I’m literally lame but found figurative fame through my weaving of words and my gist of the game.
The First of December was a sunny Saturday, so I sauntered down to the Old Port to sate my gluttony. I’m a sucker for buffets, and The Porthole, on Custom House Wharf, has the kind of breakfast buffet that triggers my lizard brain. I giddily piled up pancakes, above-average French toast, veggie-littered homefries, a mess of eggs and a whole bunch of pastries. As I was eyeing my food like a blood-hungry shark, I noticed the happy family a few tables over. The affable husband and well-behaved child were joined by the mother, a woman as lovely as a plum tree after a mild summer rain. Because I am a tactless nincompoop, I got the man’s attention when his wife left the table and told him he was a damn lucky guy. He grinned and nodded agreement as we exchanged enthusiastic thumbs-up.
The father and I exchanged a few affable words when the family left, and after finishing my Sisyphean meal I bugged my friendly waitress for the check only to be told the family had already paid for my breakfast. Why am I rewarded for exhibiting questionable social behavior? Is it because I’m so damn cute?
On Dec. 8, I went to the State Theatre to see the Talking Heads cover band Start Making Sense. As regular readers know, I’m a junkie for ’80s music, so this band was right up my alley! When I got to the ticket window to fork over my cash, the gentleman behind the glass handed me a ticket and said, “You’re all set, Cory.” My birthday was a few days prior, so I assembled a mental list of the likely culprits.
The Portland band SeepeopleS opened the show, with Will Bradford on guitar and vocals, a seasonally mustachioed Ian Riley on bass, and Dan Capaldi punctually punctuating the drama on drums. They played a hard set that included a few luscious covers and their capstone song, “New American Dream.” Start Making Sense hails from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and frontman Jon Braun is so spot-on as David Byrne that it’s spooky.
The following Wednesday I went to Blue to see what was billed as an “Anti-Christmas-Music Extravaganza” featuring local trio The Shank Painters. Female bandleader Captain Nobeard plays the accordion, Baron von Bellows is the sprite fellow on guitar, and Lady Wenchly plays tambourine and flute. Dressed as pirates, they played a treasure trove of bawdy old sea shanties. The audience was well behaved at first, but as the music and libations kicked in they got feisty and gladly sang along — even a sober old doter like myself got into the spirit!
All week long I tried to deduce who’d gotten me that ticket at the State Theatre, but my investigations hit dead ends and all my suspects claimed innocence. The next Saturday, the 15th, I went back to the State to see The Fogcutters Superfantastic Christmas Extravaganza. I got to the ticket booth and again the ticket dude gave me a free one. Had I become a charity case? I now surmise that the source of the free tickets is either someone in the State Theatre hierarchy whom I have unknowingly made a good impression upon, or the affable ticket dealer himself. Whoever my secret admirer is, I sincerely thank you!
The Fogcutters is a 19-piece jazz band whose members hail from all over Portland’s musical map. As always, the show was hosted by Megan Joe Wilsonand Chas Lester. Special guests this year included Phil Divinsky, Sara Hallie Richardson, Anna Lombard, Dilly Dilly, Gina Alibrioand Zach Jones. Tony McNaboe returned to play the role of the lovably annoying Uncle Maurice, joined this year by trombonist Jamie Colpoys as Maurice’s girlfriend Tammy. The show ended a hair before 10, so I took advantage of the ice-free sidewalks to navigate to Flask.
My eyes were casually taking in the roomful of beauties when one girl in particular caught my eye. She was super graceful despite her restrictively tight clothing, and when she saw me looking at her she looked right back at me. Social manners prescribe that when a cute girl catches you looking at her, you look away. But because I’m a mischievous imp, I just kept looking at her, and she did the same.
I’m about as romantic as a clogged toilet, so I just nodded and laughed in thanks for playing my game. The spell broken, the princess ran over and gave me a lingering hug, kissed me on the forehead, and told me I was a beautiful person. My face crimsoned, but despite my shyness I returned the forehead kiss and laughingly told her that she too was a rare sparkle of beauty, and that I appreciated the attention.