Last night, after spending the last two weeks cooped up in our house, Jen and I drove into Baltimore to have dinner and screen a movie. She gets mailings from the Maryland Film Festival about events happening each month, and a particular movie caught her eye: it’s called Nine Lives, and it was produced for a tiny amount of money (relatively speaking) with an all-star cast. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we drove into the city and through my old stomping grounds of Bolton Hill to try a new restaurant.
The old ‘hood has changed since I lived there. Back in the day, it had a certain feeling of genteel shabbiness, sprinked with eighteen-year-olds sporting purple hair and thriftstore coats. This evening I got the distinct sense I was walking through Georgetown—in the years since I left the area, the uber-rich have moved in and cleaned the joint up. I get the sense they kicked a lot of my patchouli-stinkin’ peeps out and rehabbed the apartments back into respectable Republican drone-hives. (This would be a shame, because in my opinion, one of the best things about being a student at MICA was the ability to score a huge two-floor apartment in a brownstone with a backyard and offstreet parking for $200/person. It’s hard to make art in a cinderblock cube.)
Around the corner from one of my old apartments was a small corner cafe that went through several identities while I lived there—overpriced independent coffee shop, overpriced independent lunch bistro—but is now called B, and which features a fantastic menu at reasonable dinner menu prices—you’ll drop a little less than $20 on a delicious plate of homemade pasta, and spend a little more for seafood. It’s got a cozy vibe, a good wine menu, and a delicious steamed mussel appetizer (ask for plenty of bread.) Unfortunately, we were too pressed on time to really savor the main course, so we ate our dinner quickly, grabbed our bottle of wine, and split for the show.
The new Brown center at MICA is bigger inside than I’d thought it would be. The architects seem to have done a magic act fitting a huge auditorium into the center of that structure, and I’m more impressed with the building now that I’ve been inside. Now I understand why the Alumni Association calls me every month for a donation; the heating bills in that place must be astronomical.
The movie itself was very good. The basic structure is nine ten-minute stories about different women, and each story is loosely linked in some way. Also, each story is shot in one long continuous take on steadicam. Apparently the film is not getting picked up for wide distribution—as some of the asshat reviewers on IMDB complain, there’s no traditional start or finish to each story, so it’s hard to package the movie to the mass market. If you see it recommended on Netflix, put it in your queue (the cast, crew, and actors all share ownership of the movie, so any money you spend on it will go into their pockets.)
After the question and answer session, we bundled back up and walked through the sleepy neighborhood to our car, enjoying the crisp air and our evening together, feeling like a couple in love.