Sondheim Tuesday questions, Steinway edition

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Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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43 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    Have you been to the Cubby Hole?

    I suppose the answer is my apartment alone because I am apparently super old-school/uptight and think that being around other people means a show of social decorum and such. The new way seems to be that you put on your PJs as soon as you get home and you invite other people to hang out in their PJs. I have an inner Parisian that screams at such casualiness*. I’ve even largely stopped wearing sneakers when out in public.

    I’ve been considering a post on this because of Bay to Breakers. Bay to Breakers is a 100 plus year race in SF. For an unknown but long time, the serious racers were followed by people in wacky costumes and then it just becomes a big druken party. I don’t mind the wacky costumes or public drinking. I do mind that a large group seems to get drunk enough that they think throwing glass bottles or shaken beer cans is a good idea. I see it every year. This year someone threw a glass bottle from a bus.

    So I am apparently a cranky person who needs to chill.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Wherever they will serve me at least 2 Jack and Cokes.Report

  3. I love the idea that there are gay country and western bars in NYC.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    Well, I don’t get out much now, so it’s wherever I can.

    But the other night I was reminiscing with some friends about a little local bar we used to go to that had a DJ that would dress up as a low-rent superhero (homemade spandex costume & eyemask + Chuck Taylors with leg warmers) and in between playing incredibly-eclectic tracks he would do games & trivia questions (for which you could win various themed, autographed kitschy knick-knacks he’d picked up at local thrift shops – we prized these items for many years) or mock-battle his equally low-rent supervillain nemeses (friends) on the dance floor.

    There was simply no need, or way, to be “cool” in such an environment. It was like a combination variety/game show/pro wrestling match/dance night. You had no choice but to participate and have fun.

    When I would tell people about this place they wouldn’t believe me; then I would take them and they would admit it was so much more than they had ever imagined (one friend just told me, “I want to live here.”)

    Dude moved away long ago, and the bar closed down. But that place ruled.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    One time, on a cruise ship during spring break, my crew of guys almost threw down with another crew of guys. All over how much we were going to embellish “Piano Man” at the ship’s piano bar. The pianist didn’t help matters, essentially egging the two groups on (which was grossly unprofessional given that we were on a cheap cruise ship laden with alcohol during spring break). Luckily, we avoided fisticuffs.

    I generally find I can be myself on a sporting surface of one kind or another. Colleagues who don’t know me are initially put off when I throw my body around wildly on the basketball court and curse the high heavens after poor plays. A good swath of Brooklyn was treated to me singing loudly as I ran the last 1/4 of the Brooklyn Half marathon, randomly taking breaks from my perfect form to wave my arms at the crowd, imploring them to cheer louder (“Shouldn’t he be focused on running?” “Whatever, he looks crazy. Don’t make eye contact.”) Zazzy was more than a little worried the first time she came to play touch football with my rec league team, especially after I managed to knock myself out of the game after laying out an opponent. You can’t hold back on the field/court/whatever. If you do, you lose. And while I’m not hyper-competitive, if I am participating in a legitimate competitive endeavor, I’m going to put my all into it.

    The other place would be the dance floor of a wedding with my Maryland friends. Shit gets hairy. We were actually approached by the owners of a venue once, asking if they could hire us out for other parties. “You guys organized your own congo line on the spot!” “Oh, that? We’ve been doing that for years. It’s second nature.”Report

    • I would run like hell from you after five seconds, assuming I was fool enough to agree to play sports with you in the first place.

      But the dance floor at a wedding, my friend? You. Are. On.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Mind you, I’m not a good dancer. But with a little bit of liquid courage, the right music, and the right crew of people… well, it gets ugly. Fast.

        And I would be delighted should we end up at a wedding together one day.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

      Shorter Kazzy: I’m not hyper competitive but if i’m playing a game, i’m hyper competitive and if you get in my way, me and my crew will dance all over you. (insert smiley face here)Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    “If what you want to do is stand around looking unapproachably hot”

    I do want this, and I try it every now and then. But no matter how many times I tell women walking by that despite what their eyes tell them I am actually unapproachably hot, they all just keep their distance.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Out of genuine curiosity, where do LGBT people go to drink when their goal is merely to imbue alcohol rather than socialize? straight person, there are bars I can go where the purpose is meeting people and others are just strictly for drinking? It seems to me that the LGBT community seems lacking in pure drinking bars. Correct me if I’m a wrong.

    I’m least inhibited at various dance parties. There I’m not on guard as much and freer in talking to people. Like Saul, I think that being in public does require a bit of decorum. I am not exactly a fan of public wildness in most situations.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      No bars are strictly for drinking. They’re all for carousing.
      (or at the very least giving you a bartender to talk to).
      However, sports bars are for a particular type of socializing.Report

    • I’m not sure quite what you mean by bars where people go strictly for the sake of drinking. You can go to any gay bar and order a drink and not socialize, pretty much the same as a straight bar. But it seems to me that the point of going to a bar, for straight people or gay people both, is to socialize a little bit. I can mix cocktails at my house if all I want is to drink.

      There are plenty of places in New York where I went and sat having cocktails in more or less chatty moods. Most of the ones I remember were in the East Village, Starlight and Wunderbar both springing to mind. But I usually went with the expectation that I might socialize while I was at it.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        There are drinking places where the alcohol is more or less a side. The main reason you go to them is to hang out, socialize, and pick up somebody if you have those sorts of capabilities. Than you have drinking places where alcohol is the main point. Either you go there to enjoy drink or to drown your sorrows in drink and socializing is the side. I’m wondering if there are any of the latter for the LGBT community.Report

      • I have been to many a straight bar, and have yet to encounter one where people sat around drinking without socializing at all.

        This is a thing? This is an appealing thing? Why?Report

      • Even in the seedy bars I used to represent, the regulars who show up at 10:00 a.m. would converse with one another, even if it was along the lines of:

        Early morning drunk #1: Heh. Hey guys, number six!
        Early morning drunk #2: [Laughs.]
        Bartender: [Laughs.]
        Early morning drunk #2: Yeah. Number eight. No, wait, number nine!
        [Uncomfortable pause.]
        Bartender: You’ve really gotta work on your timing with that one, Larry.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [W]here do you go to be unabashedly unencumbered in some way you usually keep under wraps? If one can be flamingly [your adjective], where can others toast imaginary marshmallows in the warmth of your glow?

    For me, the fill-in for [your adjective] is two things simultaneously “as snarky as I wanna be when I wanna be,” and “open and honest about my opinions and identity instead of diplomatic and universally pleasant.” Perhaps the summation word would be “uncloistered.”

    So makes the answer to the question becomes easy: the place where I can be flamingly uncloistered is Ordinary Times.Report

  9. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Disciplining myself to segregate my points into different comments…

    I’ve been to ones where people seemed to be having a good time, and others where the guys all seemed to want to do nothing but stand around and look attractive, waiting for someone they perceived to be equally attractive to approach them.

    How unimaginably dull. Perhaps very pleasant to look at, but one tires of that, and more quickly as one grows older. I confess I don’t quite know whether to feel reliant on stereotypes to imagine that the only song played in such a bar is this one, at maximum volume (video may be NSFW for particularly tame offices):

    Point is, looking but not touching does not sound like a recipe for an interesting evening out on the town.Report

  10. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Third and final point:

    I’ve always thought a piano bar sounded like a really fun night out. I’ve never found one in Los Angeles. Karaoke bars aplenty, but never a rowdy bar that regularly features a piano, a player, a tip jar, and a bunch of happy drunks making requests and singing along. Nor a quiet place with the player running through jazz standards and showtunes, surrounded by patrons flirting with one another over sophisticated cocktails, even in the lobby of a nice hotel. Either seem like they would be huge fun.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko says:

      A friend of mine recently landed a gig playing piano at a piano bar, though I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it since he started, so I’m not sure which of the two descriptions more closely match this place.Report

  11. Avatar veronica dire says:

    For me it really isn’t a place, but a mood. Some days I’m just lit up — and I don’t mean on drugs or anything. Just sometimes veronica dire is full on.

    It helps if I’m dressed kinda sexy, but that’s not required.

    It helps if I’m around cool people, but sometimes I do it alone on the train.

    Yeah, but the “stand around posing” crowd. I get it. I feel that way sometimes. But it ain’t ’cause I think I’m all that or anything. At those moments I’m terrified.

    But one cool person can break the ice, and then everything is wonderful.Report

  12. Avatar zic says:

    I guess I’d have to say Harry Brown’s Farm. Being the good Maine girl that I am, and a child of the ’70’s, and being a non-drinker. Here’s Harry, a Maine icon if ever there was one:

    Report

  13. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Gross. Homophobic. Juvenile. — RSReport

  14. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    @russell-saunders

    This one is for you:

    Report

  15. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Dancing, I can sometimes really forget about what others see when they look at me – let others worry about that, fully inhabit my own experience for a while. The ecstatic dance sessions I’m going to now are a wonderful opportunity to do that, in an environment where we’re all there for the same thing – no one is there to pick someone up, or sit in the back room chatting, or get wasted, or start a fight.

    Also here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXAwgZS9hss
    I’m not in that video, but that’s where I volunteer. Robert (who’s a wonderful, caring, charming person, and a joy to work with) describes some of what I love about the place.Report

  16. Avatar Patrick says:

    where do you go to be unabashedly unencumbered in some way you usually keep under wraps?

    This sorta presupposes that you usually keep thing under wraps,.Report

  17. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I have a better answer: Whenever I’m with Zazzy. And not just in the privacy of our home. Anywhere. I won’t say that the following situation is a daily one, but I will say it is a common one:
    Her: Why are you dancing?
    Me: Why shouldn’t I be dancing?
    Her: Because we’re in Target!
    Me: So?
    Her: You’re blocking the aisle!
    Me: But I love this song!
    Her: What song?!?! There’s no music playing!
    Me: Sure there is. Faintly. Over the loud speakers.
    Her: How can you hear that but you can’t hear me shouting from the other room?
    Me: If you sounded more like “Tainted Love”, I’d hear you every time.

    I can be a bit of a paradox. I’m very social and can be an open book, but I still keep people at arm’s distance. For instance, if you asked the people I work with about me, they’d say I am friendly, outgoing, quick with a joke, supportive, kind, etc. They’d know lots of trivia about me because I’m always telling stories. But I don’t really open up in a substantive way. I don’t let people in. So I also have the quasi-joking reputation as a heartless bastard incapable of feeling. But there is one colleague who I am very close with. Just yesterday I made a joke to her about not knowing what the word “heart” meant. She replied that she knows I have one because she’s seen me with Zazzy and Mayo and I wear it on my sleeve at those times.

    So, yea, when I’m with her. Ugh, now I hate her more than ever.Report

  18. Avatar Darwy says:

    Honestly, where I go to be me?

    The local bowling alley.

    Nothing but me, my balls and the oiled lanes…Report

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