The next chapter
Anthony Bourdain holding up the graphic novel he wrote, “Get Jiro.” (via Instagram)
So I’ve detailed in other posts a list of people that I wanted to meet - people whose work I enjoy or am inspired by; people whose hand I want to shake and say, “thanks, I like what you do.”
One big name on that list is Anthony Bourdain. I enjoy everything the man does, whether it’s writing, making television, or public speaking. He is a lovable curmudgeon. He is open-minded, but opinionated. He is a rockstar, and a chef, and a libertine, and a leftie, and a citizen of the world in the truest sense of the phrase. He has an insatiable appetite for life in all of it’s forms and it’s infectious.
Sara and I got a chance to see him speak a few years ago at the Kentucky Center in Louisville and we both loved it. His live talks give an interesting behind the scenes look at his show No Reservations and his travels around the world. So when we heard he was coming again, and this time bringing his best friend Eric Ripert, chef, author, and restaurant owner, we knew we had to go. This time, however, we decided to shell out a little extra cash and pay for the privilege to meet Mr. Bourdain and Mr. Ripert after their talk at a small reception.
Sara and I intended to make a day of it. We planned to go to Louisville early and have a nice dinner at one of several restaurants we’d been wanting to try - then leisurely making our way over to the Kentucky Center.
Unfortunately, poor Sara fought a migraine most of the day - so we ended up leaving as late as possible, grabbing fast food (which I promptly got all over my shirt) and then sliding into our seats moments before it all started.
Once we were in our seats (second row!!), though, the fast food and hectic pace disappeared into oblivion. The talk was great - two profane hours about Paula Deen, Iggy Pop, eating pig anus, and punching racists in the nose. And food. They also talked a lot about food.
One of the best parts of the night was during a Q&A at the end - someone in the audience asked Bourdain where he ate lunch. Bourdain said some really complimentary things about his meal at Proof On Main, a local restaurant. From the back of the room you heard someone shout, “I cooked that for you!” When you turned around and looked there was a kid at the back of the room with a smile you could have seen from space, practically dancing with excitement.
Afterwards Sara and I made our way to the reception where I was second in line to meet Bourdain and Ripert. I nervously handed Mr. Bourdain my copy of his Les Halles cookbook to sign and asked him some questions about the graphic novel that he recently wrote for Vertigo. He was nice and energetic and I was a complete nerdy spaz with Arby’s sauce on my shirt.
Best night ever.
One more off the list:
I really got into the WTF podcast there for a while because I found the comedy craft talk very interesting, but then kind of drifted away from it. Now, I just saw this…
There will be much reading in the new year! Thank you @saradrury! (Taken with instagram)
Okay, here’s the plan:
Tonight, Sara and I watch the season premiere of No Reservations in which Anthony Bourdain visits Cuba. As usual, I will sit and watch and suddenly find myself craving foods I’ve never even necessarily tasted.
Then, on Wednesday, Sara and I will accompany Freddy and Erin Acevedo to Old San Juan, Lexigton’s favorite (and only?) Cuban restaurant, and enjoy some Cuban food, hopefully informed, somewhat, by No Reservations and Freddy (yes, he’s Dominican, but I’m lead to believe there are more than a few similarities in the food). It will be glorious.
We may also go see Horrible Bosses, afterwards, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the food part…
Some time ago, I made a post about my recently devised goal to shake hands with people I admire. At the time I had met:
The Avett Brothers
And Alton Brown
In the last three weeks I’ve been able to knock a couple more off the list. Namely:
Comic writer, Matt Fraction, the story of which I detail in a post a little further down this page
And then, on Saturday, I was able to meet author Donald Miller
Miller was speaking at a local church and Sara and I waited around afterwards to meet him. Miller is a great writer and a seemingly neat guy. He writes a lot about growing up without a father and so his writing has meant a lot to Sara. She told me after we left that she wanted to say a lot more to Miller than she did, but was afraid she’d break into tears.
We thanked him for his writings and I thanked him specifically for some of the things he’s written about politics. He signed a book for us and posed for a picture. It was really nice.
So, the tally at present:
The Avett Brothers Alton Brown Matt Fraction Donald Miller
I’m also considering adding a few more names. This isn’t the kind of list that should ever really be complete, I think.
I saw an artist do this and really liked the idea. Something about seeing the things that influence you all in one place. There’s not much new on here if you know me - these are things that I enjoy, but that also influence me.
-Casanova is my favorite comic book at this point in my life. It’s one of the most visually interesting books being published these days, it has an actual point of view, and you can feel the love Fraction and the twins put into the book. It makes me want to create something that is uniquely me.
-Good Eats inspires me with it’s pure inventiveness. A cooking show that uses science to explain food preparation should be really boring, but Alton Brown has created the most unique cooking show ever with Good Eats. The show is also a primer on clear storytelling.
-No Reservations feels like art. It’s a television show that follows a romantic old curmudgeon as he eats and drinks his way around the world but it feels like art. That’s quite a trick.
-Donald Miller communicates about a divisive topic (faith) in a way that is accessible, authentic-feeling, and interesting. We should all be so talented.
-Paul Pope is a futurist, an artist, and a thinker. He can apply those skills to stories about super heroes or to stories about girls and make you want to read both.
-The Soup appeals to me because I like it’s sense of humor, it’s simply done, and it follows a deadline similar to the ones I work under.
-Sunday Valley is a local band. Their music is very distinctly Kentucky. It’s rock/country/blues that’s firmly rooted in the past. I like the idea of three great players taking something old and putting their own stamp on it.
-Scott Pilgrim Vs The World has been out since summer, but over the last few days, re-watching it on DVD, I’ve started to fall in love with it visually.
After making this, I realized I need to start being influenced by some graphic designers.
“The ex-cook-who-tells-stories and master of all mediums Anthony Bourdain is working on a graphic novel about “ultraviolent food nerds” with DC Comics.”
Partly inspired by and partly in response to this post by the very talented Promise Tangeman, here are five things I love:
1. Casanova by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon - I’ve read comic books since I was a very little boy, but Casanova had an effect on me that very few books ever have. I felt like it was written specifically for me. Casanova Quinn is a reality-hopping super spy with father issues. I don’t know why that particular concept rang my bell the way it did, as I’ve only ever been moderately interested in the spy genre and don’t have any significant daddy issues that I’m aware of. Fraction’s writing seems very sincere. That probably sounds like a strange way to describe writing about a spy, but it all just seems very self-aware and doesn’t talk down to the reader. And the artwork provided by Brazilian twins Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba is among the best on the stands.
2. Our new king-sized bed- A couple of weeks ago Sara and I bought a king-sized bed. I’ve never owned anything bigger than a full. I can’t believe the difference it’s made in our sleeping. I love being close to Sara and doing all the bed-related things that married couples do, but when it comes time to sleep, I need my space apparently - especially now that we’ve started sharing our bed with Penny lane.
3. The Avett Brothers in conert- It was serendipity that lead me to pick up my first Avett Brother’s album in CD Central that Saturday morning four years ago. They quickly became my favorite band in the world. Since then I’ve seen them 5 times (with another showing coming up next month at the Palace in Louisville). Their shows are marked by unreal amounts of energy and an undeniable likability - and I’ve never introduced them to anybody that didn’t immediately love them.
4. Anthony Bourdain- The first book I read after my divorce was Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. It probably helped to launch my three year post-marriage journey of self-indulgence. Bourdain seemed a suitable patron-saint of eating what I wanted, drinking too much, and making bad decisions. While I like to consider myself somewhat more reformed and restrained these days I still appreciate and try to emulate Bourdain’s lust for life. Sara and I are going to hear him speak later this month. A friend of mine is trying to get me into a small reception to meet him after his talk. If I get the chance I’ll thank him for coaching me through my divorce recovery.
5. After Effects- I am an old dog and this is my new trick. As Crossroads tries to beef up it’s video capabilities we’re realizing it’s always important to have the right tool for the right job. I’ve been using After Effects for a couple of months now. So far it’s equal parts fun and frustrating. It’s amazing the things this sotware can do, but, like anything new, has a significant learning curve. I look forward to being able to look back in a couple of years and think, “Ha! Remember when I didn’t know how to do that effect?” Until then…