Scenes from Roman Life 15

Is this ironic, or what?

A hipster-groovester joint, down in a semi-derelict area overlooking the river. By day, the street is lined by shops that all sell car, motorcycle and bicycle accessories that I wouldn't trust with my life. And blow-up kayaks, which I would. By night, one enters a sleek, minimalist bar where a man with thin spectacles and elaborate facial hair is making (very good) mojitos. It's hard to tell the staff from the clientele. Most of the spectacles are thin. Most of the facial hair is elaborate. Many of the women have short fringes and a direct gaze.

We are there to see the photographs of a friend. They are good, although he hasn't shared them yet, as far as I can tell. We go upstairs to a fine terrace, and behind us flows the Tiber. The photographs, kind of animated, are projected on a screen with vaguely Indian music tinkling alongside them. We sip cocktails. We chat about the scene, about Italian politics, about the joy of the Roman summer, and when and what we might eat.

A man appears in front of the projections screen. He wears jeans and a hoodie, bandages cover his face, big shades; l'uomo invisibile. He tells us that he is Colombian and a poet and that he loves Romano. He then reads some of his poems, in Romano. I understand fragments, and he gets lots of laughs, but he is not G.G. Belli.

And then, to our total astonishment, he makes way for "The Dunes". The Dunes are two women who proceed to do interpretative belly-dances. I have the presence of mind, and the presence of camera, to video a small part of the performance.

I was truly embarrassed. What was this all about? In such a cutting edge joint? I suppose it could have been a post-modern, somewhat ironic acknowledgment of something or other, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I'm pretty sure it was just hipster-groovester men and women with short fringes watching exotic women do what exotic women have always done here, since the days of Cleopatra.

We made our excuses and left, to a slap-up and well-nigh perfect feed of aglio olio.

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