Monday, February 08, 2010
Jugglers, Contortionists, Hula-Hoopists, Two Strippers, A Blockhead, And A Monkee (Among Other Things)
No need to alert the authorities. I am safe, sound, and spectacularly spoused.
(If you need enlightenment - and who doesn't - see my previous post.)
I met MY WIFE in Harvard Square at 6:30. The latest mystery date had begun. Before we went to wherever it was she was taking me, however, she wanted to treat me to dinner. Since I had no idea where we were going, this could well have been my last meal. I hoped it would be a good one.
The only thing she told me was that we would be headed toward Central Square, Cambridge, about a mile up the main drag. Since that was the case, and we needed to be there before 8 o'clock, she suggested we head in that direction and eat at a restaurant we came upon along the way. That sounded reasonable, so I followed her lead and began walking. Before too long, we were at John Harvard's Brew House. This was good. At least I'd have an excellent beer before I died. They brew their own, on premises, and also feature a selection of fine microbrews from elsewhere. I feasted on medium-rare steak, mashed potatoes with red wine gravy, a lovely concoction of spinach and green peppers for my vegetable, and an accompanying pint of strongly-hopped Bad News Brown ale. If this was going to be my last night on Earth, I'd be going out with a full belly and a frothy head.
After MY WIFE paid the check (love that woman!) we ventured out into the rather cold night. As I lit a smoke, I wondered whether we might take the subway to our destination rather than walking it. No go. MY WIFE said that our destination was more-or-less equidistant from our current position and from the subway stop we would have to disembark at. I certainly couldn't argue; I had no idea where we were headed. So, faced with cold logic - and I do mean cold - we began our frigid walk. It's all good when I'm with MY WIFE, though, so the walk was, too. Though the trek was relatively long for such a frozen night, it passed quickly. Before frostbite had a chance to set in, MY WIFE told me that we had reached our destination.
It was a YMCA.
Now, the first thought that went through my head was that she had tricked me into going someplace for unwanted exercise. I quickly remembered our very filling and beery dinner, though, so I figured this wasn't some devious plot to make me healthy. We entered the Y. She directed me up some stairs.
When we reached the second floor, I saw a mustachioed man, in top hat and tails, reminiscent of a ringmaster. To my immediate right, there was a person selling tickets to whatever it was. Then, on the left, I saw a bulletin board filled with headshots of performers, many of whom seemed to be practitioners of circus-related arts such as juggling and acrobatics. Amidst these head shots, I recognized a very familiar face: Peter Tork.
(If the name isn't immediately recognizable to YOU, try this link.)
Well, what MY WIFE had brought me to, for our mystery date, was Carny Knowledge, a collection of performances by, and short plays about, carnival people. The featured performers included Bella Curva (a two-woman contortionist team, photo of one featured at the top of this post); Honey Suckle Duvet (a large and in charge burlesque dancer); The Boston Hoop Troop (or, at least, three of their number, all of whom were pleasant to look at and did amazing things with the hula-hoops); and other talented and fun acts.
Peter Tork was part of the band providing accompaniment for the performers. His brother, Boston-based graphic artist, Nick Thorkelson, was the bandleader, and he plays a mighty fine piano. Peter was on guitar. It was fun to listen to him play. The Monkees were slagged unmercifully, by some critics, as a pre-fabricated group of non-musicians. To a certain extent that was the truth, but it had to hurt Tork to get such criticism. He was somewhat a part of the folk music scene of the early 60's and could actually play. He still can, and appeared to be enjoying himself as a somewhat non-central member of this production.
Before the stage show actually began, various performers were lined up along the walls of the theater doing their specialties. There were jugglers, plate spinners, the aforementioned contortionists and hoopists, as well as a fortune teller, a blockhead (more on him in a minute), and a performance artist doing a bit as a freakshow crocodile (or was it an alligator?) man. There was also a clown going around doing bits of funny business, which I found amusing; MY WIFE less so. She, unfortunately, suffers from Frolicphobia (which is the fear of clowns, and which term she made up, so if you steal it, we'll sue.)
Well, the whole thing was bizarre, I'll say that. Some of the performers were great, others a bit less so. It was all done with heart, however, and that makes up some for lack of talent. Once we had seen enough of the sideshow acts, we picked out a couple of seats near the band (I always like to sit near musicians, given a chance, so that I can watch technique) and we awaited the start of the performance proper.
While we sat and listened to the band, a fellow named Nicholas Ridiculous came up to our seats and inroduced himself. He was the blockhead. Now, if you're unfamiliar with carny lingo, here's the deal: a blockhead does things like drive nails up his nose with a hammer. And that's just what Nicholas Ridiculous did, close-up and in-person, for MY WIFE, me, and the six or seven other folks in the immediate vicinity.
[To the left, that is NOT Nicholas Ridiculous driving a nail into his head. That is Sideshow Bennie. I can't find a photo of Nicholas Ridiculous doing it. However, to the right is Nicholas Ridiculous. Use your imagination to combine the two images and there you go!]
A woman behind us yelped when he drove the nail in, so (of course) she was the one he handed the hammer to in order to use the claw end to pull the nail OUT of his nose. I wondered how you find out you have such a talent in the first place. I mean, I’ve certainly put some strange and toxic things up my nose in the past, but I never once gave consideration to snorting a roofing nail.
Shortly after, the staged part of the exhibition began with a couple of decent jugglers. Then, Honey Suckle Duvet took the stage to do a striptease. As
she began her unclothing, she looked directly at me with a mix of aggression and sensuality that was a bit unnerving considering her size. She has about fifty pounds on me, I would imagine, and is probably a few inches taller, too. I was a tiny bit afraid that my proximity to the stage might end up as cause for me to become part of her act. As much as I appreciate the charms of all women, of whatever bulk, I’ve known linebackers who were smaller and less scary than Ms. Duvet. I was, for lack of a better way to put it, unengorged. Thankfully, she did not invite anyone to share the stage with her, and she finished the display of her ample wares with no audience members being harmed. She was entertaining, to be sure - and, in searching for her photo on-line, all I saw seemed to indicate that she is a very sweet woman - but I prefer my flesh in smaller portions.
(Photo by Dylan Cyr)
The Boston Hoop Troop followed, all of them visual antidotes to the fun Ms. Duvet. They did marvelously artistic things with their hula-hoops, incorporating dance and acrobatics into the mix, and the overall effect was rather sexy. Later on in the evening, one of their number – her name is Lolli Hoops, if the program can be believed - returned to the stage to do a striptease.
Photo by Jeff Berg
She was the antithesis of the amply endowed Honey Suckle. On a day when I have a couple of pizzas, my boobs are about as big as hers were. That’s not to say she wasn’t hot, though, because she was, very. Girls, if you feel a bit sluggish and chubby, the evidence I saw suggests that hula hooping will give you a flat stomach and an extremely cute ass.
Soon, a member of Bella Curva took the stage. I’m afraid the program didn’t specify which of the two women it was, otherwise I’d give her name. She was the one whose photo is featured at the top of this post. She was painfully flexible. That is, she twisted her body into the most amazing and seemingly impossible positions, a few of which had the audience gasping, and – as with Mr. Ridiculous’s odd insertion of hardware into a bodily orifice – had one wondering how a person comes to the realization that she can do such things. Was she sitting around one day, watching re-runs of Gumby, when the thought came to her, "Hmm. I wonder if I could get my ass on top of my head?" Well, however she came to try it, she found out she could and I would assume her life hasn’t been the same since. Being who (and what) I am, I couldn’t help but think of the sexual possibilities such a twisty female might afford. I quickly dismissed the thoughts, though, because MY WIFE was sitting right next to me (and, besides, maybe a contortionist would expect more flexibility out of ME than I had to offer.)
During the second act, both of the female pretzels worked together in what was about as outré an exhibition of lesbianism as is possible while fully clothed. By that point, had we been at home, I would have had to rip MY WIFE’s clothes off and… well, no, I’m not the type to rip off someone’s clothes. I would have strongly suggested, however, that we stop watching their act and do one of our own.
Lest you think the greater part of the show was lascivious, I’ll tell you that there were great comic bits, and small vignettes of weirdness, and long dramatic tableaux as well, but I'm me. The naughty bits tend to swirl around the forefront of my brain, more often and for a longer time, than most anything else. On the day when they don’t, that’s when I’ll be ready to check out.
Of the scripted scenes, one particularly hilarious playlet stood out. Written by M. Lynda Robinson, an actress whom MY WIFE and I have enjoyed for many years in various local productions, it was entitled Wife Of Bobbo. It was a scene from the home life of a woman married to a clown. She is on the phone, discussing her marital problems, when said clown (played by David McCaleb) comes home dressed in full costume and make-up. His wife (Sally Nutt) tries to seduce him with a romantic dinner, sexual innuendo, and other wiles of the feminine trade. He never stops clowning, though, and that’s apparently a sore point for her. She becomes more and more insistent in her demands for him to pleasure her, he keeps doing bits of clown business, and the entire production comes off as roll-on-the-floor funny. I won’t spoil the ending, except to say she finally gets her way in a most unusual fashion.
I could go on describing the whole show, but those were the highlights for me. Well, of course, the biggest highlight was being able to enjoy it with MY WIFE. And I wouldn’t have been enjoying it at all if she hadn’t made it her bit of funny business to ask me out on another mystery date. She’s one of a kind.
Oh, just one more thing I suppose I should mention. After the show, MY WIFE went up to Peter Tork and told him that she always thought he was the cutest one. She also confessed that she had once entered a contest, via Sixteen magazine, to win a date with him. Now, some men might have become jealous if their wives did that, going up to talk to a legendary rock star and television heartthrob, and telling him how hot he was. Not me, though.
I was still thinking about the contortionists.
Soon, with more better stuff.