pink wigs and squeaky parquet

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Monday, March 20, 2006
a considered analysis of the good parts of Thursday and Friday.
short version (thursday) Livewire!:

Balcony seats = NICE! we were in the first row of the balcony, and the view is fantastic. Bad news: balcony is near bathrooms and it smelled like the eau de public parking garage stairwell. Good news: once the balcony filled up I couldn't smell it anymore. Analysis: woohoo!

Haiku hotties: The job of the Haiku hottie is to pass out haiku cards for the audience to fill out, and then collect them. This time they were ambassadors from the Red Dress Party. Fun!

Sketches: FUNNY! (sometimes they're only okay, but this time everything was working). Blondie loves Jonpaul McLellan the best and I laughed as much at her laughing at him as I did at anything else. All he had to do was lean toward the microphone and she would start cracking up.

House Band: Ralph Huntley and the Mutton Chops -- I will admit, at first I missed the old house band, Klezmocracy (also with Ralph Huntley), but the Mutton Chops are growing on me. They sounded wonderful this night.

Guests:
Michael Powell -- owner of Powell's books. He was funny. And the first thing he did was make reference to the fact that the Aladdin was a former porno theater (I think it achieved a Guinness book record for longest showing of Deep Throat), but he was all crafty about it, so they may not even have to cut it. In short -- books are great.

Whitney Otto: here is where I confess that although I have read none of her books, I have a strange affection for Whitney Otto. (thanks in part to her participation in last year's Wordstock.) However, even this affection couldn't silence my inner (shut up) pedantic nerd. She was doing this funny bit on marriage and the latest Star Wars movie (which I have not seen) and had this whole thing going about how Padme and Anakin were headed for trouble... but she kept saying "in the future." "In the future, marriage.." This is how you know for CERTAIN that your brain is in fact broken and no good will ever come of it -- every single time she said "in the future," my brain was screaming "but Star Wars was a LONG TIME AGO, in a galaxy far, far away!" She was funny, but I did manage to horrify myself. Thanks for that, Whitney Otto.

Sojourn Theater: they did a thought provoking piece about how people from either side of the issue talk about the war -- not really talking, but just reciting various catch-phrases and not about dialogue at all.

Saint Cupcake: Shocking Saint Cupcake fact: one of the co-owners does not like CAKE! Less shocking, but also notable: if the other half of the duo had a nickel for every time someone asked what's the deal with Red Velvet cake, he wouldn't have to run a bakery. Also, the hostess of the show got heckled during this part, but she was very funny dealing with it. Heckler wrangling: it's not for everyone.

Dahoo Chorus: the choir like no other! Most of them were wearing pink wigs (I would really love to know where the Marie-Antionette pink wig came from) and crazy costumes. The first song they sang was "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," which was great and all, but they really brought the house down with their second number, "Somebody to Love," by Queen! They also participated in the end-of-show sketch. I am in favor of chaos choirs, for the record. And pink wigs.

M. Ward with Mike Coykendall -- I really wish I had not been so honest and responsible and had KEPT the pen kindly offered by the haiku hottie in our section so I could have written down some of the lyrics to these songs. I don't know M.Ward's catalog well enough to know what's what, I just know that I LOVED THEM. But apparently the love burned up all of my memory brain cells. There was whistling by Mike Coykendall, (I feel like I have taken the red pill and entered the musical whistling Matrix -- it is EVERYWHERE), and there was excellent guitar playing, and the brain cell melting songs. (maybe I would have remembered if Whitney Otto had not broken my brain already! Thanks again, Whitney.) M. Ward sang three songs total (they were all tragically short), and endured a brief interview. It was obvious that he would prefer to just play and sing, but he did try to cooperate with the interview, but I get the feeling that interviews are not his favorite. Although he did say "Aw, shucks." Come on! how is that not adorable?

When it was all over I only had to walk 2 blocks to my completely fantastic and not up a hideously steep hill like usual parking place. Sweet!

Short version (friday) Museum:

I met Martina and Citizen R. in front of the Portland Art Museum. Walking from the parking garage I heard but did not see a bagpipe band. Bagpipes really carry, god bless them. St. Patrick's day! Good thing I took that extra time to change all of my clothes so I could wear something green. (although when is the purple wearing holiday? Prince should have a holiday in which we all wear purple and high-heeled boots and say things like "(drawing of an eye) would d(drawing of an eye) 4 U" and it would all make perfect sense. Why are the children of today not learning Prince hieroglyphics in school?!? I am writing angry letters to someone, immediately.)
Meanwhile, back at the museum... we got our tickets to see the Hesse exhibit before it got packed back up in crates and was shipped back to Germany.

Floors: SQUEAKY! the main exhibit hall of the Portland Art Museum has the squeakiest parquet floors I have ever walked on. Add in a few hundred other people, and the squeaking get so loud I had to really concentrate to hear the Docent-in-a-can tell me (via headset) in her hilariously modulated voice about So and So Hesse's crafty ex-wife featured in a painting or a tapestry or a rococo water pitcher and all I can really hear is squeak squeak "and wasn't THAT a surprise" squeak squeak squeak. The security guards must go through some desensitizing training where they have to stay awake to the constant sound of squeaky parquet for 72 hours or something.

"D'oh!" Moment: When I realized that the Hesse family is where the term "Hessian" came from. ("Hessian" itself a term which I will admit sticks in my head mainly from a Blackadder sketch featuring the Archbishop of Canterbury and "fine hessian underthings" which caused another headslapping moment when I discovered that "hessian cloth" is burlap, at least in Britain.) There were a lot of paintings and artifacts from the late 18th century when the Hessian army was a going concern. How the fashion for upside down mustaches ever thrived, I may never know. But the striped military trousers made me happy. (not just striped on the sides -- striped all over!)

Favorite things: The real stunner at this show was the Holbein Madonna, which is supposed to be the last Old Master painting in private hands. I'm very glad I got to see it. I also enjoyed the Winterhalter portraits, the Art Nouveau room which included the Franz von Stuck portrait of Ernst something something Hesse something, (who was the first great Hesse patron of the arts), some really fine jewelry, and lots of other things.

After we finished looking at the exhibit, Martina, Citizen R. and I took the underground passage (okay -- it's a really wide exhibit space that happens to be under the ground, but underground passage sounds WAY COOLER), to the newly opened Mark building, where PAM houses their modern art collection. We just looked around a little on the ground floor because we did not have the time to do it justice. I've only been there one other time, and it was wonderful but exhausting.
Big thanks to Blondie, Martina, and Citizen R. who are, as always, delightful "let's do something!" companions.

For fun, here are a couple of Queen covers. Or a cover and a quasi cover. Neither of them are the Dahoo Chorus, but you get the idea... (good for one week) :Killer Queen by Travis, and Somebody to Love by George Michael and Queen
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