In Which We Find Borscht and Opulence

If one starts bandying the words “Opulent” and “Queer” and “Empire” – Gentle Reader, it’s a forgone conclusion that I’m going to start salivating. Those are not terms that I take lightly. There may or may not be a monthly event that I believed to be firmly centered on just those ideas, and it was with deep regret that I had to decline my first invitation. When Ms. Capere invited me to the next, I began scouring the photographs of prior events, searching for inspiration. After all – what was I to wear?


We had hoped to attend with our dear Mr. Darling, and stay at his fabulous new apartment after the fact. At the eleventh hour, he was called to Canada, and we sought other accommodation. Enter my Auntie and Uncle Stone – an amazing couple who I dearly love. Despite everything happening at the last minute, they welcomed us with open arms.

I arrived long before Capere, and caught up with the relations. As you’ll recall, their home is ridiculously beautifully decorated; since I’d last visited, the Tiki bar had been moved to dominate the front room, along with all the accoutrements. Nobody makes cocktails like my Uncle Gwydion – he’s a distiller, after all. Actually, his new gin – Foxtrot – should be on shelves this week! It’s very exciting.

Ms. Capere showed up, and joined us in a cocktail – and also, serendipitously, a List Item. The Stones had made borscht!

The Task: Try Borscht

The Execution: Uncle Gwyd had made Ukranian-style borscht, modified from a recipe from a restaurant he used to work at. Rather than just a broth, it contained chunks of beet, beef, carrot, and dumplings. Auntie Trin told us about various other styles of borscht; it’s a very local kind of thing, with each region having its own style. It was utterly delicious, and not at all what I’d expected – I anticipated something much more sour, more vinegary – and it was a wonderful coincidence that they’d happened to make it. Full marks, all around.


Thank you for dinner, and for letting us stay, Uncle Gwydion and Auntie Trinity! You’re sublime.

The Verdict: Absolutement. I plan on asking Uncle for the recipe. It was delish!

After supper, Ms. Capere and I chatted some more with the Stones, and it turns out they have mutual acquaintances, which was a delightful surprise. It grew late, and if we were to make it to the event, we needed to get ready. Auntie Trin lent Capere a beautiful beaded gown, a headband, vintage ostrich plumes, and a fabulous leopard coat. As for me? I was rocking a sequined pillbox hat, my shaved head, and my grandmother’s silver fox-fur. We looked pretty damned good.

Shade 2

Photo credit to Rachel Robinson, and to Nark Magazine. It’s not often I’m able to source my photos, but when I can, I’m happy to do so.

However, in the event itself, it seemed most people were rocking flannel, t-shirts, and jeans. Hardly what I’d call opulent – but I don’t own the word. It seemed like a decent enough event, but it was hardly what I’d pictured. Ms. Capere and I – after pausing for a photo-op, naturally –

Thanks again, Rachel Robinson, and Nark Magazine!

Thanks again, Rachel Robinson, and Nark Magazine!

-slipped a few doors down to a quieter venue, talked intensely, as only old friends and teenagers can do – and then made an early night of it.

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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