Author Archives: Clint Curtis

I Thought You Liked Money

I’m behind the bar, it’s been a busy night, things are winding down. It’s around 9:40PM, I start doing my cleaning duties. Wipe off counters, start cleaning espresso machine, etcetera.

At 9:50, I’m pretty much done with my cleaning, all my bar supplies are put in their proper home, ready for the next shift. I hear the front door open, four people come strolling in. I look at my watch. Damn. 10 minutes before close. They sit down, the server approaches them, they order. The server goes to the terminal, punches in the order. I look over at the kitchen, the main chef is shaking his head. Of course, he wants to get out of here.  Like I do.

The server says to me, got four cocktails coming in for you.

I grumble, oh man! Five minutes before close. I got all my shit put away, and…

He stares me down with a forceful gaze, then says, I’m sorry.

I thought you liked money.

I sputter, But…I….uh….der….

I put my head down,

And make the damn drinks.

-CC

 

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Crazy Pills

I’m behind the bar, doing my thing, somewhat slow, a couple people at the bar.  I get to chatting with this guy.  Interesting fellow.  I would describe him endearingly as a dick.  The tables turned, he gave me shit.  I screwed up on pouring the wrong beer, and he didn’t let it go, saying, first day?  After much un-funny ribbing, I say to him, you don’t have a lot of insecure friends, do you?  He says, yeah.  We all stab each other in the back.  That’s what everybody does in the business.

I find out he’s a big producer for ESPN.  Traveling to Iowa City to run a Iowa Hawks game, then off to Vegas for another game, then off to blah, blah, blah.  A real jet-setter.

I say, you know, I just can’t really get into sports.  I feel like Will Ferrell in Zoolander when he says about Derek Zoolander’s famous looks, Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They’re the same face!  Doesn’t anybody notice this?!?  I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!!  I mean, it’s guys throwing a ball around.  And they make it into such a BIG DEAL.

He says, comically, Shhh-shhhhh-shhhh.  Keep your voice down.

I have a big house on a golf course because of it.

-CC

One Of Those Nights

I get in early on Friday to the restaurant to start setting up.  I had been “called off” the night before because it was expected to be slow.  I see one of the servers that had worked the night before.  Hey, man.  How you doing?  …Good, good.  So…how did last night turn out?

He takes a pause, then says,

It was the kind of night that made me question my life’s choices.

That slow, huh?

He nods, says, yeah.

Later that night, I’m standing behind the bar, trying not to fall asleep standing up.  This cold.  Nobody wants to leave their house, and I don’t blame them.  The same server walks up to the terminal to put in an order.  He prints the receipt, starts walking towards me.  Oh the Heaven’s open up.  A cocktail to make!  I almost start salivating, excited for the prospect to make a drink.  Instead of standing there, making my thumb smell from being up my bum.

He hands me the receipt.  Will it say a Bannerman’s Arsenal, perhaps?  My favorite drink to make.  Or perhaps a Noho Sour, a more complicated drink to make that will take me a whole minute to make?

I look down at the receipt, it says, OPEN DRINK.  And then under that, in NOTES, it says,

PSYCH.

Yep.  One of those nights.

-CC

Clint Curtis Actor Demo Reel

I’m behind the bar, mid-shift, my manager comes up to me, stands there, surveys the room. You know, I really like this guy. He’s super-reserved, somewhat quiet, but has a dry sense of humor I appreciate.

Hey, man. I’ve got a question for you.

He says, shoot.

I say, have you ever worked on something, like a project, maybe a song. Let’s say for over 20 YEARS. Finally you’re done with it. You’re so excited about it. You send it to your friend, maybe your MANAGER, and then NOTHING. No comment. Not ONE WORD. Like “good job” or a “nice”. NOTHING.

He smiles that smile, says casually, conservatively, oh, your reel? Yeah…good. Had a lot of variance.

On a side note, for the musicians out there, have you ever written a song, recorded it, then your buddy says, let’s hear it. You’re excited, you push play, then 1/3 of the way through, THEY START TALKING. It’s like, shut the fuck up, dude. LISTEN TO THE SONG. I don’t want you to even BREATHE while it’s playing. Not your blah, blah, blah all the way thru the song.

For my followers who receive my stories, please go to fromthebar.me to watch my new actor’s reel. And a hearty thank you in advance goes to my mom for the one comment.

-CC

Much Ado About Confetti

It’s nearing the end of the night, New Year’s Day, I’m bartending at my hotel gig. Everybody’s safe up in their rooms, lobby’s empty, cheesy music playing over the lobby speakers.

I look over, and the game on tv has finished. The head of the corporation that is hosting the bowl is presenting a trophy to the head coach of the winning team.

“We felt that both teams played great, but TONIGHT, you earned this trophy, Coach. Yard by yard. Inch by INCH.”

The crowd goes wild, the confetti explodes everywhere, flying like multi-colored snowflakes in the air.

Now I believe strongly tonight right now sure I could change my mind in an hour but RIGHT NOW I believe there are only TWO TYPES of people in the World.

Type 1:  Oh, look…they’re flying the blue and red confetti at the end of the game. What a beautiful, celebratory sight, perfectly adding to a joyous night.

Type 2:  Damn…. that’s a lot of confetti. Glad I’m not gonna have to clean that shit up.

Type 2 is only reserved for people that have had to clean up confetti at the end of the night, and after that experience, will never ever be able to appreciate the joyous nature of confetti. Only the pain in the ass part that goes along with the aftermath of confetti falling.

I am a card carrying #2.

And rue the day you were born if carpet is ever involved.

-CC

 

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BANKSY REVEALED!!!

I’m at a cigar lounge in Chicago, Illinois, I get into a conversation with a guy. Mexican dissent, good-looking guy, tells me he’s an “Artisan.” I like art, I ask, what’s your medium? And he tells me. Painting, sculpture, etcetera. I say, you have any pictures on your phone? He pauses, then says, yeah.  He gets out his phone, looks for pictures. He’s across from me, with a big coffee table between us. He finds pictures, I get up, we meet halfway around the table, sit down. I look at his art, it’s legit. We’re talking museum quality. I don’t ask him how much, bc it would be uncouth, and I know I couldn’t afford it anyway.

We get to talking, he asks me where I’m from, of course, we know some mutual people. Insert: It’s a small world. We talk about our mutuals, he knows an ex-girlfriend of mine. His wife worked with her at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City back in the day. I tell him a fond memory, Nell taking me to Prairie Lights before prom, it’s closed down but she has keys, and set up in there, is candles, rose pedals, champagne and strawberries. Nell, if you’re out there and reading this, thank you for a wonderful night I’ll never forget.

We get to talking about the art world, he name drops famous artists he knows. It’s ok, bc I’m eating it up. So I ask him the big question:

Have you ever met Banksy?

He says, actually, I have.

I say, please tell me more.

If you don’t know anything about Banksy, you live under a rock, with a lot of moss growing on it.

Fine. I’ll tell you what you need to know to appreciate this story. He’s a famous graffiti artist, and no one knows who he is. Ok I’m sure some do, but no one like myself, some random dude who bartends in Iowa.

My new friend says, so…my art dealer picks me up for lunch, and on our way, he says, I have to tell you, we’re meeting a friend of mine for lunch. It’s Banksy. Please don’t ask him any questions about his work, he won’t like it.

Holy shit. For me, this story is turning into the Holy Grail of stories. I’m about to find out who Banksy is. A HUGE interesting GLOBAL mystery for years since his brilliant work started showing up on dilapidated walls in England.

He says, we get to lunch, I meet him, and he’s just this regular guy. Looks kind of unkept, with long hair. He seemed very blue collar. Working class. And I thought it made sense. He didn’t seem like this revolutionary guy.

I say, but his work is very revolutionary.

He says, true. And I’ll put something to rest for you. He’s NOT the Massive Attack guy.

This is a HUGE thing for him to reveal, bc if you read up on the Banksy mystery, there’s been researchers that are convinced that Banksy is a guy from a band called Massive Attack. We’re talking, a guy wrote a BOOK on this, and his conclusion was such. I’m here at this cigar lounge that’s MET HIM, and in one stroke, debunks the whole theory.

My mouth is salivating, I’m getting goosebumps, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, and I ask the million dollar question, as nonchalant as I can muster:

So…what’s his name?

He takes a pause, then says,

….THAT I can’t tell you.

Now don’t get your panties in a bunch fine people. Bc there’s a little bit more to this story.

I say, actually, I’ve done a bit of research on this subject, and I have a theory on who Banksy is. He says, is that right?

I say, what if I show you a picture of this guy I think is Banksy? You don’t have to confirm it, just, maybe, give me a smile.

He thinks for a second, then says, …maybe.

I get out my phone, find a picture of the possible Banksy, hand him my phone.

He looks at it. Then touches the screen with his fingers, to expand the picture.

He looks closely at the picture, looks up after a moment, hands me back the phone,

And smiles.

-CC

 

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What Is The Proper Etiquette When Serving Wine?

I had an enlightening conversation with one of the servers at St Kilda last night, and I’d like to share it with you. Besides servers and bartenders, I think anyone who has ever ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant, or will do so in the future, will appreciate this info.

What is the proper etiquette when serving wine? By watching this talented server in action, and asking him some clarifying questions after, I was able to pick up a few cool pointers on how to properly do it.

When you approach a table, you will need to carry the bottle of wine, a wine key, and a serviette. A serviette is like a bar napkin that you will use if there are any wine drips. The serviette usually hangs neatly folded just above the wrist. This particular server holds the wine bottle in his right hand, with the serviette on his left wrist.

When you open the wine, the label should always be facing the customer who ordered the wine. The BOTTLE never moves. You twist the wine key. And here’s an interesting fact. When you pop the cork off, you should do it so there is NO SOUND when it comes off. I’m still trying to perfect this technique. It’s actually kind of difficult to master.

Now once you’ve got the cork off, many of you know, you pour a taste of it to the person who ordered it. At this point, stand up-right, almost aloof, with the bottle of wine in your right hand, and the left with the serviette behind your back. If the person says, “it’s not acceptable,” there’s no hesitancy or question. You figure out the next step, whether to get them a new bottle of the same, or something different. Wine does in fact “turn” so there is a chance this could happen. As the server, you should be ready for this to happen. Never ASSUME that the wine is going to be acceptable.

Here’s a cool part I did not know. When the taster gives you the nod that the wine is good, you always pour everybody else’s FIRST, then the person who ordered the wine and tasted it, LAST. This is one of those traditions I’m sure you could look up for the reasoning behind it, but it’s basically a show of respect via the person who ordered the wine.

And when you pour the first glass, always pour only a half glass in each glass, but when you come to “the taster” at the end, you give them a little more. With this technique, it gives everyone at the table the impression that they’re getting more than just one glass of wine out of the bottle. Usually, there are four glasses of wine in a bottle.

When you pour the wine, you pour, twist, then subtly wipe the bottle with the serviette.

Of course, the twist top bottle is becoming more and more popular, and will change a bit of the ritual. But you can always play off of that, and have fun with it.

One last thing. If there is a cork, you don’t put it back in the bottle. You casually place it by the person who ordered the wine. I believe most wine’s names are also on the corks, so they can take the cork home with them. The perfect way to remember a delicious bottle of wine for future reference.  I remember speaking with a couple a few months back, and they actually write a date on the cork, then keep them all in a glass container in their kitchen.  Once a month, they’ll pull one of the corks out at random, and reminisce about the evening the cork came from.  A ritual I found endearing.

-CC

 

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