When semi-retired Stranger founder Tim Keck came into the office this morning singing about some "big, beautiful beets" he'd just found on the street outside our office, I naturally assumed that the boss had been macrodosing before breakfast again. He has, but it turns out the beets that Tim found do, in fact, exist, and are a part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Cafe Nordo for the upcoming production of Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, which is showing through May 12th.
According to a press release also sent to Stranger HQ today, the cast went out late last night and distributed bundles of beets at 27 locations around the city, including directly in front of our office. The hope is that people who find these beets will photograph and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #NordoSweetBeets before they (hopefully) eat them or (less hopefully) throw them in the trash. As of this writing, there are approximately zero #NordoSweetBeets on Instagram, but it's early yet.
So, why beets? When reached for comment, Stephen Robinson, who co-wrote the stage adaptation of Robbins's novel Jitterbug Perfume with Terry Podgorski, quoted Robbins himself: "The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip."
"Beets," Robinson added, "will lead the curious and adventurous to Cafe Nordo, where they can discover the secret to eternal love, immortality, and the perfect taco." And the Perfect Taco is, quite literally, on the menu. In typical Cafe Nordo fashion, the price of the ticket also gets you dinner. The menu includes savory beignets stuffed with Cajun shrimp and scallops, a couscous salad with salmon and goat cheese "kissed with tangerine and beets," chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, and, yes, "The Perfect Taco," which is sweet, not savory, and stuffed with both chocolate and fruit. (There are vegan options as well, so don't let the flesh and diary dissuade you.)
Besides a good meal and specialty drinks, Robinson says that a little Tom Robbins is exactly what this dark national mood calls for. "I write for Wonkette (the political blog) and people are always asking me how I can document the horrors of modern politics and stay sane," he said. "I try to find humor in the absurd, and I think that's something Robbins has always done. Nordo's production offers great music, great food, and a Bandalooping great time. It is the pick-me-up everyone needs right now." And if you come across some street beets today, Robinson recommends serving them roasted and tossed with a little balsamic vinegar.