Bartendar of the Month: Tamale

Tue. March 1, 2005 12:00 AM
by Keely Schalk

How long have you been bartending?
Just about a month. I'm a quick study though and my customers are incredibly supportive. (Thanks guys/gals!) I rarely drink and seriously had to start from scratch. "I see. You want a rum and coke... what, exactly, goes in that? Curse these cryptic drink names!" I do enjoy calling out all these filthy drinks to customers in my raspy Demi Moore voice. "Yes sir, here's that redheaded slut with the slippery and buttery nipples." (wink wink)

Where can people go to see you live?
I am behind the bar at Chix Mix hosted events at Atmosphere on Thursdays and Fridays from 9pm-2am. I just started hosting an afternoon of comedy at Atmosphere on Saturdays from 3pm-9pm. Saturdays are a cool time to come in for a drink and watch comedy DVD's on our multiple screens.

What is the craziest thing you have been asked while bartending?
Okay, I have been at this for almost a month and people do some weird stuff when they've been drinking and are trying to hit on you. You then have to try to deal with them, preferably in a respectful manner, even when they are being ridiculous.

First of all, their ability to know when to stop and what lines not to cross are impaired. Just toss some insecurity and a little determination in there, and wha-la! An awkward social train wreck ensues. There was a woman who was trying to hit on me by hurling insults at me for a good portion of the night. Most people learn that third grade behavior is to be left in third grade in favor of a more sophisticated approach. Girls don't dig rocks being chucked at them to indicate a crush past about six, but some hold on to the dream that it will continue to work, well into their forties. Like those cammeltoe inducing, threadbare spandex biker shorts in the dark recesses of her closet, that tactic is here for the long haul.

Among some of the favorites pick-up lines:
"So, do you, like, DO anything? Like, are you ONLY a bartender? Like, do you have a JOB?"
followed by:
"Wow, your hair is frizzy. Are you a naturally frizzy redhead? I mean (hic), do the curtains match the ...curtains?"
and who could forget this treasure...
"I dated a redhead once. She was wild. I bet you're wild. Wiiiiillllllllld. WIIIIIILLLLLLD. WIIIIILLLLD!! (as I am trying to ignore her and tend to other customers.) I stop, turn to her, smile, and make the "shhhh" finger-to-mouth gesture. She then proceeds to spill her drink so I have to go pay attention to her as I mop it up. Awesome. I would suggest a well chosen milk chocolate, or perhaps a bouquet of calla lilies, if one was trying to get my attention, but alcohol slop and insults are a close second. (an extra special thank you to the fellow who heard much of what happened and left a FAT tip and a wink as he left...seriously dude, that was cool)

Favorite thing about bartending?
PEOPLE WATCHING. I love watching people and being able to read them by what they order, how they carry themselves, what they talk about... it's fascinating. People in general are fairly stiff, self-conscious about what other people think. Get even one beer in them and they suddenly have permission to say what they think and feel... oh and dance. It also gives me tons of practice dealing with quick witted comebacks that are well aimed, but not cruel... an art in itself.

What are you passionate about?
PERFORMING (comedy, burlesque, drag, so many things...), dancing, having passionate discussions with people who process life (I am a Libra...), teaching improv to high school kids (SETS ME AFLAME), organizing anything, helping people to make positive changes in their lives and seeing the long-term results, spinning fire, country music (shut up), platform shoes, leopard print, toe socks, and warehouse style office supply stores...oh, GOD YES.

What do you do when you aren’t busy bartending?
Writing material, traveling with any of the aforementioned passions, reading inspiring books and writing personal notes all over their pages, holding hands with someone special, hanging with friends, causing a scene, and being wiiiiiiiild,

What is something you would love people to know about you that I didn’t ask?
If anyone is interested in upcoming performances check my website for future listings. It is under construction!

Quick Questions???

Tattoos or Piercings?
Both! They're good for different types of sensation. (My eyes just dilated as I wrote this. Ha ha! So telling...)

Coffee or Tea?
COFFEE...pref vanilla latte (pretentious and delicious!)

Smoking or Non?

Long or Short hair?
Long on me, short on her. I am a total sucker for the butch/fem dynamic... but being a gentleman trumps both.

Rich or Famous?
Famous. Money comes and goes, and comes again. Fame is more about patience, dedication, passion, and personality. I see fame as a secondary reward for the development of those traits.

Beach or Mountains?
Oooooo, tough one. Beach=sunburns, but warm breezes and scantily-clad women’s pro-volleyball.
Mountains=Grizzly Adams, but horseback riding trails and loud, invasive tent sex. Screw it, BOTH. I am a Libra and I demand balance. :)

Comedy writing or comedy performing?
Comedy performing. Writing has its place, and is important to the development of the craft. However, performance is where the magic is added through delivery, and the raw energy of the audience and participants. Everyday, situational humor is my favorite. Interacting with somebody on their way to work on the redline and having something totally organic and hilarious erupt from our conversation is what it's all about. We brought each others life up a notch just by interacting and that is a beautiful thing.

Thank you for your time! -Tamale