Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Opening
We’ve got a bone to pick with Jeni Britton Bauer. First, people are lining up for two or three blocks for a taste of her ice cream, and it’s seriously messing with our ability to get more of it. Second, how is anyone expected to go to work when there are frozen treats like that in walking distance? The only thing we’ve managed to think about since Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened on Thursday has been how to eat only brown butter almond brittle ice cream for the rest of our days.
The invite to the opening of Jeni’s was met with screeching and yelping. We will neither confirm nor deny that we downloaded a countdown app in anticipation of the blessed day, nor that we attempted a Master Cleanse in an effort to maximize gluttony.
And thank the sweet baby Jesus we drank that spicy lemonade for a few hours, because there is no joy simpler or purer than the joy of sampling 30 ice creams in a row. Ashley, our ice cream sensei, walked us down the line with limitless patience and mini-spoons, explaining each and every flavor (Bangkok peanut! Brambleberry crisp! Goat cheese and cherry!). Finally, we settled on — well, is it settling if you eat three ice cream cones? The delightful Jeni was there in the flesh, shepherding the near-ecstatic crowd with the ecclesiastical zeal of a woman who knows the One Truth. We bought her ice cream bible on the way out the door in hopes of recreating the fun at home, though with excellence this close at hand, why bother?
A man in a cat-print caftan. Glow sticks. Dancers scarfing tuna salad croissants out of the view of the public. A sculpture so large it inhibited movement. A party in the South with no bourbon. A disco ball. If you’re struggling to conceptualize all these things at once, imagine standing in it. A big crowd gathered Thursday night at Redux Contemporary Art Center to celebrate Dorrance Dance’s participation in Spoleto, eat sandwich cookies, and drink vodka until the wee hours. Everyone danced to DJs Party Dad and JAZ until the real dancers arrived and showed us how it was going to be. And they couldn’t have gotten there fast enough. Us mere amateur dancers had embarrassed ourselves enough with that whole middle school “stand in a circle and then take turns doing fancy moves” stuff. The ancient wisdom that enthusiasm is the key to good dancing did not, in fact, hold up in this case. We like to think we bowed out gracefully from the dance floor, but is the Can Opener ever graceful? We moseyed around Redux, taking in all the interesting and diverse art (the stuff in the bathroom is all toilet and poop themed!) and vowed to learn screen printing and oil painting this summer. Screen printing and oil painting is actually Aramaic for “watching Golden Girls and eating Popsicles,” but it’s the thought that counts.
Worst case scenario: you gather all your supplies for the closing of Spoleto at Middleton Place (read: two bottles of Trader Joe’s champagne stuffed in a tote bag), get in your car, and then your phone starts bleating that awful flash flood warning sound. Undeterred, we drove the 20 or so miles out to Bucolic City to join several thousand of our closest friends for bocce ball, fried chicken, and adult lemonade. Tromping around the gardens, we ran into a couple landscape architects who gave us a great tour of the area, replete with details about formal and rustic styles of planting, the true origin of the camellia flower — Indonesia, in case you were wondering — and why on earth people have reflecting pools.
As the night wore on, the music got louder, and we made our way toward the stage to hear Shovels & Rope, something else both formal and rustic. They put on a great, fun show, sticking to their wheelhouse of boisterous and folky songs that you imagine you could play for both your hip sister-in-law from Brooklyn and country cousin who likes songs about trucks. The crowd was not used to this foot stompin’ music or the kind of show where people stand near each other; there were a limited number of girls throwing their arms over their head and yelling “WOO” to show their drunken state, and one woman told us she was “saving” spaces in the throng for her friend and, “could we please move?” Confidential to show-goers: That’s not a thing. Also confidential to show-goers: dancing is fun.
We started back for our car as the fireworks began, and whoa, what a sight it was to see. That alone was worth the price of admission and perhaps merited the upkeep on a reflecting pool. Spoleto thusly concluded, we headed home to hydrate and enjoy a meal of non-crudites. See you next year, unmitigated glee. Same time, same place?