Dance! Dance! I'm pretty much a pushover for fun, especially when the very persuasive Susie B. calls me on her way into the city and says how I will regret it FOREVER if I don't put on my tutu, pick up my tiara and meet her and Jon at the LGBT Freedom Band's Dance-Along Nutcracker. She's been going since her daughter was little, and now that said daughter is 18 and too cool to flail around to the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies in public, she goes with friends instead. I am not exactly a ballerina, but as a wee pie princess I did drape myself in the PQM's Pucci scarves, put on our Nutcracker album and try to recreate in the living room what the lithe ladies of the NY City Ballet did onstage every December. Most of all I wanted to do that final pose of the sultry Arabian coffee dancer, where she lies prone, facing the audience, and arches her feet over her head. Alas, this was never achieved, but you can't fault a girl for trying.
When it came time for the Arabian number, both Susie and I hit the ground. "This is for floor work," we told our new best dance friends, two adorable 3 yr olds who were enthralled with Susie's tutu and stripey tights and my big iridescent golden scarf. We rolled around and pointed our toes in the air and flapped the scarf over their heads like a circus tent.
I can't really put the show (aside from the dancing) into words; it was a very San Franciscan mashup of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, from a Mime Troupe/agitprop angle, with a little Corpse Bride thrown in. And drag queens, and French horn players dressed as reindeer! And ghost brides, and a guy on roller skates, and a giant prop clock where 8 o'clock was marked "No on 8". The Christmas tree had menorahs and Kwanzaa candles on it, and they finished with a rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that named-checked every December holiday from Hanukkah to the winter solstice, with Ramadan thrown in for good measure.
It was pouring again when we left, sorry to swap our tiaras for raincoats. We went over to 24th St, where it was too wet to show Susie's pal Laura, a high school art teacher and painter, the murals of Balmy Alley, but where we could browse (through the window) the hot-pink rhumba panties of the Candy Kitchen lingerie store while we waited for seats at the counter at the St. Francis Fountain. This newly reopened diner was where Susie's parents courted back in the day. It used to be a real soda fountain and candy kitchen, with malteds, homemade peanut brittle, and egg salad sandwiches served with chips and a pickle slice. Recently revived by hipsters, it happily still has reubens, patty melts and even egg creams, along with vegan chorizo and tofu burritos. (And Pixie Stix and the much-discussed Wacky Packs.) The chocolate-banana shake: perfect, right down to the cherry on top.
We stopped by Phil'z for coffee on the way back, and even this hand-made-cup place falls down in making decent decaf. My cup was watery, weak and without body, as it is almost everywhere that's not my own French-pressed kitchen.