Wednesday, September 02, 2009
"Tales crowd is doing its best to kill the night and greet the morning" Around 6 Am or so some stripper from a local club (sorry won't say which) tried selling my English mate some methedrine (his accent marked him as not from around there and unlikely as law enforcement ). He had an outstanding rejoinder (no wonder he gets all the action) No, thank you. I deal in something much more dangerous - alcohol but I do it very responsibly (went on to explain bartending) chatted up the two pneumatic blondes quite nicely for a bit. Finally sometime after the sun rose and before it got to bright we all headed back to the hotel, another night gone and a new day at Tales beginning. (Apologies for breaking the story up but it seems the only way to be able t0o post the photos Anywhere near where I want them.)
Eventually ( as the opening was running late) we were all greeted by Charlotte Voisey - Hendricks Gin Ambassador who, even more so than usual , (given the costume and circumstances), looked like a slumming angel .
Charlotte , who always is a good sport about such things, wore her costume with grace and poise, greeting all of the guests into the darkly lit room beyond the golden doors.
I ran into David Suro ( Of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia and Siembra Azul Tequila) and Dr Rodolfo Fernandez (Noted expert on all things Agave and more) at the burlesque show - Rodolfo had a great line as we were watching the whole spectacle - "We don't have such things in the third world " a pause then, "But we do have American TV which can be similar"
The burlesque show itself was, at turns, amusing and scary, depending on the acts - some of which reminded me of a old saying about prostitutes in Paris but I digress as usual.
Following the Hendricks party I caught a ride with David and Rodolfo to Herbsaint down the street. Bottles of Mezcal somehow appeared from out of a briefcase someone else brought and we are drinking it from the bottle on the sidewalk at the cafe. After getting some more refreshments and a desultory conversation or two we went back to the Monteleone Carousel till it closed down for the night. After that it was off down Royal and somehow ending up at the Erin Rose around 4 AM or so.
The place was unbelievably packed and people of every possible type, persuasion and state of sobriety were there,a major player in the business was there , hooting,raving falling over and having a good time, locals, tales goers of all stripes, it looked like the Meet Cafe from Naked Lunch, some many people of so many different types and enthusiasms were packed in there it was hard to tell who was doing what to me , if they were just being friendly,something more or just trying to let someone else go by. It really didn't matter really, everyone was getting along just fine. We bumped into numerous old friends, made new ones and finally, regretfully, headed down to the Alibi to decompress a bit and await the dawn with a few of a die hard friends.
Wednesday July 8th Evening - Thursday July 9th Morning
"We Don't Have Things Like This In The Third World "
-Dr Rodolfo Fernandez
The evening started tamely enough and slowly decayed into another another walking into the dawn, "I swear I will never do this Again!", debacle .
Dinner was with the crew from Baddish PR and Remy Cointreau at Mr B's across the street from the Monteleone - surprisingly a number of people in the dinner party were drinking Tourment Vert (the only absinthe/pastis on the menu admittedly) including myself. It really did taste fairly good with lots of ice (OK I was dehydrated and ready to drink almost anything at that point that was cold - but still...).
After a lovely dinner with the crew it was time to go out and see what parties there were on offer for the night- funny the idea of sleep doesn't occur during Tales for most of us it seems...
First there was the Beefeater 24 party at the Roosevelt, a somewhat jarring change from the plush , classy and and low key celebration they held last year for Desmond Payne's Jubilee . This one was full of techno music,suckling pigs, and lots of dancing (in no particular order). The new Beefeater 24 was the spirit of the hour and many different types of drinks were available to showcase this new gin - all of which seemed quite nice and were presented in great profusion to any and all who wished to sample them.
It probably was a particularly bad omen that we were dancing with a mime before 9 PM - dancing with a mime at any hour would have been a bad omen of things to come but before 9 well....
After that lamentable spectacle we proceeded downstairs to await the opening of the Hendricks Burlesques Show, bumping into several luminaries such as Dale DeGroff and Simon Difford. We also knew at this point that if Gary Regan was not here, at this event, he was either dead or seriously MIA.
O.K. The plan sounded reasonable at first blush, get to Tales early ( by noon from the East Coast ) the day before it all starts (Tuesday ), Yes it did involve getting up at 5 AM , but the thought was , well I'll just have a little lie down before my 6 PM dinner plans with some friends.
That would have worked well if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep that night and also if I had not been told upon arrival that my room would not be ready till 4 PM.
Great I thought - all ready sleep deprived and no place to go - back part of the Carousel is shut off and too hot and sunny to sleep in a park.
So I belly up to the Carousel Bar and order an Abita, checking to see if I recognize anyone else.
A few people are already filtering and we have some desultory conversation and look over our paperwork (registration is not open yet either) and try to come up with some plans in lieu of sleep.
The desk staff at the hotel swear they will call me when the room is ready- It's around 4:30 when I get the call.
I retrieve my gear, settle in a bit, have a quick shower, then peruse my maps and contact lists,
I make a few calls and make sure the arrangements for a Fernet Branca 2 pack hung on my doorknob each morning till Sunday is set - there are priorities here.
I met up with the Bartenders Apprentice group - these are the bartenders that do all the heavy lifting , behind the scenes work prepping, and preparing the hundreds of gallons of cocktails for various functions and presentations.They are in a sense similar to the "Black Gang - the workers who shoveled coal into the boilers of steamships - never noticed by anyone but absolutely vital to the operation.
Remy Cointreau has set up an appreciation night for them in advance and I was invited to tag along. First there was some team building games and some competitions - including one that involved guessing the contents of a bag of very disparate items- which later became props for a number of people to wear later in the evening.....
First stop was Arnauds a short distance away for drinks and in some cases cigars. Followed after a bit by the Old Absinthe House then was Tujaques which was a lot further away than many people realized.
A number of us eventually ended up at our usual haunt the Alibi - a place that never closes (Actually they do close for one hour a year for cleaning whether it needs it or not) and is the service industry bar near Bourbon St.
Party breaks up around 4 AM or so with some of us still hanging around till 6 or so.
So much for an early night at the beginning of Tales.