Pass the puppy heads.

What to wear to Jones Hall in downtown Houston?

I'm not sure.

I've only ever attended ballets and orchestra concerts there, so before going to see Anthony Bourdain one could not call it.

I'm to rendezvous with El Viajero, a good friend of mine. He's wearing a suit, and I am casually hip, with a dash of Vagabond. A purchase a skinny tie and white button up to accompany my cardigan.

The Face, my friend, told me I looked sophisticated. Nice.


Entering Jones Hall was not what previous trips could have predicted. Yes, there were people wearing bow ties, and high school prom queens, now finely aged, dawning exquisite gowns. But. There was an intense array of casualness to the eclectic mixture of people gathered.

El Viajero y yo walk through the sea of social. We pass by overweight men wearing cargo shorts and faded tee shirts, Middle Eastern couples of great fashionable prominence, a family of four where the father's plaid shirt is tightly tucked into his khakis, clusters of age consenting hotties, the couple making out near the Green Room and a Latina single mother.

All of US. Gathered to see a man. To partake in whatever wealthy wisdom he has attained from 10 years of success and 40 years of stagnation and failure.

Bourdain is a chef, turned travel journastically sound. Renown. For his ability to convey opinions while expressing holistic truth, while, somewhere along the way, managing to sneak in profundity and drinks.

Quite Shamelessly, I knew almost none of the chefs he bashed in the first 15 minutes.
But everything made sense. His monologue graduated from debasing colleagues and the American food industry to a sincere expose on the respect for cultural life and humanity.

I was not drawn to Bourdain by my great culinary capacity. I can make eggs. But it didn't matter. I'm a writer by calling, a traveler by passion. The 3000 or so people gathered might have nothing in common with me other than affection for Bourdain, but for an hour in a half we shared something.

He made sensational talks of eating puppy heads and warthog rectums seem humane.Seem attainable. So much so, that it became the only valid option.

"6 hours to find the warthog. 6 hours to pray and apologize for killing it. 6 hours to prepare the meal. When the chief of an unindustrialized African village offers you the rectum, and his entire village which sees him as their highest respected authority is watching, you don't say no."

"My grandma's turkey is the worst. It's dry and salty as hell. But when she asks if I want seconds do I say no? No! I say yes please. Why? Because it's f-ing grandma's house"

"In my ten year career I have never had to eat dogs or cats. But if I visited a family where the man is doing his earnest best to feed a freakishly tall american and comes out of the kitchen with a plate of puppy heads, that's the exception. The entire community has gathered to see what this American thinks, and this man's pride is on the line. I'd say, pass the puppy heads."

When I was in Europe, despite the alcoholic propensity of a high school graduate, I had a moment of clarity. I saw the tours hustling around the ancient cities on strenuous schedules.

Snap a photo. On to the next landmark.

I thought it a mockery of the culture. What an American thing to do. Capitalism capitalizing.

I see it from a writer's perspective. Tony, from a chef's eyes. And everyone else who gathered, who knows?

But we had perspective. Whether in or out, we had it. And where there's perspective, there is a angle to alter and assist perception.