January 1, 2010
New New Year's tradition...
You knows the smoldering ash of age has snuck into your bloodstream when Dick Clark stays up later than you do.
For the last few years, I've sworn off watching the once terribly exciting Times Square ball drop due to encroaching factors beyond my control. Like excessive yawning. And the fact that, really, it's not that exciting. I've never actually gone anywhere on New Year's Eve, an issue born of my staunch 'no drinking' lifestyle and the shameful truth that I've never been a party chick. It ain't me, folks.
It's taken me three decades to buck the trend.
I did, in fact, go out!
My good buddy Dennis and I visited the ancient Keswick Theater outside Philly, an establishment that opened in the rip-roaring year of 1928, when even Dick Clark wasn't alive (debunking the myth that the man's first NYE countdown was done before Moses stopped to ask for directions). According to my butt, the seats and accompanying padding (or lack thereof) are original to the building. We were crammed in with 800 of our closest neighbors to watch a live performance.
I'd like to pause and thank Dennis for introducing me to Mystery Science Theater. You know, that late lamented gem that showed the worst that cinema has to offer while the silhouettes of a host and two robots skewer the plot, characters, dialogue, settings, props and cliches with rapid-fire jokes. They makes Ed Wood films watchable in a way only Prozac and Jack Daniels could before.
Last night, we spent five glorious hours absorbing three stellar films (War of the Insects, Samson and the 7 Miracles and Legacy of Blood) presented live with original riffers standing live on the stage before us. Yes, Locke... we got to suck in the same air as Joel, Crow, TV's Franks, the original Servo and Pearl. While sitting on torture devices (did I mention they need to remodel the seating?)
They paused for champagne (no thanks) before midnight and we counted down, afterward embracing friends, strangers and that guy dressed like Dr Forrester (Okay, maybe we didn't). It beat gazing upon a ball who's only true claim to fame is merely reflecting the principles of gravity or, as has been my custom of late, staring at the backs of my eyelids. The evening was delightful, a first in what I hope will be many more new years starting interestingly. I'm only sad we weren't able to meet the actors after the show. But in their honor, I leave you with the image Dennis and I have come to appreciate as a staple of sanity in a crazy, mixed up world...