November 16, 2013

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

Tymon and I see a lot of shows that we wouldn't ordinarily see since we volunteer usher at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. We get a list halfway through the month for all the shows that come the following month and we sign up for the show(s) we want to work. I love musicals and when I looked up a blurb on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I imagined something totally different than what we saw.  And I mean as nearly polar opposite as you can get. As in, for some reason now unclear, I was thinking the story was about a black lady named Priscilla who lived in the desert. Yeah. No.

So it was really about three drag queens and their road trip across Australia to work comeback tour at a seemingly random casino. Early on, we find out that the leading man is actually married and has a son he hasn't seen in 6 years but his companions don't know it. His wife, owner of the casino, asks him to come perform and to meet his son who is now 8 and asking about him. He recruits some friends to go with him but they don't realize the real reason behind the tour.

The music was energizing, performed by a live orchestra, and they sang several dance favorites...including my fallback karaoke song, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. So many of these songs have a greater depth of meaning when taken out of their original heterosexual context and moved into one with LGBT meanings. The costuming was bright and well done. This clip gives you some of the more outrageous ones in an I Will Survive ensemble.

It's sad to think about the loneliness that people within the LGBT community feel. Not only are some rejected by their families and sometimes entire communities, but even among their friends some find it difficult to come out about their complicated relationships. The main character in this production got the emphatic question, "You're married?! To a woman?" It's really hard to fathom the pressure that comes from not feeling comfortable with being yourself.

What really affected me, in a way that I have never come across before, was how off balance I feel when I don't know the sex of a person. Seriously. This is beyond the hilarity of SNL's Pat sketches. It's an innate need to know piece of information.

During intermission, Tymon was looking at the program (which I tend to only hand out and rarely read) and I had him search for names. I wanted to know if the entire cast was male. It's not. There are 6 women out of maybe 20 members. That number seems to be just about opposite with most musicals with a female dance ensemble. The photo below I believe is all-male.

A few of the patrons were dressed up, too. As a group of them formed near us, we found ourselves trying to determine whether they were male or female. The one with the shortest skirt had to be in drag. Girls just don't ever wear dresses that short. "They do if you've ever worked a rave," said the House Manager. Oh.

There is a scene where a bunch of guys are beating up one of the drag queens. The night before last, one of the gay patrons ended up leaving the theatre as his mind brought him back to the terrible time on Capitol Hill when that was him on the receiving end of such abuse. That's really sad to me. No one should be persecuted because they live a life different than you. I think it's easy to paint people who are different as bad. But what many of us don't realize is that our lifestyles are just as different for others.

On a few occasions, Tymon and I have left the Paramount when we accidentally end up in a show that we didn't anticipate the language or subject matter of. Each time, we're grateful we didn't pay for our tickets and thus feel extra motivation to stay and get our money's worth. Even if we did pay for a ticket, sometimes we don't stay, like the time we left an REM concert after the lead singer dropped 3 f* bombs within the first minute. Strong language assaults my soul. I don't like to hear it casually tossed around. Or in the case of REM, they were insulting an audience who came to hear them perform. That's just plain disrespectful.

There are a few instances of strong language in the musical. The first one was maybe in the middle or toward the end of the first act. The others came in the second act with the gay bashing scene and the obscenity written on their bus. I'm still trying to figure out why those instances didn't assault me like the same language has done at other times in my life. Tymon agreed. It was weird. I wouldn't say I'm desensitized at all. I think it was more contextual than some filthy swearing tirades in other media. But the absence of me wanting to leave last night when these f* bombs were dropped surprised me all the same.

I will also admit that some of the humor was totally lost on me. The audience really laughed hard a few times where I was just scratching my head. So, yeah. The show was probably a bit more wholesome for me not understanding everything.

November 12, 2013

Longing For What Once Was

My cousin Kaleo died yesterday. 
Too early. 
Just like his dad.
1987ish. Kaleo is in back with the hat. I'm in glasses in the middle.
 Uncle Dayle was my favorite 
when I was growing up. 
He bribed us with black licorice
To gain that status.
We love licorice.
Mostly because it reminds us of him.

Uncle Dayle is buried not far from my Evan.
We say "hi" to him every once and a while 
when we're at the cemetery.

When Uncle Dayle died,
I had just turned 14. 
He was just 45,
Hit head-on by a vehicle sliding into his lane
On a snowy mountain pass.
It was my first experience 
With a family member's death.

Death and his good friend Grief
Taught me a lesson that winter.
That penetrated my soul.

The Bible describes hell 
With weeping and wailing
And gnashing of teeth.
It sounds awful 
But I imagine that it's probably embellished a little.

In school, I read about the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
And I questioned if people really went to a wall to cry.
That's what wailing is, right? 
Not so much.

Wailing has a unique appearance,
Individually tailored
To all who make his acquaintance.

To me,
He looks like my mother
Standing in the dining room
Answering the phone. 

The air turns thick,
We're watching,
Wondering what just happened.

She reaches for a chair,
Misses it
And crumples to the floor.

Wailing fills the room 
Like a Fire Engine
Crammed inside.
Siren blaring.
Bouncing off walls.
Picking up speed
As it goes 'round
And 'round 
And 'round.

I'm dizzy.
Where's the switch?
Or plug?
There's no way to turn it off.

A shock wave passed through us
The Fire Engine disappeared.
We're left drained.
No energy left to move.
No tears left to cry. 

Wringing our shirt sleeves
We find evidence
That our eyes and noses 
Have emptied
Kaleo's death is different for me 
I didn't know him like I knew his father.
When my aunt and uncle divorced,
She stayed in Hawaii 
With the children and her family.
He came back to the mainland to be near his.

Uncle Dayle and Aunt Jackie in the center. My parents to the right.

My memories of my Hawaiian cousins 
Start around the time of my uncle's death.
Sometimes I wonder 
About how life would be with more cousins.
Not new ones.
The cousins I've always had.
What if we weren't separated by time
And distance?

As I hear of Hanale sobbing
In the hospital
At Kaleo's bedside
Willing his brother to wake
From the coma
That held him 
My mind goes to other times
I've walked the same path.

Cutting deals,
For what once was,
For what life should be,
For what could be.
What isn't.

Young Kaleo and sister Lei

I want to renew our family bonds.
I miss my cousins.

November 10, 2013

Gerbil Murder

Elliott discovered Gimpy dead this morning.
Her throat was slit (chewed) and her ankles busted up.

I'm sad about it. I liked Gimpy a lot. Not enough to take her out of the cage and play with her, but I really liked her survivor spirit. Maybe you remember when her Mother nibbled on her soon after she was born. And she was missing a limb and only had one finger. Yet she still got on the wheel and exercised. Still loved to eat broccoli and carrots - all one handed. She carried on fantastically despite fairly severe disabilities.

I assume Spyra killed Gimpy. All evidence seems to point in that direction. I thought gerbils were social creatures. Well, Spyra, if you're going to eat your daughter and most loyal friend then you get no one else.

Here's me being a pessemist. Maybe there's another, more loving story. Perhaps, Gimpy slipped on the wheel, got her feet caught/broken and then Spyra helped her get out. Then saw that Gimpy was mortally wounded and humanely put her out of her misery. In the past, Spyra has eaten her dead pups. She hasn't eaten Gimpy however, so maybe she's sad and in mourning instead of plotting the death of some other innocent that may cross her path.

Rest in peace sweet one. We'll miss you.
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November 2, 2013

Little Trim

Kira is so cute with a little piggy (pony tail).
Unfortunately, usually it's a fight to get one in.
And if she's really moody, she'll tear it out.
Which means her hair has some thin patches.
I gave her a little trim tonight.
She doesn't look like such a scamp.
Although, I'm sure she still is.

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