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Some enchanted evening - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Some enchanted evening [Oct. 16th, 2003|10:18 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Some years ago I read book that featured one scene that has stayed with me. The protagonist's friend was famous for her dinner parties, for bringing together interesting, disparate people and artfully arranging them in a room to bring out the most fascinating aspects of each. Her choices sometimes seemed obscure or even ridiculous, yet proved to be brilliant, like a chef who uses an unexpected spice to bring out a surprising flavor.

Paulius, the owner of the Velvet Tango Room, could be this friend.

We came to the attention of Paulius when Ferrett's and my reviews of the Velvet Tango Room caused a ten-fold increase in his website hit rate. Following a referral back, he found our reviews and sent me an email thanking us for them. He also invited us to the annual Clam & Spam party, held for the benefit of the back room crowd. At $60 each, plus drinks, it was going to be a spendy weekday evening, but how could we resist? We RSVPed our appreciative acceptance.

Last night was the event, and we arrived at the VTR to something close to celebrity treatment. Paulius and his wife greeted us with gracious thanks and made us feel welcome, like it was a treat having us there.

But here's the great thing about the evening. They treated everyone just as well, showing affectionate regard for all their guests. We were seated in the "snark zone," close to where the cooking was occurring and able to overhear any sort of frustration, impatience, irritation that might have cropped up. And there was none. All I heard was concern for their guests and attention to detail.

When the cooking slowed down, Ferrett and I asked Paulius about the backroom membership. He sat down with us and explained that they have a policy of waiting until they feel that a front room patron "gets it" before extending a backroom invitation, and that there are some people who do their best to finagle an invite but just aren't the kind of people he wants back there. Though it wasn't said explicitly, it was obvious that the invitations had little to do with glamour or looks. There were a few beautiful people, but there were also plenty of average-looking folk. No, Paulius is looking for people who interest him, who have an indefinable spark. Who will, in short, be an asset to the backroom. It is clear that he's passionate about this club, and that the quality of the membership is far more important than the quantity. It's a business, yes, but it is also an avocation for him.

Currently the membership is about 35 people because of job transfers that diminished the ranks. A good number of them were there last night, and the ones we spoke to were gracious and interesting, a tribute to Paulius' taste in members. Within fifteen minutes, we had gotten a lead on writing opportunities in Cleveland, and it was clear that there will be friendly greetings when we return.

The evening went by too quickly, and the need to arise for morning meant we had to draw it to a close. To our complete surprise, we were told that the evening had been taken care of, that we had been the guests of the owner. We were delighted and humbled (and so shocked that we forgot to leave anything for the waitress - a horrendous oversight we'll correct the next time we visit). We departed to warm farewells and admonitions to return soon.

Believe me, we will.
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Comments:
From: genericrick
2003-10-16 08:39 am (UTC)
I love the concept behind that club! It's very Jazz Era-esque, while still maintaining a contemporary atmosphere. Even better, the idea that a manager of a club is actively supporting interaction and interesting conversation amongst his patrons is truly indicative of the amount of effort he puts into it. In being so overtly involved, the overall atmosphere must improve tenfold. :)

I wish they had places like that in Buffalo. :\
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-16 11:34 am (UTC)
"Everybody goes to Rick's"

I think he's creating atmosphere without the formality of bygone days. I'm grateful that our buddy Jeff spotted it and we are getting a chance to be a part of it.
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-10-16 08:48 am (UTC)
I bet you're really considering dropping some money for that membership now, huh?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-16 11:35 am (UTC)
The temptation level is rising, that's for certain.
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-10-16 10:05 am (UTC)
Some enchanted evening... we'll all have to meet for a cocktail. I live down the street for god's sake.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-16 11:35 am (UTC)
Definitely! When are you available?
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-10-17 12:54 pm (UTC)
Hm, well apparently I have acquired another job that will not afford me that knowledge until the start of the work week. *sigh* It all depends on whether or not we have any big parties booked.

I'm usually off on Mondays or Tuesdays. Either that or I can head out after work, but that can be as late as 12am. I guess I would have to let you know as soon as I know, which would be Monday evening. Sorry my schedule is so unpredictable.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-10-17 08:11 pm (UTC)
Our schedules are incredibly incompatible right now, what with school and the day jobs/night jobs thing, but I would be willing to set up a Tuesday night thing sometiems soon (not this week, since I am trying hard not to catch this damned cold, not next when I'm in the new office for the very first time). Otherwise, once you get a better idea of your schedule let's hook up for another night. Alas, I have such early mornings that the ultra-late is very tough to do.

But we'll figure something out, dammit!!!
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-10-18 10:32 am (UTC)
"But we'll figure something out, dammit!!!"

I hope so, that would be fun. By the way, I'm suffering from allergies and it feels like a cold, but it comes and goes. Maybe it's just that for you?
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