember the commercials for Evita on the one New York TV station we used to get here in Ohio 30 years ago. She was riveting in under 15 seconds, so she must have been fascinating for an entire performance.

queer heaven said...

I knew you would totally love her show. That is the same show she did here in Miami when I saw her the last time.

todd carr said...

Patti seems like a spitter, love that belt voice. wish I was there.

Joy said...

Sounds fabulous!! What a wonderful weekend you had!

designing wally said...

How wonderful for you two! I never had the occasion to see Patti, but it may happen...
Who knows???
Been to Fairchild a few times though, lovely.

Sean said...

Glad it was everything you wanted and more.

Maybe the date was in drag?

Robyn said...

Glad you had a great time. I was wondering the same thing Sean asked.

Bob said...

@ Sean and Robyn:
If that date was in drag, it was THE best drag queen I've ever seen.

It was a woman!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

What an awesome weekend you had :o)