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   Tig Notaro at the Bardavon
Friday, April 21 2023
It being a Friday, I kind of dawdled it away as I often do, though I was somewhat distracted by a last-second IIS configuration I needed to do for someone I'd never worked with before. Near the end of the day, though, I suddenly rallied for about an hour and got a few good things done.
Then it was time to begin our Friday night. Gretchen and I would be seeing the comedian Tig Notaro at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, and on the way we needed to stop in Highland to have Liz, our new tenant for Downs Street's 1R unit, sign the lease. Gretchen had Google take us on the shortest route from our place to Highland, and it sent us on Dewitt Lake Road to Route 213 to Route 24, which was bendy road across Shaupeneak Mountain (a steep ridge just south of Kingston and not far west of the Hudson). I'd been that way only once or twice before, and it a beautiful drive past many old lived-in houses. In Highland, we parked behind a gym, and while waiting for our new tenant, we saw a huge muscle-bound man come out of the gym and a flamboyant yellow-orange sports car (it looked exotic, but it was just a Corvette). Then it turned out our tenant was in the back of the parking lot. We managed to find each other, signing our paperwork on the hood of our Chevy Bolt. Liz seemed nice enough, in a humble somewhat-mousey way.
When we got to Poughkeepsie, our first destination was El Azeteca, a Mexican restaurant with lots of vegan options. Unfortunately, they don't have a liquor license. But the jamaica drink (served in a plastic pouch) was unexpectedly amazing. I ordered the Jenny's Burrito in its vegan chorizo form, and Gretchen ordered some sort of enchiladas. I thought my food was great, though Gretchen seemed to think hers needed more salt. Also, she was a little dismayed that they had so many vegan meat options but no vegan dairy options.
We were meeting up with our friend Kate at a bar near the Bardavon, but after parking, we found that bar was closed. Once Kate had joined us, we briefly ducked into a wine bar, but the prices on its menu were enough to make us leave, numb as we are to even Manhattan prices. We ended up at a pizza place next door to the Bardavon, where Kate ordered a slice. At that point we randomly ran into Jay and Brook, a gay couple we were once good friends with but haven't socialized with for something like ten years (though we have been friends on Facebook).
Our tickets had actually been comped by Casey, a woman Gretchen knows through Kate. Casey's husband runs both the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie and Upac in Kingston, so she gets Gretchen free tickets all the time. When Casey rolled up in her car, some staffer at the Bardavon removed a couple traffic cones from the sidewalk out in front and it became the place for Casey to park. Casey had a friend, another fit older woman (more of Kate's generation than ours), and all of us were soon standing around talking in front of the pizza place as Kate continued to devour her enormous slice. We joked at how slowly she was eating it, but she and I agreed that her slowness was nothing compared to that of Sarah the Vegan.
Inside the Bardavon, I finally got my hands on some alcohol, an $8 plastic cup of some sort of blended red. As I drank it, I looked out at the people coming for the show, It was mostly younger people, but included a fair number of ambiguous gender and body types (such as morbidly obese) that is rare to see in such concentration. I had to chug my last couple tablespoons of wine because you can't carry it into the theatre itself.
I'd never been in the Bardavon before. It's a fairly typical theatre from the early 20th Century, full of festive flourishes of the kind that were no longer fashionable by the 1950s. We found ourselves seated next to a woman Gretchen vaguely knew from the local farm animal sanctuary scene, so there was some banter related to that just before the show started.
Unusually, Tig Notaro began talking through the sound system before she was even on the stage. But then there she was, looking like a slender lumberjack in her plaid shirt and jeans. She had a number of pieces in her show, but the funniest was when she talked about being carried out of her house by a burly fireman. In her telling, she suddenly decided that she actually could fall in love with a man if he was strong and had the right mustache. It was hilarious mostly because of how it clashed with our expectations of the sort of story a lesbian comic would tell. At the end, she let it hang in the air that she and her wife had a fundamental disagreement on what they thought was the ideal man.
There were two segments of the show that were a bit too rich in the sort of name dropping that a comic of Tig Notaro's fame might be tempted to engage in. The first concerned things misheard from Reese Witherspoon (which probably wasn't funny enough to justify the name dropping) and the second came at the end of a long hilarious bit where Tig Notaro banged away randomly at a grand piano while claiming to perform first her own music and then specific covers (all of which sounded the same). She ended the show with the most hilarious cover of all, Adele's "Hello," which is normally something only a virtuoso would attempt. Tig had the sound guy cue up a recording of "Hello" and then proceeded to bang away randomly at her piano and sing over it. It was hideously horrendous while somehow also hilarious, especially given (and here was the name drop part) she'd supposedly first done this same performance at a musical event attended by Adele herself.
After the show, we reconnected with Casey, Kate, that woman who'd ridden with Casey, and Casey's husband. After discussing some to these things (including our disappointment with Tig Notaro's gratuitous name dropping), we went our separate ways. I drove Gretchen and me home via the fastest route (to New Paltz and then via the Thruway).

Gretchen at dinner early this evening on the sidewalk in front of El Azteca in Poughkeepsie.

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