A Week of PCS

It’s something I think a lot of people talk about doing and don’t do enough.

Even more people probably actively deride the option altogether.

Then there’s the lucky minority that have not only the will, but the option.

Theater.

I’m squarely in the first category.

One of my earliest social outings with my parents was when they took me to see a play, just the three of us. I was so young. Seriously, like a 30 year old trapped in an eight year old’s body.

It was The Music Man.

Because parents always know…y’know what I mean?

<cough, cough> “You’re Gay, son!” <cough, cough>

Anyhoo…I was in plays and took Drama classes – I know…I’m not even that dramatic! – in Junior High and High School, but I didn’t live and breathe it like a true theater geek.

Nowadays, I try to enjoy it when I can and am lucky to have friends that appreciate and even enjoy the experience in my immediate life. Still, living about four blocks from Portland Center Stage, I feel a little guilty every year when I don’t buy a season ticket.

What can I say?

I’m choosy.

Thus, even though I don’t buy a season ticket, I still get the opportunity to enjoy the experience a few times each year.

Given that filter, last week was a real windfall…I went twice.

Well, conditionally, since one of the two events was technically the viewing of a film…

On Sunday, I went with some of the gang to see George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara.

I think it started – and I could be way wrong here – between the Facebook and BreitBarb because, gee…guess what her real life first name is? So it’s funny. Jortis – I can’t believe I’m just now making a blog name for him! – is our ticket hookup because he’s allegedly under 35 and can get endless PCS tickets for $20 a show and before you know it, Little Buddy was signed on and I’m being wrangled as a fourth.

Fact: I’ve seen a lot of fucking plays in my life.

Also, factual is the statement that my memory is Swiss Cheese and I don’t recall every show I’ve seen any more than I recall every day that I’ve lived.

That said, I arrived at the show anticipating an “Oh, yeah…” experience when things took off down a familiar path. Still, every theater mounts a different experience.

It’s part of the joy of theater. Everything old can be new again.

I was surprised to find that I had not actually seen this show, like…ever. That’s an exciting new twist on how my known poor memory approaches seeing a play. It’s exciting!

Well, for me, anyway.

I won’t bore you with a breakdown of the plot. See it for yourselves! But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories about the evening to be told!

For instance

Little Buddy and I managed to only silently lose our shit when we realized the youngest of us had dozed off in the middle of Act II. Jortis was seated to my right and I looked over – guilty because I’m always fidgety in the theater and being raised Catholic generally feel guilty – only to discover that he was snoozing. Being the exceedingly mature influence that I am, I elbowed Little Buddy on my left and then dramatically leaned back so that she could bear witness to what was making me chuckle.

Then she started laughing, which made me laugh harder and it was off to the races from there.

I doubt either of us has had a better core workout than that in recent weeks.

I give us credit for keeping our laughing under control in the theater, but the fact of the matter is that I know we woke Jortis up and the married guy and his girlfriend sitting in front of us didn’t come back after intermission, so who knows how effective we really were in our efforts. Plus, Jortis treated me to my ticket for my birthday present, so I can’t really tease him.

The next day, for whatever reason, PCS was hosting a free My Fair Lady sing-a-long and Little Buddy has snagged a bunch of tickets.

Now, I’m not a huge singer since puberty and reality conspired to steal my ability to carry a tune, but I’m a fan of at least being present to witness a good time being had…so I was in.

Ironically, the official invite came in the form of a phone call during a bike ride. When known contacts call and I’m aware of my phone, I answer. Knowing me, when I answered Little Buddy pre-emptied my low grade dark panic with her greeting, “Nobody’s dead!” before going into the invite.

It’s ironic, because I had found myself alone for extended periods on the Springwater and had been indulging my endorphin rush by singing along with my music during those isolated moments.

But shit where hitting a note didn’t matter, like grunge music and mopey songs.

I promised to go and she shared that 2.0 – her hubby – might even go, acknowledging that theater wasn’t usually his thing but singing off key really is.

I probably wasn’t supposed to share that…

Oh well.

The Silver Fox and BreitBarb rounded out our group.

I distinctly remembered not having seen this movie for over 30 years.

Side note: the word “fucking” as an adjective was heavily implied in that sentence.

Probably closer to 35.

Jebus.

The show drew a respectably period dressed crowd. Those that didn’t dress up had the foresight to have not yet stowed their Derby Hats the day before. Or PCS had the even better foresight to schedule the sing-a-long at a time that appropriate prop attire would be handy.

Only time will really ever know. Although, MFL also being a George Bernard Shaw – someone having dropped George from his name in the credits – show, it was probably fairly intentional timing on PCS’ part.

Clever.

The show started with an introduction from a host who – turns out – performed the role of Eliza for PCS a handful of years ago.

Nice touch.

She talked us through her vision of basically Rocky Horror-ing it up. When to use the props in the lil popcorn bag we were given at the door, a few of the more popular song lines, a reminder that not all of the characters were sympathetic and encouraging us to feel free to engage with the show by heckling these characters.

Turns out, the largely female crowd – dressed in fancy hats and crinolines as they were – didn’t need encouraging. Also, most of the male characters in this show really did not age well. Not in the superficial sense, since most of the male leads looked to be in their young hundreds in the first place. No…”they didn’t age well” means, rather, that…holy shit, they were male chauvinist pigs as judged by the jury of time.

Our host instructed us to yell at Professor Higgins at a few specific points in the show. The crowd decided not to wait, pretty much starting in with his first lines.

I felt guilty on behalf of my gender.

Fortunately, the disdain and ire was aimed strictly at the 1960s screen production and the few males in the crowd were spared.

Good thing…we were really outnumbered.

Soon, though, the attention was drawn to the dubbing of poor Ms Hepburn and whether we were about to hear Julie Andrews or Marni Nixon and when either of them actually took over the pipes. The Fox assured us in his Fox Wisdom that it was Marni Nixon. I’d only ever heard of her and didn’t know from whence, so I stuck with my incorrect assertion that it was Julie Andrews.

I’m used to being wrong where Fox Wisdom is involved. Still, at least I wasn’t totally up in the night since Ms Andrews had famously played the role on Broadway.

Yeah, that’s why I was…confused.

Even though I’m not much of a public singer, I did catch myself being overcome with the urge to bust out a lyric or two a couple of times. I’d like to apologize to everyone on the block for that.

Other times, I was able to stave off the urge by humming into the mini kazoo from my treat bag.

It’s fun to realize that even with a character like ‘Enry ‘Iggins, who is so vile by modern day behavioral standards, we can all still revel in the transformation of a young woman from gutter snipe to lady and get caught up in the happenings all. these. years. later.

So, there you have it…I got my theater fix in! Whether the next show is next week or next year…who knows? My theater going is spontaneous, but with the best of intentions. Still, if you hear about me seeing the new Mary Poppins before my next play, just chalk it up to my persnickety tastes in theaters.

A Week of PCS

Machete

I’m pretty sure the friend that floated the notion of wiling away a Monday watching Star Wars at Portland Center Stage prior to the release of Episode VII quit her job the week before just to be available for the endeavor.  

Allow me to introduce my Little Buddy.

That’s just a wild guess on my part, though.

Two things that I do know for sure, however:

A) I had previously committed to myself not to see the newest release until after the hubbub died down.  One of the perks of persistent unemployment is movie matinees.  With no crowds to irritate our curmudgeonly hero.

And;

B) I didn’t previously fully understand Machete Order aside from the random off-the-cuff cultural reference.

So, let’s tackle that second point first, just to make the info available to any of my friends and/or readers who may be easily pigeon-holed into the cultural Dark Side.  Machete Order is supposedly the optimal viewing order for the first two trilogies.  The overwhelming bonus would be that it eliminates ep1, effectively reducing the loathsome Jar Jar Binks to about 5 minutes of screen time and about 6 lines of dialogue.

Need more?

The viewing order starts with epIV and V, introducing the core characters and establishing the major plot points.

Then we jump back to epII and III, skipping epI altogether and treating the other two entries in the second trilogy as kind of a mythology-origin story flashback to give you background on the whole Vader/Luke/Leia evolution.

Finish up with the almost universal favorite – well, universal in the context of planet Earth, anyway – epVI and I was up to speed and refreshed on the story lines.

Watching at PCS was delightful because they were spaced out well enough that I had about 45 minutes between shows so I could stretch my legs.  That, of course being a euphemism for “get a beer” between shows.  First film was at 9am and thanks to my wonderfully enabling LB, I was having a beer between shows at 11:15 in the morning.

Little Buddy had qualified the invite with the disclaimer that she might skip the reviled-albeit-reduced prequels and maybe – maybe – return for the finale.

She did.

Then she didn’t.

But, look at me powering through alone until the bitter end.  Also, quite literally having nothing else to do but fritter away my Monday with people who probably haven’t had sex this century.

If ever.

Ok, that was an old school pejorative stereotype.  Portland geeks are hawt.  So I got to watch movies in a room full of the elusive hot nerd types.

So, that’s Machete.  I’m a fan.  I don’t have children or cable, so I feel I could realistically live out my remaining days never coming into contact with ep1 again.

Now, onto the grumpy, old man factor…

Blockbuster movie releases – much like brunch in Portland – is a young person’s game.  That said, after my machete romance, I was primed to reconsider my crowd avoidance social tactics and wade into the crowds for early release viewing.

Naturally, my inner turmoil prompted me to do nothing.

But, I did think about going to a midnight show Thursday night/Friday morning.  My justification being that downtown Portland is certainly not going to draw the crowds found in the sub-urban wastelands bordering it.  Still, I chose to employ the “wait and see” method.  So, today I decided to jump onto my Regal app and see what the what actually was.

Turns out, shows started at 7 pm on Thursday.  So much for Friday releases.  I looked at shows for today – yesterday now – and found that the shows were all sold out until Saturday.

Fuuuuuuck!

Oh well.  It’s a sign.

A sign that I should check the 3D showings, which I normally eschew.  I think too many movies are unnecessarily made in a 3D format, but this is a reasonable exception.

Portland:  where young people come to retire…

None of those cunts (used strictly in the UK slang meaning) were gonna drop an extra $3 for a 3D ticket, it seems.  I had no difficulty procuring a seat for a 9 pm showing on the 3D screen for The Force Awakens.

So I fucking went.

A few takeaways from tonight’s experience:

BTW:  SPIOLER BELOW!!!

Seriously.  Don’t bitch at me if your idle curiosity gets the best of you and my humble blog *ruins* the show for you…

A) Hot gay nerds!  I actually struck up a conversation in line with the HGN standing behind me.  He was super nice and fun to talk to.  Also, the aforementioned HOT.  So, we sat together.  Right by another single HGN.  This poor guy…so much more G and N in his mind than H, which he totally was, that he didn’t think to even silence his phone…which promptly went off during the movie.  Twice.  Probably another of his nerd friends wanting to talk TFA reviews from lands eastward.  Poor bastard.

B) Someone BIG dies.  Oh shut up.  It’s not like I told you anything surprising…it’s prudent Hollywood story craft.  To be clear, when I say someone BIG, I’m not talking Jabba size.  I’m talking a key player.

Besides, they can always bring him back. Yeah….

C) I’m a nerd.  A gay nerd.  Well past my reasonable expectation of a “hot” designation’s expiration date, but I’m appreciating the guy candy that comes with the evolution of the HGN designation.

D) I need a fucking job.  I have way too much time on my hands.  When going to the movies for an entire day is a better use of my time than anything else…it’s time to go back to work.

I literally have some sort of trigger pulling paralysis.

I plan things.

I create routines.

Then, I procrastinate.

And I can!

I literally have all day to look for jobs.

Or go to the gym.

Or write.

So, why not ramp up to my one task for any given day with a nice slow start?  A pot of coffee with the Silver Fox or a few hours of Netflix?

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, maybe it’s another blog post, but what usually goes wrong is one of my awesome friends wanting to treat me to a happy hour or grab some grub after they get off work.

It’s not a terrible life, don’t get me wrong…

Is this a good time to mention that this is my first blog post created entirely on my iPhone?  I left the movies and felt restlessly compelled to honor a commitment to a high school friend and get a blog out.  So I stopped for a beer at one of my favorite, cheap watering holes.

This one’s for you, KPG!

Machete