orlando, new york, philadelphia, seoul, osaka, bangkok, minneapolis; it sounds like a collection of 'global underground' cds. i've been to hard rock cafes all over, but never to the slc. so what a better way to throw down the new year's dating gauntlet, right? i called a nice girl and she agreed to go on a date with me, and when i found out that there was an organ-accompanied showing of buster keaton's 'go west' at 'the organ loft' in salt lake, well, that finalized the requirements for a wonderful night. [incidentally, this was the same girl who went to see keaton's 'college' with me a few months ago; but she was very happy to go--hooray for cultured people].
racing north on I-15, we sang along to countless random songs, and all the while i was impressed with kristin's knowledge of music that i thought was obscure. i've said it before, if you can sing along with me, you are a step above the crowd. mark and erin were in the back, not singing along. but they're 'dating', so i don't know what official couples do.
despite having the address for the venue, i had a hard time finding the place ['the organ loft' is a little tiny building that is tucked away on a small street and looks like a non-descript bar from the outside], so we were a few minutes late. walking in, we saw a room like a small community center with chairs set up on the floor. and, since we were ten minutes late, we pulled up some chairs in the back, putting us far enough under the second floor mezzanine that we could only see the screen by slouching in our chairs similar to that of a very bored seventh-grader. then, to add confusingness to it all, up on the screen was not buster keaton but charlie chaplin. now, i know chaplin is the more famous of the three great silent comedians [can you even name the third?], but in the general concensus of cinephiles, keaton is the master. and i most certainly agree with that.
i suspected that maybe this was just a short we were watching, and after it had gone on long enough that i began to wonder otherwise, it ended, and they introduced the night's feature, buster keaton's 'go west'.
seeing any buster keaton movie with a live accompaniment is a treat, but this was the weakest of all that i have seen. the plot followed the standard structure of the down and out but lovable hero trying his darnedest to fit into a culture not his own, all in a effort to win the girl; nearly every movie of his is the same, tried and true, and beloved by the fans. what was missing, however, was the unbelievable physicality that leaves us not just amazed that he did it, but that he survived the fall, train, bull, house collapse, bridge collapse, car collision, etc.
the slchrc, apart from being a little tricky to find, was the emptiest i have seen just about any hard rock cafe. this proved advantageous as the evening went on.
our waitress was hip and told us about the coolest memorabilia to be found throughout the establishment, the ok go 'treadmill' video played, much to our pleasure, and the food was quite good. when the girls were asking for take-home boxes, the restaurant had cleared out enough that we were told we could stand on the tables to take pictures if we'd like [and i was quite happy that my sister had agreed to loan me her camera]. so we did. we stood on tables. and chairs. kristin and erin were dressed almost identically, so we got a picture of that. mark and i posed as best we could in front of the wall of 'kiss' artifacts. we saw madonna's pointy-braziere thing. kristin and i made muppet faces. we got our cool waitress to join us for a picture in front of a bust of elton john. and then danced in the booth. kristin is a much better dancer than i. at least, she can keep a straight face longer than me.
the evening ended with the four of us back at our place, sharing favorite videos off youtube, including the charlie brown Christmas special set to outkast's 'hey ya', live performances by k.t. tunstall, the white stripes' 'denial twist', and the family guy's parody of a-ha's classic 'take on me' video.
some nights, you just can't go wrong.