The Pragmatist: Three Songs for the Last Dance in Your Once-Magnificent Ballroom
Ah, what times you had. Such grandeur, such elegance. In the early days, you hosted the most extravagant and scandalous parties—a handful of celebrities conceived their illegitimate children here, and a few others met their eventual spouses. Fine libations flowed like the Rhine, and they say Jean Renoir once stopped by just to taste your chef's incomparable escargots.
Later there were the galas. Even the most affluent and successful guests left satisfied. "Was that really the Pope?" they would ask. "Oh, of course it wasn't," you'd say, but only because you didn't want to embarrass the man. Now, after all these years, it's over. The party is finished, you gambled your fortune away, and you've had to sell the estate. Tragic, really. Still, there's time for one last heartbreaking dance.
There is a reason this song has been recorded hundreds of time in more than a few languages. Jacques Brel's classic understated desperation speaks to the impending desecration of your dear, doomed former home.
It's unforgettable. Nino Rota's "Dancing in the Mist" truly makes Frederico Fellini's Amarcord what it is. The film simply wouldn't work without the classic melody, stained with nostalgia, to tug at the heartstrings. Just as the characters dance with no one in the sad mist, so too shall you be alone.
In the dreary cold, during the Snowmageddon of 2010, Frau Eva stopped by City Paper's desolate parking lot to play "Howling." The tasteful, delicate waltz, played amid frosty winds, is a fitting end to your tenure. Enjoy it here, and perhaps again tonight when the band plays at Galaxy Hut in Arlington.