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Robin Williams, Boticelli’s, SoCo at Night and more

Michael Barnes

COMEDY: The bartender looked stricken. Without concealing his grief, he said: “Robin Williams is dead.” Of course, social media followed with torrents of affection for the late comic actor, who apparently committed suicide. Kip and I had fallen back in love with Williams last season during “The Crazy Ones,” a madcap look at contemporary advertising. Williams restrained his usual performative excesses for the short-lived sitcom, which we urged even non-fans to watch. Later last night, cable news jumped on board with a full range of cultural commentary. Some of the remarks proved downright disgusting. (Don’t expect me to link to that nonsense. You’ll find it on your own.) One thing that seemed to be missing from most of the tributes, perhaps because of the reporters are younger, was Williams’ debt to Jonathan Winters. The great comic died last year. He didn’t share Williams’ acting range, but his quicksilver style — including a vast range of voices — was an acknowledged inspiration for the younger performer, too soon gone from us.

NIGHTLIFE: The bar in question last night was Boticelli’s. The Italian eatery on South Congress Avenue is better known for its much improved food and adept selections of wine. Yet the front bar is a classic attraction in its own right. There can’t be more than eight stools arranged around an arcing shelf with just enough room for a single server. Yet regulars can’t get enough of its chummy charm, while musicians from the Continental Club next door and friendly neighbors pick up their take-out orders there. Travis Heights resident James Bilodeau and I shared a refreshing tequila drink called a Mad Don and some signature Boticelli bread stuffed with cured meats. Another bar out back on the patio offers draft beers, but the up-front edition feels so much more urban. It doesn’t overwhelm quiet diners with chatter or TV static. The people-watching and cool jazz comes free. All this will go into our upcoming”SoCo at Night” cover story.