Restoration Comedy, or Love’s Last Shift

I dream often of living some place less expensive, where I could afford to buy a house, where the people are a little less politically correct, and the cars are fewer… (insert “Swiss Family Robinson” theme music here)…
But I’ve had such an amazing week, all due to local color and local comforts.

Last thursday we took my uncle to see “Restoration Comedy” at Cal Shakes theater, which neither of us had ever been to. A gorgeous outdoor theater in the wilds of Orinda, nestled amongst the hills in a glade of giant eucalyptus, we were dive bombed by dragonflies throughout the performance, but no mosquitos (pronounced muskeetas if you’re like me and yer mama is from the midwest)!

I’ll let you read more about the play here. It is only playing til the 30th. It was so brilliant and so funny, and oft times so very GAY that I was literally falling off my lawn chair I was laughing so hard. And the costumes! Oy! Lots of costume puns and general fabulousness. If this play comes to your town, SEE IT.

We had dinner downtown at “Casa Orinda”… and old timey relic of a restaurant that has gone a bit upscale but still serves awesome fried chicken and and steak and spaghetti and stuff. And they had REAL GRAVY. Like not brown gravy, or craft service yellow gravy… real gravy. I could bathe in it.
The icing on the cake of a perfect evening: when we dropped my Uncle off he loaded me up with yet another chunk of his ancient library… specifically the Restoration plays (printed late 17th century), a contemporary copy of The Beggar’s Opera (18th century), and a biography of Henry VII by Sir Francis Bacon (16th century). More on those later. After I roll around in them naked for a bit.
Sunday night, in the middle of our little heat wave (yes, it was 94 in El Cerrito) we went to The Merritt Bakery for dinner in Oakland. Another relic, and old diner, again specializing in fried chicken and cake! It was sooper. We then went and saw the pirate movie at The Grand Lake, yet another beloved anachronism: the gigantic gilded movie house. Used to go there quite a bit as a kid.
Last night we drove to the City for a hair cut. And nipped down to 16th Street and Pancho Villas for burritos. It may be hard to believe, but you just can’t get Mission style burritos anywhere but the Mission. Berkeley don’t have it. No sir. It is only fifteen miles away, and there ain’t nothin’ like it no where else. Sigh.
I am replete. Living here is no punishment, despite the high cost of living. I still fantasize daily about Baltimore or Portland or New Orleans or the Wilds of BigFoot Country. Sigh.