Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Fritha Coltrane at Shish, 09-18-04

On Saturday, we went to the Shish café in Madison (technically Middleton) specifically to see Fritha Coltrane, daughter of local artist Diane Coltrane, dance. Shish is a Syrian restaurant, with a menu similar to, but a bit more upscale than, Abu’s here in Milwaukee. Unlike Abu’s, Shish has fish dishes as well as the more standard Mideastern fare. In order to compare, we ordered their sampler, and found that most of the dishes compared favorably with Abu’s, with a few regional differences. The kabobs were very good, and chicken schwarma was different and interesting. Tabouleh here is mainly parsley, instead of the formulation I am familiar with, in which wheat groats are the main ingredient. I think I slightly prefer Abu’s hummus and baba ganoush, and Abu’s falafels are definitely better.
We were there for the first of two sets of Fritha’s dancing. The dining area is an L-shape with tables around the walls and a decently wide aisle which was the area where she performed, in classic café style, working around the waiters. We had a good spot near the bend of the L, and could see as much as possible. We were pleased to see there was a full house. I lost track of the number of dances, but she gave us a good set with a variety of fast and slow dances. For those of you that don’t know her, Fritha takes after her mother, which means she is tall, slim, blonde, and very Scandinavian looking. She has trained in classical ballet, acrobatic dance, and studied with well known Mideastern dance masters, and all of this shows in her work. One wonders what the devotees of traditional dance think when she, with her very pale skin and luminous ice maiden features, performs. From what we could see, she was very well received by a mixed audience. The exception was one bearded white man who seemed to avoid looking at her whenever possible, and got very red-faced when he did look at her. His female companion, however, couldn’t take her eyes off Fritha. Another table of four women were having quite a jolly good time and did nothing to hide their appreciation. We joked with Fritha that her mother’s fabric artistry seems to have come down to her in that her veils seem to move by force of her will alone. When the set was ended, we were able to congratulate her on her performance before heading home.
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