Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tell a silly story at the DCJCC Jules Feiffer opening reception

LOCATION: 1529 16th St TIME: After-workish EQUIPMENT: Yourself, photo ID OPTIONAL: Strange story about a dingo

The DCJCC is the Jewish Community Center* here in DC. They have plays, concerts, a gym with a pool, yoga & aerobics & bellydancing classes, and I've heard good things about their art classes (photography, painting, sewing). Basically, there's everything you could desire from a "community center."

Last night they had an opening reception for an exhibit of the work of Jules Feiffer, with the goal of promoting his play A Bad Friend, opening Oct 30. I'm not all that familiar with Feiffer's work, and the exhibit was quite small, so it wasn't a life-changing experience. One thing I hadn't realized, though, was what a lovely kinesthetic sense he has in his sketches - something he shares with fellow cartoon artist Bill Watterson. (Click on the previous link for an articulate rant by Watterson on the degenerate state of comics today, nothing like the innovative whimsical artwork he enjoyed when he was a young lad. And indeed perhaps it's telling that both Feiffer and Watterson quit making comics after a while in favor of other forms of self-expression.) I liked Feiffer's sketch of a little girl "climbing" her dad's leg - perhaps one of the universal parent-child bonding rituals? And his dancing woman reminded me of a cross between one of the skinnier Degas ballerina sculptures, and the uptight "happy face" mom in the movie Strictly Ballroom.

The food at receptions at the DCJCC is lovely! Tasty snacks, vegetables and hummus and cheese, and the bartenders don't even bat an eye when you go back for your third cup of wine. My lovely friend Natalie must keep a pocket-sized black hole inside her tiny elegant purse, because she managed to stuff an amazing amount of napkin-wrapped hummus-y pita in there, smoothly and seamlessly while making conversation. I wonder if perhaps, in a previous incarnation before her current intellectual artistic state, she was a squirrel living in a cold climate.

But Natalie and I discovered the price of shamelessly nursing the buffet table as a reception wanes: you're barraged with attention from eager but socially awkward men. Ancient computer science professors, middle-aged international economists, young journalists - they accosted us asking fumbling questions about our place of residence and future career plans. My mouth was greedily full of hummus and I was spilling crumbles of cheese onto the floor, but none of them seemed to notice.

This kind of situation is dangerous and tempting. I found myself explaining to one young suitor that I was Australian, but left the country because of a family tragedy when one of my young cousins was devoured by a dingo. "We searched all over for her but the only thing we found was a pile of chewed-up little bones in the woods." I said that it was a difficult ethical situation for me, because dingoes were endangered, but my personal animus towards them was such that it was all I could do to restrain myself from wandering out in the woods with a machine gun. So I made my way to a country that didn't contain 17 of the 20 most dangerous and poisonous species in the world. The poor fellow was polite, and utterly perplexed.

So, in conclusion: the DCJCC is very hospitable! Go see their plays, take their art classes, swim in their pool, and nosh your heart out at their receptions. But just remember, greed always has its price.

*I am not Jewish, but sometimes I pretend. After all, jews are neat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

2:50 AM  

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