Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strange Days

Living 1000 or so miles from my hometown, I'm often understandably out of the loop and find myself calling to check on my mother and sister. Of the many concerns that swim in my addled brain, earthquakes were not even on my list. They live in St. Marys, WV and they, like many out East, experienced some rocking and rolling of a different sort yesterday. An earthquake? Really? My sister Shirley was blissfully unaware she'd been through an earthquake until I'd called her to tell her....and that makes us even as she had to call me to alert me to tornadoes touching down around me; minutes before the tornado sirens blared. My friend Kristy, on the other hand, was so excited by the earthquake, she wanted to slap a saddle on the nearest piece of quaking furniture and scream her "Yahoo"s for all to hear. Now, Hurricane Irene is barreling towards the coast and it feels like a world gone mad. 2011 has been such an oddball year, that you have to wonder if the Aztecs weren't on to something about 2012. At the very least, 2012 looks to be another stretch of strange days, so might as well have some laughs, eh?

Laughs we had indeed this past Sunday night when we joined our friends Kiko and Deb for a delicious Mexican dinner at El Patron and a night at Starlight....Starlight Theater, that is. KC's beloved outdoor theater under the stars was a beautiful locale to enjoy a live flashback to the 8o's courtesy of the road show of Xanadu. First, of course, the food..

We met at Deb and Mike's after my personal skirmish with our GPS that wound us up in a neighborhood we had no business being in. In fact, I got some great shots of the new Paseo Bridge as we crossed it a good four times, due to being lost. Once arrived, we learned that Deb and Mike were well into their second day without power thanks to the recent powerful storms. Mike accompanied us to diiner at El Patron (dig the Pitbull tune on the website!) for some Mexican grub. I committed the usual error of feeding too heartily on tortilla chips, salsa, queso and guacamole before the main entrees arrived. Keith and Mike enjoyed some hearty burritos and I loved my Tacos Marineros or fish tacos; lightly breaded tilapia with fresh avocado, lime and pico de gallo with tangy mango salsa. Vegetarian Kiko dined on Tacos Dorados De Papa; flour tortillas filled with deep-fried potatoes and toppings.

As to that musical flick of 80's excess, I have a vague memory of watching the original movie of Xanadu. The soundtrack was making the rounds on local radio, including the sounds of star Olivia Newton-John and composers ELO. The music was relatively tame and unmemorable, as was the flick. I watched the movie with Kristy, her sister Kara and their mother Mary Alice as they had HBO and we didn't (I still suffer from HBO envy; True Blood, I miss you!)..... Mary Alice, never one to mince words, proclaimed the movie craptastic and indeed it was. The one moment in the film that stood out to me was the big dance scene because not only did it feature The Tubes, one of my favorite 80's bands (LOVED their song She's A Beauty) but also some of my favorite Solid Gold Dancers, including the most badass SGD of all, Darcel. Yes, I had favorite Solid Gold dancers (gay? why do you ask?).

The show at Starlight was far more entertaining than the film, for sure. The leads were engaging and while the musical paid homage to the film, it mined a lot of laughs from teasing the film as well. I loved that they used some other ELO hits and added in some extra cameos from Greek mythology as well (the minotaur has to be seen to be believed). We got loads of laughs from Xanadu; although my biggest laugh may have come from the curmudgeon in front of me who grunted to his wife, "What the hell is going on?" She calmly answered, "Its a flashback, dear." Poor guy never recovered and took more heartily to his beer, frequent smoke breaks and occasional grumbling. Everyone's a critic.

I have to take a moment to throw some big ups to Starlight Theater; a truly unique event venue. This gorgeous, historic outdoor stage is something to behold and an under-the-stars boon for theater and concert lovers. We were blessed with a pristine evening to enjoy the show and we also indulged in some sweet chocolate and pistachio Italia gelato to make the night complete. In fact, this particular Sunday night would be the last performance of the theater season and the very next night the concert season would kick off with none other than Janet Miss-Jackson-If-You're-Nasty. Two of my coworkers, Dennis and Matt, attended Janet's show and regaled us with tales of her concert last night. I expected Dennis, our own theatrical genius, to be dancing and singing Janet tunes at work last night but silly me, I soon realized there was something far more important happening on this Tuesday. As I walked across the parking lot towards work, I heard a loud voice singing from a car pulling into the lot. Dennis then burst from his car, sporting a Barbra Streisand t-shirt and performing one of her songs in full voice. Dennis reminded me that she was releasing a new album this fine day and no sooner did we enter the music department than he saw the display complete with new Barbra cds and Barbra cutout. Squealing like a stuck pig, I thought he might get the vapors and pass out (gay? why do you ask?). Dennis went on to swoon over Miss Hello Gorgeous in the most entertaining fashion the rest of the evening. Go, Dennis!

We all have our musical tastes, some tasteful, some not so much, and all of us have a guilty pleasure song or two out there. Whatever it may be, while the world goes mad you might as well sing it out loud and dance to it with abandon. Live and let live, baby.


Anonymous said...

I'm cracking up!!!! "what the hell is going on?" OMG...TOO FUNNY and absolutely well said. All these years later I'm still trying to figure out what the hell Xanadu was.

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