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Tag Archive: Dallas Ukulele Headquarters


Grand Theft Dinnerware

spaghetti-warehouseA Meetup group I’m a member of, Dallas Ukulele Headquarters (DUH), is having a Christmas party at the Spaghetti Warehouse (formerly the Old Spaghetti Warehouse) in the West End. I’m not able to make the party, but it got me to thinking about the Old Spaghetti Warehouse (OSW for brevity). When I first went to OSW, there was no West End. There was a parking lot and car lot nearby. It was a warehouse district – hence the name. Which made it cool and unique, but could be a pain in the ass to park. And it was dark in the area.

In the early ‘70s, a bunch of friends and I decided to dress up and go to OSW. Just to do it for one thing. And for another, no one ever “carded us” to buy liquor or beer when we were dressed up. Mark, Brian, and myself would dress up and go down to Gatsby’s Bicycle Bar in the Hilton downtown and drink tequila sunrises (thanks to the Eagles song and it being a good drink). No one ever ask for our i.d. But that was a different time.

Anyway, we arrived at OSW, parked, and trekked to the restaurant. We were seated on the second floor, which was for larger parties – the DUH party is on the second floor. I think there were about eight of us. It was about even, male and female, but all mostly friends. If not, no one knew yet. The restaurant was busy and it took a while to get served anything other than water.

Keep in mind, we were teenagers on the loose, with time left on our hands waiting for the waiter. Small talk led to silly talk which led to strange thoughts. I said it was the ‘70s, right? A lot of giggling and outright guffaws ensued. For amazingly little reason.

Then we came up with a master plan. Someone had the bright idea that we could take the entire table of place settings without leaving a trace. I’ll cop to it being me because it sounds like something I would come up with (I was a writer even then), but I have no idea as to why. Probably because we were bored, left alone, and we could. I’ll also cop to it because what actually happened was excellent.

I put silverware up my sleeve. I would like to point out – just because – that I got a lot of wear out of that suit. I got married both times in that suit. It had a vest, so I think that was how I got plates. The napkin was easy. I think the girls got the glasses in their purses/bags. When we were done, there was nothing on the table but the tablecloth and centerpiece. And we did it in seconds – maybe almost a minute. And no other customer or waiter on the second floor noticed – like I said, it was really busy.

We sat there, full of pride and nervous as hell, and had a hard time acting serious. Finally, a waiter – I’m not even sure it was ours – walked by and actually turned around to gave us an inquiring look. And headed off, obviously intent on finding a manager. Which he did, of course.

In almost less time than it took to abscond with the dinnerware, we had the table set back up. Almost better than it had been when we arrived. The manager thought the waiter was a little off. That was one of the best spaghetti dinners I’ve ever had. I still feel a little bad about the waiter being “caught in the middle.” But other than that, it was one of the slickest thefts that never was.

Peace be with you.

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Dan - Ukulele Open MicI played a ukulele open mic on Father’s Day at Los Jalapenos restaurant with the Dallas Ukulele Headquarters (DUH) Meetup community. It was my first time with the group. I didn’t know what it would be like to play with a room full of ukulele players. They are an accepting bunch. I made some new musical friends.

I had replied as soon as I received the invitation for the open mic, saying that I would like to play. I got to the restaurant at what I thought was an early time. Most of the group that was coming was already there. I ordered food and was fixing my tea when Mark Levine, organizer of DUH, announced that the open mic would start shortly with the Happy Hour Ukes group. After the group we would start with the open mic list.

Dan on ukulele and drummer
Which was when I first realized that the list was on a white board next to the stage. I got closer to see the list and found that I was first after the group. I got my ukulele out of the case and made sure it was tuned. The Happy Hour Ukes were pretty good. One of the guys was playing a ukulele bass. If you haven’t heard one before, it sounds like an upright bass. The drummer had a nice setup with a cajon and other percussion instruments. I’m blurry in the picture, but you can see his setup.

Being a complete newcomer, I was apprehensive about being the first one to play in the open mic. Open mics are nothing new, but most of the crowd could play ukulele better than me. However, I was pretty sure few of them had written songs. I was hoping that would help me be accepted by the ukulele crowd.

We were each to play two songs. I played the Aardvark Song – a song I wrote with my daughter when she was twelve. Then I played Love is The Thing – a song I wrote for the ukulele. Both songs seemed to go over well. But they really liked the Aardvark Song.

I returned to my table to applause, which is always nice. As I ate my food and listened to the other performers, I gradually became one of the group. Shared looks when laughing at jokes. People telling me they liked my song.

If you have a ukulele or ever thought about getting one, there are a lot of choices. But get it out of the closet or pick one up. Then join the Dallas Ukulele Headquarters Meetup Group. Download the songbooks from the files and go to town. If you’re a songwriter, it will give you another avenue to explore in writing songs. A new instrument also gets the writing juices flowing.

Then join us/them for events having ukulele jams. The places where they have their meetups always have good food. And these folks have a good time.

Peace be with you.

 

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