Descending the steps into the Keg–it’s a steakhouse–at Yonge and Eglinton:
Foodie: When did the Keg get so damn cool?!
Beast: It’s like a jazz bar.
Foodie: Yeah, a jazz bar! Low lights, lots of black leather and everything’s shiny! Except there are also people wearing baseball hats backwards. This is going to be awesome.
Not just because we were back at the Keg–the subject of this blog’s first-ever post–but also because we’d just seen the Oscar-nominated film Whiplash at the theatre across the street from the restaurant. This was a jazzy Keg and the movie was about the fraught and complicated relationship between a jazz drummer and his instructor. There was a bit of a wait for a table. But the bar was wide open. So we saddled up there, quickly ordered our Keg classic stripling dinners (garlic mashed potatoes for me and baked potato with him) and started off with cocktails. Keg-sized cocktails.
Beast: I can’t believe we’re not going to the Pickle Barrel or the Mandarin.
Foodie: We can to those places next time we see a movie way uptown.
Beast: That is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. And normally I hate movies about music.
Foodie: How could that kid [Miles Teller] not have been nominated for an Academy Award?
Beast: I don’t know. You don’t see that level of naturalism very often. He reminded me a young Mark Ruffalo with his sort of schlubby intensity.
Foodie: Yeah! [Pause] You know what I really like about the Keg? The corporate culture.
Beast: Excuse me?
Foodie: We’ve had nothing but delightful service since we walked in that door. That’s on account of corporate training. Everybody has been so pleasant.
Beast: You’ve really changed.
Foodie: I don’t care. I’m having so much fun at the Keg.
Beast: Please don’t stare but–
Beast: I said don’t stare! But did you hear that guy beside us?
Foodie: The one wearing the backwards baseball cap?
Beast: No, the guy who just ordered a peppermint tea while he waits for a table.
Foodie: Oh, that guy.
Beast: Did you see how he snapped his fingers at the bartender demanding bread? Corporate culture means corporate dicks.
Foodie: That’s true. What a dick. But because of the corporate culture the bartender never lost her cool.
Beast: I don’t think you’re using “corporate culture” in the way you think you’re using it.
Foodie: But that movie ending. Now, that’s how you end a movie! I mean, I was more excited and exhilarated over this ending than I’ve been over any superhero or action movie ending. It was just so good.
Beast: The ending was so satisfying because it stays true to the unique moral universe that the movie created. It doesn’t gloss over it.
Foodie: I think I saw someone tweet that they thought the movie was about child abuse.
Beast: It’s about not coddling children. Not coddling people. Not settling for average in a world that is saturated to the max with averageness. Remember that great stuff about Charlie Parker?
Foodie: When the kid’s instructor was telling him how Charlie Parker became great because he was pushed?
Beast: Well, the funny thing is is that the kid is no Charlie Parker. He’s not even, as far as I’m concerned, a ‘jazz musician’ because he’s performing a codified music. It could’ve been classical music for all I’m concerned. Parker rewrote the vernacular of a unique American Music at a specific time.
Foodie: But what about his drum solo at the ending? That wasn’t codified.
Beast: Jazz is dead.
Beast: That kid could be an athlete. He could be a Mao’s last dancer. He could be anything and the dynamics of that relationship would be the same.
Beast: It’s about being the best. Period. Full stop. That means pursuing a goal beyond everything. And what’s interesting was that the kid’s biggest moral struggle was deciding what adult in his life to trust: his father, who encouraged him to report his instructor on account of his abusive behaviour, or the instructor on account of his abusive behaviour. And he knows–as I think some audience members did, too–that he’s doing the wrong thing. I wish someone had brutalized me like that when I was younger so I could be great at something other than drinking cocktails, looking fabulous and yammering on and on.
Foodie: I’m sorry, but this Keg steak is everything I hoped it would be. How is yours?
Beast: To die for.
Foodie: Hey, do we still have drums at our house?
Beast: Yes, they’re in the living room closet.
Foodie: Get them the fuck out.
Footnote: We are off to Cuba tomorrow. We argued over who had to make the last drugstore run for tampons, Trojans and anti-diarrhoea pills. I caved. Good thing, too, because I got my period today. And the Beast is so excited to go away that he says he just might shit himself so at least we have medication for that. But the Trojans? It’s not looking so good.