Friday, November 19, 2010

Peeps show

I really just don’t get the whole fuss over the “porn scanners.” Those are the full-body scanners that show just how full-bodied you might be at a TSA screening checkpoint. And I skew more self-conscious about my body than the average gal. Not that I’m buying a burqa any time soon. But I’ve never owned a pair of short-shorts or a low-cut top in my entire life. And the idea of a TSA screener checking out my worldly goodies doesn’t even phase me.

I’ve been to the airport. I can’t imagine that there are too many jollies to be had ogling most of the passengers in the friendly skies. And I’ve seen a few that I’d actually feel bad for the screener that has to look. And how hard up would you have to be to get a job with TSA just so you could check out people’s silhouettes in gray scale? Um. There’s the internet. Anything you want, you can see. Though, as many and varied as the freak community is, I’ve never heard of an x-ray fetish. TSA should probably look into that though. Talk about an employee who’d be riveted to that screen. Nobody’s getting by them. Employee of the month.

Frankly, I’d far rather have some freak in a booth somewhere checking me out than that same weirdo giving me a pat down. Check me over. Especially if I could get through the damned lines at security faster.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I like it, how about you?

Well, Tuesday and Wednesday shows at the Performing Arts Center really showed a contrast. Tuesday was the Brinker Series with Al Pacino, and Wednesday was the Jazz Roots series with Michael Feinstein.

The Brinker Series is consistently one of the best content providers at the PAC. Fascinating people talking about fascinating topics. They had the T. Bone Burnett talk and the Frost/Langella discussion earlier this year, and they have kept a really consistent high quality. And one of the least engaged audiences in town. These shows are really focused on bringing a smart focus on culture, society and nature to Dallas. And you see late arrivals, early departures and people staring at their watches. Pacino was working his ass off for most of the show and the audience was just not responding. He was telling stories that no one else could tell, with cameos from last-name types like Ginsberg, Scorsese, De Palma, and only about half of the audience was paying attention. I felt bad for him. I mean, yes, he’s a big name. But the most obvious thing is that he’s still a performer. And getting that little love from a live audience has gotta be rough. They sell a lot of tickets for those Brinker series. But it’s a lot like going to see a professional sports team that has a lot of their seats sold to corporate clients. I'm not sure what is causing the disconnect, but some step between audience and material really seems to be missing.

The Jazz series is the complete opposite. It’s a music lover crowd. They have a smaller attendance, but, man, they are passionate. And this bunch could have eaten Michael Feinstein on toast points. He was caviar, baby. From his just-jazzy-enough ensemble (the suit was exquiz) to the broad range of music, he did the American Song Book up. The opening act was Nicole Henry, who was the total package – gorgeous voice, gorgeous body, gorgeous dress. And she sang one of the most compelling versions of Fly Me to the Moon I’ve ever heard. Then Feinstein comes out and just lays it all out there on the stage. Porter, Gershwin, Broadway, even Van Morrison. And peppered it with anecdotes about the music that only a real custodian of this kind of music could. Plus, a bang on impression of Paul Lynde. And like I said, the audience couldn’t get enough. He could have sung all night.

So, I think what Brinker is trying to do is convert some of those corporate ticket types into the kind of real culture vultures at the Jazz Series. A noble goal. But you have to get them to pay attention first.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mistletoe and Jolly

Well, we’re tip-toeing into the holidays, aren’t we? Some with more trepidation than others. I’ve been kind of waffley in my holiday spirit over the last few years. Mildly interested at best; border-line hostile at the worst. I’m kind of feeling it this year. I’m actually pretty optimistic for getting my holly jollies this year.

Luckily for me, I can load up on the holiday fare at my volunteer gig at the Performing Arts Center. Nice, right? I jumped on The Nutcracker and The Grinch. And I’m eyeballing a couple of Christmas music shows, if I can work them into my greedy little schedule. I was somewhat less eager to sign up for A Christmas Carol. Let’s just say, it’s not my favorite.

Honestly, I kind of side with Scrooge in the beginning. Is there anything more annoying than cheery relatives trying to force joy down your throat when you’re just not in the mood? The bastards. And so he’s frugal? What of it? Did we learn nothing from the last spend-happy decade? Bet Scrooge doesn’t have a balloon mortgage or credit card debt. And really, Cratchit? You’re a clerk. You make jack for a salary. What’s with the 20 kids? Are you gunning for a TLC show? I realize you like the missus. But give it a rest, freakshow. Or . . . I’ve seen Victorian porn. Marital relations that would not produce offspring were not a mystery, even in the time of Dickens. In a variety of ways. Surely one of those would have offered some appeal, without creating more mouths to feed. Scrooge is a jerkwad. But not an incorrect jerkwad.

But nope. After an extended torture campaign of harassment and hallucinations that I’m pretty sure would be a human rights violation under the Geneva Convention, Ol’ Neezy caves. He drinks the egg nog flavored Kool-Aid and surrenders to the tyranny of the seasonal oligarchy. Disappointing really.

But then they posted a show on the day after Thanksgiving, and I decided why not? This girl don’t shop on Black Friday. And maybe my incipient holiday mood will be bright enough that even I will enjoy it. Or maybe in this production Scrooge will call the TAPS Team to scare off those pushy ghosts, kick the crutch out from under Tiny Tim and buy a time share in Boca for the holidays. A girl can dream.

TIME: Quotes of the Day