Aug 12, 2008

Femmes & Freaks

Photo: Steve Perry won't stop believing in you.

This past week has been a good one for entertainment; the aforementioned horror movie we saw today (Traveling Hood in the Pants of Your Sister, or whatever) was just the teen-flavored icing on the proverbial cake. On Thursday, my girlfriend Sara took me to The Triple Door as her date; The Triple Door is a very fun venue, despite their self-important proclamation that it's '
a music space that rises above the everyday'. I don't even know what that means, but I know when something is drowning; as tag-lines go, that one is actively dying in front of me, and there's nothing I can do to save it from the crushing weight of total failure. How does one go about proving something like that? If you say, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound, then it's fairly obvious what your next move is: get your ass to a building and leap, and then I'll believe you. But how do you measure "rising above" something, and isn't that a question for Oprah? Additionally, if people are buying a line like that, can I use it on my resume?

Relevant skills:
Ability to rise above the everyday.
Previous experience:
Rising above the everyminute and everyhour.
Strengths: Rising farther above, every day, above the everyday.
Challenges: Sometimes not rising for days at a time.

We were there for Femmes & Freaks, a circus-slash-burlesque-slash-variety show featuring the sexified, freakish talents of Seattle's Can-Can dance troupe--The Castaways--and the carnal, carnivalistic talents from Seattle's very own Circus Contraption. The Castaways are all adorable, wide-eyed, pink-cheeked sexpots with burlesque moves that will turn you into a slack-jawed yokel; if any girl wants to experience what life is like for a 15-year old sexless male, this is the way to go. The Circus Contraption consists of local entertainers, performers, and top-hatted divas who will make you cringe with delight, which is exactly what I was doing while they were on-stage: cringing and delighting. Feature those two acts on the same bill, throw in some yummy food and drink, add an audience of horrified senior citizens, and that was the show.

The show itself was okay, with unparalleled flashes of brilliance, but it was a rough sketch; our show seemed like more of the dress rehearsal. Separately, the troupes are really solid, but it seemed like very little rehearsing was done for the combining of their acts. I also expected more circus-loving, goth-living, pagan-friendly people to be in attendance, but it seriously felt like my Jesus-crazy grandparents were there, sitting on my face. Which is an awkward feeling when your grandparents are dead.

It was during the last gasp of the show that I said to Sara, "This one act made everything worth it--if the entire show had been shit, this would have made up for it. THIS IS THE BEST. THING. EVER." The clarity I received from Their Last Act enabled me to bridge the gap between Me and Everybody Else, which was amazing and completely unexpected. I've never felt cool enough to hang out with alternative people, and no fucking wonder, since they probably hate being called 'alternative'. But while it's good to stand apart from the mainstream bullhonky, isn't a small part of the look or lifestyle to make it easier for Your Peeps to find you? Or, to be more specific, to keep the unwanted riff-raff out? Tattooed People know I'm not one of them the minute they see my sad, ink-free arms; Marathon Runners take one look at my ass and know we'll never be running partners; Vegetarians see the bacon grease flowing through my cholesterol-clogged arteries, and secretly envy hate me. Vegans, though--those are some hardcore motherfuckers; I assume they can tell I'm a lover of the cheesiest and meatiest of foods by the actual weight I carry on my bones, which seems to be a problem for the Veganese. That's the only reason I would ever become a vegan: the quickie weight loss plan. Well, that and the chance to change my name to something more lifestyle-friendly, like Echo or Indicus or Ryvre.

I love all people (*lie*) in all countries (*more lies*) from every kind of background (*this lie is so great that it's actually rising above the everyday*). I have friends from all different walks of life (meaning they all walk differently) and I still love them. But that doesn't mean I'm always comfortable in a group of people who are vastly different from me. I definitely try to engage people, but it's usually in the same way I engage clients at work; I ask boring questions and nod a lot. "So, how many children to you have?" I'll intone, robotically. "None", replies the guest. "And what are their names?" I'll say, quite stupidly. Sometimes, once I've warmed up to them, I'll smile and raise my eyebrows in the classic "I'm totally listening?" stance, but for the most part, it's done by rote. I try to find the commonalities with clients and potential friends, but always wish there was something more significant and immediate (and totally boss) that might bring us together instantly.

The Last Act of the Femmes & Freaks show was significant, immediate (and the bossiest of boss), and it gave me hope for finding the one common value that all humans possess, which apparently is MUSIC. I know, you're sitting there thinking, Dubya-Tee-Eff? That's the answer? Music makes the world go 'round and "it's a small world after all"? Gee, Snotty, thanks for the boring, overpriced trip to Disneyland. Hear me now: The Last Act of the show was just your basic musical number, and I thought it might be thematic--a rousing circus tune, a bawdy sea shanty--but the song I heard brought the whole room together, and made me believe in miracles again. Why, you ask? Because I thought I was the only uncool, 80's-loving nutjob in the place, and apparently I was wrong; the last act
was none other than a raunchy, balls-out sing-along to Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. If that is the anthem for a bunch of sexy freaks and circus folk, doing burlesque and aerialist tricks at The Triple Door, then I have more in common with them--and the world at large--than I ever thought possible. And that is what made me believe that The Triple Door really is a space that rises above the everyday; Steve Perry enables you to transcend, and The Triple Door provides the space for it, every single day.

*New photos up on the PhotoBlog!*


FreNeTic said...

I'm curious how popular cabaret is in other big cities. Between Zinzani, the Can-Can, frequent shows at the Triple Door...I get the impression we have a strong scene.

If you haven't already, you should check out the Can-Can. Fun stunts in a box.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

I'll check it out as soon as you take me, lady. 'Tis a curious thing, though, how much cabaret-style entertainment we have here. And then those people go see Cirque du Soleil when it's in town, and then travel elsewhere to see other shows like it...

Manthony said...

At least we don't have a Celine Dion theater. Yet.