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a Christmas party with bizarre musical entertainment - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
a Christmas party with bizarre musical entertainment

Date: 22 Dec 1989 20:14:33 PST

A couple of weekends ago I went to an interesting show. It didn't have regular noise music, but it had a very bizarre musical show that was kind of noisy in its way too. The other [members of the music-themed mailing list I wrote this for] who were there can confirm that it did indeed happen...

The show was at the Seattle Convention Center, right above Interstate-5. Traffic was pretty nasty because so many people were attending (about 5600, I think). I think the most interesting part of the whole thing was the people watching (I'll comment on that later though, since it's non-musical content), but the main show event was really something too.

The scheduled entertainment in the downstairs giant party room was a big-band. It played 40s-style big-band music, which I done well enough that I almost liked it. The big event was the "Twelve Days of Christmas Revue". In the center of each of the eleven huge food buffets and bars in the room, and at the front of the big-band's stage, were raised (up about three meters/ten feet) platforms, with performers in costumes representing each of the twelve gifts in the song "Twelve Days of Christmas". The big-band, with a singer or recording, played and sang, "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: A partridge in a pear tree." Then the spotlight turned to a woman costumed as a partridge in a pear tree. She wore a floor length dress, slit all the way up her leg. The dress had a birdish design to it, and had pears sewn to it. The tree was a green thing that sort of cloaked her shoulders, hung to the floor, and stuck up over her head about 30 cm (a foot) or more. It was kind of leafy, though the leaves looked more like green feathers. It had pears on it too. She lip synched to silly-bad operatic wailing, ended by the sound of breaking glass (like the Memorex commercial).

The second day gift, two turtle doves, were a guy and a girl mime dancing around on their platform making faces while a recording of a cacophony of chirping birds played. The three french hens were three inner city type guys with giant imitation ghetto blasters on their platform, dressed in chicken suits. One of them was wearing particularly "cool" shades, and the other two had "cool" haircuts. They danced exaggeratedly to a semi-disco song (not rap or industrial or real seventies type disco, just some kind of dance music) when the spotlights were on them. I knew the song, but I don't remember what it was.

The four calling birds were four guys in hunters' camouflage with huge toy shotguns and other hunting paraphernalia. They were calling birds by honking loud hunters' bird calls. The five gold rings were held by a thin woman in an elegant dress. They were large, about head sized, and she flashed them around a lot (but they weren't gold colored). After singing and some recorded music stopped, a phone on her platform rang (some pun, eh?) and she answered it "hello." She missed her cue on the phone by a moment almost every time.

The six geese-a-laying were six rubber geese and a guy who juggled them. He was good at juggling (better than I), but not great. He never had more than three "geese" in the air at a time. The seven swans-a-swimming were seven young girls in ballet dresses, who danced to a music recording I assume was from "Swan Lake" when the spotlights were on them. The eight maids-a-milking were eight young girls dressed in very similar (to each other) milk-maid dresses. They sat around looking like exaggeratedly bored farm girls until the spot lights were on them, then they got up and danced.

The nine ladies dancing were nine young women (I guess high school age) dressed up in sparkly cheerleader tights and ballet shoes. They danced when the spotlights were on them, of course. The ten lords-a-leaping were ten guys dressed more like royal servants than lords. Their recorded music was "Jump" (the good old cover version, not the awful Van Halen version or the slow original), which they jumped to, like doing calisthenics or aerobic dancing. The eleven pipers piping sat near the big-band's stage and at their turn they came on stage and played kazoos. The twelve drummers drumming played drums of all kinds on their platform. They really beat on them, making more noise than music. One of them (the one who really knew how to play drums, I guess) pounded out a pretty good solo, though only on one or two drums rather than a full set.

That was the wildest of the scheduled entertainment. In case people missed it the first time, they played it again (maybe several times, but we left that room after the first replay started). In the giant room upstairs they had a pretty good classic-rock covers band (if you like that kind of thing) that was just a little too loud. They also had a jazz room that I got out of fast because it was the only place people were allowed to smoke and not fit for unprotected breathing. There were probably some other rooms I missed too.

Anyway, now for the non-musical content (as if the above wasn't far enough from the expected content of this [music-themed mailing] list...)

People watching was a definite form of entertainment at this event. Most people were dressed up not just formally, but ostentatiously fancy. A lot of men were in tuxedos and most of the rest were in nice suits (not knowing what to expect there, I dressed in just a normal nice suit, because a friend told me it was formal). More than half of the women there were dressed up like in a fashion magazine, in amazing dresses you'd almost never see anywhere else. Most of the rest were dressed up with fancy but more commonplace dresses. Most of the people who didn't dress up really fancy were dressed up uncommonly sloppy or weird; only a tiny fraction were just plain casual. Some of the most notable anti-fashions were: A number of people wearing tie-die t-shirts and cut-offs. A guy wearing a nice, once-pure-white suit (kind of like David Byrne's in Stop Making Sense, though not quite as big), with blotches of fluorescent paint on it, like he stood there while someone slapped him with various colored wide paint brushes using mostly vertical strikes. A guy who came in wearing a tuxedo and took his pants off at the coat check room and spent the evening wearing a tux top and Christmas pajamas below. A woman dressed up as Cher, with a Cher-"style" dress, Cher-style makeup, and most of all Cher-hair, huge, fluffy, and sticking way out beyond her shoulders. I also heard of someone dressed as Mozart (I suppose like in Amadeus, but I didn't see him myself). I wished I had a bizarre costume for the event, since I can't afford something fancy enough to stick out from being fancy.

Anyway, flames invited for straying from the charter. Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and happy holidays in general to all.

Steve [real last name, which people shared back then]
I should be mapped. If mail bounces, try "nwnexus!sensual!steve" instead.

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