Thursday, March 10, 2005

"... find the ones without the hoe-downs"

Each paycheck I tuck about $100 or so into a little "mad money" account I keep for myself. Sometimes it's just extra cash in case we come up a bit short due to unexpected expenses, other times it's for gadgets or trips or a nice dinner out or whatever. Luxuries.

Rather than spend the $200 I had managed to sock away for a new iPod Shuffle, I instead chose to spend it on tickets for the family to see Varakai here in Austin. Far better use of the money, I assure you. Best $200 I've spent in a very long time. And I'm sure I'll get the iPod one of these days. Just not this month.

This was my second Cirque du Soleil show (Christine and I saw Dralion in Washington D.C. with our dear friends Linda and Susan about 3 years back -- wonderful, wonderful, wonderful). And after seeing this one I can pretty much guarantee I'm sold for at least a few more of their shows (definitely want to see Zumanity in Vegas next time we're in town. I mean, that's Cirque with BOOBIES. What's not to like?).

So, 5 things I love about Cirque du Soleil:
  1. Costumes that look like "Mad Max" as envisioned by Jean Paul Gautier.
  2. Otherworldly French warbling and glossolalia is just so darn hummable once the show is over. (Okay, maybe not. But the music always makes me think of what Dead Can Dance would have sounded like had they decided to go techno. And that's cool.)
  3. Contortionists. Pretty contortionists. Pretty contortionists who undoubtedly speak with a thick accent. Woof.
  4. Clowns that actually make me laugh, as opposed to making me want to run from the tent screaming "Mommy! Scary clowns!"
  5. The fact that I gasp in surprise, lean forward in fear and anticipation, or blurt out "Oh wow!" like a kid at their first fireworks display about 150 times during any performance, without the slightest hint of irony or sarcasm. If you know me, you know that for me moments without sarcasm are as rare as a decent bagel anywhere south of Jersey.
It was amazing to see this live with my kids. The whole experience is so overwhelming, so saturated, that they just sort of settled into this wide-eyed wonder after the first fifteen minutes. Of course, it was all happening after their typical 8:00 bedtime, so exhaustion was clearly a factor. That said, they did both make it most of the way through the show before finally just passing out.

It was funny. As I watched the end of the show I felt for a second that I was somehow cheating them by not waking them up for the finale. Cirque shows have this way of making me feel simple, unadulterated, child-like wonder, and I wanted to share every bit of that with them. And then it occurred to me that as an adult, experiences like Cirque are treasured because make me feel like a child again. But they, being children, feel like that All The Time. So, even though they slept through the last 15 minutes or so, they weren't really missing a thing.

It reminds me of a line said by Felicity Huffman's character Dana on the late, lamented, brilliant show Sports Night, when relating her wakening to the power of theater after seeing "The Lion King" on Broadway.
"The music began and I just started to cry. I don't know where it came from. It was like ... church. I didn't know we could do that. Did you know we could do that?"
Cirque du Soleil makes me feel exactly like that.

Mood: Happy
Now Playing: Poe, "Haunted"


Ray in New Orleans said...

Between the hot Asian contortionists, and watching your kids go "cool!" every five minutes, it's worth setting back your stash of stripper money by a few weeks.

Gregg P. said...

Damn straight, bubba.

And the contortionist in THIS one wasn't Asian -- she looked Eastern European. And she actually had curves, and real, honest to goodness sizable breasts. I was spellbound.

melanie said...

I've always wanted to see that.

I need to be in a larger city where there are actual interesting things ;)

I'm half asleep so not sure if I'm making any sense.

Thom said...

Sometimes going to see the show can be painful:

thom said...

the link was cut. try adding: