Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 12:45:51 +0000
From: floreant <floreant@NETCOM.COM>
Subject: Re: nighthawks and diners
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <WORDS-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>

on friday night, i met a friend in petaluma to see the tommy castro band. my friend rich is quite a fan of theirs and has been trying to get me to see them for quite a while now. this was the first time it worked, which is peculiar because tc usually plays once or twice a week at different venues within walking distance of my apt in sf. instead, i drove 45 minutes to see them.

we'd arranged to meet in front of the theatre an hour before the show so we could get something to eat before the show. the mystic used to be a movie theatre and is right next to what used to be a quiet little bar. the bar is no longer quiet or little.

when we went to the box office, the guy at the door said we had to buy our tickets from the bartender, and waiting the three or so minutes it took to get the bartenders' attention convinced us this was not the place for our pre-show snack. it was horribly loud and all these cheerful people carrying beer bottles kept jostling into me.

so we walked up the street and found a place called the city diner, which was definitely not your shake and burger place. it looked right, although slightly glitzy, but the menu was full of 90s concoctions, designer beers, and wines by the glass. it was also loud.

we headed for what appeared to be the quietest booth in the back, one that offered some hope of conversation. tom waits was eating in the booth next to ours. he smiled at me when we walked past. the only other thing i can tell you is that he ordered cobbler for desert. i don't know if he had joe with it or not.

my friend had caesar salad and some pasta with scallops concoction. i had black bean soup and little crabcakes, which were as ersatz as the diner. the food sucked, but the chef who kept wandering through the dining room in his white coat and black shorts had good legs.

after concluding our dining experience, we walked the block back to the theatre. the opening act was bad too, so we stood around outside watching the local nightlife.

the tommy castro band was good. great guitars, amusing lyrics, and a damn fine show. it was the tenor sax player who fascinated me, though. he was some sort of dissolute cartoon with slicked back hair and hooded eyes that looked as if making the 9:30 show had been a struggle. despite the no-smoking strictures in the theatre, he chain smoked through the entire two sets, only putting his cigarette down to play. he'd exhale a huge billow of smoke, replace the cig with his horn, and blow some tunes. he was good, too. but i cannot imagine his lungs.

it was a fun night. driving home, i was very glad that i'd only had one glass of wine with dinner and mineral water for the next four hours. on the way out of town, i passed at least five cop cars, lurking on the corners of side streets like sharks. from what i'd seen of the crowd at the adjacent bar, they shouldn't have gone hungry.