Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 175: My Wicked-Glammy Movie Star Weekend

Lady C as Holly G
Holly G as herself
Zan as Holly G

In a word: Awesome.

Ages ago, my darling Zanzibar — beloved college friend of many decades and one of my bridesmaids — told me that her sister The Movie Star was trying to get funding for a play, and if the stars aligned would I come see it and spend some time with her in N.Y.? And I mustered my inner wits and said yes, I would do this, despite my ridiculous phobia.

Zan wrote just a few weeks ago and said, These are the dates. And then, knowing that I am always broke, she added, And it's on me. No argument.

Well, how could I possibly say no to that?!

And it was so so SO much fun!!!!!

AwesomeSauce #1: We stayed with The Movie Star !!!

Her apartment is totally cute; she has a long plushy silver sofa, and a fancy shower with, like, thirteen different nozzles, and big giant windows (see our Holly Golightly poses above — that's the guest room window), and stacks of movie magazines on the coffee table, and three-foot-tall lilies in a tall vase . . . it was all Old Hollywood glamour, and I nearly died of happy-happy joy-joy.

Look at her insanely cute corkscrew (bottom right):

This is my new most-coveted objet, the Anna G Alessi corkscrew, and given its price I'll be coveting it for a while. But a girl can dream . . .

We walked around the city for a while (Chelsea Market! so cool!), then came back to the apartment and opened the treat I'd brought for us to share: my birthday bottle of Dom Perignon!
So delicious!! Zan also concocted a lovely snack for us, a Caprese Salad plus avocado: 

We talked, we laughed, we drank every drop of that blessed champagne . . .

. . . and then opened another bottle. And drank it as well.

Hey, I'm in New York! 

Between champagnes and dinner we met The Movie Star and her adorable boyfriend Poker-Mellow Phil (they were asleep when we arrived), but I'm blanking on the details of our first conversation because I was totally starstruck. Z was too, because she is obsessed with excellent poker playing, and P-M Phil is a very big deal in the poker world. So there we were, two usually ballsy mouthy chicks, tongue tied and shy and monosyllabic. But The Movie Star could not have been more glammy or gracious, and I was so excited to meet her.

(Poker-Mellow Phil reminded me of my cool jock brothers, and I felt comfortable with him right away — it helps that I know literally nothing about celebrity big-stakes poker.)

Zan had made reservations for 7 p.m. at Barbuto, a fancy restaurant in the meat-packing district. She was kinda sorta not-fully-but-almost sure where it was, so we left shortly after six just in case — and there we were, striding briskly through the streets of Chelsea like real New Yorkians.

(This is Z's phrase and I totally fell in love with it; all weekend I cried, "Zan! Take a picture of me! I'm being New Yorkian!" It was never not funny.)

(She maintains that there is a distinct difference between "New Yorkian" and "New Yorker," but I will let her explain that, if she chooses.)

We had definite moments of not being sure where we were or where the restaurant was (I told Zan that I don't mind walking a longish distance but I don't want to just wander, and she was very kind and willing to ask strangers directions), but we found it (exactly more or less where Z thought it would be) and our meal was magnificent.

AwesomeSauce #2:  I'm kinda vague on who this guy is or how Zanzibar knows him, but she knew the exact name to drop, and drop it she did — and we were treated like the Princesses Grimaldi from that moment forward. Charcuterie for the princesses, on the house! Garlicky twice-baked potatoes, on the house! May I refill your wine, Princess? Oh yes you may!

It was divine.

Free charcuterie!!
And Zan is such an agreeable dinner companion! She had me order for both of us, then politely declined half her paté so I could eat most of it.

We had charcuterie fit for a princess, duck liver bruschetta, kale salad with anchovy dressing, roasted chicken with salsa verde and the aforementioned potatoes, and for dessert I chose a scoop of vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it. And wine, so very much wine.


The next day was our matinee. The Movie Star had warned us that the play was a little weird, but we assured her that we are freaky girls and could roll with it. And yeah, it definitely wasn't The Sound of Music, but it's very well written and the performances are fantastic; we were completely riveted.

AwesomeSauce #3:  The Movie Star says that she never really "sees" people in the audience but she caught sight of me several times. For some reason, this thrilled me! Epecially because I know I would've been smiling. I really, really enjoyed the play, and her performance was captivating.

After the matinee, Z and I and The Movie Star, plus Z's cousin and husband, went to dinner at Il Buco, the cutest little Italian place just a few blocks away. Here I learned that [a] it's truffle season (I said that I couldn't wait to work that into a conversation! – "Well, it's truffle season, don'tcha know") and [b] kale salad with anchovy dressing is apparently the hot new thing, because it was on this menu as well. However, I chose a shaved kohlrabi and ambrosia apple salad for Z and a burrata one for myself (burrata, fuyu persimmon, heirloom radicchio, and pistachios — doesn't that sound interesting? It was crazy good), and we shared tiny croquettas and a scallop-risotto dish, and everything tasted lovely. And The Movie Star asked if she could order a half portion of pasta as an appetizer, and when the server said yes she clapped her hands in the most adorable way — just like I would. She is so cute and sparkly, and the cousins were warm and friendly, and it was so much fun to meet more of Zan's family.

But I felt bad for a couple of reasons:
  • It was my womanly time and I'd had a migraine all day — I literally felt bad.
  • I hadn't packed enough tampons, so needed to make an emergency Walgreens run. (Fortunately, there was one right across the street from the theater.)
  • Because I was doing the tampon run, I missed my chance to meet Wallace Shawn and Julie Hagerty, which would've impressed my kids (who love the Princess Bride and Airplane!). Oh, well.
  • Because of said migraine, I was dull and quiet at dinner — not my usual bubbly witty self.
But maybe that's okay. This was a family meal, after all, and not all about me.

We'd walked to the theater (45 minutes! I definitely got some exercise this weekend — and I was not wearing sneakers or a sports bra) but took a taxi home, which was a huge relief. My poor head, I just wanted to take some meds and go to sleep.

But . . .

AwesomeSauce #4: The Movie Star got out her poker chips, and Zanzibar began to salivate. Hmm, I should probably mention that besides being a huge fan of the game, Z is a poker champion herself, having won a huge tournament in Atlantic City! I am so proud of my smarty friend. Anyway, when Celebrity Poker Champion J. Tilly and Atlantic City Tournament Winner Z invite you to play poker with them, you do not repair to your fainting couch, princess. No, no — I cowboyed up and got in the game . . .

. . . the rules of which they had to keep explaining to me. Continually. ("It's double blind, so that's four to you, Lady C." "Uh, okay?" "And you've got the button, Lady C." "Uh, okay?")

I'm more of a . . . charades girl.

And given the august company with which I was surrounded, I guess you can probably predict who won our cut-throat poker game:

Oh, yeah. Me.

This is my winning hand: 
It was hysterical.

Poker-Mellow Phil came in while we were playing and cheered my big win. I noted that I was glad he was there to observe me, as he's scehduled to play in some huge upcoming tournament; If you need any tips, I said, just ask me, and he laughed and laughed. Such a sweetie!

On our last day in the big scary city, I got up before Zan did and went to the corner bakery to get us coffee. I felt like such a New Yorkian, on the streets by myself! And I'm not scared any more. I told Zan she cured me.

She suggested that we walk to the river, where we could see the Statue of Liberty. Believe it or not, it's behind me in this picture:

We still had a couple of hours before "our" driver was picking us up (the Movie Star kindly loaned us her driver to take us to and from the airport), and Zan had brought her own bottle of fancy champagne, so I proposed that we conclude the weekend by downing another bottle of bubbly and playing cards. We drank Veuve Cliquot at 12:30, and Z re-taught me how to play Screw Your Neighbor — she says it's a very simple game, but maybe it's easier to understand and strategize if you're not drinking at least half a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, I dunno.

The Movie Star emerged from slumber just as we were finishing, and she laughed at our champagne glasses. (We eschewed her dainty flutes and went straight for tumblers; we may be lushes, but we are rich in self-knowledge.) We shared the last few sips with her, and she hunkered right down with us and started talking . . . and this may have been the highlight of the weekend for me, hearing about Hollywood life from an insider. Zan has always said that one of her actress sisters is more crunchy-granola and one is all Old Hollywood glamour, so this is the sister I would especially enjoy, and it was so totally fun to hear about The Movie Star's experience playing Elizabeth Taylor in the Celebrity Autobiography show.

AwesomeSauce #5: She grabbed some coffee table books about movie star jewelry and showed us Joan Crawford's charm bracelet and Elizabeth Taylor's brooch . . . which she now owns.

We heard the whole inside story of E. Taylor's jewelry auction — thrilling! I asked The Movie Star if she actually wears the brooch, and she said, "OMG, I wear it all the time!!" It's in an exhibition right now, so we couldn't see it. But isn't it beautiful?

And . . . the clock ticked 2:30. Our driver was here, it was time to go. But wait! There was time for one last highlight.

AwesomeSauce #6:  Zan had asked if there were any particular thing I wanted to do in New York, and I said that if it was convenient, I would love to have a hot dog at Gray's Papaya. I adore hot dogs, I'm always hearing how fabulous the G.P. dog is, and isn't that a weird name for a hot dog place? I've always been so curious. We'd seen one on our way to the theater, so we asked our sweety driver if we could stop for takeout on the way to the airport, and he so kindly obliged. And it was indeed a delicious dog.

At the airport, I hugged and kissed my friend for a year. What a perfect weekend she gave me! There are no words to express the depth and breadth of my gratitude.

So I will simply say: Thank you, my darling Zanzibar. Everything we did was so wonderful, and the highight was that I got to do it all with you.

AwesomeSauce #7: A cherished friendship has endured for more than three decades and continues to flourish.

— Lady C, amateur New Yorkian


  1. What can one add to such a plethora of Awesomesauce? So glad you had such a great time!
    Mrs. Cynicletary

    1. Thanks, honey! So much AwesomeSauce, I needed TWO spoons!

  2. What a lovely-looking trip! Glad you had a fantastic, fabulous time, Lady C!

  3. “New Yorkian” – she chooses to explain. When I first met my future husband in the desolate city of dust, I would drag him back for nostalgic trips to my alma mater by the sea and subject him to experiences that included group hot tubing, two-hour brunches, and sandwiches that involved avocados and bean sprouts. His mildly pejorative term “Santa Cruzian” applied to all things “out there” (as from his narrow-life viewpoint, I can be pejorative as well), from earth shoes to assorted unshaved body parts. New Yorkian is simply an extension of this naming pattern.

    Glad you had a good time, my dear friend!

    1. Ah - so a New Yorker is someone who hails from or resides there, "New Yorkian" describes aspects of the culture. Well, that does make sense.

      And - I am TOTALLY New Yorkian now. I've taken so many long walks since I got back home! And I always think of you. (I'm partly walking so much because my boobs haven't been cleared for zumba yet, and partly because my car was in the shop. But nonetheless - New Yorkian!)

      Miss you, babycakes!

    2. Mr. Lady Chardonay (aka Husband, aka Heterolifemate)November 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Hmmm... so, I'm guessing that the equivalent for my home state would be... Texian?

      Suzanne, I just wanted you to know how truly, truly grateful I am. My wife came home with such a glow! And she's still glowing! I find that I'm actually choking up a bit, trying to express what all this has meant -- you and I (and quite a few others) who know and love our girl always knew that there was so much for her in NY, but that she had to be introduced to it all in just the right way. And you did it! You did it perfectly (well, maybe not so much with the directions -- I started shivering the moment she started telling that story)!! Even above and beyond the incredible generosity of the entire weekend, and the immediate (and continuing) joy that it brought, you have given her a gift that... that... o.k. I have to stop for a moment, so let me leave it with words that, by themselves are completely inadequate, but know that they are packed with everything that I am feeling: Thank You.

    3. Silly bunny. I'm happy you're happy for me!

    4. Yes! And all things Texian.... umm lots of BBQ meat and singing Home on the Range with a large night sky background? Or big hair and Friday night football games?

      So lovely to hear your happiness in your wife's that is love folks!

  4. I'm smiling so big right now!!! So glad you had an incredible time and then chose to write it up and share it with all of us in your own spectacular style (this blog entry is extra luxe with extra sparkly images and you look gorgeous in all the pictures!) I laughed several times in delight and then in huge amusement at the Gray's Papaya stop!!! So happy that you are now Lady C. the honorary New Yorkian! -- SDF

    1. Thank you, my honey! It was an extra luxe and extra sparkly weekend!