Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lamberts Redux

Late-breaking update: When The Woman headed south after work for an orgy of shopping at the outlet malls with The Good Daughter, I threaded my way down Lamar to Lamberts to see GloverTango. I was in for a rare night. It was like stepping into a parallel universe. You may not realize that there is a Tango Underground lurking in Austin. Well, wake up and smell the bandoneĆ³n. Tango enthusiasts descend on Lamberts every Thursday night and it is well worth the time and expense to experience it at least once. I pulled out my journal and scribbled down some notes:

I have stumbled onto the Austin Tango Underground. In the bar upstairs from the gourmet BBQ joint (there's an oxymoron) a slender man with a peg-leg, wearing shorts(!), a black turtleneck sweater with the sleeves pushed up to reveal a second skin of tattoos solid to the wrist, hair slicked back, sits at a piano with his back to us. A blonde woman in black jacket, slacks and boots plays violin. They play classic tango.

Couples of every age dance in slow, deliberate and impassioned movements the foreordained steps of the tango. Some are obviously celebrities for their apparent skill and grace, regarded reverentially by other dancers as they command the floor. An older man, dark hair and mustache (dyed?) dances with an impossibly tall, slender and lithesome woman less than half his age. She seems to posses the grace of a gazelle and the stature of a giraffe. She could rest her chin on the top of his head, but she defers.

The first clue that the game was afoot revealed itself in a small thing. The elderly man next to me (who looked like Chris Elliot's much older brother) pulled a pair of beige stiletto heels from a black bag and gave them to his wife, who removed the black sensible heels that matched her dress, and exchanged them. He also changed his shoes. The moment the music began, they were on the dance floor.

When I read that GloverTango performed the music of Argentina and then saw the man on stage, my mind filled with visions of the grandson of Third Reich henchmen on the lam from rogue Nazi hunters. The truth is more prosaic, but the music and the crowd are unforgettable.

This time around I got the BBQ platter, brisket. It was exceptionally nice and the brisket was lean and smoky. I also tried the wild boar ribs. Small, but phenomenal.

Do you have enough reasons to go to Lamberts, now? Sheesh, just pick a night. Something cool is bound to be going down.


Jeanne Damoff said...

Wow. I would think I'd stumbled into a side room (gotta know the password to get in) of heaven. Tango! I can only dream of such a place in Marshall.

Brad Whittington said...

Well, then, come down to Austin on a Thursday and check it out. But bring your own dance partner. I'm strictly a wallflower.