Bar Belle: Electric youth


Remember a few weeks ago when I lamented how I’m not going on any vacations this summer? That’s still true, and sad, but apparently this is my year of live music. In addition to seeing Madonna, Fleetwood Mac and Taylor Swift earlier this year, last week I saw five amazing singers/groups within six days of each other. My ears are still ringing.

First up was Brandi Carlile at the Iroquois Amphitheater on a beautiful Sunday evening. I’ve seen her a few times, but that voice never gets old. My seats were great, but a few beers gave me the courage to check the front for any openings (drunk text?). Low and behold, there were two seats calling my name, and my friend and I settled in for an amazing performance including covers of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”

Next up on Monday was boy-band heaven with Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees and New Kids on the Block. My inner straight girl was swooning. The Boyz were OK, Nick Lachey was still dreamy, and I switched my favorite New Kid from Jon to Joey. Is that legal? Is there a statute of limitations 25 years later? Unfortunately, Jon and Danny looked as if they were just there to collect a paycheck. But Jordan, Donnie and Joey performed as if their mugs were still plastered all over your bed sheets, lunch boxes and trapper keepers. When Joey sang “Please Don’t Go Girl” as a solo, I almost cried. So I ordered another beer and tried to locate my dignity. No shame in the game, y’all!

Finally, on Saturday, an experience I once thought to be only in my dreams came true. No, I didn’t get asked out or win the lottery — but I’ll take this over both of those any day (as long as the pot wasn’t over $2,000 and the person asking me out wasn’t Rachel McAdams). I met Debbie Gibson! And I saw her perform her greatest hits!

I talked a couple of friends into a road trip to Cincinnati’s Pride Fest, where Debbie was headlining. One of them is too young to know who Debbie Gibson is, the other is my meatball — obligated to accompany me on any adventure where mischief might be involved. We got there early and they made fun of me for wanting to stake out a spot near the stage. Fine. So we grabbed some beers, bought some rainbow stuff and people-watched until they agreed it was appropriate to stalk my idol.

I maneuvered my way to the very front — it was standing-room only — and let my inner 12-year-old have the time of her life. Debbie sang a decent number of covers, including an ’80s mash-up that included NKOTB’s “Hangin’ Tough,” as well as her hits. And when she sat down at the keyboard to sing “Lost in Your Eyes,” I gay-boy gasped and high-fived my neighbor. The meet-and-greet after the show went so fast it was a blur. I literally had 30 seconds to snap a photo (check it out on my blog) and blurt out, “I still have your perfume!”

This summer is off to a great start! Who knows … maybe I’ll run into Julia Roberts at Big Bar.

Mixing nuts
So the other night I lost my mind and paid for it dearly. Apparently they teach you this around the time you learn your ABCs, but I must have missed class that day. The golden rule of avoiding hangovers? Stick to one poison. It’s as simple as that. But what did I do? Started with beer, then split a bottle of white wine during dinner, batted a few times for Team Vodka, and ended the night with a margarita topped with spiced rum. Yeah. That happened.

Drinking shouldn’t be a melting-pot experience. It’s not America. It’s more like that secret shower room at Connections — only one type of person is allowed in for everyone’s safety. If it’s a beer night, don’t do shots. If it’s a wine night, don’t jump on the rum express, for Captain Christ’s sake! Learn from my mistakes. You’ll thank me in the morning.

Drunk Texts of the Week
• Im gonna like it once it gets in there
• Dont throw me under the short bus
• A few beers gave me the courage to check the front for any openings

Send your drunk texts to [email protected]. My blog is at Word.