Ginny’s Supper ClubPosted: August 14, 2012
The air thick from too many people packed into the tight space, I slowly nudged my way toward the front until I could see bandleader Christian Scott. My brain’s immediate response: “He is brave; he is wearing polka dots. He is a trumpet player.” His music was as remarkable as his outfit and fitting of the rare man who can pull off polka dots. Joined by Matt Stevens (guitar), Lawrence Fields (piano), Kris Funn (bass) and Joe Dyson (drums), the band celebrated the release of a new album the Thursday before last at Ginny’s Supper Club.
Christian Scott quickly cleared up my confusion as to whether the venue was supposed to be a listening room or a lounge with background music when he told the audience in the back to shut up. True to his outspoken personality, he continued with his piece K.K.P.D. (Ku Klux Police Department), providing the backstory and commenting on the fact that these things are still happening today. I can believe that.
While I personally only know what it’s like to be an Asian woman in metropolitan areas, I’m certain that racism toward each of the many groups on the periphery of mainstream America is real. It seems like just yesterday that kids at school were pulling their eyes back, sputtering nonsensical syllables. Oh wait. That was the other day in Harlem when a grown woman called me “ching-ching.”
Hypersensitive? You tell me.
Ginny’s Supper Club has a rather high ratio of people needing to relieve themselves to number of toilets available and shares the two bathrooms with its parent restaurant, Red Rooster, upstairs on the ground level. I hastily investigated the bathroom on the left, remembering to press down gently on the soap pump as to not squirt my shirt like last time, and noted the sparkly chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
I only glanced briefly at the framed pictures covering the walls but I assume they were supposed to be a throwback to the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem seems to be undergoing a different kind of development now, one of gentrification, as the socioeconomic makeup of the neighborhood gradually changes. The restaurant fits the face of this new Harlem, with a menu that claims to reflect “the roots of Harlem’s diverse population,” but with prices affordable to a select population.
I can’t help but feel a strange sense of irony.
Still, the recently opened venue is noteworthy in that it is under black ownership. How many jazz clubs can you think of that can say that? Or jazz anything that’s under the management of black people, who created the very genre? My sister also reminded me that a key premise to this blog, the toilet as a shared experience for everyone regardless of race or other segregating factors, wasn’t always the case. I have to thank her for providing nuanced insight into this issue’s toilet. It’s no wonder that as kids, she brought home the African-American History Bee trophy while the only shiny thing I brought home was glitter glue.
Stanley from Haiti, who works at the bar, tells us how to say, “Where’s the restroom?” in Creole –
[EDIT] Please see the comments section for a correction to an error in the last paragraph.