Lisa and Luna and I spent a very pleasant Friday night downtown, all but oblivious to the Visigothic peril brewing just a short drive down Lee Street.
We started in Center City Park, which was full of people enjoying the lingering daylight and the breeze and the fountains. Lots of kids. Families and couples were beginning to set up shop on the lawn for the free showing of Breakfast At Tiffany's on a big screen at the east end of the park. I wondered how Mickey Rooney's grotesque portrayal of a Japanese man would play with the highly diverse crowd -- I don't think a mainstream movie would have been trafficking in such stereotypes of African-Americans by the time Audrey Hepburn donned that little black dress in 1961 -- but we didn't stay to find out.
We wandered as far as Manny's on MLK while contemplating our dinner options, but ended up eating slices from Pizzeria L'Italiano on a bench in the wide alley between Chakra's and Simple Kneads. Across the street at Triad Stage, the crowd had filed in for Masquerade, about which I keep hearing good things.
At Elsewhere the front windows were open and we sat on the stage, people-watching and drinking cold beer. A kitten named Pete, aka Pet Peeve, maintained an uneasy truce with Luna. More bike cops than usual were on the street, in anticipation of post-SuperJam crowds; they know a lot of the regulars up and down Elm, and mixed comfortably with the artists and scenesters and suburban gawkers and Graham from Table 16. (Photo of Luna playing dress-up stolen from Elsewhere's FB page).
We headed back north before 11. Now the second wave of downtowners had arrived, young women poured into tiny dresses, navigating clubward in very high heels, and young men in, for the most part, more casual attire (it was Ovid, IIRC, who said, "the girls comb their hair in rear view mirrors and the boys try to look so hard.") A firetruck was parked on Washington. I asked the crew what they were doing, and they said they were standing by. For what? "There's a concert in town tonight..."
Back at CCP, the crowd had grown but the vibe was mellow and happy. On the big screen, Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard embraced in the rain. Luna submitted to the affections of yet more children, and heard yet again the words that must echo in her tiny brain (No, a Portuguese Water Dog...Yes, like Bo...)
After the event, my SuperJam correspondent reported that the show had been excellent; Travis Porter, she said, was the best act. The crowd skewed female, with a tendency toward dancing. There was some traffic on High Point Road afterward, but she and her friends observed no drama.
This morning, downtown and the Coliseum area seemed clean and no worse for wear. I stopped at the Christian Family Center on Terrell and S. Elm-Eugene, where a community car wash was underway. Free hot dogs, too. There's so much talk about race in this town, from CNN to the more terrified and resentful quarters of the blogosophere, and of course we live in the real world with its real problems, but seriously, folks, sometimes you just need to relax and have a little fun, and this is a pretty nice place to do it.