I had a great mixture of happenings and relaxing this weekend.
I finally got to see the lights on 34th Street in Hampden. I’d seen pictures, heard accounts, read blog entries… but they’re better in person. Christmas had already passed, but it still made me feel like a little kid. For the older appreciator in you there’s an amazing metalwork studio on the block that’s worth checking out.
Illusions Magic Bar in Federal Hill is pretty neat, just as recommended. They have $3-5 bottled beer and a good selection of bourbon. Pricing is a tad high for the booze, but not obscenely so. The venue itself is beautiful, it makes you feel like you’re back in the 1920’s or 1930’s. The back room would be well suited to rent out for an event, with plenty of chaises and sofas (all leather). Spencer Horsman — 21 and part-owner of bar — performs a 40-minute magic show that is well worth the $5 cover charge (although it would be better if the cover were better explained on the web site: we arrived before the cover time but definitely had it tacked onto our tab at the end of the night; not that it wasn’t worth it, but these things are better understood in advance). His inverted escape from a straight jacket is impressive, as is his spin on the workings of a common card trick. No spoilers, you’ll have to check it out. My only complaint is that table service fell off as the night continued on. It was top-notch early in the evening when we were the only ones there (as would be expected). It was non-existent during the show itself. It was pretty bad when it came time to pay up; we literally had to track down our server to get our tab. All in all, I had a good time out. I doubt I’ll visit often, but its definitely worth a visit if you’re in the mood for something a little more classy the typical Federal Hill. A great pick if you have relatives or friends visiting from out of town.
Afterwards we headed to Locust Point, home of a certain someone’s favorite bar: J. Patrick’s. I was taking it easy that night, but I’m sold. Cheap beer, old Irish bartenders, quiet live music, and no food on the menu that doesn’t come out of the fryer. I quickly tire of the DTA crowd and yearn for something a bit more humble. Slow it down it a bit and be able to talk to the person sitting across from you. I plan to return. When? No idea, but I will.
I had a good deal of quality relaxation time on Saturday, lounging around in PJs drinking hot chocolate and watching movies on TV, eating home cooked food (and a few Claussen’s to boot). As much of a good time I’ve had the last few weeks going out and about, it’s been busy busy busy. I’m not easily overwhelmed, but it felt so good to take the phone out of my pocket, ignore email altogether, and disconnect. Very comfortable.
After the Ravens and Redskins games yesterday I went to the movies with some friends and saw Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. If you don’t like musicals, don’t bother. You should know this if you’ve seen the previews, but some people were complaining in the theater all the same. Weirdos. Johnny Depp is excellent as ever, but I much preferred Helena Bonham Carter. She’s perfect in the role of Mrs. Lovett, no doubt coached by director/husband/baby’s daddy Tim Burton (who’s impact on the film is as apparent as ever). The musical itself is funny, gory, over the top. The blood is stylized overly red and the violence is near-comic in places, one of the few reasons why the film wouldn’t been allowed at all. All those cast flowed effortlessly between vocals and lines. I enjoyed it. Not a must-see in the theater and probably not one that I’d need to see again, but definitely worthwhile.
Quite content. That’s me.