One of the places in Dallas I used to frequent with friends was the Inwood Lounge, at the Inwood Theater. The Lounge was a space sliced off the lobby of the beaux-art period theater with grand friezes and wonderfully formed plaster embellishments festooning the ceiling. The lounge was divided from the theater with an 8' glass brick wall with an overflow of water down a black slate wall from about 4' down, beyond which a grand staircase could be seen sinuously clinging to the great curl of the wall in the theater proper. There was something so cool and airy about it. Curvaceous vinyl banquettes, the antiquity of the structure, drinking there seemed so much cooler and grown-up than slamming beers elsewhere.
It was also wonderful to luxuriate in the atmosphere before or after films like "Camille Claudel," "Jean de Florette" and anything foreign or too arty to make the regular circuit of megaplexes. Once I persuaded some friends to leave a bar with me on a Friday night and see "La Femme Nikita" at the midnight movie. (If you must be obnoxious, it's good to have friends along to remind you of it later!) I carried 2 or 3 small Duvel beers from Belgium with me wrapped up in a jacket. So, I'm drinking great beer, discreetly, and getting frankly a teeny bit trashed during the film, which I'd seen before. I was realizing I was sloshed when at a particularly tense moment I hiccupped loudly and the entire audience erupted in laughter, the tension broken. Not at all feminine--it was the most man-sized dinosaur hiccup I ever uttered. Thought I'd DIE. That was about 30 minutes after my beer bottle had rolled down the length of the raked concrete floor, merrily announcing its presence in some bizarre harbinger of the still greater spectacle I was to make of myself that evening.
One night in the lounge, about 1991 or 1992, I was sipping martinis with a friend and we were watching a terrific jazz combo called "Freddie Jones Quartet." They were amazing. Freddie got on the mike and said they had a friend in the house, a poet, and he was going to sit in with them for the rest of the session. I don't remember the poet's name or most of verse, but one thing struck me and has always remained amusing and captivating when I remember it. Before they began to play, the poet announced this piece was called "Sadness," and the band played as he catalogued many stripes and degrees of sadness. The one that reigned supreme, however, was:
"The sadness of the Amish,
whose thighs know no jazz."
I would mention the sadness of the Amish, whose thighs know no barstools.