Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday Evening Dinner in Portland: The Divaville Party at Tony Starlight's Supperclub

About 30 minutes after the champagne corks popped, Dolly-girl stood on her toes, looked out the window over the shade, and said, "Radio Cab--saddle up!" She's getting in the mood for The Dude in True Grit, Re-dux. She also knew no one was interested in a night at a supper club minding their Ps, Qs, and car keys, if you get my drift.

We were headed for Tony Starlight's Supper Club to celebrate Jack spending another year looking down to see the grass. "We," in this case, was Kitty, Kay and T. Anthony Kavanagh, III, Juanita and Nunzio Zambone, Dolly-girl, and me, the birthday boy. Tony Starlight's is a joint we'd heard a lot about from Christa, the chiquita that puts on the Divaville show that me and Dolly-girl listen to every Wednesday on the Zenith. Every once in a whatever, Christa, and her buddy, Tony Starlight, dress up his club for a gathering of the Stumptown Rat Pack. This was no exception.

First thing you notice when you make your entrance into Tony's is that it's red. It even turned my business card red. Next thing you notice is that there's, in this order, a bar from the past, a stage from the past, table settings from the past, and a piano and projector from the future. Tony's making his way around--still in street clothes, but that will change soon--welcoming the crowd in and making sure the Missy's are making everyone feel Tony's love.

It being the holiday season, we were in for some special treats which you could see right off with a film running in the front of the house. Old Blue Eyes was batting his peepers at every chiquita in the place, even though he's dead and only with us thanks to the miracle of In-Focus and the creative genius of a Mister Steven Paul Jobs. Give it up for Mister Jobs! Anyhoo, Frankie-boy was crooning and decorating a tree with what we called tinsel back in the old days when tinsel was tinsel and icicles hung from eaves.

We were shown to our table, which was a primo spot, just in front of the stage. I'm not sure, but maybe Nuzio slipped a Jackson to the Betty who was seating us. Whatever. We parked our carcasses and quick as a Bobby Darin finger snap in Mack the Knife, Missy was there to see if we were interested in a little something to warm us up from the winter winds. Surprise of surprises, two bottles of bubbly had sparked a fire under us, but we weren't warm enough--"Drinks around, and don't let any moss grow under those slippers!" Some skidrows--rosso e bianco, and something a little stronger for the gents in the crowd. I told her I wanted to drown a grove, and the booze slinger delivered.

The Six-Men-in-a-Tub was a dandy and this is what Tony's joint looked like to me after I enjoyed the hell out of that bathtub full of the luckiest olives in Stumptown. By now, der Bingle was up on the screen and crooning song after song. Christa was working the room like Colby Lewis worked the Yankees in the ALCS--she cut a swathe through the room and left every table spinning.

Missy was back and tapping her pad while we fussed over the whaddaya-wants. Around the table we went. I knew right off: "Ride me some greens down the Appian Way and hang a beef." "Rare?" "Just walk it past a fire..." "Figured you for a rare man." That got her a wink from me. People ordered this and that along with a spinach artichoke dip plate and a baked brie. She was back in a flash with the start-us-ups and we dug in like the Allies at the Battle of the Bulge, which we would all be fighting once the night was over! The dip and cheez-whiz was as good as it gets and it got a lot of up and downs around the table. As you can see, a swarm of locusts don't pick a field any cleaner...

Kitty whistled up another bottle of rosso and, by now, everyone was in the mood for some live entertainment. The last slide was on the screen, and we saw Tony make his entrance, now dressed for action.

Just about then, Missy was back with the feedbags and the music was just starting with a fella, name of Bo, playing the 88s. What the hash slinger slung didn't disappoint and neither did Bo. Turns out, he's been around. In fact, if we'd a known that he was going to be there, and if Dolly-girl had read up on his rap sheet on the Wiki, they'd have discovered they had something in common. Anyway, turns out Bo's gal was part of the show--and a real pretty part too, follow?

Well, while we were still enjoying the feedbags Missy put in front of us, Tony, or maybe I should call him Mister Starlight, started in on his act. I was there to tell you here that he is a class act and he can croon and swoon with the best of them. I have to tell you though that he's a fan of a Mister Diamond, a Mister Neil Diamond, and I haven't been that much of a fan of his since listening to Cracklin' Rosie a few too many times at the Minnesota State Fair...but that's another story for a time gone by. I had to do the "Aw, shucks" routine when Tony led the crowd in a Happy Birthday to Me and a Guy Named Andy at the Next Table. But our crowd joined in and I was OK with letting them in on our fun.

About the time all the jaws stopped with the up and downs at our table--and I have to tell you, the heads were going up and down along with the jaws. Mister Tony Starlight knows how to run a Supper Club--it was time for Christa and Tony to test our brain power by asking a bunch of whaddya-knows about Christmas Music. Turns out we didn't know as much as we thought we did, but more than most people in the house and so Fiora and Nunzio stepped to the stage to collect our 4th Place Prize!

The time flew by, the music put us in that Christmas spirit, and we left, humming Jorgi Jorgenson's "I yust go nuts at Christmas,"
you know:
Oh, I yust go nuts at Christmas, On that yolly holiday,
I'll go in the red, like a knucklehead

Cause I squander all my pay.

I'm no Dino, but I know what he'd say. "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day." But he'd add, "Frank, Sammy, and the boys agree, Tony Starlight's? No better way to spend an evening in Stumptown!"

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