Tuesday, May 02, 2006

DJ Don Pasta - Le Macabre, Bra, Italy

Opening night of the Bra Slow Food & Short Film Festival, the afterparty at the Macabre, Bra's top night club. Bra's only nightclub.

The jazz band begins to play: an accordian, a drummer, a clarinet and a bass tackling John Coltrane's My Favourite Things. On the screen, a man's hands slice eggplant, beat an egg, hands reach into a bowl of raw ground meat and mix in herbs, bread crumbs, and other seasonings. Suddenly, a man stands up at the mic, scruffy and a bit disheveled. He reads from a sheet of white paper in Italian. He's describing what he's making, but he isn't reading a recipe, it is more like the poetry of cooking. The music plays on - chopping garlic and making a tomato sauce on the stove. The camera pans up to the cook's face and it's our poet - DJ Don Pasta. He's smiling down at the pot. Meanwhile, on the stage, he puts aside the sheet of paper and sits back down, tapping his foot to the music.

On the screen, he fries the breaded eggplant, then he begins to layer the various ingredients in a big ceramic dish: eggplant, tomato sauce, meatballs, prosciutto, grated cheese and so on. Don Pasta stands at the mic again and begins to read again. This time he speaks of the music being played and how it suits what he is making. His voice is hypnotic - I understand most of what he is saying but it is easy to get lost in the crescendo of the music, the frenzy of cooking is also building, the audience around me is rapt, swaying to the music, staring at the screen. Finally, Don Pasta sits down while his onscreen self presents the audience with a finished casserole, fresh from the oven, golden and bubbling, as the band reaches its grand finale. He calls the dish "il castello di leggerissime melanzane" - the castle of the lightest eggplant. The piece is entitled "My Favourite Parmigiana."

No comments: