“The Theatre, The Theatre…. What’s Happened to the Theatre?”


Over the weekend, Mrs. E. and I were fortunate enough to be invited to see a premier at our Barksdale Theatre. The show was written by the man who won an Oscar for the screenplay adaption of “The Motorcycle Diaries.” Historically, our premiers go on to do fairly well in the big cities (“Red Hot and Cole” for example.) “Boleros for the Disenchanted”, I’m sure, will follow suit. At the intermission, the guitarist and the singer who were also a part of the play entertained us with boleros whilst The Latin Ballet of Virginia danced their version of the dance.

The title of this post comes from the opening to a Danny Kaye number from “White Christmas.” I like that picture. But I like escapist fare, a good production number or two, some witty dialogue and a happy ending. For those keeping score, “Boleros for the Disenchanted” did have a dance number, some funny moments, incredible performances and sort of a downbeat ending. It is, after all, “serious theatre.” There’s a lot of it out there, Drama.

Serious or not, I tend to dress for the theatre. That’s a live performance with actors working hard for your applause. Dressing makes it an occasion.

The house manager, the producer and I were in ties.


(N.B. clicking through to the photo attachment page will give you another photo that you may click to see a larger image. I’m working on getting a single click to do that. In the photo above: blue three rolls to two button worsted suit, blue spread collar, French/double cuff shirt, navy cashmere knit tie, navy pocket square with mini square pattern in red. Vintage broken coat Parsons Jack Russell Terrier in tricolour.)

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The Italian Job


It’s far too warm to be wearing this, but there you have it. I’ll change before the theatre tonight anyway. I thought I’d give you a glimpse of the current Italian silhouette in trousers. Courtesy of Brooks Brothers. Yes, that B-Squared. The cut of the corduroys is called the “Milano” and is their trimmest and most form fitting, lowest rise trouser. Far less comfortable than traditional trousers, their main attraction is … errrr …. attraction. It is hard not to get noticed in trousers that are flamboyantly coloured and cut.

The chief difficulty with them, once you manage to pull them on, is finding a suitable sportscoat to wear with them. It must be a bit shorter and certainly cut on the trim side. This is the closest I have in the closet, an Neopolitan made Isaia. And as long as you’re in for the colourful ride, a bit topside works well, too.

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I Went to a Garden Party

That title is a little misleading. Mrs. E. and were fortunate enough to be invited to a private concert, held in the gardens of a home not far from The Manse.

While the music wasn’t the sort that we would normally choose to listen to, it was nonetheless fantastic. Authenticity is never to be missed. Tim Grimm, writer and performer of classic Americana ballads, is nothing if not authentic. He chucked in a film career in Hollywood to get back to a simpler way of life and write his music. Up close, in a quiet garden with about 40 people listening, he could interact with his audience and drew us all in with his story telling. For a brief instant I felt like packing it in and heading for the country myself. That moment passed. I am a city dweller and suit wearer. But that’s how charismatic the man is.

I bring all this up, because I can’t remember the last time I attended a private concert. I think it is a wonderful idea for a party; especially if you have friends who play music. Follow the simple blueprint of the party we attended for a guaranteed success.

Inside the sun room were two tables, one set up with wine and glasses, the other with Bloody Mary makings and ice. Continuing in to the dining room, a buffet luncheon of four different quiches, an orzo salad, a green salad, fruit tray and small desserts was arranged on sideboards and the dining table. The china was mixed, as were the napkins and cutlery. (The food was all homemade — 15 quiches were baked in all.)

Outside a table was set up with a few cold patés and dips, soda and bottled water and ice. A wheel barrow held ice and bottled beer. Hired banquet chairs were arranged in a semi-circle facing the performance space. Several occasional tables and the garden furniture had been pressed into service as well. Plenty of shade was provided by mature trees and sunshine was welcome on a breezy 72ºF day.

Inside, you could have much the same setup and invite fewer people if seating is an issue. But the combination of good food, friends and live music is hard to beat. This year at New Year’s, I’m going to see if we can cajole a friend or two to sit down at the piano with the Cole Porter Songbook… Think about hosting your own private concert.

Mr. Grimm… from that party. Thanks Jon!

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