Last night I was waiting at an outside bar on the south side of Dallas to meet two women from a magazine I sometimes write for in New York. The joint is called Lee Harvey's, and it's a ramshackle collection of picnic tables, gravel, beer, mixed music, dogs, and casually dressed patrons just off Akard Street south of I-30. Some of the patrons were quite casually dressed indeed. One woman in a spaghetti-strap tank top offered us more than a little of what comedian Dawn French once termed an "astonishing bosom." But that's Dallas.
A 2006 poll of Dallas Observer readers named Lee Harvey's the best place in Dallas to "pick up some tail." Sundays the music is run by DJ Sistah Whitenoise, according the the bar's Web site. I was pretty anxious going in. I'm not accustomed to scenes where one picks up tail. But the dogs were fun. A woman with an ordinary bosom tossed a filthy tennis ball for a pair of rambunctious standard poodles; a badly behaved mutt jumped on a picnic table a little before the patrons seated there were done with their onion rings.
I'd never met my dinner dates, having only spoken to them on the phone. They were here in Texas to get a sense of the regional art scene. Also to get out of New York for a couple of weeks. Sipping a Shiner Bock, I started getting concerned that I'd not recognize them when they arrived.
But I did. It wasn't only the shoes -- hair, blouses, posture, gait all gave them away -- but the shoes alone were enough to tag 'em. Not Manolo Blahniks, but not Dallas either. Really not Dallas. Introductions complete, we got more beer (well, one of us got a Shirley Temple because she's pregnant.) and studied the menu. Burger, salad, onion rings (said to be the best in Dallas, but they weren't), two chicken panini sandwiches. An adorable mutt who could have been the model for that asshole Rodrigue's "Blue Dog" pictures begged impertinently and futilely for my sandwich.
Conversation ranged from Dallas galleries to the Kiefer winged book in Fort Worth to their itinerary across Texas. They plan to finish up at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa. I raved about the Judd aluminum boxes and about the Flavins. Probably I got pretty boring, but that's me.
Talk turned to the name of the bar. Yes, I said, I was here when JFK was killed. I was 12 and really too young to process what had happened, but still naming a bar after the killer is a mistake. Even if it's a very friendly place with cute dogs and lovely women. I still remember my mother lying face down on the bed sobbing that terrible afternoon.
Today my dinner companions drove to Houston. I stayed in Commerce.