Pasty White Jews in Harlem: Dinner at the M&G Diner

Tonight—more theater, more eating.

Lauren’s here to do some election grieving. I invited her along to our second-night of theater going: “The Gospel at Colonus” at The Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Classmate Molly got the tickets and classmate James said, “Let’s all eat at the M&G Diner before the show.”

Lauren came in from Penn Station late so we came late to dinner. We took the C train up to Harlem–my first time. I expected dingy streets and slums and dangerous types walking around snapping their fingers like in “West Side Story.” Instead, I got Old Navy. Lauren had mentioned that Harlem was gentrified, but I had no idea. It was actually quite charming, in a gentrified Harlem sort of way.

We made it into M&G and my classmates were already eating. We found a table and promptly ordered. A jukebox played Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” I began to groove to the rhythm. Lauren said, “Stop.”

Soon, our food arrived. I ordered the fried chicken breast with candied yams and macaroni and cheese and corn bread:


The fried chicken was fine–I’ve had better in Atlanta. The candied yams were delicious. The mac and cheese was ok; I’d forgotten that I hate cheese. But the greatest was the corn bread. It was soul-shatteringly good. They basically made little corn muffin things, sliced them in half and FRIED THEM IN BUTTER. And it just tasted wonderful. Goes into the pantheon of Corn Bread Adam Has Ingested.

Lauren had smothered chicken:


Don’t you love her sweater/shirt combo? I complimented her several times.

After dinner, we made it over to the Apollo theater. It was amazing. It was so great to be in there. So much history and such a great vibe to it. It still feels vital.

The show was a gospel version of “Oedipus at Colonus.” Charles S. Dutton played The Messenger and The Blind Boys of Alabama played “Oedipus.” I thought the book was pretty slow (meaning the speaking non-singing parts) but, really, how can you fault the writer when he’s SOPHOCLES? As for the music, it was rousing and wonderful. There’s a number in there that opens the movie “Camp” (a pretty bad movie) called “How Shall I See You Through My Tears?” It’s beautiful. I actually prefer the version on the “Camp” soundtrack so check that out. And here’s a pic from the show that I took illegally:


If any of my readers have thought Harlem too dangerous to venture out to, you’re really missing out. It’s one of New York’s great cultural havens. If you don’t go, you’re RACIST. Seriously. Can I get a hallelujah?

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