Something by Something Else

By | March 18, 2011

There’s no small amount of irony in the fact that the week after my last post, wherein I mentioned my curious habit of stumbling into cool shows, I unexpectedly found myself taking in both Cirque du Soleil and The Strokes. And for nothing more than the cost of parking. I don’t know why this happens to me, maybe it’s just that I’m flexible with my plans. But I certainly hope it continues.

The first came about because a friend of mine had an extra ticket to Cirque du Soleil and was nice enough to offer it to me. The show I saw was Dralion, which is apparently a little more conventional than past shows. It being my first one however, I was still quite impressed. There was more music and dance involved than I expected, but it really worked. Each acrobatic act was more impressive than the last, and the clowns really made me want to get back into learning Italian. Certainly the juggler was fantastic and of particular interest to me, since I could look at his act from a mechanical standpoint and recognize many of of the tricks he did and just how difficult they are. The highlight of his routine was a brief flirtation with a 7-ball cascade, which made my paltry 3 seem utterly mundane. I was also really impressed by the woman who swung around on a large suspended hoop, especially by her finale where she twirled around rapidly until she became almost a blur. She was then immediately on her feet and walking around. Most of the acrobatics were merely the result of great skill and training, but I genuinely don’t understand how she was physiologically able to do that.

Although I was certainly able to appreciate the acts, I feel like they didn’t strike me in quite the same way as they might have when I was younger, or as they might have been seen in older times. Much as movies and video games may desensitize us to violence, I feel like they also desensitize us to the extraordinary. Now when you see something incredible you have to mentally correct for the fact that it’s not pretend, and -then- be impressed. There’s a disconnect there that I think is new to the human experience. My first impression when watching the acrobatics was something along the lines of, “Oh, I can do that…in Prince of Persia.” I’m not sure if making the instinctual connection between actions we see in the real world and experiences we have in a digital space is concerning or just fascinating. I suppose it’s more of a concern in terms of children. “Don’t try this at home” really is necessary if the line between fantasy and reality is becoming so fuzzy.

Wednesday evening I discovered that The Strokes were playing a free show for SXSW the next night. Now, I know I just talked about how I’ve lived here three years and have never done anything related to the festival. But the show was at the right time for me to go just after work, and the “free” bit did away with financial concerns. So I decided to give it a whirl on a whim. (Oh yeah, that sentence just happened.) And while I certainly had a great time, it was probably the least fun I’ve had at a concert. Part of that was that being an outdoor free show, I was assaulted with all manner of odors I could have done without. The sweaty press of of the mob did manage to propel me forward to a respectably short distance from the stage after they broke down the gate, but I could have done without quite so much shoving. And admittedly the music of the Strokes brings up mixed emotions due to prior associations in my personal life, which is no fault of theirs. But I also discovered that the degree to which I enjoy a band has a definite effect on my enjoyment of a live gig. I like The Strokes and think they’re a great group, but I don’t “love” them. Whereas if it had been, say, The Killers or U2 up there, I would have been losing my mind, crowd surfers kicking my head or no. But again, it was still an awesome concert and I wouldn’t have missed it, right up to the final fireworks-laden performance of “Last Nite.” (Apologies for the shaky camerawork.)

Speaking of U2, I’m hoping to see them again this summer. Most likely in Toronto, as an aside to a week of visiting various friends in Canadaland. That’ll be in early July…I haven’t made arrangements yet, but I’ve got the vacation time and I’ve got the money, so all should be milk and honey. Only, I don’t have a passport right now. I should probably see about that. Also still planning the sojourn back to Seattle in August for my triumphant return to PAX Prime. My summer is suddenly looking busy.

With all that’s going on, I’m ready to take the weekend to relax. The apartment could use some tidying, my cat needs attention, and I’ve a film history paper to write that necessitates the viewing of three classic westerns. After doing some research I’ve chosen Stagecoach, The Ox-Bow Incident and Tumbleweeds, all of which seem interesting enough. I’ve also been writing more fiction, partially because I’m trying out the new Windows version of Ommwriter. For those of you not familiar with it, it’s basically a minimalist full-screen word processor with no menus or anything else to distract you from writing in the default view. There’s also some optional soothing sounds and different backgrounds, which I’ve thus far ignored. Still, it seems like a really useful tool, and I recommend giving it a try if you do any amount of writing.

Tonight’s recipe is garlic cheese bread topped with pizza sauce and pepperoni. It’s like pizza but it’s not.



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