After a Fashion
You don't need a can-opener an Oilcan opener, to be precise when Stephen's claws are unsheathed!
CONTINUED ... from last week, Neil and Jeff and I had made the rounds of the gay bars I almost never go to bars anymore, but like Eva Perón on her Rainbow Tour, I think of them as their own little principalities with their own royalty, and I like to drop in and say hi, from one queen to another. We'd already been to Fabric and Rain and had a wonderful time then we dropped into Oilcan Harry's. OCH has pretty well set the standard for Austin cha-cha palaces for years, and with good reason. Lead bartender Steve Higginbotham is a hero in our community for single-handedly raising tens of thousands of dollars for AIDS charities. Smart, funny, and well-loved, he is an excellent representative for OCH. They are also well-represented by many other staff members, like Josh, Andy, and Dirk. Since OCH was less crowded than Fabric or Rain, it was easy to move around to the various bars in the club and have a good time. All was lovely, until we asked to meet the manager. We were at the patio bar out back when the assistant manager arrived and introduced himself as Chris Marriott. Neil introduced himself and then introduced Jeff as being from Anthony-Nak, and me from The Austin Chronicle. "Yeah?" snapped Chris. "Is that supposed to mean something to me?" Jeff's eyebrows shot up on his forehead, and I remained impassive behind my ever-present Dolce & Gabbanas, silently examining the assistant's response. Neil blinked and said, "I beg your pardon, is there some kind of misunderstanding here?" "I don't think so," smirked the assistant. "Well, good, then," said Neil, "let's have a shot together." This did nothing to lighten the assistant's demeanor. We tried to trade pleasantries with him, to no avail. At one point he said, "You all must be from Dallas." We laughed. "You act like you are," he continued, as if being from Dallas made you scum. Turns out he was from Dallas and just moved here two months ago. Sigh. He did admit he was having a bad day; someone had keyed his car. Perhaps I could have been a tad less snarky when I said, "You're in the service industry, hon. Being rude to your customers will not make things better." He muttered to the other bartender how we were being condescending because he didn't know who we were. I said, "Well now that you do, you should know I regularly write about horrible customer service." To another customer he crowed, "Be sure and see me in the Chronicle next week!" In an odd attempt at civility, he returned our money and said he would buy the shots. I tipped him $20 but things had degenerated to the point that nothing was going to make things right. He'd displayed such poor diplomatic skills that Neil and I finished our drinks and left. Jeff lingered behind, and the assistant told him that Neil rubbed him the wrong way. The incident had evidently been the talk of the bar, as several staff members apologized on our way out. We appreciated that, and it underscored the fact that it's unfair to judge a place based on the actions of one employee. On the other hand, an employee like that hardly promotes goodwill among patrons who pay good money and expect to have a good time.
IT'S BAAACK After a one-year hiatus, the fashion show from Club de Ville returned with the best presentation I've seen from them in years. Fresh and re-energized, Blue Velvet, Flipnotics, Legs Diamond, Shiki, Therapy, and Upstairs outdid themselves, and new kid on the block Estilo knocked everyone's socks off. Faaabulous!
THE FETE I am indisposed today sprawled across my fainting couch like Madame Recamier, but not looking quite as alluring. I am wearing a do-rag, Frownies, and an ice pack on my head but I can, however, die happy now, having had the best birthday in the history of birthdays. Cliff Redd threw me the most glamorous party I've ever had, and I am the luckiest person in the world to have such funny, smart, talented, and accomplished friends. To have almost every one of them all in the same house was fairly overwhelming, but I floated among them like a plus-sized Babe Paley, kissing cheeks and admiring everyone's stylish cocktail attire. Cliff's house is beautiful, and I enjoyed pretending like I was the mistress of that maison, if only for a few hours. The food was spectacular, catered by Whole Foods and Sharon Gerhardt, their Epicurean Concierge (I love that title!), who designed a lavish spread of magnificent mouthwatering hors d'oeuvres. And the tres leches birthday cake was sublime light as a feather, with frothy icing drizzled with caramel. Heavenly. Also, I accumulated wonderful loot books, music, art, and fripperies and I have enough stock that I can now open my own shop of fine wines and champagne. Ah, the life For more dish on the affair, see XL Editor Michael Barnes' blog at www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/outandabout.