First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cavalia's Odysseo: it was kind of weird.

Maybe it's just me but, If I were to write a press release for this Freudian equine spectacular it would go something like this . . . 

For approximately 5500 years, humans have had a love affair with horses. From the Catherine the Great rumors to Equus, people, human people, have always wanted to make love to horses. The USA is no different. From the creepy horse/pre-teen girl fantasy love that is constantly hinted at in popular culture to the unnecessarily long post ride rubdowns that Chick would give to Lightning during the heyday of the Cowboy, the U.S has never shied away from it's part in perpetuating the pseudo-sexual (or not so pseud(i)o. Ohh oh.) subtext that has long existed between humans and the  fairer, more equestrian species. We've always wanted to ride the Pegasus.

Case in point: When I was a young man of 22, and the internet was just getting it's feet under it, one of the first documents a computer savvy roommate ever downloaded and printed was a detailed, single-spaced, eight page tutorial on how to properly romance and bed a horse. Human male, horse female. And in one case, male. It included flirtation techniques, foreplay instructions, how you know the horse is "ready," time periods, positioning ("approach from behind" and "get a stool") and, most notably, a technical, step-by-step description of how to extract and then drink a cup of Horse, uhhhh, you know . . . ummm, tangible evidence of the horse's enjoyment, let's say. 

It was an incredible document. We read it aloud many nights until we were sure we had horrified and delighted ALL of our friends. I'm pretty sure even the Bill of Rights has never gotten those kinds of laughs.

I, for one, am not that into horses. I appreciate their strength and athleticism, I understand them as beautiful as all animals have some beauty, but I don't find them particularly fascinating. Seriously, I am not that interested in them. I swear. Please believe me!

This unsteady wagon train of thought could all be yours with a single viewing of Cavalia's Odysseo.

Cavalia's Odysseo is a show by the producers of Cirque du Soliel, which comped us a couple of tickets last year. The Peanut and I went, and we loved it. Almost unabashedly. This year, they ponied up (zap!) four tickets so the whole family could go.

I am pleased to say, no horse on human (or vice-a versa) lovemaking was evident in any of the show pieces. In fact, the horses were treated with great respect. This is not to say that one can't (or won't or doesn't) treat one's sexual partner with great respect, I'm just saying if something kinky was going on, and I have no proof that it was, it was all done on a pretty level playing field.

On the way in, there were some opening night miscues. Where to pick up tickets, what gate to go to, training of the cashiers in the gift shop. I never got a press pass and therefore did not get to go backstage after the show like many of my fellow bloggers did. It didn't bother me much since the kids were exhausted by the end anyway.

The best way I can think of to describe the show is picture the Dothraki hordes hanging out with the Riders of Rohan and everyone is on mushrooms. All of a sudden they're a bunch of beautiful and fun dudes and chicks riding around on their beautiful horses doing crazy tricks and smiling and whooping and all the while the landscape is shifting and the colors are undulating and oh man total visual ecstasy right here, man.

"Where are we going, man?"
" I'm just following the dude in front. "
"I think that's a chick."
"Whatever man. His dress is far out"

Through the show there was a group of mind-blowing non-horse riding acrobats that sort of acted as the chorus. 

At some point, that distinctive horsey smell works its way into your nostrils, which actually enhanced the experience.

The show, as the Artistic Director and co-founder of Cirque du Soleil puts it, is the"world's largest touring show," and that he wanted to "challenge Cirque Do Soleil Las Vegas with Cavalia". From 

"Owner and artistic director Normand Latourelle gladly gives a tour of the site. Smiling, he says everything about Cavalia is big. It’s got a $35 million touring budget, an 18-ton carousel, an 80-ton technical grid and two stages the size of hockey rinks. Dump trucks push 10,000 tons of dirt to make actual mountains under the tent that are three stories high. 
Latourelle admitted quite frankly that he wanted to challenge Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas with Cavalia.“So we gave ourselves the technology to reach that level because a touring show, it’s more difficult than a permanent show,” he said. “Everything has to go in the truck.  
The show actually packs into 100 semi-trucks, which Latourelle said makes Odysseo the world’s largest touring show."

And it was a huge show. And, if you love horses, even in a non-creepy way, it was probably excellent. For me, two things: There was a little bit too much of that pre-teen girl prince/horse fantasy action (Latourelle is definitely aware of the horse/sex connection. Definitely.) and I couldn't shake the feeling that the whole point of the show was to be the largest touring show ever. In Cirque, the acrobats and performers are coming up with new ways to perform crafts that have been around for thousands of years. In Cavalia, they did horse tricks that have been around for thousands of years in a highly stylized setting, but the tricks didn't feel that new. Just, "can you believe all these horses and this tent and all this dirt and stuff? Isn't it huge." From the general audience reaction, which was at it's height when the non-horse bound performers were on stage, many folks would agree with me. I could be projecting but hey, they're not here to say different. 

As for the kids, the girl loved it until she fell asleep about ten minutes after intermission ended and the boy loved it so much he managed to stay awake for the whole thing, eyes wide and glazed. Good trip.

The tickets, befitting the largest touring show in the world, are rather expensive. Obstructed view for $50 up to $250 for VIP tickets. If you have that kind of scratch laying around, go, enjoy. You'll have a unique experience on some level.  If not though, don't worry about it too much. And if you really, really, like horses well then . . . best show ever. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Date Night 2013 #3

Three date nights in one summer. Our romance meter reads "Inferno!"

Continuing our short March of the Summer Sci-Fi blockbusters, Elysium. We were very excited to see this. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, is a lot of violence and slow motion montages and sad faces and dark clothes and extremely simple solutions to extremely thorny human problems. It's like a goth Armageddon. With maybe a dash of Robo-Cop. Everyone who knows me knows I love me some Sci-Fi. Not enough to eventually put money in Orson-Scott Card's sleazy, paranoid, disappointing, closeted little pockets--I'll wait til that one comes on cable--but enough to go and see this and this and write glowing reviews for both. How does that list not include Pacific Rim you ask? The phrases, "my wife hates me" and "almost divorced" play into the answer.

Elysium. I was so excited to see Jodi Foster as the head bad guy. When she first appeared on screen, I leaned into my wife and whispered, "She is gonna be good." And she was, for the 13 seconds she appeared in screen. Blomkampt gave her almost nothing to do. I was really looking forward to a riff on the apoplectic, forehead vein throbbing, near aneurism, performance she gave in Carnage.... but she would have had to have things to act for that to happen.

Same with Damon. You could have dropped Vin Diesel into that part and no one would've known the difference. And, in a Los Angeles where everyone, including Damon's character, was of Latin decent, Diesel's racial ambiguity would've served the part better.

They had machines that could heal the final stages of leukemia in less than thirty seconds, and reconstruct faces blown off by grenades (did I mention crazy violent? ). Why couldn't the same machines heal the psychotic pathology of the the person who turned out to be the main bad guy or even some of the rampant narcissism of the citizens of Elysium? And why, on a planet whose main problem is over-population, would mass access to miracle healing machines be seen as a the answer? It's not, really, you know? And I'm not saying, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population," I'm just saying, try to put a little thought into the script, man.

In closing, I give it 2 sheared off faces via explosion out of a 4 sheared off faces via explosion rating system.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Thursday afternoon my daughter crafted me a bracelet. She worked carefully as she strung the multi-colored plastic beads onto the pink elastic string and presented it to me with more than a cursory pride.  And I took it from her and I beamed and told her I loved it and thought, "what a piece of shit." It is, too.  A total piece of shit. Really just not good. Crappy.  A colorful piece of shit on my wrist. And I do love it. That's the thing. I love this stupid plastic piece of shit. Not because she's especially good at making shitty jewelery either. Have a look at this thing.

Total piece of shit. It's all loose and the beads are separating. I will say it was a little tighter before I showered with it on. Which I did because I am a dutiful and thoughtful father who wears his piece of shit even when he showers, only to find out that the fucking piece of shit can't even stand up to a five minute shower.  We went out to dinner with friends that night and I showed it off as proud as can be. "Look at this piece of shit bracelet my daughter made for me," I boasted, "isn't it beautiful?" 

And everyone made "oh mmm yes, wow that is really a beautiful piece of shit" noises at us. Not just to protect her feelings but also to protect mine, because they could tell that I really love this stupid piece of shit. 

I'm wearing it right now. It keeps sliding half way down my forearm. Because it sucks. 

I asked for this god awful thing too. Really. Pleaded for it, for fuck's sake. My daughter announced to her mommy that she was going to make her a necklace and I interrupted, "Hey, what about me? Don't I get some jewelery? Don't I get a dumb piece of shitty plastic jewelery from the six dollar "Jewelery making kit (as if)" we bought you for Christmas at Toys R' Us? I too want to march around for eternity with an elastic full of petroleum based choking hazards strapped to my body."

She said yes. So then she was making herself a bracelet and a necklace, her mother a necklace, and a bracelet for me. I'd effectively created a tiny sweatshop right at my own dining room table because I couldn't stand to be left out of the Piece of Shit Jewelery Sweepstakes. Couldn't bare it. 

Also, she ended up running low on beads/forgetting to make her mother's necklace--because she's a six year old which automatically makes her a horrible artisan at almost anything she chooses--so now I am the lone adult in the house blessed with a piece of shit jewelry to wear ad infinitum, forever and ever, I'll definitely have to be cremated when I die so 10, 000 years from now the archaeologists don't dig it up at my grave sight and decide on the spot that our entire civilization had horrible taste in accessories. 

One last thing I should probably tell you about this synthetic caterpillar of despair: In the end, she didn't even make it. I made it myself with her resentful oral directions. 

She got the bracelet all done, and brought it to me to wear. But . . . only one end of the string was knotted. So when she handed it to me and I attempted to tie it together, the beads slithered off the string and into either my lap or the dark, crumby recesses of my recliner. So I had to find all the beads and painstakingly replace each one with my big, fumbly, middle-aged fingers while she, distracted by the tv, directed me in an annoyed monotone as to which bead to place when, one-by-one.  "Green. Yellow, Pink, Red, Pink, RednoOrange. (Exhale) Orange."

And you still could not tell me that this is not a beautiful bracelet my daughter made for me with her own two hands. A beautiful, sweaty, ugly, slick, uncomfortable, piece of shit plastic mistake of a bracelet that I will wear everyday for the rest of my life or until she makes me a new one, whichever comes blessedly first. 


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