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A Strange Request at a Piano Bar - Prompted by piccadillyinc

We came for La Kermesse d'Idées Éclairés, we stayed for L'hôtel de La Kermesse. The sparkling crystal chandeliers that line the hallways guide guests like mischievous faeries to vibrant corridors and bubbly lounges. If one stared at a crystal long enough, they would imagine that a sun wearing a mask of labradorite was dancing at a masquerade ball for stars just overhead.

On our first day here, after checking into our room, our boyfriend and I decide to explore the numerous halls and floors for all the amenities that L’hôtel could offer. After twenty minutes of wandering the the bright, vivacious corridors, we discover a softly lit piano bar.

A handful of guests are stepping to the peppy tune being played by the musician sitting behind the piano. She couldn’t have been much older than thirteen or fourteen. Her back is to the wall and she surveys the dance floor as her fingers dance along the keyboard.

One guest is sitting on a plush seat, propping his foot up on a matching ottoman, giggling his heart out at his friends on the dance floor. I notice the apple-sized lump above his foot, he must have sprained it while dancing. 

Why is he so giggly? Surely that has to be hurting him. 

I see him pick up his drink, a dark brown liquid with light froth on top, mimicking a mug of root beer. The aromatic blend of ethanol and sassafras tells me that it’s definitely more than a simple, gross soda.

The tune comes to an end and the dancers start applauding. One of them is drenched in sweat and looks like she’s about to pass out. The pianist takes a bow and asks if anyone has any requests. My boyfriend starts walking up to the girl when one of the dancers shouts for “The Streets of Cairo.” The sweaty woman walks over to the man on the couch and she takes a seat next to him, ready to watch their friends dance.

The pianist ceremoniously sits and begins tapping the keys to begin the tune. As the first notes begin, my boyfriend takes my arms and we go out on floor amidst the other dancers. I’m not quite sure what to do, but my hips start gyrating and my boyfriend’s own hips sync with mine. I’m not sure what’s quite compelling us to dance, we’ve never danced like this before, nor have we ever really danced in public. Perhaps it’s the mystery of the lounge, but the two of us start laughing as we dance awkwardly.

The afternoon turns to evening and we’ve both given a couple of requests. Only a couple of the original dancers remain moving, most are gathered on one of the sofas with the man who had sprained his ankle. As this last song ends, I can’t help but notice my heart pounding. My boyfriend goes to take a seat, but I remain on the floor- swaying to the rhythms put out by this little girl and her grand piano. I can almost feel the cells in my blood oxidizing from my heavy breathing, but I’m having too much fun.

There are only two of us left on the floor, myself and a tall, busty woman that is draped in wavy black hair down past her shoulders. Without a request, the pianist starts to plink out a familiar tune: “Holding Out For A Hero.” My boyfriend, very familiar with the song, begins singing the lyrics, and I begin dancing with this stranger. She takes the lead, and we waltz around the dance floor. She twirls my body and I end up losing my breath and tripping, knocking her down as I fall on top of her. We laugh it off and the girl stops playing.

She walks up to us and pulls the two of us off of the floor. She congratulates me, for being the last dancer standing, and presents me with a card good for free drinks for the rest of my stay at L'hôtel. I shake her hand and run up to my boyfriend. We embrace and he pulls me into a kiss that leaves the taste of our mixed sweat on my tongue. The woman goes to her friends, defeated. Her friends, however, have a different attitude. They declare that I had cheated, that I had deliberately knocked her down, in order to win. Of course, I never intended to fall down, and when I say that my boyfriend and I had no idea about the contest- we are put into a bit of a controversy.

I didn’t knock her down on purpose, so the card should be mine. But I didn’t even know that it was a contest, so did I really earn this?

The dilemma eats at me and I look at my boyfriend for help. The look in his eyes tell me all I need to know. I hand over the card to the woman, and thank her for being such a great dance partner. I also apologize for knocking her over. We all laugh at the incident and the woman uses her new card to buy everyone a round, including my boyfriend and I. While we didn’t get to keep the card, this night is truly something I will never forget in my lifetime. The dancing, the laughter, the music- all because of a little girl and her grand piano.

So in my country there is a holiday coming up where you dress up (kind of like halloween but not spooky) so this year i wanted to try and make a mask to match my sword.

Honestly it didnt go as planned, and at some point i couldnt even wear it bc it was full of superglue fumes, but in the end i quite like it.

I know the paint job on the lower half of the mask is pretty bad, but im going to wear a scarf around my neck and cover my mouth with it.

(I might post a pic of myself wearing the full costume if i feel confident enough, because you cant really recognize me anyway)

The agbádá or dàńdógó is a garment that symbolizes wealth and social importance in Yorùbá society. The egúngún is a Yorùbá masquerade dance costume. The egúngún featured in One: Egúngún has pieces of at least two agbádá in it, appropriate for a mask that uses rich textiles to honor ancestors. In Yorùbá culture, clothing is connected to identity and community. The agbádá is worn with a matching embroidered top, trousers, and cap. The thread is dipped into indigo dye before weaving.

Posted by Noemi Diop
Yorùbá. Prestige robe (agbádá or dàńdógó), 20th century. Cotton, silk, and indigo. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Philip Gould, 1991.230.2. Creative Commons-BY