Friday, July 9, 2010

That Night that Turned into the Bar Scene From Swingers

Have you ever seen the movie Swingers? Came out in 1996? Vince Vaughn was still really skinny? And then Heather Graham shows up in the last 20 minutes and you always forget she's in it until that scene in the swing dance bar? Well, I ended up in that particular Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy swing dance scene during a recent trip to New York. Or at least it felt that way.

Let me back up a little.

So Chrissy, my fabulous friend, has made her home in New York and is living the dream. She’s completely courageous, pursuing a love of acting and holding down pretty much every other job in the book in the meantime. This girl has no money, lives paycheck to paycheck, and folks…I’m pretty sure she’s having the time of her life. Well, Miss Chrissy was recently in a show, and I’ve been meaning to get up to see her anyway, so what better excuse?

Billy was in town and leaving for home from La Guardia, so his dad dropped him off at my house (twenty minutes early while I was still in the shower). After a slow start (read: Bill’s dad detaining us with home improvement stories for an hour and a half), we got out the door, grabbed Kirsten, grabbed coffee, and headed up the NJTP. Let me tell you, I don’t know why it never occurred to me to get an EZPass in all the years that I was trekking up to Westfield every weekend. It seriously saved 20 minutes on this trip. Left from Metropark and the weather was beautiful.

Got into New York Penn in the early afternoon and tried to figure out what next. Bill had a ton of stuff since he was leaving for home, so we needed to find a place to drop the suitcases. So, it was either go to The Producers Club on 44rd and 8th, grab a key from Chrissy, and trek all the way up to her apartment in Washington Heights (read 100+ blocks), or grab a hotel room in Midtown figuring we could just hang around the bars in that area after the show. Well, we got about ten blocks and the suitcase was annoying, so the Edison Hotel worked out just fine. Midtown is expensive. Luckily there were four of us, so it was less awful.

Dropped Bill’s suitcase and headed to Scarlatto, my favorite Midtown restaurant (47th and 7th if you’re ever in town…it’s awesome). Chrissy ended up meeting us there and having a little lunch. We all headed back to the hotel room for a few to cool down and then made an impromptu trip down to Canal Street. It didn’t work out well because there wasn’t anyone selling anything good, and Chrissy had to get back. My last Canal Street adventure with Jenna was much more exciting, but that’s another story for another time. We raced back up to Midtown, Chrissy headed to her call time, we headed back to the hotel and changed, and then headed over to
The Producers Club.

Now, buying tickets at this establishment is a bit of a shady ordeal. Our directions were look for the long haired man with glasses and tell him you have tickets reserved under Chrissy Sheehan. Eventually we bought tickets in what felt like a drug deal type scenario and headed into a tiny, bare bones theatre reminiscent of the bar slash theatres we frequented in London. Fond memories.

Sitting and waiting for the show to start, listening to the Frank Sinatra music they were playing, I couldn’t help but feel all proud of Chrissy Sheehan (listed in the program bio as “a daughter of Delaware” which she swears she didn’t write).

The show itself was a little scattered, but in all honesty, I can say she was the best thing about it. It was fun to see her in her element again, since I haven’t seen her act since high school. She’s most certainly come a long way.

After the play we celebrated with drinks. And then more drinks. And reminiscing about high school and contending with the fact that we’ve all known each other over a decade now.

Billy finished his appletini and got talking to another guy at the Producers Club since we were being all girly and sentimental. Eventually new friend Matt joined in the conversation. We finished up at the bar there and were getting ready to go eat, and since Matt had just joined the conversation, we invited him to come with us.

We headed over to a diner on 8th Ave and got a variety of greasy diner food. I felt like I was in Jersey all over again on one of my many college weekend with Pick an Exit.

At the diner, Billy and I may or may not have used the power of internet on our phones to stalk Matt on Facebook as he chatted up the gentleman who sold us our tickets across the way in an adjacent booth.

After being sufficiently loud and obnoxious at the diner, Matt suggested that we head over to a swing bar he knows because he’s a swing dance instructor. Uh sure, that sounds awesome!

So we head over to Swing 46. And now that I’ve meandered back to the point of this post, let me tell you how awesome this place was. It was the sort of place where a fedora is completely acceptable and ordering a dirty martini is simply imperative. After seeing a play based on Frank Sinatra, it just seemed fitting.

There was a live band and we came in just as they were about to start their last set. Matt lined up Kir, Chrissy, and I across from him and put Billy next to him to give us a quick lesson. After clearing up what “mirror image” meant a few times, we finally got the hang of it and were on our way. Kirsten and Chrissy were swept off by a very talented, sweaty Dominican man and before you know it there were twirling all over the place. Whether they knew what they were doing or not, it looked pretty good. Billy was sort of hopeless but he gave it the old college try, which was commendable. After teaching Chrissy a bit more, Matt got me out there and it was a BLAST! I really want to take lessons now.

Eventually Kirsten and Billy ended up heading back because they were beat. Matt, Chrissy, and I ended up sitting at the bar at Swing 46 for a while and chatting. While I sipped my martini, Matt showed us how light beer can be made better by adding salt. Who knew? Similarly, we learned that “cholula” is an acceptable substitute for “ex-person you used to pseudo date but weren’t really boyfriend girlfriend with.” I thought it sounded like “Cthulhu,” but that’s just me, I guess. There was also a part of the conversation where a D20 was pulled from my purse, but its all a bit hazy now.

Shortly afterwards, we ended up calling it a night and heading back to the hotel to turn in since the morning was coming early. All in all, not a bad visit. A show, a new friend who swing dances, and catching up on old times. Can’t ask for much more from a night in the city.

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