Wednesday, February 1, 2012

D.C.'s Red Palace: Beers, Burgers, and Burlesque

Following my New Year's Resolution to explore Washington D.C. more, and try more new and exciting things; a couple weeks ago I decided to attend my first Burlesque show. It has been something I had been wanting to do for a while, and in my excitement I had planned to go over the top and dress up in a full tuxedo, adorned with a top hat, monocle, and cane, and sip scotch in a classy way before and during the performance, as if I was attending a performance back in the golden age of Burlesque. However, I was lucky enough to be attending the show on a date, and my lovely companion Melissa convinced me to tone it down and so I simply showed up in a dress shirt and tie, while she accompanied me in a tastefully elegant blue dress. 
       Upon arrival at the Red Palace, I noticed the distinctively dive bar feel of the place, which immediately endeared me to the location; as did the freak show type theme that resonated throughout the walls and ceiling of the venue. Pictures of Siamese twins joined at the head and alligator boys decorated the area, giving the location a cool, eerie vibe. In lieu of Scotch, we decided that our primary drink for the night would be Bourbon Whiskey, and thus upon arriving at the Red Palace we began imbibing a variety of bourbon shots, while she chased with Jack and Cokes, and I with several beers. Craft beers appeared to be their specialty, and as a fan I was inclined to try several. The one I was most excited about was D.C. Brau which I had only recently heard about in the Youtube video Shit People in D.C. Say. Granted I was a couple shots deep at the time, but I was incredibly disappointed with D.C. Brau. I got it on draft, and it seemed deprived of hops, and possessed a taste best described as sour ass. Luckily, I was able to quickly wash the taste out of my mouth, as I tried another of the Red Palace's specialties; specifically, their signature burger, The Burpoken. It consists of a regular burger with shredded pork on top, and strips of grilled chicken on top of that. Unfortunately, I wasn't given sufficient time to enjoy the burger because as it arrived, they began letting people in to see the show. Therefore, I smothered it in mayonnaise and ketchup and demolished it in under two minutes, much to Melissa's disgust. Despite the dashed dining, The Burporken worked really well, and was generally delicious. It held together badly and was incredibly messy, but the pulled pork blended really well with the burger meat, and the chicken strips seemed to accentuate the entire combination.
Dangrrr Doll
Chris McDaniel
      When we finally entered the show, Melissa and I met up with my good friends Rachel and Jocelyn (AKA Rossalyn) and were surprised to discover that the show was standing room only. This often made it hard to see the show, as the stage was relatively low down. In order to combat this problem, the Red Palace installed a flat screen by the bar in the back where you could see everything being performed on stage, albeit in horrible picture quality.
      The performing Burlesque troupe was called Albert Cadabera's Skullduggery and Skin Show. Cadabera served as the host, and was endearing enough to keep the audience entertained and captivated from act to act, and even carried out an impressive performance of his own later in the show when he swallowed and retrieved a long string  of razor blades.  Dangrrr Doll, and the other scantily pastie clad ladies who highlighted the show performed admirably, but were sadly far from astonishing. The act that absolutely stole the show was that of the handlebar mustachioed cowboy, Chris McDaniel. He opened up showcasing his impressive talents with a lasso, making every man in the house feel like they were 5 again watching a Western in awe. A few minutes later he came back on stage to demonstrate his proficiency with a whip, stimulating the audience to such a degree that Melissa quipped to Rossalyn "I'm taking HIM home tonight." The rest of the show was a whiskey fueled blur. I recall a very talented little dog, named "Ruby the Wonder Dog who I had to watch on the flat screen, but that's about it. Following the conclusion of the show, Melissa and I stumbled out into a snow storm before hitting up a bar called Sticky Rice, and a couple others whose names I don't recall, then inevitably headed home. Overall, I would certainly visit The Red Palace again, either for a couple drinks or for a great show.

*All of the pictures were found online, because I forgot to bring my camera to the show.

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