Top 5 Entertainment Experiences of 2009
I'm not a huge fan of "Top" lists. I'm more of a "human interest" kind of guy; I'm far more interested in the person who read the books than the books themselves.
Since '05, I've blogged a list of my top "entertainment experiences." This list does not cover just the source of the entertainment (i.e. books, albums, films, etc.) Rather, I take into consideration the entire experience surrounding the entertainment. It's far more personal, more all-emcompasing, and makes for more civil conversation than a list that might kick off with Avatar and end with Star Trek. Particularly in the company I keep.
Also, this gives me something to do while I wait for J.C. Maçek's "Dead Man of the Year" (Here's 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008)
The rules are simple: It's not just the source of the entertainment -- it's the experience surrounding that source. Although I enjoyed Avatar more than any of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, no amount of 3D wizardry can compete with the experience of catching Revenge of the Sith with Darth Vader and members of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers out in force. No pun intended.
In no particular order:
1. TIGGER! This is why I love doing this list. This experience started with the Victory Variety Hour "Wrong Show" and culminated a couple of days later with the Monday Night Tease "Laugh-In" show, and it centers around boylesque performer extraordinaire, Tigger!
I was in the audience for VVH. Great wrong show, just phenomenally funny. (There's another wrong show right around the bend!) Highlights included Red Snapper as a terrorist -- twice, the ventriloquist stylings of Bob and Al, the Fuxedos, and a bunch of very attractive women taking their clothes off. What could possibly make it any better? Oh yes ... this guy:
An iconoclastic boylesque performer who both challenges striptease conventions and pays homage to the very meaning of burlesque, a word that means "comedy" and "parody." Known to me only by reputation, I was blown away by his performance. He created a character, fully fleshed-out, with a staggering level of commitment. He brought the house down.
The next evening, I meet Tigger! at a little soirée Lili VonSchtupp threw, a combination birthday party/rehearsal for the upcoming Laugh-In show (there's another Laugh-In show coming up, as well!) That was Friday. Saturday evening, back to El Cid for Penny Starr, Jr.'s birthday party and another Tigger! performance. Sunday afternoon, I'm in a special Striptease Symposium class taught by Tigger! Everything he says is right-on. And Monday Night, at the Tease, sharing a bill with the man:
Just an outstanding experience. If you have seen him perform, you know what an electric stage presence he has. That effervescence carries offstage, where I found him to be a genuine mensch, a considerable and considerate person; a true showman of the old school.
2. Acting our Age
A 24-hour play festival to celebrate the one year anniversary of Theatre Unleashed's incorporation! It's a delightful bit of kismet that our paperwork was processed by the Secretary of State on April 1st, 2008. We're a very gregarious bunch, prone to partying for the slimmest of reasons. For our birthday, obviously we had to do something huge! Erin Scott pulled the strings, and we danced. I directed one of the plays in the festival. The evening was put on as a birthday party for the company, complete with decorations and games. Our Director of Publicity was Daddy and our Managing Director (in drag) was Mommy. The jokes veered frequently to the inside, but the audience was mostly friends and family so everything landed. We drank, we laughed, we engaged in social intercourse. What a great night!
3. Comic-Con/Super Nova A Go-go
My first trip to Comic-Con! That would be enough. Running into friends at Comic-Con ... okay, awesome. Knowing people who had booths at Comic-Con, even better. Joe's Crab Shack and "Crachos?" Awesome. Drunk off my ass before 2pm? Ah ha ha ha. Kick ass. Dressing up like Han Solo and taking my clothes off for a bunch of screaming sci-fi fans? Priceless.
Next year I'm doing some panels. I'd like to have my own booth, but "Pulp Graveyard Readers Theatre" didn't take off quite as I had planned. >:-)
4. Burlesqueland All three days!
It started with kismet. The band scheduled to open Peepshow Menagerie on day one canceled at the last minute. Co-producer Chris Beyond offered the slot to me and Mr. Buddy (no doubt in a moment of weakness.) This led to our first long set:
And what a great line-up! The very lovely Ana Fur Laxis from the UK, hosted by Dizzy Von Damn! as Ursula the Sea Witch -- a magical evening. Dita Von Teese was in attendance, and Red performed her "Hannah Montana" number. That was the first night.
The second night at Monday Night Tease brought a bevy of buxom beauties from San Francisco and San Diego. Sizzle Dizzle wowed us with her ... package ... as Pinocchio. (A real boy! Sort of!)
Day three, we took Disneyland!
I was full to bursting!
5. The Magic Castle The first trip for Pamela and I, I believe it was after the Tarantino show. There with so many awesome people! Funny Eddie toured us around (if you have never been, go with someone who knows the place. It helps!) and we saw some fantastic magic -- hell, the best magic I've ever seen live! And it ended with a private show with Micah down in the WC Fields bar.
You know, 2009 was a good year. Narrowing down so many wonderful experiences to just these five was very difficult! The common theme is friendship. I have awesome, talented friends. You all rock! And I'm looking forward to making many more memories in 2010!