There’s an old saying: “No politics or religion at the dinner table.” But at the brand-spankin’ new Sax lounge and restaurant in downtown D.C., which debuted with a splashy opening party on Wednesday night, such taboo topics of discussion are highly encouraged, over meals starting at $75 per person. The lavish location is decorated with a series of murals depicting political and religious figures and their various vices. Co-owner Errol Lawrence describes the artworks as a “catalyst for forbidden dialogue in an otherwise conservative town.”
You’ll see priests and preachers huddled around nubile young boys in states of pointed arousal. You’ll see former president George W. Bush standing atop his desk in the Oval Office, stripped down to a pair of rebel-flag boxer shorts and clutching a bottle of cheap beer like an erect member. (Sadly, no pretzels scattered about.)
Lots of boner jokes, in fact. My personal favorite depicts U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, weighing his manhood on the scales of justice. To the side, a red can of soda (pictured above) stands out in obvious reference to the whole pubic-hair-on-my-Coke brouhaha from Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearings.
I looked closely for the pubes, finding nothing so dark and curly to speak of. But artist Balage Balogh, who created the scandalous acrylics, assured me the tell-tale hairs are there. (See if you can spot them.)
Another striking image parodies Michelangelo‘s Sistine Chapel paintings, featuring God with a raging erection under his translucent robe. I asked Balogh about his inspiration for the work. “Michelangelo’s God is a sexy old man,” the painter tells me. “He’s surrounded by all these younger angels….I played on the same idea, but accentuating the sexuality of it and simply giving him an erection just to give it a big, big, um, tongue-in-cheek point.”
Unrestrained by the usual boundaries of polite dinner conversation, I decided to probe a little farther: Was this a semi? I asked. Or is God fully aroused? “That’s a full-on hard-on,” the artist says. “It’s a pretty big one.”
I told him the overall image sort of suggests that God is a Muslim, surrounded by the supposed virgins of paradise. “You could interpret it that way,” he replies.
A friend later points out, however, that the firm grip demonstrated by one of the angelic groupies rather suggests that she is certainly no rookie.
Oh, the joys of unfettered supper banter. Can someone please pass the strip loin?
Sax, 734 11th St. NW, (202) 737-0101