A change of plans, from Jane and Campground to a midwife tale…

Sometimes things don’t follow straight paths. Take this evening for example, it didn’t go according to plan at all. We’d planned an evening at Richard’s Goat and the Miniplex. A documentary called “Jane” was playing.


Director Brett Morgen mined the National Geographic archives to tell the story of Jane Goodall, whose research on chimpanzees changed they way we relate to our fellow primates. Morgan, called the “mad scientist” of documentaries by the New York Times (see “Crossfire Hurricane,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” “Chicago 10,” etc.) He drew on footage of young Jane by Dutch nature photographer Hugo van Lawick shot in the ’60s and thought lost(Hugo eventually married Jane.) With a soundtrack by Philip Glass, it seemed to be just the thing for a Monday night.

A couple of those cheesy mac ‘n’ cheeses from the Goat and we’d call it dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. They were out of mac ‘n’ cheese and were down to the last of their tater tots too. And, the barkeep wondered if I’d bought my ticket online because “Jane” was sold out in advance. I’d actually visited the website earlier looking for the showtime and thought of buying advance tickets, but figured Monday night there wouldn’t be that big of a crowd. I should have paid the $1.25 service charge. Live and learn.  Maybe we’ll try again Saturday when it shows again (or Wednesday, Dec. 27, of the following Saturday).

It was good that the Miniplex is doing well, but it threw a wrench in our plans. On to Plan B. Mondays are often off nights for restaurants, but we’d find something. I’ve been hearing about a new place, Campground, that’s due open in the new building a block from the Plaza where the NEC was years ago (until a fire that began in the classic bar Marino’s took out the whole block).

The folks at Salt have been working on the brand new space for months and I’ve asked them when it might be done more than once. I’d heard through the grapevine it was finally done and they were supposed to have a “soft opening” on Sunday followed by a “hard” opening later. Not sure if that happened.

We cruised by and saw that there was action inside. We found a place to park by the Co-op and went to check it out. The place looked warm and inviting, but the hostess informed us we had to have a reservation. I pointed out there were plenty of empty seats, but she insisted that it was “invitation only.”

Could I take home a menu so I could see what on it? No, not until Wednesday, when the have an official “grand opening.” Whatever. I should have snapped a pic of the menu, but I figured I’d find it online. I didn’t. Maybe I wasn’t googling it right, but I found nothing about the place except Jack Durham’s item in the Mad River Union from summertime, until today… (thanx Georgia)


Sounds good. Anyway, it was for Plan C. Since we were getting hungrier, we decided on savory pie for dinner at Bittersweet, a Slice of Humboldt Pie to be exact. In my case a Chilean Potato empanada and a Pulled Pork & Green Chili empanada, washed down with a blood orange cider. Good stuff.

The place was full of what seemed to be the college crowd. The industrial open beam look makes if kind of on the loud side, but people seem to like that — it makes it seem like there’s something happening. However, it’s not a place for intimate conversation. We headed out out when we’d finished our pie.

Last stop: a visit to La Dolce Video in search of entertainment. We settled on a new French film called “The Midwife” with Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, two marvelous actors.

Claire (Ms.Frot) is honesty incarnate. A midwife, she has devoted her life to others. At a moment when she is preoccupied by the imminent closure of the maternity clinic where she works, her life is further turned upside down when Béatrice (Ms.Deneuve), her father’s former mistress, turns up on the scene. Béatrice is a capricious and selfish woman, Claire’s exact opposite…

Sparks fly, while in the background babies are born. All of the reviews seem to mention the fact that it’s the kind of story you don’t see in American films with real characters like the people you know, not superheroes or spies or… well, you get the picture. It was a fine way to spend an evening relaxing on the couch. We’ll save “Jane,” mac’n’cheese and Campground for another day…

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