After attending Another Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story again,* with our London amigo and his Brooklyn Girlfriend, we got in a cab and London Host directed the driver to his undisclosed destination. He said, "We're going to a new restaurant in your neighborhood which I guarantee you've never been to, and haven't heard about."
He spoke truth. Tbilisi, named by the immigrants for the capital of their natal land, it had just opened.
The next best thing for getting an authentic sense of a place one knows nothing about, after going there oneself, is to have a good friend, who has excellent powers of observation and a good memory, who is bold and adventurous culturally and linguistically, who also has native guides, to tell you about their journey and experiences. London Host and Girlfriend are all of these. As well, since he's a music professional, like all musicians, he slides effortlessly into local non-tourist experience. Music and food are two of the very best ways to get to know a strange place. They are also the fastest ways -- particularly as they are part of the language of the place.
London Host and Girlfriend had spent some splendid days in Georgia as he conducted a Masterclass in London's Underground Music of the 60's at the Batumi International Art-House Film Festival, Georgia. He's also doing a massive study of the conceptual underpinning of "world music" thus he has been visiting points east of Europe frequently lately. That's the story of how we got to this restaurant.
Meat-centric, the menu didn't have the appeal for me that other sorts of nationality cuisines might, nevertheless it mattered not, as it was the company. The wines are what are interesting, as this region, on the Black Sea, sharing borders with Turkey, has been producing wines since ancient times, while also since ancient times, been on the trading routes among Europe, the Middle East and Asia -- and even Africa, re Egypt. London Host and Girlfriend were excellent guides to the wine menu.
We got home around 1:00 AM. Lo and Behold, the modem lights were all on.
I'd just about adjusted to being internetless and thinking it was OK -- except I was worried about winter and how cold the walk would be to the library, and would I slip and fall on ice, while carrying my computer?
Nine days. Will we ever learn the truth of what happened? After I called TW once again late yesterday afternoon, after several runarounds, which meant starting all over again each time, I got connected to a real person who told me the problem was -- get this -- a scheduled outage, in order to upgrade the cables and wires throughout our neighborhood. The work for this project was scheduled to be completed by 7 PM last night and our services would all be resumed. She would call me around PM, when that happened, if I liked. But I was going to be in the theater, so my phone would be off.
If -- big if -- that was true, why weren't we informed this was going to take place, so we could have made plans and not pulled out our hair and wasted endless minutes of our cell phone service on phoning TW over these last 9 days?
Is the answer because as customers we must, in person, to a real person, demand we not be charged for the days without service?
But -- is what I was told even true?
* It was so much fun to see this show this time in London Host's company, because he too knows why Jerry Wexler is the satan of this tale. If you know anything at all about American pop music in the 20th century, you know the moment Jerry Wexler appears in the life of an artist or a label, it's the trump of doom for the artist and the label. What a thug.
This time around JS informed BS's kids, who are instrumental in this jukebox musical getting produced, and are now attempting to raise money to take it to Broadway, that we'd be there. So we learned when they called out el V by name, and wanted to talk about the show and music with him and with London Host as well. They are so stoked about this show. Very nice people.
Their mother, Ilene Berns, hasn't seen it yet. Bette Midler told them the other night when she attended that their mother is going to shoot them .... I hope not. The amount of ovarian power in music on that stage, particularly in the second half,
in which the singer-actress, Linda Hart, playing Mrs. Berns, does her let-it-rip blues, "Liar," ought to make her feel redeemed.