Anthony Bourdain at the Paramount

1690263629_508be17b0e_m.jpgMy wife and I went to see Tony Bourdain at the Paramount on Saturday night. We’re big fans of both Cooks Tour and No Reservations. My wife worked in the restaurant industry here in town and remembers reading parts of Kitchen Confidential with the kitchen crew at Chez Nous and howling at his description of vegetarians and their “Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans”. The show was completely sold out. Bourdain came out and talked about how amazed and thankful he was for how his life has turned out. He’s still completely shocked that he’s been able to do Cook’s Tour and No Reservations after writing Kitchen Confidential.

He reiterated a lot of the themes that appear in his shows: how food brings people together and how a society’s culture is tied to their food. He referred a lot to specific No Reservations shows, so audience members who weren’t familiar with him probably felt a little left out. Since the Paramount sells season tickets and many people end up picking an unfamiliar performer for at least one show, it was clear there were some people who fell into that category. The annoying jerk of the night award goes to the guy in the upper right balcony who answered a cell phone call during the performance, then stood up while talking and moved out into the right aisle and then slowing walked in front of several rows while still talking. What an inconsiderate a-hole. There was a lengthy Q&A session after his talk. At least half of the questions were pretty bad, but he fielded them all gracefully, including the shouts from overenthusiastic groupies. He recommended Bill Bruford’s Heat and, not surprisingly, named French Laundry and Masa as his top restaurant picks even if you have to rob a bank to get the cash to afford eating at either one.

Ken Stein, the Executive Director for the Austin Theater Alliance which manages the Paramount and State theaters, has a blog and posts about fund raising and upcoming events. He offered a set of four front row seats up for bidding, all proceeds going to the theater. The final bid was $1,600. He also hinted that Bourdain would be visiting a local BBQ joint with a crew from Nightline on Saturday afternoon. I guessed and stopped by Sam’s BBQ on East 12th around 3pm on the off chance I’d meet him. It turns out that he went to Ruby’s at 29th and Guadalupe. The Nightline crew filmed him all day and followed him out to Sixth Street after the show and book signing. I’m not sure when it will air. Bourdain is an avid drinker and smoker and word is that he had quite a few before and after his performance. I’m guessing the early flight on Sunday morning wasn’t very much fun.

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