Category Live Shows

How horrible our Christmas will be! No….how jolly!

Last week Saturday was the 27th annual Kent Winterfest. I run a Kent-based community on LJ, so every once in a (long) while, I will look at the city of Kent website and see if anything is going on that’s worth sharing with the community. The Kent Winterfest, while a bit cheesy with its block-long Santa parade and tree-lighting ceremony (and pet parade deathmarch), is still earnest and festive, so I dutifully passed the info along. In addition to Winterfest was a bulletin about the craft bazaar, which was billed as being “Not your grandma’s craft show” and “more of a gift show than anything”. In fact, after I posted about it to the community, the craft show organizer found it somehow and made his own post to the community, again selling his show as something extraordinary and out of the usual.

Sounds pretty good, right? I had gifts to buy, and this would be a place to get them all, save perhaps one or two picky boys, one of whom was dragged in my wake so it would have been impossible to buy for him regardless, particularly if I had to bully him into loaning me cash so I could do so–that sort of thing tends to dampen the spirit of giving a bit.

Guess how much shopping I got done? Go ahead. Take a moment and guess precisely how many people’s needs and wants I satisfied out of my extensive and varied list over the course of my visit to this gift show. No. Lower than that. Nope. Lower than that.

One. I bought one gift.

We were all of us deceived. This was no urban craft uprising. This was no gift show. This was my grandma’s craft show. I should know, having been dragged to show after show after show by my mom, who reveled in a style of home decor that can only be described as “horrible country handicraft cow nightmare”. This was room upon room of crochet snowmen and knit kleenex box covers and crappy scarves (I did not realize that just cutting an elongated rectangle out of fleece counted as a ‘craft’) and tacky appliqued sweatshirts and bedazzled jean vests…and it goes on like this! I saw weaselmom from across the room, our eyes met, we pointed at each other and bellowed “THAT BASTARD LIED TO US! CROCHET! CROOOOOOCHEEEEEET!!”

We chatted for a while, openly mocked the wares of the tables, cursed the name of the organizer, petted her cute little weasels which is totally not a euphemism, and then went our separate ways–I stopped by mschilepepper‘s booth and bothered her for a while (I should note that her wares are completely and totally high-quality and in fact I own and wear some of her necklaces and have purchased and gifted some to others)–apparently we had just missed amazoni whom I’m certain will corroborate my story about the quality of said craft fair. After chatting with Jeanine for a while, we made our way over to Kent Station, knocked another gift off my list, grabbed some coffee, and discussed our plans for world domination while we waited for the Santa Parade to begin.

The Santa Parade was indeed a short affair, but to its credit, it did again contain alpacas and some sort of princess. They also had Darth Vader wearing a Santa Hat. I also helped myself to some more alpaca-petting which is, again, not a euphemism. We decided not to wait around in the freezing cold to witness the tree-lighting, as it takes place an hour after the parade ends with really nothing going on inbetween, and instead made our way to Spiros for delicious gyros and then on to Shindig for super-delicious hot holiday booze to ease the sting of the craft fair and lying mcliarpants liartons.

“Ten minutes and not ONE person has said ‘LET HIM OUT!’. This is why I love Seattle.”

On Saturday, Jason, Amy and I went to see Penn & Teller at the Paramount theater. When I first saw they would be in town on the Paramount sign, I squealed and very nearly drove off the road in my excitement–they hardly ever tour, and come to the Pac NW even more rarely; this was their first show here in more than a decade! Sure, I COULD go see them in Vegas, but that would require more effort on my part. A lot more.

As it was, we put in the bare minimum effort possible and didn’t bother to make reservations for dinner anywhere as none of us thought getting a table near huge shopping venues during the busiest shopping season of the year would be an issue, which meant we spent some time wandering around looking for somewhere that didn’t have people stacked out the door, and ended up eating at a restaurant simply called “Mexico”. The food was indeed vaguely Mexican, which meant delicious margaritas for all.

After dinner, we went to the theater and found our seats. Amy and I were on the fourth row in the second mezzanine, which was pretty ideal in terms of being able to see the stage–had even a basketball player parked himself in front of me, it’s unlikely he would have blocked my view. However, we were seated next to The Amazing Crow Woman who could not be merely satisfied with laughing and clapping, she had to caw like the world’s largest and most obnoxious bird. There’s always one. And that one is always next to me. Well, this time there were at least two, because after the show, some dude who just stepped out of mom’s basement and away from his collection of serial killer fingernail clippings for the first time in a decade tried to strike up a conversation with us. I’m not quite sure where his goggles were, but his conversational skills included a vacuous stare and a spit-filled pronouncement of “I liiiiike maaaagic”. He then proceeded to ask Teller to sign the backs of his credit cards.

The show itself was wonderful–they did some tricks I remembered from when I saw them in 2005, but also added quite a few new parts to their performance. I tried NOT to be drooly goggle-eyed boy when I approached them, but I swear to you it was difficult, because I adore Penn and Teller in a way that’s probably not entirely healthy. Nonetheless, I don’t think they had a conversation on the plane on the way back home about that frigging weirdo chick they met…I hope.

You realize that life goes fast, it’s hard to make the good things last

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Yesterday, I woke at an ungodly early hour in order to complete my ten hour workday in time to snag an early spot in line for the Flaming Lips show at the Paramount Theater. Before I got in line, I stopped at PoDog and got myself a Seattle Dog and some fried pickles in order to sustain my body for the long evening ahead. I suppose I could have eaten something healthier, but I believe I read a study somewhere that indicated that the amount of cream cheese and scallions consumed is directly proportional to the number of hours someone can stay up past their bedtime, and that spicy pickle sauce enhances the effect. You can’t argue with science. That would be like trying to argue with a clown–in the end, you just look foolish, so instead you should just eat the pickles and let your stomach be filled with happiness. I contemplated stopping at Molly Moon’s, but as it turned out, I had reached my stomach’s capacity for happiness at that point in time.

I ended up getting in line for the show around five thirty; the doors were set to open at seven, so I had a rather long wait ahead of me. I didn’t mind, however, as I was approximately fifteenth in line, which practically guaranteed me a good spot so long as the line didn’t explode into a frenzy of running, shoving, and elbows when the doors opened.

When the doors finally did open, there were some people toward the back who didn’t quite understand the concept of a line and who ran and shoved their way to the front, and while I do feel it should be legal for these people to be tasered to serve as an example to others, we still got an excellent place along the front rail next to the stage.

Having secured such an excellent spot, we were not about to move, even when the opening act, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, proved excrutiating. According to what I just now yanked from Wikipedia, “Pink’s solo tours have generally been met with much negativity, primarily because his music was never intended to be performed live for commercial audiences.”

Here, have a quote: “People boo me everywhere…They don’t even hide their contempt. I’m used to it now…Hey, I’m giving audiences the real thing…For better or worse, I’m out there, and those are the circumstances. People don’t like it when it seems like you don’t know what’s happening, or I’m getting bummed out with certain aspects and I can’t hide it. I think people feel that pain and just think it’s bad.”

Or people think it’s bad because it’s actually bad. Painfully bad. The first subtle cue that we were in for a long opening act ride was when they first came on stage, Ariel Pink dressed in hobo couture–what appeared to be a red and black christmas sweater cinched in with a mirrored belt over silver lurex pants and clogs, the rest of the band so mismatched it appeared they were trying for redux Village People.

I couldn’t focus all of my scathing remarks on the band, however, as I was distracted by the mess of photographers who had appeared to take up the space inbetween the rail and the stage to block my view. No, this was not the band I had come to see, and in fact, worked to spare my eyes and ears, but I didn’t wait outside for an hour in a half in off-and-on rain to have to stare at someone’s backboobs or crop circles the whole night. The most obnoxious one turned out (to the best of my deductive abilities) to be from the Seattle Weekly–she appeared to be too bored to take any more photos but clearly felt it was her solemn duty to continue to stand in my way. What is it with the Weekly and total douchebags? Once the editor, Mike Seely, pretended to offer me a job as a prank because he’s a classy guy, then tried to forbid me from talking about it because he didn’t like the idea of the things he said coming back to haunt him, and to this day, I hope he goes blind and develops a debilitating disease that rots him from the inside out. Syphilis, maybe.

Eventually, the photographers were shooed away, and I was able to refocus my searing laserbeam eyes of hatred back at the stage for the remainder of their set, which thankfully was not overly long.

Afterward, while the stage was being set for the Lips, Wayne Coyne came onstage and warned the audience that the band uses a hell of a lot of strobe lights and that things could get quite intense for the people closest to the stage, that people often aren’t aware that they might have a bad reaction to an experience like this until it starts to happen, and beseeched anyone who felt like they might be getting ill to look away from that part of the show. For all his warnings, there was an ambulance outside after the show, so at least one person did not take his caution to heart.

After the stage was prepped, an enormous screen started playing a video of a nude woman dancing. A few minutes later, light started pulsating out of her nether regions–I leaned over to Tristan and said “…I could do that, but I don’t wanna.” Eventually, she laid down, the video zoomed into the pulsating light, and from the center of it, each member of the band was birthed.

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Wayne was last, and rolled out into the crowd with his inflatable hamster ball.

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When he got back onstage, the sky exploded with balloons and confetti–simple, childish elements that combined with the sound into a cacaphony of beauty and magic.

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The show nearly defies description, save that it encapsulates nearly everything weird and wonderful about the Lips. It encourages you to find and revel in moments of joy because life is short and love is fragile, and beauty can be found everywhere. I found myself crying with happiness during the encore performance of “Do You Realize??” because the moment was so perfect and the song itself is so uplifting. I could not have wished for a better concert experience; I have my doubts that a better concert experience is possible.

When I got home, I found confetti in my pants.

A rant that could only have been written by someone old and unhip.

Yesterday, I went to see Rasputina at Neumos. The last time I’d seen them perform was nearly a decade ago on Halloween, when my boyfriend absolutely refused to drive up from DC to join me at Dracula’s Ball, we had a huge fight about it, I decided to go anyway, took the train, got off at the wrong stop, got lost in a very bad area of Philadelphia where it’s probably a miracle I didn’t get stabbed, and I ended up getting a ride back to campus from some stranger in vampire teeth, but that’s a story for another time. Wait, that’s pretty well the whole story.

My intent was to see Rasputina; Rasputina was the band I’d paid for the ticket to see. I’m merely attempting to clarify why I was in the area, and therefore express my utter bewilderment that on a weeknight, with doors opening at 8, somehow the band I’d paid to see did not go onstage until after 11pm, forcing me to miss the majority of the show as I have to get up for work at an ungodly hour in the morning and cannot drag myself in dysfunctional or late, particularly when the boss’ boss is in town. Had I still been taking the bus to and from the city, I would have missed them entirely, stuck with only the miserable experience of the godawful opening bands. And I do mean GODAWFUL.

The first band was ‘The Curious Mystery’. This band should be renamed to “Jesus on Bass with Dude on Sitar while Token Female Yowls and Performs a Pee-Pee Dance”. The three male musicians were competent, which is the absolute nicest thing I can say. Singing off-key and incomprehensibly while you pose dramatically like a stork and play some manner of electric zither does not make you edgy. For the record, you suck. Also, can someone tell me WTF instrument this is? It is some manner of keyboard with a tube attached, and it was played vigorously in a pee-pee dance fashion, yet I could not discern what sound it was actually making.

The second band was Larkin Grimm, whose music I could have enjoyed had they not played their entire goddamned back catalog and had an obnoxious rambling explanation for what EVERY song was about before it was played. “This song is about when you clean your cat’s litterbox and the worms crawl into your brain.” “This song is about walking your dog and thinking about death, only your dog is smarter than you and you meet a butcher.” “This song is about an alien cat god from outer space.” “This song is about sex and decapitation except it’s actually about Iranian poets and let me go into a backstory on that.” “This song is about a bodily fluid, guess which one? I’m addressing all of the under 21 year olds in this 21-and-up audience, gosh I sure hope some kids snuck in with fake ids.” They went on in this fashion, I can’t even remember the rest. I believe I began to block them out, though I expect that had I listened, I would have heard “This song is about a clown murderer who turns out to be your stepfather only not really because he takes off that mask, too, and it’s actually your one true unicorn love who is full of the light of the song of the colors you can’t remember.” YOU ARE NOT ON VH1’S BEHIND THE FUCKING MUSIC, LADY. SHUT UP. GET OFF THE STAGE.

Finally, FINALLY, at quarter after elevenish, Rasputina finally, FINALLY got onstage. Except whatever dillhole was running the ‘stop the audience from getting restless’ overhead music just kept going. Eventually the band had to tap the mic and say “Yes, hello? We are ready to perform.”

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It’s a shame that the stage was set up in such a way that I could not see Melora at ALL.

It was at this point, the annoying goth contingency began to press against me. I should not have to explain to someone standing behind me that my pockets are for my personal use. Also, look, Seattle Goths: It is not ‘goth’ to neglect personal hygiene. I understand, your mind is consumed with more important things, the futility of life, the fleeting nature of love, how much longer the sale is running on black hair dye, but seriously, brushing your teeth and putting on some deodorant won’t kill you. The tooth brushing, in fact, may help prevent heart disease, so you can continue annoying people, lo, with your very darkness, for years to come. You’re welcome. Come back sometime. We’ll talk about eyeliner and its proper application. And then we can talk about how you’re trying much too hard to be ‘spooky’ and your strict conformity to non-conformity. Whoa man, like, the establishment is freaked out by your dark nature. But mostly your lack of deodorant.

I got to hear only a few songs before I had to leave to go home. I don’t really feel that I got my money’s worth because I didn’t get to see the show I paid to see. I should have stayed at Po Dog and continued to eat fried pickles until I exploded; at least that would have been satisfying. In MY day, if we didn’t like the music the bard was playing, we would have stoned him outside in yon courtyard and ’twas a better place for it.

WXPFL: HOT LEAD

On Thursday, Tobie and I attended the World Extreme Pencil Fighting Championships VI: Hot Lead at The Funhouse. Pencil fighting started in the schoolyards, but most experienced pencil fighters dropped the sport upon graduation. Only the truly dedicated went on to the Pro Leagues and risked all for the chance to call themselves champion. Many organizations and leagues formed, each claiming to be home to the real Pencil Fighting Champion…UPF…WCCPFC…WWPFW, but the true fan’s choice and gold standard for Pencil Fighting was always the WPFL. In 1995 longtime WPFL owner Silas Ticonderoga III sold the company to his oldest son Silas Ticonderoga IV, who took it to the “Extreme” and rechristened it WXPFL. This move angered and alienated longtime fans, but opened up pencil fighting to a whole new generation of young fans. These Extreme Pencil Fighters – now called “Gra-fighters” – are now touring the world and bringing the splintered wood and bloody knuckles of Pro Pencil Fighting straight to you! In these matches, Pro Gra-Fighters take on each other and some randomly-selected audience members for the highly-coveted Pencil Fighting Championship Trophy.

In pencil fighting, two challengers face off, each armed with a regulation wooden pencil taken from a factory-sealed pack. The only recognized regulation competition pencil is the Dixon/Ticonderoga #2 yellow – graphite core, cedar shaft, latex eraser with aluminum stay.

The pencil may not be sharpened or altered in any way prior to initial combat.

A Pink Pearl Eraser flip determines which fighter strikes first.

The loser of the eraser flip becomes the “Defender” and holds his or her pencil firmly with both hands in a horizontal position.

The winner of the eraser flip becomes the “Striker”, and then brings his pencil down in a vertical strike across the opponent’s pencil with full force, attempting to break it in two.

If the Defender’s pencil does not break from the Striker’s attempt, then it becomes the Defender’s turn to strike.

This repeats until one player’s pencil breaks in two and cannot continue.

If a pencil is cracked, but not fully broken in two, referee determines whether said pencil can continue.

The current WXPFL Champion “Balls Deep” Brian Chesbrough was suspended by WXPFL Officials for using a body-enhancing steroid OTHER than WXPFL Sponsor Buff Nuxx. So, WXPFL owner Silas Ticonderoga IV has vacated the title, and now the tournament was a direct shot at the championship…if the most dangerous pros in the business can be beaten!

There is a lot of crossover in this league from Seattle’s other extreme sport, SST: Ronald McFondle, Big Show, etc. There are even MORE theatrics in Extreme Pencil Fighting, however. The first competitors, the Asshole Brothers, came out to loud boos from the audience–they whipped out pencils from their too-tight pants, broke them, and flung them at the audience. I myself was struck in the vulnerable right boob with a shattered pencil from one of the Assholes. Real danger abounds around every corner in this club. I should consider myself lucky that I took a pencil to the chest as opposed to the lit incense that was chucked out into the crowd.

Two Assholes entered the ring, and only one Asshole left: the remaining Asshole was moved into the next bracket toward the championship. After the Asshole Brothers came Ronald McFondle, who has also taken up MCing in addition to flashing his balls at the audience. He performed a number about fisting his clown hos with the current Top Pot Donut Eating Champion, and then got down to the business of fighting with the first audience member: benzarius.

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Somehow, Ben ended up with a crotch full of clown paint and a broken pencil.

The next match was the Yellow Dragon versus the Librarian, in which the Librarian was victorious.

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Then came Big Show vs the next audience member, who dubbed himself the Annihilator, I believe.

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The Annihilator…annihilated Bill Bates, and then it was time for one more audience volunteer to take on the Hundred Dollar Man.

That volunteer was me.

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I stepped onto the stage, informed everyone that I was a dildo barbarian, carefully selected my pencil, which was then inspected by the judges, lost the eraser toss, and held out my pencil for the first strike. It was broken on the very first strike. The referee said he’s actually never seen that happen before, which are words that I am sadly getting used to hearing. It’s my family curse. “I’ve never seen that happen before!” Yeah, buddy? Stick around.

The Hundred Dollar Man eventually went on to win the championship, so I don’t feel as badly about my loss. The swag bag I got for participating helped ease that sting as well. Plus now I have two new classy shirts to wear should I ever have occasion to throw another White Trash Extravaganza.

 

All of the good photos are by someone other than me who I fully intend to credit when I find out their name. If it is you, please tell me and I will credit immediately, or remove your photos, whichever you would prefer.  All of the shitty ones are me or someone with my phone.

Shakespeare in the Park in the Dark with a Knife

I confess to having little fondness for the works of William Shakespeare. As with many classics, all of the joy was dragged out from it in school and flailed with whips and chains, driven away with promises of ever-more severe beatings should joy ever find its way back to the classroom.

Lest you think I wax overly dramatic, for example, we were required to read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, a book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then, I had to give a presentation to the class, explaining the symbolism of every single piece of vegetation in the entire book, because it was ALL significant. A blade of grass was not simply a blade of grass, it was a torturous metaphor. I will accept that the separation between the forest and Boston was significant (the untamed wildness of nature in sharp contrast with the rules of Puritan society, blah blah blah), along with the rosebush next to the prison door, and the seaweed that Pearl uses to make her own ‘A’, but aside from these three, anything that the teacher pulled out was a stretch. You can attribute any sort of ridiculous bullshit significance to ANYTHING if you twist it enough. Watch, I’ll do it:

Clearly the otters function as a proxy of the average ignorant citizen, pleased as punch to take in the bread and circuses of its time handed down to it by the overbearing masters. Here, we witness the first spark of conscious thought, the realization that there might be more to life than its base pleasures, and the full evolution of man condensed to a matter of seconds: from ignorant bliss to conscious thought to bold defiance by befouling the very earth owned by his “betters”. The music itself speaks to tastes of the bourgeoisie, taking and taking of the finest things, and serves to spark the conscious realization of the lesser man; that he toils so that others may have better things, leading him to act and say “if you would take from me, take all of me, not just the products of my labors but the bitter ends as well!” A revolution is foreshadowed as others awaken to the realities of their condition. This is a breathtaking work, one of the great clips of our time.

This is precisely why I have little to no patience for symbolism, because I was taught that any bullshit thing can mean any bullshit thing you want it to. No one is right, they’re just adding their own desires and crazy to the mix. Were Nathaniel Hawthorne in my class, watching my presentation, he would have pounded the desk, screamed “I DO DECLARE THIS IS HORSESHIT,” kicked over his chair, and stomped out of the room. N. Scott Momaday would have rolled his eyes and whispered apologies to Herman Melville, saying he never intended such egregious offenses as were attributed to his book lifting directly from Moby Dick, and furthermore clarified that his main character could have two dreams and not have them be interconnected to represent his ‘inner struggle’, because just like in real life, people dream about different stuff on different days, I mean, Christ, Mrs. Jacoby, just because you were batshit insane and hopped around in your pleather jacket like a goddamned flying monkey in excitement about the idea that Abel could be a bear and ALSO be a fish and, newsflash, bears eat fish, so clearly he’s got some self-loathing issues…YOU WERE WRONG. WRONG. ABOUT EVERYTHING.

…ahem.

Shakespeare was treated in much the same manner in school, the one bright spot being the class period we devoted to Shakespearean insults–the next day, we were not allowed to enter the classroom until we had taunted the teacher properly in Shakespearean fashion. I believe mine was “Thou goatish, helmet-headed harpy!”

My momentary delight was killed the day we went to see a local production of Macbeth out in the hot summer sun in the dustiest location in all of Wisconsin with the actors drawn from a pool of the least-talented people to ever do anything. I wouldn’t have trusted any of the actors with dull scissors. Every moment was torture.

I gave Shakespeare another chance last week Friday, with Greenstage’s production of As You Like It, featuring Shane Regan (my vice-dictatorial candidate), at Camp Long in West Seattle. You’d think that I would have learned from the last time I went to support Shane in something: it doesn’t matter how early I show up, some douche is going expend his douche potential energy to meet his douche destiny and plop down directly in front of me, rendering it impossible for me to see what’s going on. This time, I was the third person on the scene: I brought a blanket and a book and read for a couple hours before the show was set to start. I’d spread my blanket somewhere near where I presumed the middle of the stage would be–I didn’t know how far back they needed as I’d arrived before the cast, so I gave them plenty of room. Far too much room, as people started showing up with lawn chairs and parking them in front of me. Who brings a chair and then sits in front of people on the ground? Who does that? The final straw was when a woman rolled a man in an enormous electric wheelchair directly in front of me, expressing her concern that he might be blocking the sightline of the people in chairs next to me, with absolutely zero regard that the girl on the goddamn ground would now not be able to see a goddamned thing. Shakespeare could not have even begun to conceive of the obscenities that flew out of my mouth as I ripped up my blanket and stalked away.

Luckily, my friends had found a spot near the front on the edge of the grounds, so I was able to squeeze in there and cool my jets a little before the show started. Once it started, I was honestly surprised at how captivated I was by the performance–the difference between talented actors working for donations and several towns’ village idiots working for prepaid school field trip money was like night and day. It took me a few minutes to fall into the rhythm of the language, and occasionally lack of familiarity with the source material tripped me up, but I overall I found it light, funny, and an entertaining way to while away a summer evening.

After the show, I finally, finally got to meet Shane, who is a delightful human being and who will make an excellent vice-dicator when the time comes. I continued to hound him over a Junkbucket DVD–if I can get my hands on one soon, I intend to show it at the next Blood and Guts and Punch and Pie.

Should you be local and wish to see this play yourself, it’s on through August 14th at a few different parks.

They also indicated that this fall they’d be putting on Macbeth–maybe I ought to give that one another shot.

…is that two pages, Shane? I promised two pages!

#HOTCOCO

Last night, I went to see Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television” tour at McCaw Hall with Tristan. I wasn’t entirely sure what sort of show I was in for, given the opening act Reggie Watts and his utter lack of anything even slightly resembling humor. From Wikipedia: His shows are mostly improvised and consist of stream of consciousness standup in various shifting personas, mixed with loop pedal-based a cappella compositions. Aka: Wesley Willis Lite, except it’s affectated mental illness, ala Amanda Palmer and her latest ploy for attention, Evelyn Evelyn, and what have we learned about playing false disability for effect? It’s tacky, offensive, and it sucks.

Conan was a welcome funny counterpoint, being introduced onstage by a video showcasing his life after The Tonight Show–overweight with a beard ala ZZ Top, hovering over the phone waiting for a potential job to call, stuffing his face, laying in abject grief on a trampoline, and smearing peanut butter on his toes to encourage the dog to come over. After the video was over, Conan took the stage, and explained the eight stages of grief he went through after losing the show, only ever referred to as ‘the incident you may have heard about’, most notably anger–anger that people like Kim Kardashian, The Ace of Cakes, Snookie, and Criss Angel still have TV shows and he does not. Also notable: the ‘blame everyone else around me’ stage, and ‘buy everything that Amazon thinks I would also like’ stage, though in my opinion, it could have used a ninth stage, the ‘hunt network executives for sport’ stage.

He also spoke warmly of Seattle, referring to it as his home away from home since he swept in like a Viking and stole one of our women, marrying her clad in gore-tex and fleece at St. James Cathedral.

Some old favorites were brought out, changed slightly given that they may now be the intellectual property of NBC–Masturbating Bear turned into Self-Pleasuring Panda (“Endangered–and now we know why!”), Triumph the Insult Comic Dog went unintroduced, and the Walker Texas Ranger Lever was the Chuck Norris Rural Policeman Handle.

Some of Conan’s musical numbers really fell flat, but were saved by Meatloaf’s giant inflatable bat from the ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ tour, Andy Richter’s clever radio-style commercials for local establishments Dicks and the Fremont Troll, and brilliant Tonight Show writer Deon Cole. Oh, and one special guest, you might have heard of him, maybe, even though he’s a local guy–Eddie Vedder. Eddie freaking Vedder. He came onstage with a mandolin and sang a sweet version of “Rise Up”, then switched the mandolin out for a ukelele, cracking that tiny instruments make him appear larger, though Conan the giant shatters that illusion. He then sang what he referred to as his birthday card for Conan, and asked everyone to sing along as it would be “like signing the card”. The song? “Oh Yoko”, with ‘Coco’ substituted for ‘Yoko’. Then Mike McCready came out and he, Eddie, and the Legally Prohibited Band played a thunderous, powerful version of “Baba O’Riley”, Eddie flinging tambourines into the audience, getting them replenished from backstage, and flinging more out. It was AMAZING.

To close, Conan played his version of “I will survive” and “40 days”, ran out into the audience with his guitar, and kept playing standing up on a seat about three rows in front of us. I could have reached out and touched him if the act wouldn’t have been creepy even for me.

All in all, a good show and worth paying to see the man that NBC paid to go away.

The Editors @ Showbox Market

On Friday, I received a text from Aisling asking if I one: had heard of The Editors and two: wanted to go see them. She had bought her boyfriend a pair of tickets to the show as his Christmas present and he had also bought a pair of tickets, so they brought me along with one of the extras.

Since I’m not a TOTAL mooch, I bought them both dinner at The Honey Hole beforehand, and was frankly surprised to see ‘Beer Battered Onion Ring And French Fry Platter’ under the category of ‘Lite Fare’.

This, folks, may be why we are fat.

We ended up missing the first opening band alltogether, and the second (Princeton? I think?) left me thoroughly underwhelmed. Truth be told, I kind of wanted to beat these guys up. I’ve never been a bully, but the urge to give the singer an atomic wedgie was almost overwhelming. Everything about them was awkward. The music was awkward. The stage banter was awkward. They were awkward. Whether genuine or contrived, they are owed a wedgie by someone at some point.

Having never heard The Editors before, Princeton’s underwhelming performance left me a little concerned for what was in store. I oughtn’t have worried, I generally agree with Aisling’s tastes and I don’t think she’d invite me to a show that she thinks I’d hate.

They were really energetic performers, the music was tight, and I am a really big fan of the singer’s voice. If Muse, Interpol, and She Wants Revenge had a baby, I think it would sound a lot like The Editors. However, it was really, really, really loud. At one point, I am certain I could feel my hearing getting damaged.

Protip to concertgoers: Everybody brings in cameras to shows now; with a camera standard on every phone model, it’s a rare venue that will try and take any camera away at the door. Young Ansel Adams, should you feel the need to photograph over a short person’s head, capturing images you will likely never look at again, you ought to take care not to let your camera strap dangle and continually brush the hairs on the top of that short person’s head, thereby interrupting their concert experience. You may find that short person has an equally short temper to match, loathes being touched by strangers, and may be considering whipping around, grabbing your camera, and smashing it in your face and the only thing stopping this person from doing so is the desire not to embarrass this person’s friend in front of her new boyfriend and that next time, you may get the beating and wedgie combination you so richly deserve.

Gaylord Comes With A Bone Of His Own

The usual gang of suspects got together to watch Rifftrax Live: Christmas Shorts edition. To make things more festive, we dressed up…but more on that later. The JOURNEY is also important.

You see, I had to run an errand before meeting everyone at Shindig for the happiest hour of the day, so even though Emily kindly offered to come pick me up, I decided to take the bus so I could make a stop along the way. This was mistake number one.

After I ran my errand and waited and waited and waited at the bus stop, I was joined by a man in his late twenties/early thirties who seemed agitated when he asked if he could smoke in the bus shelter. I am not one to further provoke the agitated unless they REALLY deserve it, so I indicated I didn’t mind, and he sat down and started to smoke. Have you already guessed my second mistake? You are correct, oh clever friends, not bringing headphones to discourage conversation from strangers WOULD be my second mistake. He started to huff and kicked the inside of the shelter, and then told me that some kids had grabbed his laptop and run off the bus, and that he was so pissed, man, just so pissed off, man, he can’t believe how pissed off he is. He then proceeded to grab a 40 out of his pocket and chug it down, interspersed with ejaculations of “just so pissed, man, can’t believe it, what time does the bus come, so pissed off”. Out of his other pocket came a bag of pepperoni, and while he was stuffing these down his face, he again indicated that he was just so pissed off, man. Always Helpful Mellzah inquired if he’d filed a police report because then if the kids who stole it tried to pawn it, he could get it back, and no, Pepperoni Boy’s plan was to ride the bus line back and forth until he found these kids and beat the shit out of them. Yes, surely, this seems like a wise, rational plan.

When the bus FINALLY arrived, of course Pepperoni Boy chose to sit next to me, while continuing to stuff pepperoni in his face hole and surreptitiously swigging from his (another?) 40. I was enveloped in a greasy fog of spiced meats. Pepperoni Boy then asked if he could use my phone. Always Helpful Mellzah…hesitated. And went to hand it over. Pepperoni Boy realized his hands were greasy and instead asked if I could send a text message to someone, the message body consisting of “Never mind, he doesn’t have it anymore.” When I inquired as to who the message was from, it was answered with “They’ll know*.” To me, that read as vaguely ominious and I did not like it one bit. Furthermore, who are these people that they just expect calls and texts from random phone numbers and magically know who it’s from?

Thirty seconds later, with no response to the text, Pepperoni Boy rubbed his hands on his jeans and asked if he could use the phone to call the recipient of the ominous message. Always Helpful Mellzah handed him the phone. After that display of human kindness, obviously Pepperoni Boy felt I was hot for his bones, and tried hitting on me, explaining that he normally is too shy to talk to girls but he’s just so pissed off that he can today. Oh boy Oberto!

When he FINALLY left and the air started to clear, I breathed a sigh of relief and rode in silence the rest of the way to Shindig, where our holiday festivities began.

Emily wrapped a tree skirt around Jim and he came decked out as the King of Christmas:

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Anne wore a festive holiday sweater with trivia questions on the back. The answers have been lost, so the answer key to any we did not know was changed to ‘your mom’. And to those we did know as well, let’s be honest, because I’m about twelve mentally and ‘your mom’ is always a funny answer to me.

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Emily wore her fab-u-lous holiday sweater with glowing lights and a tinsel moustache.

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I copped out and just wore my Santa hat, as full-regalia Santa On The Bus once was enough for me.

When we eventually made our way over to the theater, preshow we were treated to some Rifftrax trivia.

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This outing was a little less heavy on hoopla than the last one; the guys came out, wished everyone a merry christmas, happy festivus, great feast of cthulhu (YES! Increased penetration for my alternative holiday), and then got to business, riffing on creepy old christmas specials, incredibly homoerotic advertisements for children’s toys, and a segment on…swimming? Also, for as much as they advertised the inclusion of Weird Al, he only came out for one short and spoke maybe five lines, total. How about ‘Fleeting appearance by Weird Al’? Or ‘Blink And You’ll Miss Him–here comes Weird Al!’? Or ‘Even though he’s totally known for his music and you would expect him to sing or be more involved as our special guest, he’s really only here for five minutes and is mostly a name to sell tickets and will not be performing so let’s all welcome Weird Al!’? It’s like those DVDs that boast amazing special features and then when you crack it open and watch, you realize the only special feature included is the trailer and the knowledge that you’re a sucker for marketing.

*Apparently they did NOT know as I received a text back an hour later that read (I am not making this up) “Who dis?”. DELETE.

With a ‘stache this rad, the truth is gonna slip

On Saturday, Tristan & I went to see That 1 Guy on his ‘Mustaches and Laser Beams’ tour. Part of why I adore him is that it’s evident he just picks out some things he thinks are fun, like fake mustaches and playing with laser beams and doing card tricks, and incorporates all of them into his show–his attempts at breakdancing have now been replaced with a mustache-based quick-change show.

He also stopped in the middle of Weasel Potpie to talk to everyone about his biggest problem with the Star Wars prequels–not that they don’t have many problems, but one was glaringly bigger than the rest–so, in the third one, after Yoda is finished fighting alongside the Wookiee army that, y’know, we just found out about, he stops and says “It’s been an honor to fight beside you, King Chewbacca.” How, exactly, does he go from being king to Han Solo’s mechanic? HMM?

Yeah. You chew on that.

Since we both walked around in a bit of a eardrum-damage-induced haze the day after the Electric Six show, Tristan brought us fancy earplugs that still allow us to hear the music without being physically injured by the music, in the hopes that maybe neither one of us will be deaf by 40. The earplugs helped a LOT. It was novel to walk out of a show without my ears ringing, and for those of you who insist that earplugs are totally not punk rock, I will let you in on a secret: neither are hearing aids.

That 1 Guy had a performer who goes by the name Heatbox open for him, and through beatboxing and the help of some looping equipment, he put on a really entertaining show–I’d never heard anyone beatbox the tetris theme before. And when he came back onstage to jam with Mike in the encore, I’d never heard such a funky, rocking version of Hava Nagila before!

Any show that you walk into sans mustache and leave WITH a mustache, ladies and gentlemen, is a good show. Unless it’s a dirty sanchez. Fuck those kinds of shows.