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2006, Bitches

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Current Mood:  peaceful

Well it’s looking like it’s gonna be a hell of a year.

I hope you all had fun doing whatever you did last night.  Erm… what did you do?  Nothing you regret I hope!

I met up with Orlando and went to the “Sea Of Dreams: New Year’s Eve-o-lution” party in downtown San Francisco.  You know when you have something like a vacation or even a prom or something and so many great and bizarre things happen that you don’t even know where to start when you tell the story?  You see so many things that you never imagined and you know, even while it’s happening, that the next day you won’t even believe it happened?  You are a changed person and you will never look at things quite the same way again?  That’s where I’m at right now.  The whole night was such a spectacle of strange people, music, and art that I feel like I dreamt it.  But I’ll try to tell what I can, both for you and for me.  It is long, but hopefully not boring.

It was held in a big convention center downtown.  I think there were something like 5,000 people there.  Maybe even more.  We walked up to the place and saw a hundred hippies and stoners milling around trying to buy anyone’s extra tickets.  There were painted busses out front.  I could already smell body odor, patchouli, and smoke (not of the tobacco variety).  In fact, before I go on, just assume that those three odors were present everywhere we went until we left.  Already I could see the costumes people were wearing… glittery, sparkly, leather, latex.  No shortage of people in orange and pink and neon green furry pimp hats and sunglasses.  Mardi Gras masks.  I imagine I was seeing what your typical raver wears.  Also, hippie guys in shorts and tees.  Hippie girls in wraps and skirts.  The occasional topless guy or girl wearing only gold body paint.  Way too many dreadlock hairstyles considering I don’t think I saw more than a few black folks all night.  I was worried.  Orlando was unfazed.  Jared would have peed himself in excitement.  As the night continued, I think Jared actually would have died from the excitement.  Fuckin’ hippies.  Such weirdos.

Then we walked into the building, and life was never the same again.  What I saw was the kind of numbers of people you see at a baseball game… but they were all (every last one of them) in some sort of obscene glowing, spiked, chained, feathered, costume.  Sodom.  Gomorrah.  Heaven.  I wanted to roll around with almost everyone I could see.  I don’t think I can really convey the feeling I had, but it was almost humbling.  The idea that I look past thousands of people everyday, writing them off by default.  And here they are en masse, all showing the wild streak I would have never guessed they had in them.  I wish you all had been there to see it.  And I thought at that moment that if life could be a party like this every night, there might actually be world peace.  Which terrified me… I hadn’t been there ten minutes and I’d already had the most hippie thought of my life to date.  But this thing was magical.  Maybe I’ve led a more sheltered life than I thought, but this thing was another world completely.

Some logistics: the building was separated into several areas, the most significant of which were BrillianSea (main stage), LunaSea (circus stage), and WUnderSea (DJ / dance floor).  There was also a bar and lounge upstairs overlooking LunaSea.

We first made our way to the show that was going on the LunaSea circus stage.  It was a group I’d never heard of called the Yard Dogs Road Show.  It’s a sort of hobo-themed vaudeville act.  The band included, among others, a trombone, a banjo, a guitar, a drummer, a percussionist (playing cowbells and wooden blocks and cans and such), and a singer.  They were doing an expectedly sleazy number, almost dixieland-sounding, all in full hobo chic.  It was the most convincing side-show vaudeville band I’ve ever seen, and it was magnificent.  The guitarist, a guy named Micha Devlin, was wearing an off-center fedora and was dressed like a turn-of-the-century snake oil salesman.  Looked a little like Jack Holt.  Was playing a big old early Gibson.  The guy was a bad ass and I was extremely jealous.  The whole band shaking their hips and heads to the swanky music while their three hot as hell “Black and Blue Burlesque” performers did a jailhouse dance in dirty black and white stripes.  I feel I should go to more burlesque shows.  And I will now take a break from writing this to take a cold shower.

The Yard Dogs didn’t stop there.  They had a fella come up on stage and do that ball juggling like David Bowie’s “Goblin King” does in the Labyrinth you know?  Meanwhile a beautiful and talented belly dancer circled him, that is, until he started sword swallowing!  He ended by swallowing a lit-up neon tube such that we could see the orange light through his neck.  Holy Christ!  Man… I gotta catch these guys again.  There was probably more to the show too, but we came into it a little late and moved on before it was over.

We headed over to BrillianSea which was the main stage where the headliner was.  So, this is not who I came to see, but it was the String Cheese Incident which I guess is a Phish-like hippie jam band.  We’re talking three hours of Ewok music.  You could almost hear the “zug zug.”  Seriously, one giant song of flutes and fiddles that never ends.  A sea (and I mean sea) of hippies young and old, swaying back and forth and spinning.  You know what I’m talking about, that hippie dance that they all do.  A couple thousand of these white people with dreadlocks spinning around and bumping into us without a second thought.  Every once in a while, one of these forest sprites would dart through the crowd off to who knows where.  Navigation for us was not so easy.  It’s like Mario Bros. or something… all these obstacles (swaying hippies) gyrating at different rates, and you have to step forward, then left, then pause, then forward again, all while trying to keep your drink from spilling.  I wish I’d had a knife.

But they were all happy and smiling, God bless ‘em.  I don’t know of any other group of people that can get together in those kind of numbers and have no fights, no need for cops, nothing.  We checked out some of the psychedelic art and handmade clothing that was being sold at stands, and then we moved on.

It was time for the Dresden Dolls to go on.  If you’ve never heard of them, well, that sucks for you.  Frenchy actually introduced me to them last year, and they’re great!  It’s a mix of goth and pre-war German cabaret.  Amazing stuff.  It’s just the pianist/singer girl and the drummer guy.  She’s dressed like a bar maid and he like Buster Keaton in a bowler’s cap.  White face paint.  Black lipstick.  Like silent movie stars.  She plays these melodramatic, high-energy tunes while he, the most charismatic drummer I’ve ever seen, beats the hell out of his drum set.  They’re both going nuts on these songs, but it’s wonderful.  Such brilliant showmanship.  And I realize immediately that this is one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.

And then it gets better.  Joining them on stage for some of their numbers are performers from the Vau De Vire Society.  Picture this as another sexy cabaret troupe of Cirque du Soleil types with a big twist of lewdness.  To “Missed Me,” all of the girls in the troupe came out dancing as school girls while the men were dressed as old letches coming after them.  I won’t describe what I saw, but yeah.  Hot.  The closing number was “Girl Anachronism” where 2/3 of the troupe were dressed as psycho ward patients and the rest as doctors and orderlies.  So picture a bunch of gorgeous and manic gothed-out women with makeup smeared and dressed in straight jackets literally running and jumping all over the stage while being chased around by orderlies all to the frantic soundtrack of the Dresden Dolls.  I was absolutely blown away.  The Vau De Vire Society.  I need to see them again too.  I wanted to jump on every one of those crazies.  OK, enough.

After the countdown at midnight, Orlando’s immense powers of making friends with strangers take hold.  We’re just strolling around among the outrageous outfits (did I mention the guy wearing a fully-glowing Tron suit?), and he’s instigating us talking to random people and making new friends left and right.  We met some interesting and beautiful people and got New Year’s kisses from strangers, women and men alike.  This goes on for a few hours.  The place is starting to wind down, but just a little.  The smaller room of DJs playing ridiculous electronica has gone from “empty” to quite literally empty.  The cabaret/vaudeville/circus acts appear to have ceased and given way to some performance art and techno monstrosity on the bigger stages and when we’ve sobered a little, we split.

I can’t stress strongly enough how amazed I was by everything I saw last night.  Such a big world out there.  No matter how big you get, the world is always going to be way bigger.  That sucks, but it’s good too.

I understand they say that the way your New Year’s Eve goes is an indicator of how the rest of the year will be.  You know, 2005 started awesome and was awesome.  And with everything that’s happened, everything on the horizon, the way I feel, and the way last night went… 2006 is gonna be one to remember.

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One Comments to “2006, Bitches”

  1. I hear you….cabaret and burlesque are fantastic! And the Dresden Dolls rock hard…. I love them! And yes, if hippies didn’t smell so bad, they would be awesome. But they don’t bathe, and thus are icky. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and all. ;)

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