Friday, May 22, 2009
Sometimes, a thing turns out to be much better than you thought it would, as well as better than you were willing to believe when YOUR WIFE told you it would be good. This is a story about that sort of thing.
MY WIFE and I went to see Jerry Springer, The Opera. I had resisted it for quite some time. This was because I abhor television shows such as Jerry Springer. I consider them the nadir of... well, of everything. I think I might prefer having piranhas nibble at my genitals than to watch more than a couple of minutes of such crap.
I construct my life in such a way as to avoid - desperately - any undue contact with the types of people who populate Springer, Wife Swap, Sally Jesse Raphael, Judge Judy (or any of the other roving pack of TV pseudo-magistrates), Maury Povich or Steve Wilkos (formerly the "director of security" on Springer - nuff said.) That such cretins even exist is painful enough. Watching them parade their problems on my TV screen, while ostensibly being "helped" through said problems, reminds me of nothing more than the old-time carnival freak shows, wherein you'd pay to see a man with three eyes, two noses, and a bifurcated forehead, the major difference being that the unfortunates of old were earning a living and would have liked, in most instances, to have been more normal, while these modern-day anomalies seem to revel in their grotesquery.
Anyway, I no more desired to see Jerry Springer, The Opera than I did the actual show upon which it drew for material. So, why did I see it? How did it happen? Well, I'll tell you.
MY WIFE and I saw an advertisement, in our local paper, for a benefit show. The idea was to raise money for some folks who had lost their homes due to fire. That was nice, but we decided to go because there was going to be a big band playing. Although we don't dance, we both like big band music - 1940's-style swing - and there aren't a lot of opportunities to enjoy such aggregations live. So, we went to hear the music and, as a nice adjunct, give up a few bucks for a worthy cause.
When we got to the venue, we saw that there was a silent auction. You know the deal, right? Items are shown; there's a sign-up sheet near each item; if you're interested in the item, you write down a higher bid than the previous interested party; and, if your bid turns out to be the final high bid when time expires, you get the item.
We made bids on a number of different things. Usually, if you bid early on eight or nine of the offerings, you'll end up being outbid on the majority of them. We liked everything we bid on, but we expected to be one-upped on most. And that would have been fine. We really couldn't afford to win them all.
We won them all.
I forget the exact amount we had to pony up, but it may have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 - and, in some neighborhoods, that's a half-month's rent. I hope it was at least that much for the folks whose houses burned down.
I was outside, having a smoke and trading lies with another person who lives on the periphery of show business, when MY WIFE ran out and said, "Do we have any money in the bank?" That's not exactly the sort of question that makes you think good news is coming, nor does it bolster the pack of untruths you've just been telling someone concerning your career.
After being told what was going down - that we had been declared winners of about $800 worth of stuff - I said that, indeed, we did have some money in the bank; at least, enough to cover our asses for the moment. There was a branch of our bank across the street from the venue. While MY WIFE stalled the organizers, I went and got the moolah.
For the cash, we got a number of interesting prizes. We had bought theater tickets, restaurant gift certificates, and massages. Among the theater tickets was a pass for The Speakeasy, a theater in Boston's South End. Among the restaurant gift certificates was one for Picco, a place right next to The Speakeasy. And so, despite my reluctance to have anything to do with Jerry Springer, The Opera...
Before the show, we used the Picco gift certificate. Great little restaurant with a fine selection of micro-brew beers. I had two tall Golden Monkeys, a tripel brewed by Victory of Pennsylvania. Two of them had my ass half-kicked, as it is a 9.5% alcohol brew. I would have had more if I didn't have to drive us home after the show. Excellent beer - sweet, spicy, nice head, same as I like my women. MY WIFE had a couple of equally potent glasses of wine. We were pleasantly loopy as we ate our shrimp salads and fish tacos.
After dinner, MY WIFE ordered some ice cream for dessert. I went outside to have a smoke, leaning against a wall like a right degenerate, eyes at half-mast, not caring a whit if the girls walking down the street saw me staring at their boobs. When I went back in, the ice cream was in front of MY WIFE. She was enjoying it greatly. She asked me if I wanted a taste.
"What kind is it?"
"What? Cranberry Squirrel?"
"Cranberry Squirrel... Cranberry Squ... SWIRL."
The cranberry squirrel was really good. It almost made me want to order some pigeon pecan for myself, but I didn't think it would sit too well on top of the Golden Monkeys.
Very enjoyable meal. Great alcohol. We both felt like we were dating again. If we hadn't had a play to go to, we probably would have rented a room. However, we did have a play to go to, so we weaved our way out the door and over to the theater.
And, damn it, the play was hilarious.
It truly is an opera. All parts are sung, excluding the part of Jerry Springer himself. There are three separate high C's hit during the course of the show - two by females and one by the male who sings the part of God in the second act.
Yes, God is a character in the second act, as are Jesus and Satan.
As you probably suspect from the forgoing, rabid fundamentalists might find the proceedings highly offensive. I'm something of a fundamentalist myself, actually, so I felt a tad uncomfortable with some parts of the second act, but not so much that I didn't laugh my ass off. Really, if you believe that God doesn't find the entirety of humanity knee-slappingly hilarious, my belief is that you're going to be severely disappointed when you die, so a bit of ridiculousness concerning a chat show taking place in Hell shouldn't worry you.
(I personally rationalized it via believing that the entire second act takes place inside of Springer's head. If his ideas of God, Jesus, Satan - and other religious notables - weren't up to snuff, well, that was his problem, not mine.)
Oh, one other thing you should be aware of is that it's the most obscene theater production I have ever witnessed. Nary a minute passes without vulgarity that would make most longshoremen blush. This will be a selling point for some of you, no doubt. However, if you would be offended by lyrics suggesting anal rape with barbed wire, soiling yourself for sexual gratification, or an entire chorus belting out "He's a cunt, he's a cunt, he's a cunty cunt cunt", then perhaps you'd be better off seeing a revival of Charley's Aunt.
(It should be noted that the play has won every major award available in London, while thus far more-or-less flopping on these shores. I'm not sure if that says more about us or them. Probably, it just says that watching somebody else's loons is more entertaining than watching your own. I mean, consider the laughs we get from just listening to the French.)
So, once again, MY WIFE was right. I did enjoy the play. Also, as long as I'm in the confessional, she would like it to be known that she very much knows how to sew, thank you, and has made several teddy bears in her life. Sheesh.
Soon, with more better stuff.