I'm not a fan of retro-parties. Anyone who's been paying attention to my anti-Hegelian rants of late could guess that the last place you'd expect to find me on a Thursday night would be an 80s party. But there we were, at the Imperial, (per our traditional post-show hangout plan), when we found out that the place was having one. An 80s party, I mean. Now, in addition to all the moving vehicles breaking down spontaneously, my host family's washer and dryer also broke down ... leaving me with nothing but my black suit jacket, a blue FUBU button-down shirt, light kackhis, and dress shoes to wear. So by stunning coincidence, I was dressed like a drug lord from Miami Vice. And was oddly suited to attend an 80s party. All I needed was a pair of mirrored sunglasses. And some chest hair. But that got shaved for the show.
Still. All of us were sitting around complaining about our cars, our salaries, etc, when I stood up and said "ENOUGH! WE HAVE FOUR PRECIOUS DAYS HERE AND I'LL BE DAMNED IF A DEATH-TRAP CAR, INSURANCE FRAUD, AND GETTING PAID 56 CENTS AN HOUR WILL INTERFERE WITH THAT!" And with that, Anne Bowles. Went. Insane.
I've been trying to figure this woman out for a while. She's quick. She's incredibly talented. And she's very reserved. That's all cool. But we've been waiting for her to go insane at some point. Turns out, 80s music is her hidden trigger. So somewhere between Jimmy and Dan's breakdancing and my Miami Vice swagger, I noticed Anne ripping the shit out of the dance floor. We re-enacted the music video from A-ha's Take On Me and left all our earlier worries about the scappy accommodations behind. It was beautiful. I left to catch up with Will, Ros, and Nick at their place where they were watching videos of their wedding. Ros and Nick are musicians who played at their own reception (with their dad on acoustic guitar in the background) and this only furthered my conclusion that the Custers are the coolest family on earth.
(Karl sits at the bar with Will, Ros, and Nick. A toothless middle-aged man approaches Karl, mid-quip.)
TOOTHY: Knock, knock.
KARL: Who's there?
(Long pause. Toothy thinks.)
KARL: "Me" .... ah ... "me" who?
(Toothy's eye glints in that "I've killed bears" sort of way, but Karl, who's friends with the bouncers, doesn't care.)
KARL: "Me Wayne"? You call that a knock-knock joke?! Me Tarzan, you Wayne?! What can I do with that? That's not even funny on the alcoholic plane ...
TOOTHY: Yeah, asojfoaiffheasdfoiuqoehqwefuhvai ...
I saw the Toothy trying the same joke out on someone else down at the other end of the bar before the bouncers kicked him out. He wasn't really dangerous; he was just testing a work-in-progress and needed some feedback.
PINT OF PATHOS AWARD: goes to spelling bee kids. Anyone seen Spellbound? That documentary about the national spelling bee finalists? It's heartbreaking, mostly because it's a useless skill. I say this as a blogger who's easily misspelled hundreds of commonplace words in his own post, so ... hear me out. I mention it because someone asked me to explain that post about the difference between conceptual intelligence and fact-accumulation. And here's what I mean. We teach kids to store large chunks of stuff in their heads, but we don't give them any functional thoughts. They learn stuff, not skills. And as good as that spelling bee champ might be, he still can't write a poem to save his life.
It's the difference between being a Schwarzenegger or a Jackie Chan. We've hammered intelligence into the same scorecard metric we use for competitive sports. There's no process, it's all quantity. But I happen to believe Jackie Chan could kick Schwarzenegger's ass. And that all the money and time we spend forcing kids to stand up like cute little sponge-brain freaks ("How did all those big words come out of Johnny's little skull?!"), could be better spent teaching them to write a complete sentence.
We're rehearsing for five hours before the show tonight. And we're doing two shows on Saturday and Sunday. So it's basically six shows in three days. Then I have one day off before leaving early Tuesday morning. I wish I had a few days to give a proper goodbye to everyone in town. Or to climb that mountain I missed. Or to sleep on the beach. We'll see. Might still happen. Question is: what becomes of this blog when I get back to DC?
And in the spirit of fair-trade blogosphere traffic, I must link, I must link, I must link ...
East Coast Alaska Girl
Wish I could put these in the side-bar, but the code for this template is a little finicky. Shit. Was that spelled right?