Sunday, March 23, 2008

Renaissance Man? I Have Serious Doubts...

What we thought would be a struggle to shed a bit of the hermit image Jen and I have developed for ourselves has actually been a bit more organic than we imagined. What normally would have been a long weekend in the house has turned into us getting out on the town a bit. Since neither of us are eating solid food yet (stupid diet) we've had to find other things to keep us occupied and this weekend we did an admirable job.

I took the day off Friday to hand with Jen on the last day of her Spring Break. After sleeping in and getting a start on "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy, we went bowling. It has been at least ten years since I have hit the lanes, and my performance reflected every second I was away. We bowled four games and it wasn't until the fourth that I broke 100. Sad.

What was fun for me was to be reminded of the subculture that is out there in the corners that you have forgotten while dealing with your own life. Bowlers have been poked fun at in film (The Big Lewbowski being my favorite of the few) but the characters normally shown are a bit over the top and lack some of the effortless creepiness that some hard core bowlers exude. My favorite people weren't the active seniors pulling towels out of their bags and tying their shoes just so, or the families taking advantage of a rare afternoon off with the kids. My favorite people to watch were the twenty-something males who were there to practice.

They arrive with over sized gym bags and reserve a lane for three hours of open bowling. They tie and retie their shoes and absently let their fingers trail over the air jet anytime they stand near the ball return. When they bowl, it is with the spinning flare of PBA tour vets. The shined bowling balls seem to hang over the right gutter and then at the last second pull back magically to slam through the pins in a sharp right to left movement filling the room with the characteristic sound of pins being smashed into oblivion mixed with exclamations of "Did you see that shit?" or "Oh, baby!"

I imagine walking up to them and saying "That is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I'm prepared to give you sex." just to see their pleased reactions go to confused scowls as they try to decide if they would actually have sex with this large man who can barely break an 85. It hits me that Jen would get a much better (and more positive) reaction than me, and I'm on the verge of asking if she'll do it for kicks when she reminds me that she's killing me and I better focus on not throwing a gutter ball.

Four games later, we head downtown to this great bookstore called "The Book Loft". It's a really great place in the heart of German Village. While it was cool to look through, it was also really expensive so we decide to go hang out somewhere else. I suggest the Galleries in the Short North and so that's where we head.

We only made it through about 4 galleries before it was time to head home to take care of the dogs but we had decided that we need to win the lottery so we can afford some of the pieces we saw. It had been a long time since I had been through any of the galleries in the Short North and I was reminded of how amazing some of the artists in this town are. I was also reminded of how poor I am as the piece that Jen and I really wanted was almost $4000.

Last night we went to see Grupo Corpo ( a Brazilian Modern Dance company that were debuting their newest piece for the first time in the US. For the most part, dance really isn't my thing and I will never claim to understand the symbolism that goes into the movement. It was something I knew Jen would love, and so I got us tickets thinking that if nothing else there would be beautiful women romping around the stage in uni-tards. (I know, I'm a bit of a lout.) So, while I was expecting it to be visually interesting I was not expecting to love it as much as I did.

While I knew that the first piece was an exploration between African rhythms and their close connections to Brazilian music (the program told me so, and I believed it) I found myself amazed that the human body could do the things that seemed so effortless to them. It was midway through the second piece that I found myself actually moved (not something I ever say lightly). A man and woman were crumbled into a ball on the stage, limbs tangled seemingly into knots. The man would try to stand, getting as far as his hands and feet, back arched, when the weight of the woman clinging to his chest would pull him to the ground with an audible thump. They rolled and writhed and the woman would try to stand, scrambling halfway across the stage before the weight of her partner made her crash to the ground. They continued this way, back and forth across the stage, each attached to the other, each trying to escape, each unable to make it happen.

While this is happening, four other couples are lying on the stage head to head. Slowly they push into each other, heads cradling each other and necks touching. Slowly, by pushing against each other, they were able to start pushing each other up. Without using hands or arms to lift themselves from the stage, they slowly stepped into each other, until they were full upright. They stood swaying in each other's arms while the broken couple crashed around them on the floor unwatched.

It was unnerving and sad. When that section ended (the couple never ever to accomplish more than scrambling off stage, I looked at Jen and could tell she felt the same way I did. At the height of the applause she looked at me and said "Wow". Yeah.

I always understood that dance was art, but it wasn't a form that ever inspired me like painting or film or books ever had. It never made me actually feel anything until last night. So, while there may have been many more educated folks in attendance that saw through the many different layers in what they were doing, I felt like I got everything I could have gotten from it. They blew me away.

Next Friday we see Stomp. I have a feeling that there will be less feeling in it for me, but on the plus side, I love watching people beat on shit. I don't think I can lose.

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