Saturday, March 26, 2011

Simpatica Dining Hall (03-26-11)

Gary got a new job after an anxious period of unemployment, so we really had to celebrate the event.

We went to Simpatica Dining Hall, for a menu that featured barbecued meats. But, ah... Let me tell you, we had a regal time! I can get lyrical about food, but the deviled egg with smoked tuna topped with crispy shallots were a perfection, with this slight smokey flavor mixing with the whites of the eggs...

The concept centers around an-ever changing weekly menu, and seating is by reservation only. The setting is a narrow room in the basement of an old building in SE Portland. The food, consisting of a three-course dinner, is served at common tables, so people can talk with each other. It's a fun place, alternating between noisy animated conversations and reverential awe whenever a new course is brought out.
Some of our table companions
From the corner where I was sitting at the back corner of the room, I had a great view of everything, and enjoyed engaging in small talk with Gary, meeting new people, and leisurely drawing in my sketchbook.

We may try to go back for our anniversary, to celebrate our 30 years together...

80s Video Dance Party at the Crystal Ballroom (03-26-11)

Party on! This time, my friend Sian A. and I went to a late dance party at the Crystal Ballroom, consisting of old music videos from the 80s (they apparently do these dances every week).

I had lots of fun! But it was a challenge to watch the screen, dance on the famous bouncing wooden floor, and draw in my sketchbook, all at the same time.

I was wearing a black skirt and a ruffled green and black blouse and my (mostly) comfortable black high heel mary janes. I was felling pretty cool, and not the worse looking of the aging baby boomers present. But after a while, I had to take my shoes off because I couldn't feel my toes anymore... Yikes! They were totally numb!

So I danced in my stockings, holding the shoes and the sketchbook in one hand, drawing with the other hand... The crowd was super-enthusiastic, shouting away the words of the songs and jumping at the beat in unison. I could feel myself bounce up in the air without any effort, on a floor set on springs that was increasingly getting wet from the dorks who were nonchalantly holding their drink in hand. When some idiot finally spilled his cup on my feet, I decided to put the shoes back on, pain or no pain.

A challenge: to sketch while dancing!
Sian danced the whole night away; she was obviously having a good time, and she knew all the songs. It's funny how Michael Jackson has become popular again; every song of his that was played was met with an unreserved roar of approval from all, especially Thriller. Dying, even in a stupid manner, is obviously a great marketing tool.

At some point, I took a break to look at my sketch close to a light. Not bad. I added some shadows here and there and the colors of the lights later on, but it is pretty much the way it was.

Sian dancing on the right

I did this sketch while standing under one of the two large Murano glass chandeliers that hand over the ballroom.
A different view of the same thing...
While I was sitting down, some guy came to ask me to dance; I politely refused and thanked him. I had to suppress a laugh when he reappeared twice afterward, talking away like I knew him. When I pointed at my ears, to show I couldn't understand anything, he looked irritated with me and left (good riddance).

The blog author and her friend
We left after the last song was played (at 1:30 a.m.). To get the beer or whatever that was off my feet, I took a shower as soon as I got home and finally went to be at 3:00 a.m., exhausted but exhilarated because this was a lot of fun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Movie: The Big Lebowski (03-20-11)

A quick sketch done while watching The Big Lebowski, a hilarious movie, which, I must admit, I hated the first time I saw it (just like Animal House).

The Dude Abides!
Anyway, what can I say? I am not going to go into an analysis explaining why and make apologies for now liking this buddy movie about bowling losers.