In our coverage of The Great Bourdain-Budacki's Fight of '12, we noted the fact that Budacki's promotion of the shooting (which earned Bourdain's wrath) was not that different from the show itself typically packing the house, as they had done with people we mostly know at Burt's Pizza a few years ago. This earned a condescending denial from Tony himself: "@GrubStreetCHI small factual matter: we did not pack Burt's with extras. When you assume you...". But now comes a wry firsthand account of how the show ensures a good crowd in the background without promoting Bourdain's name and attracting foodie groupies alone. It's from alt-country great Robbie Fulks at his blog, and it starts with a call asking him to help make sure there's a big crowd at the Hideout on a Monday night but he can't even tell his fellow band members why.
As Fulks tells the story:
The famed chef Anthony Bordeaux was coming to next Monday night's show, to tape a little of the performance for his TV show, hang out at the bar, and talk to me and other denizens of the Hideout. A little probing revealed that the worthy was in fact Anthony Bourdain, but I really like "Bordeaux" better in every way: "Hey there, Bordeaux, welcome to fuckin' Chicago!" Anyway, I was given a delicate mission, to promote the show, hard, in order to fill the room -- but the reason was to be kept strictly secret. Even the band must not know. If Anothony Bordeaux walked into a place and a flock of Anthony Bordeaux fans were waiting there to hound and to gurm him, the flavor of the show would be spoilt.
Fulks and his band get a bunch of their friends out, pack the bar, push back the starting time of their set to accommodate the fact that Bourdain and crew will be late... but in the end they're so late that the show ends and the crowd leaves before Bourdain ever gets there:
So anyone that came for some TV excitement and hung around for an hour afterward (there were a good number) got to see what the front room of the Hideout looks like with some musicians at one end of the bar, Anthony Bordeaux at the other end, and a small phalanx of cameramen and producers scurrying around in between us and behind the counter... But I think it's too bad they missed the show. As one observer generously noted, the tableau of traveling to a town, walking into a tiny bar, and seeing the kind of music being made last night would have been pretty awesome and out-of-the-ordinary.
Don't miss some killer deadpan snark in the comments, either. [robbiefulks.com]