Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Le Mixeur Sharky - Your Date, Your Location, Your Drinksmiths

(This is one in a series of posts regarding Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories, an upcoming fundraising event to benefit my son Sharky, who is diagnosed with autism and is no longer receiving any state benefits or medical insurance coverage for speech, physical, or occupational therapies. The event will feature a menu of nine drinks, each created by a Seattle bartender especially for this event, and each based on one of J.D. Salinger's 'Nine Stories.')

Dear ones, we have a date. You and we. A date. That date is, March 11th, 2012. This is the date we will hold Le Mixeur Sharky. What time? Ohhh, probably about 5 or 6. We'll let you know for sure soon.

Dear ones, we have a place. You and we. A place. That place is, Inner Chapters Bookstore & Cafe. Where's that? It's on 419 Fairview Ave. N, in the lovely South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. ICB&C offers just the appropriate blend of literary atmosphere, running water, and service areas to hold such an event as this. We are grateful to them for the use of the space and excited to collaborate.

Many details are yet to be determined. But what has been determined is this: nine of Seattle's finest bartenders are currently working diligently (right kids? diligently? yeah? did you get my last email?) on original drink recipes for the menu, each based on one of Salinger's stories. In the coming weeks, I'll be profiling each of these bartenders and their current place of work, a la Left Coast Libations. For the moment, here is a list, including their assigned story and place(s) of work.

A Perfect Day For Bananafish – Bryn Lumsden: Rob Roy
Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut – Marley Tomic Beard: The Sexton
Just Before The War With The Eskimos – Kevin Langmack: Knee High Stocking Co, Vessel
The Laughing Man – Nathan Weber: Canon, Rob Roy
Down At The Dinghy – Evan Martin: Ba Bar
For Esmé – With Love And Squalor – Ben Perri: Zig Zag Café
Pretty Mouth And Green My Eyes – Sidonie Rodman: Rabbit Hole
De Daumier-Smith's Blue Period – Philip Thompson: The Coterie Room
Teddy – Anu Apte: Rob Roy

Those savvy among you might note that, with the exception of Anu Apte (my collaborator and instigator of this event, and the only person I could trust with the creation of my namesake cocktail), none of these bartenders were in Left Coast Libations. This was deliberate. It's part of an effort to continue to promote the work of more and more talented bartenders. And had J.D. Salinger compiled a book of eighteen stories, it still would have been too few to include all the worthy bartenders in our fair and currently snow-covered city of Seattle. Which is my way of apologizing to all the other amazing bartenders here who aren't on the list above.

In the time between now and March 11th, I will in all likelihood make several clumsy attempts to explain why this event has to be, and why it has to be the way it will be, and what's been in my heart as I slapped together its concept and design. For today, I will do this by including the words of Eudora Welty, who reviewed 'Nine Stories' for the New York Times. In some slightly abstract and perhaps obtuse way, I feel that what she wrote expresses why Sharky and J.D. Salinger had to meet, how much this event means to me, and what gratitude I hold for the bartenders above, and to all those who eventually join us along the way.

Without further adieu...

April 5, 1953
by Eudora Welty

J.D. Salinger's writing is original, first rate, serious and beautiful. Here are nine of his stories, and one further reason that they are so interesting, and so powerful seen all together, is that they are paradoxes.From the outside, they are often very funny: inside, they are about heartbreak, and convey it; they can do this because they are pure...

The stories concern children a good deal of the time, but they are God's children. Mr. Salinger's work deals with innocence, and starts with innocence: from there it can penetrate a full range of relationships, follow the spirit's private adventure, inquire into grave problems gravely--into life and death and human vulnerability and into the occasional mystical experience where age does not, after a point, any longer apply...

Death, war, the flaws in human relationships, the crazy inability to make plain to others what is most transparent and plain to ourselves and nearest our hearts; the lack or loss of a way to offer our passionate feeling belief, in their full generosity; the ruthless cruelty of conventional social judgements and behavior; the persistent longing--reaching sometimes to fantasy-- to return to some state of purity and grace; these subjects lie somewhere near the core of J. D. Salinger's work.

They all pertain to the lack of something in the world, and it might he said that what Mr. Salinger has written about so far is the absence of love. Owing to that absence comes the spoilation of innocence, or else the triumph in death of innocence over the outrage and corruption that lie in wait for it.

What this reader loves about Mr. Salinger's stories is that they honor what is unique and precious in each person on earth. Their author has the courage--it is more like the earned right and privilege--to experiment at the risk of not being understood. Best of all, he has a loving heart.

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